I’ve been waiting a long time for this. With my heart reasonably tied to the sounds of the UK, part of me squeals with joy when I see one of the young artists pushing the new era of garage come to the states. It means something real; that the music that the UK has been an advocate of for ages now has finally touched down in the US, that the was once behind-the-curve American market for dance music may slowly be catching up. Disclosure, consisting of Howard and Guy, two very young brothers (18 & 21) have quickly risen to the forefront of this kind of sound, and lucky for LA, they headlined an amazing live show at the El Rey to a sold out crowd of costumed enthusiasts on Halloween.
I’m pretty sure something has to be said that every single song they’ve made has been released, and on top of that, they’re all hits. These kids quite literally hopped on to making garage style music after falling in love with Burial’s Untrue two years ago, and ever since then it’s been a whirl of success, with a free EP garnering them masses of downloads & “What’s In Your Head” in every single DJ rotation, radio show, and mixtape this summer.
As everyone was doing some last minute costume prepping before heading to the El Rey that night, I jetted over to the historic venue to have a chat with the boys before the show. Their young faces & Howard’s aside that he misses England were perhaps the only things indicating their age; the boys otherwise spoke and performed as though they were much older. Great guys, pleasant interview, a real treat. Later, after I arrived to the always great Samo Sound Boy‘s set, there was a pleasantness in the air unlike other shows; a kind of unspoken knowledge of the oxytocin-laced, subtle booty-shake set that Disclosure was about to provide. And that’s exactly what it was. After opening with “Control”, the boys worked rather seamlessly together in their live show, leaving perhaps the entire audience with a smile on their face the entire time. Whatever it is they are doing, they are doing it right. I’m very much looking forward to the boundless future of Disclosure, and happily await their return.
Until then, get your digs with the interview, and their very awesome mix for The Fader below.
Laura: Right, first question. GDD Tradition: what are you guys drinking?
Guy: I’m drinking a Heineken at the moment. Howard’s going to have the interesting answer.
Howard: HA! Water. I don’t drink!
L: Hey man, water’s good. I don’t hate. You’ve had some under the radar vocalists on your tracks… any new ones on the album you can tell us about?
H: There will be new ones, yeah.
G: The one we can talk about of course is Sam Smith, he’s the singer on “Latch.”
L: And that’s on the album?
G: Yeah, first single of the album.
L: Right, cool! Who’s a dream vocalist for you?
H: Hmmm.. Michael Jackson. Ooooh, and D’Angelo actually.
G: There’s definitely a lot of heroes that we have, I don’t know if I’d necessarily want to work with them. Cuz they’re your heroes, you know? D’Angelo would be up there though, for sure. He’s my favorite male singer. And there’s tons of old garage tracks with great vocalists, but who knows what they’re up to now…
H: There’ll be surprises on the album of people we’re working with… hopefully people will like it!
G: We’ll be singing as well!
L: Oh how cool! Will you sing at all tonight?
G: No, not tonight, but yes for the new stuff.
L: This is your first time ever in the US! Crazy. How’s it been? Have you gotten into any super American stuff?
G: We played at Moogfest in Asheville, that’s probably the most American thing we could have done. It was pretty great actually, loads of people in bandanas and what not, I don’t even know what the word is for how they speak…
L: With a southern drawl…
G: Yeah, that’s it! Great food, everyone was really nice as well.
H: Flags outside everyone’s houses, yeah. Oh, and we went to New York, I didn’t want to leave! Didn’t have enough time there, really.
L: How long were you guys there?
H: Just a couple days, we had two shows.
G: We were just in San Francisco and didn’t even get to see the Golden Gate Bridge! Just airports and hotels…
L: Are there any things you want to do while you’re here?
G: Loads! We just did one actually, in San Francisco, went to Amoeba, I think there’s one here too?
L: Yeah, massive. It takes up the whole block.
G: I’d love to go, if we have time…
L: Do it! OK, so the kind of UK Funky / Garage thing that you guys touch on with your music is only just starting here. You guys are one of the first to headline a live show with this kind of music. Is there a kind of history you can tell Americans about this scene, how it’s been in the UK, I know you guys were super into Burial and that’s what sort of got you going…
G: We didn’t listen to garage growing up. When garage started getting big in England, we were just too young to experience it, you know? But it happened like you said, started with Burials album “Untrue“, that was the first thing we heard that made us want to make something in that kind of style. I knew about hip hop production but Burial was the first stuff we kinda wanted to make. So our first stuff was just us learning how to make stuff with that kind of style, Burial, Joy Orbison, Floating Points, people like that. As we started making more music, our influences kind of went more and more into older stuff. So we’d listen to these guys and find out where there influences were and so on, that’s what lead us to house music.
H: It wasn’t until probably two years ago we properly started getting into garage. That’s where we saw it all came from. But now, all the stuff we’re making has proper throwback vibes.
G: All the stuff we’ve made recently is kinda old-school. I think you could probably throw them in with some much older tracks and have it all work together. That’s the great thing about what’s going on at the moment in the UK, you can play a set of new stuff with older garage tracks and it sounds absolutely smashing.
H: People always say we sound slightly different from everyone else, and the only reason I can really think that might be is because we didn’t take any influence from dance music growing up. I listened to singer/songwriter stuff, Guy listened to hip hop, now we both just listen to hip hop pretty much. We get our inspiration from songs more than club tracks.
