17 Nov Route Six Two: A Tale of Successfully Forming a Super Music Group
Social media has a way of connecting people and it’s not always for dating. Just ask Route Six Two. These three strangers at the time each with sizzling solo careers are now known as a burgeoning producer supergroup who are hot off releasing their end-of-summer track and first collaboration together. Titled “Think You Crazy,” the song, which was released on 21NHG, the new sub-label of Relentless, is filled with epic lyrics and smooth bass lines.
Route Six Two is composed of Link Lewis who is a talented writer and multi-instrumentalist having worked with everyone from Foreign Beggars to ADMT. Next is Alex Ross who started his career with sync work for Love Island and Britain’s Got Talent which has landed him the stages of Creamfields and V-Festival, along with remixes for Snoop Dogg to Flo Rida. Last but certainly not least in the group is Imogen, a vocalist who’s drawn her love of Rave, Mebel, and Jorja Smith.
A story too perfect that almost seems mythical, Lewis slid into Ross’ Instagram DMs for the better part of a year, which in turn led to Alex discovering Imogen. Each artist’s individual style lent itself to the success of the larger group who overall credits their individuality and identity as key in the studio.
Read on to hear Route Six Two discuss how they got their unique moniker, their favorite artists and musical influences, dream collaborators, what is next for them, and more. I’m personally super stoked to hear the word of when an up-and-coming EP might be dropping.
How did Route Six Two come together?
Lewis: Being totally honest, our group formation is a bit of a miracle. I sat in Alex’s DM requests for the best part of a year before we eventually got in the studio together.
Alex: Yeah ha-ha, it didn’t take long for us to click both on a personal and a musical level. I later discovered Imogen singing on Instagram and we all did a group session. “Think U Crazy” was the first track we ever wrote together.
Where did the name of the group come from?
Lewis & Alex: We wanted something that sounded cool but also had some meaning. Us boys are based in Huddersfield and Imogen is based in Liverpool. The M62 is the motorway between us so we thought we’d based the name around that!
How does each of your backgrounds influence your overall sound as an artist collective?
Lewis: I think it’s easy to recognize our individual influences in our music. Alex has a background in dance music and production so he is very much behind the groove and the clean production. He also has some great topline melody ideas. I studied music and was trained on multiple instruments for a number of years, so I’d say I provide the most value in the harmony of the track. All three of us make a pretty much equal contribution to the lyrics and melody, but they wouldn’t sound like they do if it wasn’t for Imogen’s amazing voice.
What was the story and meaning behind the track “Think U Crazy” and how many edits did it take for it to come together?
Lewis: We often reach a stage in our lives, both in friendships and relationships, where we have to choose ourselves first. This song, for us, captures the emotions of someone going through just that.
Alex: The track immediately just seemed to write itself as soon as we heard the hook line. I’d say the track took two full sessions overall, but most of it was done in the first session. When we’re writing the lyrics and melodies its a equal collaboration between all of us really and with this track it seemed to just flow effortlessly.
Imogen, tell us about the vocals. How did the beat influence the lyrics when you were collaborating?
Imogen: I’ve never written to a garage track before so for this track I took inspiration from RnB music, which I love, and Alex and Lewis are really good lyrical and topline melody writers anyway. Personally, I’m obsessed with Ella Mai, Jorja Smith, and Raye so I wanted to sing in that kind of style.
Who are your top musical influences and why?
Lewis: I think all the ‘greats’ have created their own identity and very much embraced their own journey. I take inspiration from people who are adamant to be themselves, which I believe in turn makes them different. Freddy Mercury, Michael Jackson, Prince, Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi. None of these people were convinced to be different or change themselves. I respect that a lot.
Alex: For me I was brought up with a garage background, my brother always had every new garage track and compilation CD going, so it was imposed on me from a young age as he was the only one in the house with a good sound system.
As far as influences go I have the broadest appreciation of the randomest artists, from Tracy Chapman to Avicii, Armand Van Helden to Celine Dion and Daft Punk. My car playlist is the most random playlist of music from the 1960s to now. I just love genuinely good music no matter the genre or artist.
Imogen: Growing up my mum listened to a lot of pop so I guess I kind of figured out my music influences myself as I got older. I listen to loads of different styles now and take inspiration from each.
What is your creative process like and how much time do you typically put into the studio over the course of a week?
Two of us work in the studio full time more or less. I think it’s really important to collaborate and work creatively with as many people as you can. There is always so much to learn from other people. We’re going to get together a lot more regularly in the studio for this project for sure!
What are your top three favorite gear, plugins, or equipment you use to create your sound?
Alex: I use Logic Pro and Ableton (rewired) mostly to create all the music I produce. I think three desert island plugins for me would be Oekesound – Soothe 2, Xfer Records Serum, and Standard Clip. I probably couldn’t live without these.
My studio consists of PMC Two Two 8’s, UAD Apollo 8x, Imac Pro 27”, NI Komplete Kontrol, Shure SM7b, Maag Pre Q 3 & Trinnov ST2 Pro.
