Within the current, rapid state of electronic music there seems to be a small breed of artists that, despite the necessity for success, have managed to attain a particularly humble mentality.
For some, it’s a kind of mindset that can be tricky to find, yet for Alfie Granger-Howell and Nick Harriman, it was more like an aesthetic that slowly grew over time.
Threading together the exact right ingredients throughout the years to form that signature, Dusky dancefloor sound, the duo share a slick working dynamic and unusually grounded outlook on the industry. It’s the exact reason why, a little bit of luck aside, that the duo have flown above and beyond the stratosphere of contemporary clubland and towards a status as two of the most in-demand DJs the UK has to offer.
So, post their recent ‘9t8’ release for Loefah’s School Records, Trap tracked down the duo to chat deep-house charts, Australian tours and their Dusky Presents FABRICLIVE next month…
Your latest single ‘9T8’ has just dropped. What’s the reaction to it been like so far?
A: The reaction so far has been really positive, it gets a good response in the clubs and lots of DJs we respect have been playing it out. It’s a very functional club track, exactly what we need at the moment as we’re playing so many shows.
We saw you remarking about its Beatport classification online… Do you feel like that type of confusion happens a lot with your output? Is it something you really care about? You’re in a pretty strong position with people such as Loefah pushing your music, but do you ever feel lumped in?
N: Confusion does happen with regard to genre definitions, and yeah we do find it amusing that so much disparate music falls under the banner of ‘deep house’ these days. But maybe that kind of confusion is inevitable within a scene that changes and evolves as rapidly as dance music does.
We need names to describe sounds and sometimes the existing labels don’t serve us very well. But, luckily, it doesn’t really affect us. Ultimately, it’s not important to us how people categorise our music, as long as it’s getting out there and some enjoyment can be taken from it.
A: We don’t feel lumped in, no. When our music first started getting attention, we somehow managed to straddle various scenes without trying, which was great. These days, we try and maintain that by playing a wide range of shows and parties. We’re in a position where we’re able to experiment with a broad scope of sounds in our productions, too, which is great from a creative point of view.
You’ve obviously figured the dynamic out for yourselves, but what’s your working partnership like?
N: Production wise, it really varies from track to track and it’s changed quite a bit since we’ve started touring so much. At the moment, we normally start tunes on our laptops while we’re on the road on the weekends. Once we’re back in the studio during the week, we swap ideas, decide what we think is working and then develop the ideas into tracks.
A: For our DJ sets it’s been consistently the same for years, we play back to back, essentially one track each. The system works for us, as it keeps us on our toes. When one of us drops a track the other isn’t expecting, you have to react and make a decision where to take the set next. It can result in a much more musically dynamic performance, especially during longer sets.