With Guy at 20 and his brother Howard just turning 18, Disclosure as their musical followers know them are just at the beginning of what is sure to be a fruitful career. Ranging from the soulful house side of things to the old skool garage and the spacey end of the scale, the pair are constantly pushing their sound to stand out amongst the crowd. We caught up for a chat with the duo whilst they were busy working on even more tuneage in the studio ahead of the release of 'The Face' EP.
What have you been up to then?
Guy: We’ve just been writing and stuff… we don’t really have a plan for what it’s for, but something always comes up.
Where did you think all this popularity has stemmed from? Your tracks are being played all over the radio, in the clubs. How did it all take off?
Howard: Well, we definitely had a lot of help from Annie Mac at the start. She gave us a lot of support in the early days. Other than that, just a lot of support from blogs and things.
How long have the two of you been working together musically?
Howard: We’ve always made music together, since, well, forever! Under this name, and with this sort of music – the first track we had out on Moshi Moshi was the first time we made music together – so about two years ago.
And you decided that this sound is the way forward now?
Howard: Yeah, we heard things like Burial and Joy Orbison and found a similar interest in it.
What were you both doing before this?
Howard: We’ve both just been learning to play our instruments. Guy’s been playing drums and guitar and I’ve been playing bass and piano. Just listening to lots of music to kind of learn to play them. I’ve been listening to lots of pop and things from the 80s that our mum and dad showed me, a lot of hip hop and weird jazz to learn to drum and stuff like that. Then we both started liking the UK dance music and wanted to make that!
What do you look for in singers?
Howard: I think we just go for people that we get on with and have similar interests, with Sinead, she listens to a lot of garage and we do as well, so there’s a lot of stuff to talk about.
How did the Sinead Hartnett feature come about on 'Boiling'?
Guy: Just through mutual friends really – our managers are friends with her manager or something like that. She just came down for a session and yeah, just went from there really!
Tell us about the EP then…
Howard: Well there’s another track on it that’s gonna be another full vocal as well, 'Control' with a girl called Ria Ritchie. That’s a bit heavier – I’ve played it in clubs a few times and it’s had an amazing reaction – definite old school garage vibes. There are a few club-orientated tracks as well, with no vocals. We’ve just dropped another one called 'What’s In Your Head', and another called 'Lividup' as well, which has mad summer vibes.
So you’re releasing 'The Face' EP with Greco-Roman… are there plans for anything more with them?
Howard: No, I don’t think so. I think we’re just gonna do the one EP. They’ve all been helping with feedback and stuff, but to be honest they just let us get on with it. They did their thing, we did ours, we delivered the tracks and they liked them! I think we’re gonna have a good summer with them – doing some shows and stuff. We haven’t got any future releases planned with them though, just the one.
I know that you guys are both into different styles of music, but who would you say influences you most musically?
Howard: Um, we listen to a lot of J Dilla – that’s probably a big influence in terms of production. He’s our favourite producer in terms of the sounds he used and his mixes. In terms of songwriting though, I’m not sure. We definitely took influence from a lot of things, but we didn’t really know what we were writing. I mean, we took Joy Orbison style synth sounds, Dilla-esque beats with a garage sound. We wanted to mix all of that into one sound. We definitely have a clearer idea of doing things now, especially working with vocalists because you can make it fit them rather than just making an instrumental. It’s a different way of working – more fun. But teenage years were spent listening to American hip hop like A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip, Gang Starr, all that kind of stuff. That got me into the electronic side of things. We didn’t really come together until the UK scene started bubbling up again, because once garage died nothing really happened in the UK that was really our sort of thing. It was just drum and bass really.
What was it like to be involved in a documentary on Radio 1?
Howard: Yeah, it was cool! We were at Radio 1 anyway doing Annie Mac’s 'Special Delivery'. It was cool to go in and look around the whole place because normally you just rush in, do your thing, and leave again. I think the good thing about that documentary is that everyone put across really similar views – there was definitely a similar vibe from everyone. I think Mosca really smashed it - his was just the most honest. Whereas, our managers were there and they were like “yeahhh, be nice”. But Mosca just went all out because that’s what he’s like. Good lad!
For people that haven't caught you guys live yet, what are the Disclosure live shows like?
Howard: Yeah, well we do DJ sets using vinyl, but the live set is different. We use Ableton to control certain parts of our tunes and then we play bass and synth and drum machines and cymbals, etc. So yeah, there’s actual music being made. You’re watching a band as opposed to someone pressing pads and knobs. We just got our first Ibiza booking, so I reckon we’re going to play live there. The show there is actually on my 21st birthday so it’s gonna be mad!
Make sure you put everything on your rider cause it is well expensive there!
Howard: Yeah, we will definitely. I think Joy Orbison and Jackmaster are playing the same night so we’re just gonna go mad for that one! We’re so tame on the rider. We’ve only just updated it and it’s like… cheese and ham... a bottle of Grey Goose…
What’s the remix schedule like at the moment after the amazing Jessie Ware 'Running' refix?
Howard: Pretty minimal to be honest. I don’t think we really need to step up and do any sort of remix any time soon. I think we’re doing one for the rest of this year…Can’t say who it is yet, but you’ll find out pretty soon.
What’s next for you guys?
Howard: We need to get this (secret) remix sorted, and we’re just slowly continuing to write music. Then hopefully through summer and into next year we’ll have a nice collection of material. We’ve had a lot of shows recently, but we’re just in the studio a lot trying to get things done before festivals and stuff. Got to make the most of this time!
How would you describe the music that you make in a sentence?
Howard: People call it bass music but I don’t like ‘bass music’ – I think it makes the bass seem like the most important part of everything. I can see why that might be important, but we’ve got so much going on with our tunes. We’ve got vocals, melodies, chords. I think a lot of the so called bass music actually lacks chords and melodies – it’s just all about the drums and a huge sub. But if I had to explain to my Nan what we make, I’d just say we make electronic dance music. Simple as. You can sub-genre it however you please.
'The Face' EP is out June 4th and make sure you follow Disclosure on Twitter.