Dusky Interview

House | Friday 8th March 2013 | Osh

Alfie and Nick are the force behind this electronic duo, the name on everyone’s lips right now these guys are not afraid to explore the depths of house music from deep Detroit to UK garage. Coming with that tune ‘Flo Jam’ last year, they have had everyone from Jamie Jones, Lee Foss and Pete Tong dropping their beats. Now they are ready to take on the US and release their new EP ‘Nobody Else.’

You have known each other for nearly 10 years now, how did you guys first meet and start making music?

We met at sixth form college in Camden when we were about 16. We had a lot of musical common ground and first started trying things out in the studio soon after. Back then we were mostly making drum & bass, but some hip hop and breaks as well.

Tell us about your creative process, how do you both input into a tune?
It really varies from track to track. Occasionally we’ll both sit in the studio and build something right up from scratch, but more often than not one of us starts an idea before passing it to the other to add to or change. These days most of our ideas are started on our laptops while travelling and we develop them together once we’re back in the studio.

I have been listening to your new XLR8R mix, am loving it! There is so much good music out right now, how did you go about choosing the playlist?
Thanks, yeah there’s a lot of good stuff around! It’s always hard trying to pick tracks for a mix like that. We wanted to have a mixture of stuff in there so there’s a hint of some non-electronic/non-dance tracks at the start, followed by a combination of new material from us and tunes we’ve been playing out a lot recently. There’s the odd classic in there as well. We wanted to end on a more mellow note to come full circle with the intro so the mix finishes on quite a deep vibe.

Tell us about your new EP ‘Nobody Else’. What can we expect from this?
It’s a four-tracker EP consisting of ‘Nobody Else’, ‘Dummy’, ‘What I Never Knew’ and ‘Atone’. All the tracks are pretty groove-focused and designed to work well on the dancefloor, though each track has a slightly different character and vibe. There’s a moodier theme running throughout the EP in comparison to some of our previous material but there’s a lot of light moments as well.

Lets talk about ‘Flo Jam’, what a tune! This was one of the most played tracks last year, were you guys surprised by the reaction from this?
Glad you like it! Yeah the reaction definitely took us by surprise. More than anything we had no idea it would have such cross-appeal to people from different scenes in dance music- a lot of really varied DJs picked it up which was really unexpected.

You sampled Aaliyah’s ‘Rock the Boat’ with this, has r&b had a big influence on your music?
Definitely, r&b and r&b influenced hip hop were everywhere when we were teenagers growing up in the 90s so there was no escaping it, and at the time it often went hand in hand with UK garage, which was a big influence on us as well.

Your remix of ‘Don't Go’ has just been nominated for ‘Best Underground Dance Track’ at the IDMA Awards. You must be excited for this as we know you are a big fan of Justin from ‘Sad Piano.’
Yeah we’ve always loved ‘Sad Piano’ and mentioned that in a few interviews just before Justin asked us to remix ‘Don’t Go’ so it was an amazing honour! ‘Don’t Go’ was our favourite track from his album as well so that made it doubly special. It’s been great seeing people’s reactions to it.

You guys worked with Janai on a few of your tracks, she has an amazing voice. Are you planning to work with her on anything else?
We agree, she’s really unique. Yep, we’ve got a couple of other tracks with her on the back-burner though she’s pretty hard to pin down, but we’re hoping we can finish them at some point soon.

How was it releasing music on the Anjunadeep label?
We’ve worked really closely with Anjuna for a while, we’ve been long time fans of the label before that so it’s been great. We’d already been regularly working with them for an old project of ours ‘Solarity’ so when we started Dusky they were the natural choice to release our first singles and album.

You have been getting a lot of love from lots of artists such as Loefah, Jamie Jones, Boddika and Groove Armada to name a few! But who is smashing it for you right now?
Ah it’s tricky to just choose a few, there are lots of people we’re really feeling at the moment. Scuba, Boddika, Joy O, Midland, Huxley, Deetron, George Fitzgerald, Nikola Gala and Paleman come to mind, but there are loads more too.

It seems like you guys discover and explore different styles and different genres and are very open minded, is that key to your sound?
Yes definitely, we both grew up listening to all sorts of styles within and dance music and outside it as well so that has a big influence on us. We really enjoy trying new things out within our music, it keeps us inspired.

Alfie- Is it true that you are classically trained playing piano and studying jazz? Do you think that that has had an influence on your music?
I studied classical and jazz piano when I was a kid and later trained in composition at music college. It’s definitely had a direct influence, many of the techniques I learnt apply to dance music too, albeit in roundabout ways.

If you guys were to take us out on a night out, what club would you take us to or where would you take us?
We’d go and introduce you to our friends down at the local stamp collecting club, then we’d head to a great restaurant like Little Chef or maybe Garfunkels. We’d finish the evening with a game of Tiddlywinks and a mug of Ovaltine before bed.

This year seems like it’s going to be a big one! But what is the most exciting thing that you are looking forward to?
We’re going to the USA in a few weeks, it’s our first time DJing there so we’re really hyped about that.

If you were invisible for the day, what trouble would you get up to?
We’d go find a crowd and tie everyone’s shoelaces together.

Check out their facebook page here or follow at @Duskymusic


Words by Tab Taylor @tiptoptab


Dusky (Dogmatik, Simple Music, Anjunadeep) @ Essential Mix, BBC Radio 1 (13.10.2012) by Evil Concussion on Mixcloud