The Degrees is a unique project that combines elements of trip-hop and downtempo soul, led by drum and bass artist Charlie Bierman and singer-songwriter Isha Campbell. Their music is heavily influenced by the rich musical heritage of their hometown Bristol, and is characterized by its soulful and epic sound. The string-driven songs of The Degrees have earned comparisons to artists such as Massive Attack and Portishead.
Photo Credit: Chelone Wolf
Their debut album, ‘The Day Out Of Time’, was recorded in 2020 at the renowned Rockfield Studios. The album is being released on Goldie’s Fallen Tree 1Hundred. In this interview, we will delve into the details of The Degrees’ debut album, including the inspiration behind it and other relevant topics.
EG: Hi guys! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? Where are you based right now?
The Degrees: Hi and thank you for having us. We’re good thanks, hope you’re well too. We’re in Bristol, we’ve both lived here for about 16 years.
EG: First of all, congratulations on the release of your debut LP, ‘The Day Out Of Time’! What has the initial reception been like?
The Degrees: We’ve had a lot of great feedback from people that have heard it, and some good radio support with the singles. It’s our first release as this band so we’re starting from scratch, but it’s nice to build something new.
EG: So, ‘The Day Out Of Time’ was recorded back in 2020, right? How has your appreciation of the record changed two years after?
The Degrees: We heard it loads that year, and a lot of the songs existed before, but we re-recorded them in 2020. So after giving our ears a break, it’s nice to come back to it as a finished album to hear it out of work mode. We’re really pleased with the album and really excited about its release.
EG: And what can your fans expect to find on ‘The Day Out Of Time’? Are there themes running throughout the songs?
The Degrees: It’s a bit of a mixed bag, centered around Soul and Trip Hop. There are some more ambient and acoustic flavors too. The songwriting is mainly bittersweet, touching on issues we all experience in everyday life like loss, anger, regret, etc.
“We’ve always seen this project as more album based, as we were less focused on singles and more on a listening experience.”
EG: What compelled you to create an artist album in today’s playlist-driven landscape?
The Degrees: A lot of the bands we’re inspired by have seminal albums that meant a lot to us. We’ve always seen this project as more album based, as we were less focused on singles and more on a listening experience. In saying that lots of the tracks would fit well in various playlists, so hopefully we can have the best of both worlds.
EG: And ‘The Day Out Of Time’ is out on Goldie’s boutique Fallen Tree 1Hundred label. Did you guys have a relationship with Goldie prior to this?
The Degrees: We’ve known Goldie from the DnB scene for a long time. Charlie has released on Goldie’s DnB label Metalheadz. When we heard about his involvement with Fallen Tree 1Hundred, we thought this record could be right up his street, which we’re pleased to say it was.
EG: Where do you think Trip-Hop stands today in the grand musical landscape? What does its future look like to you?
The Degrees: There’s enough scope and space for all genres of music and there will always be an audience and appreciation for that style. The advances in production technology mixed with the lo-fi elements of Trip-Hop could lead to an even more interesting melting pot.
EG: Can you tell us something about yourself that only a few people know about?
The Degrees: Isha has met and interviewed Pink Floyd.
“We’ve got some gigs in the pipeline in the UK and may be performing at some of the Fallen Tree 1Hundred label nights, so watch out for them.”
EG: How do you keep entertained when not in the studio? Have you checked out any good movies, series, books, or albums you’d recommend?
The Degrees: Isha reads a lot she’s really into the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell. We both love Star Wars and can recommend the Obi-Wan Patterson edit. As you mentioned before, we float around on Spotify quite a bit, but the last album I actually bought on CD was Radiohead’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’.
EG: What’s next for The Degrees? What particular milestones are you looking forwards to this 2023? Where can your fans catch you next?
The Degrees: We have a few remixes coming that we’ve been working on. We’ve both got other solo projects on the go too. We’ve got some gigs in the pipeline in the UK and may be performing at some of the Fallen Tree 1Hundred label nights, so watch out for them.
EG: Thank you so much for your time, guys! We wish you all the best for the future.
The Degrees: It was a pleasure. All the best. Cheers.
The Degrees’ ‘The Day Out Of Time’ is out now via Goldie’s Fallen Tree 1Hundred. Purchase your copy here.