With more than fifteen years in the scene, Riya & Colette Warren have quite an impressive track record. Featured on some of the industry’s leading labels, from Metalheadz to Shogun Audio, it’s the least to say that their respective voices have contributed to the history of our beloved movement. Indeed, while Riya has won multiple awards, including the D&B Arena Award as the ‘Best Live Act,’ Colette Warren has sparked the charts with her jazz-infused melodies.

Yet, the two Birmingham-born friends have managed to go beyond expectations with their new project ‘Two Sides of Everything, the first-ever collaborative drum & bass female vocal LP. To give birth to this first-of-its-kind album, the two vocalists have worked with a variety of top-notch producers of the scene, from the originator Roni Size to rising producers like the talented quartet Visages or the intriguing Bristol-based rising star Monrroe.

We sat down with Riya & Collette to find out how this groundbreaking album came to be, their inspirations, and what their new label, Carnelian Music, is all about. Enjoy!


Before diving into the album, tell us more about the Riya-Collette Warren relationship. How did you meet each other?

R – We met in September 2011 at Sun and Bass, so pretty much ten years ago! We were both performing there, and Collette messaged me to introduce herself. We met up and got on like a house on fire, so the rest is history.

C – Yeah and after that Laura moved to London and I put her up in my place for a month. We realized how alike we were and how many connections we had from our past, with us both being from the midlands as well, so we became soul sisters!

Before working on “Two Sides of Everything”, did you ever collaborate on other past projects?

R – Yeah, Collette wrote a track with me for my first album. It was called ‘Piece of Me’. We also worked together on ‘Invisible’ produced by Villem & Hadley.

C – Yeah working on ‘Invisible’ was what started this album project off really. It reminded us of how much fun it was to work together and how easy it was to write music together. So, it made us think, why don’t we do some more? So, to cut a long story short, then the album was born.

Riya Collette Warren Two Sides of Everything Front Sleeve
Riya Collette Warren – Two Sides of Everything

Two vocalists doing a collaborative album isn’t something we see very often in d&b, how did this project take shape? What’s the story behind it?

R – Yeah, you’re right, which is why we wanted to do it! DRS & Dynamite inspired us as well with their collaborative album project. That gave us the final push, but we’d already started talking about doing something together, maybe just a single, or an EP. Then we applied for the PRS grant, and we knew if we got that, that would help make the decision for us if it was something bigger or not.

C – So, then we got the call, that we had got the grant from PRS. We just couldn’t believe it, and that’s when we knew it was the right thing to do, it was a gift from the universe! We never actually thought we would get the grant. So, when we did, we were in shock, but eternally grateful, especially as we were the only artists that got accepted that is representing drum & bass, so we felt proud of that.

Is there already a Riya & Collette Warren style? And, if so, did you want to differentiate it from what you were doing individually?

R – I think the Riya & Colette Warren is very different from what we usually do. We had a lot more fun writing, we didn’t overthink it and whether intentional or not, it sounds a lot more poppy in parts. We wanted to write full songs rather than just hooks, and we wanted to push the boundaries and do stuff we wouldn’t ordinarily do. Stylistically, every song tends to start with Collette as her voice is lower than mine which suits the verses and I tend to sing the chorus where it tends to be higher

C – But not all the songs start with me, as we wanted to switch things up and not make it boring for the listener. So in some songs, Riya will start, and I’ll do the chorus, or we will both do a section of the verse and then harmonize on the chorus. I think the songs are basically a combination of my style and Riya’s style, which is really cool. They both gel together so well and take it to another level than if we were just writing the songs on our own… Riya will think of something that I wouldn’t, and I will think of something that Riya wouldn’t, so it works really well.

It’s very refreshing to see more & more vocalists & MCs releasing albums, Inja or DRS recently for example. What do you think about this trend and will it last?

R – I hope so because it’s nice for the vocalist & MC to have the spotlight and naturally, the project is way more vocal-led which is really nice.

C – I think we are going to see loads more MCs and vocalists dropping albums over the next few years, more than ever before, or even just EP’s, which is great also. It’s really refreshing to see this.