What is the one piece of software, equipment, or instrument you currently don’t have yet but would love to experiment with and why?
Alex: I’m lucky in that I’m quite happy with my setup. It’s been 10 plus years in the making and investing nearly every spare penny in the latest gear that I want. However, I’ve always been jealous of people rocking the kiii 3 monitors and I’ve always wanted to try the ATC’s. If there is a rep reading this, feel free to hit me up! Ha.
After each of you has already graced the stages of some of the biggest festivals and worked with top talent, what does success look like to you now as a group?
All: I think success should always start with the music. In years to come, will we be able to look back on the work we’ve done and be proud to listen to our own work? It would be amazing to play some of the big festivals as a group. We’re working on a really special live set that is going to be completely different to anything you’ll have seen before.
We hope that we can reach some big streaming numbers too. In the music world, I don’t think you can deny that streaming numbers are a big marker of success these days!
What has been your biggest challenge working as a group and how were you able to overcome this?
Lewis: I’d personally say the biggest challenge is balancing the group project with all of our individual projects. We’re all really busy with our solo careers but forming this group was too good an opportunity to pass up. This is the most excited I’ve been in a long time in my career.
What is the most unique thing you’ve learned about one another since working together?
Alex: Probably that Lewis is one of the funniest and driest guys I’ve met. He literally has me doubled over in every session we have. It makes working together a dream and also super relaxing.
Imogen: I think for me it’s that we always have each other to bounce ideas off one another and a session never goes stale. When one of us struggles with a melody or lyric, either Alex or Lewis will have an idea that’s usually great! It’s so easy to work together.
How do you ensure each person’s unique voice and viewpoint gets heard in the group?
Lewis and Alex: I think you’ve got to be prepared to receive criticism and speak truthfully. All of our sessions are completely unfiltered. We all have the same sense of humor which makes things a lot easier. Alex won’t shy out of letting you know if he thinks we can come up with a better lyric or melody haha!
Alex: haha yeah that is true. I’m just always trying to make sure everything we write is the best it can be, AND if we come up with a better lyric or melody as a result of revisiting a section I don’t feel is strong, and the outcome is better, it’s worth it right? Ha! But yeah we do joke about it a lot and it’s funny.
Lewis: Luckily we all want what is best for the music and have very similar tastes so this isn’t much of an obstacle for us.
Imogen: Lewis and Alex do joke a lot of the time and it makes it a fun environment to work in!
What do you have planned next in the pipeline?
We’re currently sitting on some really strong material so I think we’re just going to concentrate on building a good fan base and increasing our catalog.
How do you all manage your time when you’re working together while also separately on solo projects?
Lewis: Speaking on behalf of all three of us, we strongly believe that ‘Route Six Two’ can go really far so for us we’ll make sure we always put time aside for the project and make it a priority. It helps that the three of us really get on and enjoy working together. I’ve learned a lot from these guys for the short time I have.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give to those just starting out in the industry? Why is this so valuable to you?
Lewis: If you believe in your own taste, don’t write for anybody else but yourself. Too many people approach songwriting with the mindset of what is everyone else going to want to hear? As a group, we believe we have great taste in music. So as long as we like the music we make, that’s all that matters.
Alex: yeah! What he said, plus just be truthful to your own tastes and what you feel is good music. Although it may seem slow at first, the fans of what you produce will come! There’s nothing worse than producing or writing music that an A&R tells you is “popular right now” because it’s been done…by that other person… and better than you could ever copy… it if you get me? So yeah. Always do you….Hun haha.
What artist impacted you the most and inspired you to get into music?
Lewis: I’d personally have to say Michael Jackson was mine. Regardless of everything going on in his life outside of music, I think he was born to be an artist and a performer. Even now, his voice appears on some of the biggest new releases in the world.
Alex: Mine was a slightly different approach. I had always DJ’ed and wanted to play records that didn’t fit in my sets. This led me to teach myself music production. This gave me the skills to make the songs fit by remixing them. That’s how a lot of my bootleg remixes, which are all over the internet in places, came about. I do remember hearing Daniel Beddingfield had produced “Gotta Get Thru This” in his bedroom and I was like… wow, maybe I will have a go at this.
As a group, what is the next career milestone you’d like to achieve?
We would love to release a body of work like an EP. It would show how diverse our range of influences is. We would also keep both the garage and dance genres at the core of our sound.
Who would you love to collaborate with and why?
Lewis: I’d say Rudimental are a big influence of ours and a group we’d really like to work with. I’d also love to collaborate with artists ranging from Yebba, Maverick Sabre, and Macklemore. They’ve proven they can write good music in so many different styles.
Alex: Mine would be modern greats like Skrillex, Chris Lorenzo, Chris Lake, Fred Again, and Disclosure. Lastly, Ian Kirkpatrick who is an amazing behind-the-scenes / slept-on producer behind Dua Lipa.
After listening to Route Six Two’s “Think U Crazy”, what do you think about their style and sound? Swipe up to comment below and let me know!