L: Awesome, perfect answer. So I’ve been wanting to ask this for a really long time: WHERE are the samples from “What’s In Your Head” from?
G: Well there’s two different ones, the sex samples and the vocals. The vocals are cut up parts of the same girl that sang on “Boiling”, Sinead. We wrote a couple of songs with her. The sex samples are just from a porn video I searched online. I knew it would work, I’d been listening to this song by Fred P, he’s got a track with girls moaning on it…
L: There’s a couple that I can’t think of (post-note: one of em is this song by Big K.R.I.T.), but yours is just too good!
G: Yeah we had that part of the song, put the chords on and thought something like that would sound really good. I literally just googled “porn video” which is sort of stupid really, because I thought afterwards someone listening might think we watch loads of porn, but I did it anyway.
L: Well I’d probably think that if you had some weird obscure sounding noises, not something you can search on google, hahaha.
G: It’s crazy, the response it’s gotten. There’s a video of a bunch of almost naked girls dancing to the song, have you seen it?! They obviously understood the sex relevance…
H: It’s weird though, because when we talk about it with people, girls say we shouldn’t put that stuff in our songs…
G: Only some, though!!
H: Yeah, and then weirdly at the shows they absolutely love it!
L: Oh, trust me, girls love it here. Secretly or not, they do.
G: As much as they hide it, we know they wanna watch…
L: They like to hear it, at the very least. So you’ve kinda mentioned you’ve been getting more into house; who in the house world have you gotten into lately. New or old people, just recent discoveries I guess.
H: For me, I really like Eats Everything, he’s on dirtybird. Every track he makes is such good house music.
L: Dirtybird is from San Francisco, they kinda rep the west coast for house music…
H: We were with Justin Martin last night!
L: He is honestly the nicest guy you will ever meet.
H: World’s nicest man!
G: Oh, there’s Shadow Child as well, I quite like him…
L: He just started his own label!
G: He’s actually old school, but now he’s got this new thing. Pretty cool. Tons of old people I like as well, a lot of people from Detroit, Mr Fingers, that kinda stuff. Garage, there’s tons of labels I like, Nice N Ripe, anything they did from ’94 to 2001 is just so good. Locked On as well, every release they have is great.
L: Has someone older, like your parents or an experienced artists or whomever ever given you some really good advice that’s stuck with you?
H: For me there’s not any one particular piece of advice. I got a lot from my music teachers in college, my parents are both musicians so I’ve gotten pieces here and there.
G: Yeah, it’s more kind of learning as you go along for us. You meet loads of people, some are cool, some not so cool. Everyone has their own journey, if you took everyone’s advice you’d be in a shit place I think.
H: Most of the time it’s the people that always want to give advice that you shouldn’t listen to…
L: Some of them have nothing better to do! So what’s your favorite think about the UK, and least favorite thing?
G: Favorite thing about the UK is the music there. Definitely. The output, especially now, is just incredible. Least favorite is probably the rain…
H: I don’t mind the rain though! I just love England, man! I don’t have a bad comment.
L: You’re probably the first person I’ve ever heard say that. I know so many English people and they all hate it, especially my mom!
H: Oh, I do hate the queues…
G: Yeah, check-in at Heathrow is pretty shit. Oh and the M25 motorway… everyone driving on the left side in general. Why do we do that?
H: It works better!
G: It doesn’t! Here you can turn right on a red light, that’s fantastic! If you did that in England you’d crash into someone! I guess it’s not that bad though…
L: How was Ibiza? Was this your first year?
H: It was awesome. Other than me playing in clubs it was kind of my first time going clubbing since I’ve only just turned 18. Since you can go out when you’re 18 there…
L: And literally everywhere else BUT in the states.
G: Right?! Howard had to sit in the dressing room all night last night.
H: Anyways yeah, Ibiza is incredible. We’ve gone 4 or 5 times this year. We played at Space. That’s probably one of my favorite places in the world. I’m definitely going to get a villa there for the summer…
L: Was it all live?
G: Some live, some DJ sets.
L: What’s your studio set up, and the essentials you have with you? What do you wish you had? Like… coffee, or a thousand girls, whatever.
G: Ooh yeah, a thousand girls would be nice. I want that. Not just in the studio though, everywhere.
H: A personal chef would be quite nice. A really good one that just sits there and waits for us in the studio.
G: In reality, we have a set up in a room above our dad’s auction house. He used to have a studio up there. Carpeted walls, you know. We went up there and made it nice again.
H: It’s basically like a home studio filled with dangerously old radiators. And lots of beams.
G: Our set up is pretty simple really. Some old Roland synths, a big iMac, a nice guitar, turntables. Really good speakers. And we do everything in Logic.
L: Nice. Simple. OK, last one. What’s next?
G: Er, well this is our last show here. We go back to England to play a couple shows with Annie Mac, then a headline show in London.
H: The main thing really is writing the album. We want to get it done to hopefully come out in March next year. It’s around halfway done, I don’t know really.
G: You never know til it’s done. We’ve got the next few singles, just gotta write the rest of the album. There’ll be another single before the end of the year.
L: Dope. I can’t wait. I’m really looking forward to tonight, thanks so much guys!
G: Yeah, us too! Thanks!