Meet Hit Maker Brother Duo Disclosure—Bringing UK Garage Back To The Masses

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In the wake of new music, shits going down hard in the UK. I’m sitting here bumping Bondax, Eats Everything, Julio Bashmore and Bicep. America’s disconnect from the UK in terms of music is slowly disappearing as acts like these are gaining acclaim here in America. Lost genres, once only accessible in the deep ends of London, are now hitting US shores. In large part due to the new social media and music community, allowing us to blur the lines and borders and bring us new sounds to appreciate. In this storm of music lie the hit maker brother duo Disclosure. Guy and Howard Lawrence are only 18 and 21 (respectively), which is an exciting revelation because their sound can only mature.

We take our influence from older house, like Detroit house and Chicago house mainly, and UK garage from the ‘90s.

Ever heard of garage? You may not have, but Britain’s last 2-step import was Craig David, whose success was strongly linked to Artful Dodger, one of the UK’s most revered garage producers. Disclosure, who are taking in influences from the lost genre are reintroducing the sound to the world. Their recent release “Latch” hit the UK pop charts at #12 holding its own against the usual breed. The brothers just concluded their tour in North America on Halloween Day at the El Rey Theater. In the sold out venue was all of Los Angeles’ heavy hitters of the industry pining to see these guys strut their stuff. All of their music is relatively new but the audience got down to all of their material singing all the vocals of the songs. It’s rare to see this kind of excitement and is definitely a welcomed sign that good music is why we’re here. I can only imagine the trajectory these guys are headed, their talent and background is reminiscent of other hit maker duos like the Neptunes. I can’t wait to hear what these young kids from Surrey get up to next.

I got the chance to sit down with the duo before their show in Los Angeles… enjoy.

From what I understand you guys have a very strong background in music, what would you say brought you to your present sound? Were you directly influenced by anyone in particular?

Guy: Our present sound is influenced by older stuff. At the start we were just trying to learn how to make songs, just taking influence from stuff that was happening in the UK. We take our influence from older house, like Detroit house and Chicago house mainly, and UK garage from the ‘90s.
Howard: I'd say we listened to as much hip-hop as we do house. American hip-hop, we don't take songwriting influence from that really, because it's so different. But production wise, yeah American hip-hop.

Are there any specific artists that influenced you?

Howard: Burial, Joy Orbison,
Guy: My hero in Garage is called Jeremy Sylvester, anything from Nice n' Ripe, Locked On, 2 -Zed bias, Tonic words.

Garage or 2-Step hasn't really been able to really hit the US in the way that it hit the UK. Though you guys are touring North America. How is your audience receiving your music? Were you guys surprised? What is the UK perception of garage?

Howard: Unbelievably well. Out here our tour has been incredible, sold out and everyone has loved it. The crowds are so enthusiastic, and the UK perception of garage is that it went away but it's coming back.

You can’t have a live show with a lot of machines and then leave fans wondering what the fuck you’re doing, or if you’re doing anything or nothing at all.

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Your track “Latch” has recently hit #12 on the Pop Charts. When you compare your sound to other pop tracks on that same chart, do you feel a sense of change brewing within the music listening population, considering you guys have a unique stance?

Howard: Yes, I haven't actually thought about it like that, I was just like why the hell are we on that list. That doesn't look right.
Guy: Obviously we are massive fans of chart music, that's clear. But it is weird; this week should be crazy…there has definitely been some crossover of people who would never ever listen to house music or garage but are enjoying “Latch.” I think that’s the best thing to say, and it is crazy, I can't believe we are in the chart—we never made that song with the intention of making it in the charts.

It doesn't seem so long since you're debut EP has been released and you guys have already received so much acclaim from some very influential people in the music industry. At what point did you really see or feel the change?

Guy: When people started singing the songs back at us at our shows. Even though a lot of them don't know the words, some of them weren't even words they were just noises.
Howard: For me, getting kicked out of college, and this turning into my full-time job. That was the biggest change for me. Obviously it developed massively in the last 5-6 months in terms of success.
Guy: Every tune we put out has been a nice step up in some way, like the Jesse Ware remix, which brought us radio and label play, and “Latch” took us to the next level so it’s come out nicely.

Production-wise, you guys really do stand out. Are you guys using analog, or primarily digital? What's your workflow like especially since there are two of you? Any challenges considering you guys are brothers?

