The dance music duo take some time out the studio to chat about the success of their recent EP ‘Aurum’, interesting musical influences and tonight’s Brixton show.
What’s the thinking behind the name NVOY?
James: It’s the idea of taking something from your country and taking it around the rest of the world. So envoy with an E is the title of someone who would do that. We’re trying to take a lot of U.K. dance music traditions and combine them with things from America and Australia and elsewhere.
You met at uni right? How did you start working together?
James: Yeah, we ended up in a house together and we both had little studio set ups there. It just kind of made sense, both of us were making music so we thought we might as well do it together.
Conner: Before uni I was doing minimal dubstep and DJing a little in Nottingham and James was in a metal band so we came from very different backgrounds and started making beats together.
James: After playing guitar in the tech metal band I started to get more into dance music at uni.
That’s quite a drastic change.
James: Yeah man, I used to have the whole like long hair, death metal shabang.
You’re EP Aurum has been a big success, how’s that reaction been for you guys?
James: It’s been amazing, particularly at Radio 1 it’s done so well. They’ve been playing our tracks like every weekend since they came out which is amazing. We weren’t really aiming at Radio 1, we weren’t really expecting to get that much support. It’s so nice that people like Annie Mac, MistaJam and Danny Howard play them because it makes everyone else take it a bit more seriously (laughs).
Is it still a bit surreal hearing your music on the radio?
James: I guess so, we’re always just sort of on to the next thing if you know what I mean. Like those tracks are great but we take quite a long time to make them and by the time it comes out through the label, it’s been so long gone that we’re already working on so much other stuff.
You’ve been signed to Black Butter (BB) Records for a little while now, how did that come about?
Conner: They hit us up through SoundCloud and wanted to put one of our tracks on a compilation so we did that. Then we decided they would be a really good home for us. They’re really good guys and we did a few shows together.
James: We had a lot of labels hit us up but BB was one of the few that we’d both followed and really appreciated since we started making dance music so getting signed to them was actually pretty mad.
Who would you say are your musical influences?
Conner: When we first started it was kind of like Kaytranada and Flume but it changes all the time. We both listen to a massive variety of different stuff. Like, I still listen to some old minimal dubstep such as Benga, all the way to Britney Spears.
James: We’ve both got very different tastes in music so we try to find the point where that converges. Because there’s so much shit that Conner likes that I think is completely wack and vice versa (Both laugh). We’re always making reference playlists every month to take inspiration from. For me personally in terms of production I really like the instrumental melodic grime, people like Darko.
We take bits from everywhere, like in terms of melodies some of Ariana Grande’s tracks are just insane. We also use chords from old trance tracks because they make you feel something.
You’re music is very uplifting, what would you like people to feel when listening?
James: I’m glad you get that, that’s nice. I really like music that has a balance between being euphoric and a little melancholy as well. I feel like all really good dance music has that balance between not just being straight up fucking sad and not being happy-clappy let’s sing around the campfire. That’s what makes it exciting, that’s the vibe.
Conner: We try to make tracks that are universal. People can sit at home and listen to it when they’re cooking their dinner or go dance to it in the club. I think our music sits really well in the clubs but it’s got to be enjoyed at home as well.
Do you think dance music in general is in a good place at the moment?
Conner: Yeah I think so, I think it’s always in a good place, you’ve just got to find the gems. I think with SoundCloud and stuff now it’s making it really hard for new artists to break through. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, it’s just about adapting and standing out, it’s an interesting time.
James: A lot of people are talking about venue’s being closed down and stuff now but you don’t have to be in a particular city anymore to listen to a particular sound, you can access it wherever you are. Genres are becoming merged together.
You have a show at Phonox in Brixton tonight, how do you prepare for a gig?
Conner: Just drink a lot of alcohol (laughs). Nah nah we like to go through tracks in the studio during the day and make sure we know what each other is doing. Then we like to have some friends round, have some food and go down to the show.
Get tickets for that one here. If you can’t make that they play KOKO in Camden on March 31st!
Do you rather making the music or playing it?
James: We would consider ourselves producers first rather than DJs, we just happen to be absolutely sick at DJing as well (both laugh).
Conner: I think for me it’s about having that balance. In the week working in the studio and then on the weekends go out and play what you’ve made to test it.
You’re based in London, where do you guys like to go out in the city?
James: We like Village Underground and Oslo in east London. Also a big fan of day parties so we’re looking forward to Field Day in the summer.
After playing Wildlife and Glastonbury last year have you got any festivals lined up in the summer yourselves?
Conner: At the moment just MADE Festival in Birmingham but we’re also planning some stuff for America in August. Oh and we’re playing in Lebanon so that will be interesting.
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