We had a chance to have a quick catch up with Raf from dance outfit The 2 Bears to talk about bear costumes, cricket, dubstep and their debut album, Be Strong, which is out next week. Read on to find out more about the album, then read our review of it here.


So Raf, one of the last times I saw you, you were carrying a bag with your bear suit in, about to watch the test match at Lord’s.


Yeah, I’m not sure why I was carrying that actually, I cant remember.


You were lucky to get in, what with the grounds strict “no fancy dress” code.


I know! At least I didn’t have my trumpet! Its funny, the places I’ve had to take those costumes, once I had to fly out to Japan and Joe was already out there so I had to take both costumes, I got some funny looks about that one. Again in Amsterdam I had both and got stopped but they were a bit more relaxed about it funnily enough, I think they wanted a demonstration…


They are cool though.


Yeah, people like them and almost expect it now, it’s a bit of a cross we have to bear (great pun). We wore them once for a press shot right at the beginning and they’ve kinda stuck. They aren’t very practical for DJing though, they get too hot and the headphones don’t really fit. You need air conditioning in them, I think that’s what Deadmau5 has.


Yeah but he’s just a head, not the entire outfit...it’s a bit lazy really.


I bet he has everything in there though, air con, hydroponics a lap dance club…


With all that in there I bet he doesn’t even DJ, he just plays a loop.


Yeah, while he’s just up there having a party to himself, in his own head.


So, the album. You’ve made a few EP’s already what was it like tackling a full on record?


Well there every lead track from the EP’s are on there so it was just a case of building around that. Joe is much more experienced than I am what with making four, nearly finished a fifth, records with Hot Chip. It’s different to just making a track that’s going to be played in a club, we wanted it to be more than just ten club bangers shoved together, we wanted it to flow. We’re quite old now, me and Joe, and we remember going to buy full albums and the excitement of that. An album was whole piece and it was important for us to create that on our record. We wanted to make an album you could do the ironing to you know?


Can I use that, “We wanted an album to do the ironing to”?


Yeah why not, we wanted to make something that you could go back to and listen to time and time again. That doesn’t seem to happen much these days, I guess that’s not how its done now but I remember that was what you did, buy a whole album not buy the odd track.


I got a copy of the album last night and I’ve had it on since, I love ‘Warm & Easy’ I’m going on holiday in a couple of weeks I think its going to get played a lot on this trip.


The guy who did our mixing towards the end had this digital Casio guitar, its had strings and that but I probably shouldn’t say this but it gave off this sound that reminded me of The Holiday Programme with Gloria Hunniford. You know you can just see her walking around a marina sipping on a glass of red wine.


The album is out on 30th January, what are your expectations?


Expectations? Wow. To be honest I’m surprised just to get this far. It's hard to sell records these days so just getting the chance to make an album is great. Obviously if it sells loads and we win a MOBO or something then great but we’re not expecting it.


It reminds me a bit of the first Ministry of Sound annuals I was buying when I was a teen.


Fair comment. Chicago House has been a big influence on me and Joe growing up, house has been around for years now and is just like rock music or jazz in that sense.

With everything being about Dubstep these days, do you think this album could bridge the gap to more traditional dance music?


Of course Dubstep is popular now because that’s what people are into, so that’s why everyone has a Dubstep remix at the moment. It's not that this album is anti-dubstep, it just doesn’t have any on it. Dubstep isn’t new, it's something that was going on in Brixton ten years ago once a month on a Thursday. Who’s to say that if you looked around hard enough today you couldn’t find something going on like that which will be popular in another ten years.

Their debut album, 'Be Strong', is released January 30th through Southern Fried & DFA