It’s incredible how someone with such a bold sound can be so calm and reserved, but that’s the exactly the case with Duke Dumont. This legendary producer has experienced success with the reboot of the cult classic “The Giver” and has label head for Blasé Boys Club, which recently held a showcase at Miami Music Week alongside MK’s Area10. The rest of the year looks bright for Dumont, who is finishing up his studio album and is set to debut his live show at Coachella for the next two weekends. Read our interview with him in full below:
What does the term “deep house” mean to you in 2015?
It’s so relative, it’s a strange question ‘cause you’d probably think I’d know the answer, which I really don’t. I think it means something different to different people. To most people it probably means the more vocal side of house, but however I generalize house as anything around 125 [bpm]. Deep house is probably just a reinvention of what people would deem as house music which has been around for 30 years or so. I try not to think about it too much, I just try to concentrate on what I do.
As far as house music goes, I’ve had three successful singles around the UK and various countries around the world. First one called ‘Need U 100%’ was definitely a house track, it was very inspired by Chicago house. I did an interview earlier today and they said ‘I Got U’ was their favorite deep house track, and I don’t even see ‘I Got U’ like that, it’s almost a pop track, a radio track. I love house music, I came through on house music, I’ve been DJing house music professionally for like 10 years. It’s in my blood, I understand house music, I love it. But, I wouldn’t completely put myself in that box. I’d say deep house is basically house under a new guise, but it’s just house music.
You released a reprise of ‘The Giver.” What inspired you to bring one of your tracks back into the spotlight?
I made it about about three years ago when it was released as a contract on an independent Canadian label, and not one dollar was spent on promo. It was just a song that over time just picked up.
It’s definitely not one of those tracks that went away.
It’s organic, and in this day and age we’re in – walking down the street and you see 100 DJs on the side of trucks – it’s not really organic. It’s nice to see an organic nature sometimes, and I’d say that was a truly organic thing, where it really wasn’t pushed hard and it got played by a lot of DJs around the world. Basically, I wanted to bring it to a larger audience but still retain the song and that integrity it had in the original. I’d gotten a lot of singers trying to do it, and it was almost like this pop music mash-up and it was cheap and not the intent of the original. But I managed to find a singer who’s very similar to the original sample, which is an old house record from Nervous Records. We did a bit of trickery in the studio so it sounds like the same singer. And the strange thing is when I made ‘The Giver,’ I didn’t know what deep house was then. I just knew what house music was and I didn’t know how it’d grow. But I think now, there wouldn’t be a better time to re-release it.
Who are you most excited to see for the first time here in Miami?
I’ve got four parties and I’ve just been doin’ my own thing. However, there’s been DJs at the parties I’ve been playin’ which, I either haven’t seen for years or we’re old friends and I’m excited to see. Kevin Saunderson, for example, is DJing tomorrow. A good friend of mine, Jonas Rathsman, who I’m a massive fan of, is DJing with myself, Kevin, and MK tomorrow. I was at another party yesterday with Alex from Boys Noize. I’ve known Alex for years, we’ve got loads of mutual friends. It’s been really nice, a lot of great line-ups. The events I’ve played so far have been really organic and pretty fun.
Have there been any DJs who have come up to you and said, ‘Hey I listen to your music, I’m a really big fan of you’ that either you didn’t know or surprised you because they aren’t house DJs?
Not in Miami, but in general yeah, Afrojack said I did his favorite remix of last year – we were in Philadelphia. It was an impromptu kind of set. We got on, he was cool, we have a lot of mutual friends and he was saying that his favorite remix of last year was one I did on this low key remix for an artist on my label called Kiwi and he was raving about it. So that’s kind of unexpected to come from the world he does. I think what people find in me as well is I’m not- I think a lot of people think that with people that make house music that there’s a snobbery to it, and with anybody there’s snobbery anywhere. But, I’m not a snob, I’m under the opinion if you can make people happy with the music you make, then that’s cool. So yeah, Afrojack is probably the person I least expected to be a fan, but it’s cool.
So speaking of your label Blasé Boys Club, what goals do you guys have for you artists this year?
My favorite labels are labels that have an ethos, and in recent years- there’s a label called Ed Banger Records based out of Paris, which the likes of Justice, Mr. Oizo, Feadz & Kito, – they use a really strong ethos, but a lot of ’em used to roll together, it’s like a big family, and they just made some really good music. My favorite record label probably ever is Factory Records, which is an old label in Manchester, which epitomizes UK club music.
I want to do the same with Blasé Boys Club in the sense that I support and sign acts who I really believe in. It’s not necessarily about trying to sell as many records in the world, but it’s trying to offer a cultural alternative. Hopefully people can identify with the ethos of the label. It’s called Blasé Boys Club and I kinda promote the concept of being blasé. ‘Cause you should – everyone should be blasé about it, don’t get too highly strung. Be relaxed, don’t, you know, drop to your bravado. And that’s kind of like the closest entity or persona of the label.
So, this year we’re probably looking at four or five, maybe even six releases. They’ll be releases from myself, and the next release is from Kiwi, who’s been doing great for the label. But it’s in the very early days, it’s in its infancy, but I’m seeing behind the scenes of what’s going on and I’m very excited. I think this time next year we’ll definitely be a lot more developed, so I wouldn’t need to explain it as much, but I’m as excited for the label as I am my album or any singles.
What can we expect from your album?
I mean the album is like 99.9% percent done, just waiting to finish one vocal. The album is very musical, probably more musical than people would anticipate. Because it is musical, there’s emotion within a lot of the songs that I think will give it a longer leisure life. And I think that’s what it is that I find with my favorite dance music. Dance music albums can be really dangerous. There’s very few dance albums which I think have stood the test of time. Something like Discovery by Daft Punk, I think still sounds fresh today. And I think it’s ‘cause it’s surprisingly musical, more musical than most people give it credit for, and I think my album is the same so I’m interested to see how people react.
Check out this behind the scenes video from Duke Dumont’s live show rehearsal and get ready to see him perform this Saturday at Coachella:
Now that festival season is in full swing, which one are you looking forward to playing the most this year?
Um, there’s a little known- well not little anymore, but there’s one in the UK called Bestival. I’ve never been to a festival where people have been so positive. It’s a cliché and I really don’t say this often, but there’s something magical about it where, if it is as magical as a couple of years ago when I played, it’s going to be incredible. I’ve never been somewhere that’s been so positive and people on that level, so there’s something really special about that festival. Festivals can be just completely different in the sense that some can be completely rowdy, and that’s not a bad thing, sometimes it’s great. But no, Bestival is the one I’m really looking forward to.
However, in the US, Coachella is obviously the big one for me, in two weeks or so. I fly back to the UK for three days- three days?- And then I’m straight back out to the West coast to do the rehearsal with my live show. Last year I did a DJ set, this year is a live show and it’s showcasing my album. I’m going to be in a warehouse in LA rehearsing and prepping and making sure the visuals are on point so it’s going to be an intense week beforehand, but it’s gonna be worth it. I’m at that point now where I’m transitioning to an album artist, and the only things I have left to offer now is a great live show and a great album. And they’re kind of done now, and I don’t think I can do much more, I think that’s it and just keep on making more music. And that’s the most important thing for me is to just keep on making music so I’ll find some time somewhere to do that.