Guy: We run Logic and Ableton for live shows though we don't produce in Ableton. We have a couple analog synths, a Moog which broke, a Juno, we use a lot of logic synths and sample stuff from Access 24 and make our sounds on that. We don't do a lot of sampling of other peoples’ music, but more just like sampling sounds. With "What's In Your Head" that’s cut up bits with the same girl as "Boiling." We try and not sample too much; sampling just gets messy.
Howard: We don't sample as much as we used to. Not anymore, because we start using singers and I've started singing, and we have enough from other sessions that we can just sample our own songs. We always have an element of sampling because we love it and it's an art form in itself.
Guy: And the brother thing, we're not really like brothers, we don't really fight unless it's about food.

You guys are also debuting your live show, could you tell us a little bit about that?

Howard: It is a lot of keyboard. Normally we have a bass guitar, but we couldn't ship it over, vocal samples on MPCs, drum machines, drum pads.
Guy: Percussion and run it through Ableton, then the stuff we can't play we run it in Ableton and use controllers and stuff to mess with that—we try to play the obvious parts. The main point of the live show is to make it more visual for the audience so if you hear the vocal and you see someone hit the pads you can make that connection. You can’t have a live show with a lot of machines and then leave fans wondering what the fuck you’re doing, or if you’re doing anything or nothing at all.
Howard: You see people doing a really complicated skillful thing and you know none of the crowd is going to have a clue what their doing and sometimes I don't even know what their doing and I do it as a job. So it's like what's the point?
Guy: Obviously drumming is the most visual thing we do on stage, eventually we are going to have full drums, but right now we're using the MPCs and Drum Pads.

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Recently you guys were asked to remix Artful Dodger's “Please Don't Turn Me On,” and from what I understand Artful Dodger was quite the star in the UK, how did this come about?

Howard: Artful Dodger split up quite a long time ago and we didn't really know anything about that, we just got an email from someone from Artful Dodger saying can you remix it? And we did it, then we found out it was complicated to who owned the rights. It all got very confusing and we aren't going to release it.
Guy: I think the original Artful Dodger owned about half of the album.

Are they any remixes or productions you guys can talk more about? Is there anyone out there you would like to work with?

Guy: Definitely working with a lot of vocalists on the album. Howard will be singing. Some of them will be quite a surprise to some people and some of them maybe not so much. In terms of production, everything we've ever made has pretty much come out so we've definitely got a lot of songs in us.

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Is this your first time in LA?

Howard: Yes.

Any preconceived ideas of what LA is before you guys got here? Anything you guys would like to do while your here?

Howard: We aren't going to have time to do anything while we're out here. But there are things I would like to do…all the American dreams you hear about. Preconceptions, it seems like a happening city, similar to London to that way.

We sort of like to think we are the music capital of the world, and I know that in the audience tonight are some heavy hitters from both the press and music world. How does that make you feel?

Guy: It happens at a lot of our shows…we just try to treat them all as the crowd. Sometimes those shows, they’re not even quite as fun, because they are just there to see us. But it looks like this show is going to go off.
Guy: It's better not to think about it.

What would your ideal lineup for a party be? Let's say you guys could see anyone you wanted.

Guy: That’s tough, they'd be all DJs. Except we would headline and play live. Three DJs would perform. We would do back to back, someone from deep house someone from Detroit like Rick White, like Bicep from the UK to open. Then I'd go with One Man, Jack Master back to back, these are some the best DJs in the UK. Get Eats Everything at some point, then we'd DJ as well. That would be a fun night.
Guy: I'd hate to do a night where we didn't play. That wouldn't be as fun.
Howard: I'd never want to be a promoter. Seems like the most stressful job.

It's stressful but fun, if you throw a successful show.

Howard: I imagine that's quite rewarding.

Since you guys have been on tour, do you guys have any crazy tour stories so far? Being that you guys are young rock stars right now I'm sure something's happened.

Guy: All we’ve we done is tours. Just been able to play. We've met some nice girls, but never had any time to chat with them.
Howard: Just being out in America and playing to them and them knowing it, that's fucking crazy, that’s enough.

Is there anything you guys would like to bring up or say?

Guy: We've got an album coming out next year around March time; this US Tour has been amazing. Going to be doing Australia as well around the New Year, going to do more dates around Europe for late March. Thanks and hope everyone enjoys all the music.

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