So, let’s quickly talk about your new imprint, Carnelian Music. Why did you feel the need to create a label rather than releasing your album on another imprint?

R – The project felt too diverse to release on any one particular label and the ones we were considering, we couldn’t fully agree on, so it felt like a good time to self-release. This way we got the chance to learn about the whole process of releasing music. We also wanted a place where we could release more of our own music in the future, music that doesn’t fit into the sound of other labels, but we love and are proud of.

C – Yeah, it felt like the right thing to do. Like we previously explained, when we got the grant from PRS, that really was the sign telling us to go for it and showing us that we could do this on our own. We already have a fan base, connections, and enough experience between us to do this on our own. I self-released an EP earlier this year, so I had some experience, plus we know so many label owners that have been really helpful in giving us advice when we needed them… Special shouts to Ben Soundscape (Intrigue) and Steve BCee (Spearhead) as they have been really helpful, so thanks, guys!

You both mentioned the “PRS grant”. It seems that it played an essential role in the production of the album. Can you tell us more about it? How did you think of applying? What’s the process to apply for the grant? What did you receive? And in what way did it help you produce “Two Sides of Everything”?

R – Yeah, shout-outs to Sweetpea and all the EQ50 group! When we started reading about the grant, we thought it was amazing because we’re two women doing something different that hasn’t been done in our genre before, so it was a perfect fit for us, and hoped PRS would see that too. We spent ages on the application, so when we got it we were absolutely gobsmacked.

C – We just couldn’t believe that we had got it, honestly. We always try to manifest things and think positive, but deep down I didn’t think that we would get it, especially since drum and bass often gets left behind. We’re so grateful that they took a chance on us.

R – We had to basically submit a business case, and apply for it in that way. We don’t get all the funds upfront, we have to pay for everything ourselves first, and then prove what we have done at the end. So fingers crossed we get it lol! It wasn’t easy, but so worth it. So, if anyone reading this wants to apply, do your research.

Sweatpea mixing with an EQ50 t-shirt
Sweetpea mixing with an EQ50 t-shirt

Technimatic, Monrroe, Visages, Koherent, Whiney, and the list goes on… There are so many amazing producers that collaborated with you on the album. How did you go about selecting them? Was there some kind of brief?

R – The brief was just producers we loved, producers who had been good to us, or producers we were good friends with. We made a huge list, and then it was a case of the stars aligning.

C – Yeah when we look at the list we are like wow haha. We are so happy it all worried out, and they have all been an absolute pleasure to work with, and they are really supportive of this project.

Let’s get technical a bit. What was the creative process behind the album? Did you already have the vocals and melody in mind, or did the inspiration come while working with each producer individually?

R – We had the concept, and we had ideas about what we wanted to talk about, but it didn’t really come until we were together in the same room, writing, and sharing ideas. We knew we wanted to make a different album that covered all corners of D&B, and we knew we wanted to have a lot of fun making it.

C – We tried to do a couple of songwriting sessions via zoom, and it was ok, but nothing beats when you are in the same room together, vibing off each other and ideas flowing. Writing this album was so much fun, and we honestly laughed so much that sometimes we couldn’t even sing as our voices had gone husky with all the laughing.

Now, I have to ask you individually, what is your favorite collaboration on the album, and why?

R – There’s too many to pick one. They all are special in their own way. At the moment it’s ‘Little Things’ by Technimatic, but before it was ‘Say No More’ by Ben Soundscape ft. Visionobi, and before that ‘All for Something’ by L-Side, and before that ‘Vices’ by Whiney, and before that, whatever song we were working on at the time hahahaha. Honestly, I love them all!

C – Oh gosh totally, every day I have a new favorite, to be honest. I honestly can not choose, we’ll leave that to the listeners!

Last but not least, do you have any secrets about this album you’d like to tell us?

C – Ok, so one of the tracks was originally produced by another producer… But that’s all you’re getting out of me, hehe…



Huge thanks to Riya & Colette for taking the time to answer our questions. “Two Sides of Everything” was released on the 17th of September. You can stream it here or buy it here.



Colette Warren