The 2 Bears

The 2 Bears

It may seem a strange proposition but perhaps there is a collective consciousness that can leave one club flat and makes another club fly; a presiding force that guides people through the peaks and troughs of a DJs record selection.

January 2012 sees the release of the debut The 2 Bears album Be Strong.   A London record through and through, it ducks and weaves to the myriad sounds of the city, as The 2 Bears Raf Daddy and Joe Goddard pursue the perfect party record.

Alongside tracks like Be Strong, Church and the mighty Bear Hug - a pummeling treatise on the benefits of the peak time dancefloor cuddle - Raf and Joe mutate genres into previously unheard territories of dancehall country on the bouncing prison yard lament Time In Mind and garage reggae on Heart Of the Congos, a track that manages to simultaneously channel both Wookie and early ‘80s Madness before placing them each at a system in the heart of Notting Hill Carnival at dusk.

01. The Birds & The Bees
02. Be Strong
03. Bear Hug
04. Work
05. Warm & Easy
06. Take A Look Around
07. Ghosts & Zombies
08. Time In Mind
09. Increase Your Faith
10. Heart Of The Congos
11. Get Together
12. Church

Raf Daddy - aka Raphael Rundell - met Joe Goddard (taking time out from his day job as one fifth of Hot Chip) through a party scene that saw them share deck duties at the legendary Greco-Roman parties.

Upon venturing into the studio in an attempt to replicate some of the records that they’d lost themselves in the night before, Raf found himself laying down vocals over Joe’s skipping, bassomatic backing tracks safe in the knowledge that they’d soon be replaced by someone with sweeter, more melodious tones. In the end, it was Raf’s voice that characterized and personalized The 2 Bears.

Their first forays in the studio produced both the sublime and the ridiculous. In the latter camp, Mercy Time, a frankly berserk re-rub of Mercy Mercy Me. In the former, Be Strong - a paean to everyone from Steely Dan to the Wu Tang Clan via The Beach Boys and the Art of Noise that’s become the symbolic blueprint for The 2 Bears sound. It was also arguably the finest house record the capital has produced since London X-Press back in 1993.

The duo’s first two EPs - released on one of the most consistently on-the-money labels in dance music, Southern Fried - charted Raf and Joe’s progress from muck-around-in-the-studio to DJ box staple, from the stoned soul cover of Sade’s When Am I Gonna Make a Living? to the joyous sunrise-gospel of Church. With minimal effort and maximum respect from their peers, tracks began to be hammered in clubs and on radio by the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Erol Alkan, Pete Tong and Annie Mac. 

This summer’s Bear Hug EP cranked things up yet another notch with Chris Moyles giving the track some early morning airings and Elton John and Paul McCartney declaring themselves fans.

A triumph, then. See you when the lights go up.