- Words Notion Staff
Producer-writer duo, Billen Ted, talk about their new single "When You're Out" with Mae Muller, the ingredients of a hit single, and create an exclusive mix for Notion.
Starting out as session musicians for the likes of death metal artists The Arusha Accord and The Eyes of a Traitor, along with Akala, Foreign Beggars, Etham Basden, and Jenna G, pairing Tom Hollings and Sam Brennan soon landed on their own as a force of dance, Billen Ted.
After attending Tomorrowland as punters, overwhelmed by the energy of the crowd, Tom urged Sam to convert to dance – and they haven’t looked back since. The team of two has had success producing and writing tracks for Hugel, MNEK, Sleepwalkrs, Alok, and many more, as well as making it into the ‘Top 10’ with 220 KID and Gracey’s single “Don’t Need Love”.
Billen Ted started releasing tunes under their own name with “Satisfied” in 2020, which updates an 80s-grounded sound. There’s plenty in the pipeline from the pair for 2020, who have recently signed with Black Butter imprint. Coming up is a double date with dance duo Punctual and a remix for noughties icon, Jason Derulo.
With their new single “When You’re Out”, featuring Mae Muller, released into the world, Billen Ted has made an exclusive mix for Notion and talked about ingredients of a hit single.
Congrats on your fab new single “When You’re Out” with Mae Muller. Such a tune! How was the song created? Were you in a session with Mae?
Thank you very much! We actually heard the original Kandi track ‘’Don’t Think I’m Not” when we were at the pub a little while back and just looked at each other and thought: shit! We need to flip a version. We did it initially with our good pal Hayley May and then kind of forgot about the record and then only recently got into it again. We wanted to work with Mae for ages and sent her the record. She loved it and wanted to try it and yeah, I guess the rest is history!
What draws you to work with particular artists?
I think it’s just finding people we really get on with, in and outside of the studio. Same with Gracey, 220 Kid, and other people we’ve worked with – we’re all mates and that makes doing campaigns so much fun and it’s exactly the same with Mae. We’ve been on a few messy nights out already and we’re here for it.
You also recently collabed with GRACEY on the dance number “I’ve Got You Covered”. How was the process of working together?
Gracey is fucking hilarious. Genuinely, she’s one of the funniest people we’ve ever met and an incredible writer and artist. Love working with her. It was kind of weird as we co-produced “Don’t Need Love” with 220 KID which was a hit last year during the height of the pandemic so we didn’t actually meet Gracey until August or something last year when
we’d already had a top 10! But we’ve done loads with her since and sure we’ll do loads more.
You’ve also got another huge bop under your belt with 220 KID’s “Don’t Need Love”. What are the secret ingredients for a smash hit single?
Lots of Beavertown Neck Oil. Nah, in all seriousness I think it’s a combination of hard work, not being afraid to try something different or worry about getting it wrong (which is most of the time) and having fun while doing it all.
Going back to your roots – you were both death metal musicians but transitioned into dance after a transcendental Tomorrowland experience. Are there any qualities that metal and dance music share / interesting parallels between the genres?
Oh for sure – they’re so close. Back in the metal days, we listened to so much Dubstep on the bus and that’s what Sam and I would be making on our laptops! But it hits in the same way live. There was that crossover point where Skrillex came from “From First To Last” into making dance. Bring Me The Horizon were all over it too aaaages ago and had Tek-One on tour with them and doing remix packages. Enter Shikari too. The Prodigy! F*ck I mean, they were one of the biggest crossover acts doing it first. Our pal Ed Sokolowski mixes all our records and he used to record our metal bands back in the day – we’re trying to make sure we keep a little bit of that flavour in our records!
If you could have any superpower – other than producing great music – what would it be?
Good question! Either have the ability to avoid hangovers or be Daft Punk.
Talk us through your mix – why have you picked these tracks and what vibe were you hoping to create with it?
It’s a combination of quite a few records we’ve been involved with recently such as “Talk About”, “Feelin U” and records we really like that our pals have put out recently. Hope you like it!
What’s next for Billen Ted?
We’re definitely due a Beavertown sponsorship so going to manifest that right here –we’re not letting it go. More records! More collabs. Hopefully some LIVE SHOWS!!! COME ONNNN.