It goes without saying that UK producer Duke Dumont has hit his stride in the past year. After receiving global acclaim for his pair of releases on Tiga’s Turbo Recordings, Duke realized that original material was going to be imperative to his burgeoning career, and he hit the studio to produce what became the #1 single in the UK, “Need U (100%)”. Along with widespread recognition for his productions, Duke Dumont has garnered a demand for DJ sets around the world (including HARD Summer next month here in Los Angeles).
Your increased focus on original music in 2012 has resulted in a massive rise in popularity over the past year or so. What has been the biggest change in your life this past year because of this success?
Without a doubt the biggest change is the time I’ve been on the road touring. Touring is the fruits of the effort I put in, in the studio, so it only exists because of the music I’ve recorded. Getting the balance right is vital to have longevity moving forward.
I remember reading in your Fact Magazine interview that Chicago had a longstanding impact on you musically. Who were some of the people you idolized from the Chicago scene when you first started out?
For sure. I started making music when I was about 15yrs old, when UK garage had its first wave. A lot of UK garage and Chicago house went hand in hand at the time. Acts like Todd Edwards and Roy Davies Jr were staples within the UK garage fraternity back then. And other acts from Chicago like Cajmere and Paul Johnson really inspired me to make club music.
You’ve incorporated a vocal, Pop vibe to tracks like “Need U (100%)” and most recently “Hold On.” What is your process with finding vocalists and collaborators on these kind of productions?
At the moment, there are a lot of talented vocalists in the UK, so I don’t have to look too far afield. My goal is to work with singers who can give a soulful performance. I grew up listening and being inspired by a lot of Motown, and Stax records. So having soul and emotion in my recordings is paramount to me.
With a lot of commercial “House” flooding the radio airways in the US in recent years, do you see your music providing a more tasteful alternative as a crossover between Pop and Dance music for the masses?
Need U was an unintentional crossover. It’s not for me to say it is a tasteful alternative, or not. I record the best music I can record. That’s my full focus. Where it is placed in the pop music landscape isn’t on my radar of thoughts, but I’m glad the music is connecting with people.
Tell us a bit about the ethos behind Blasé Boys Club. We know it’s a label but you also use the name for remixes as well?
Initially I’m releasing my own material, but over time, the roster will expand. But there is no rush. It’ll be an organic process, and not a forced one. I want to create a fraternity vibe to it, hence the name. Hopefully I can give some talented artists a platform to have a successful career within music.
We read a while back about your studio time in 2011 in the countryside in Hertfordshire. Do you still need to get away from temptations and distractions of London to really focus on your music, or is that something that you’ve overcome at this point?
Yes. It’s even more so relevant now, being busy touring . Djing can be crazy, so a place to retreat and decompress is essential for me. Recording is the remedy to djing.
What can you tell me about the new music?
I’ve had a couple of goals on the album. One of them is to work with the best singers, not necessarily the most famous singers. It’s not gonna be like a celebrity roll-call of pop singers. For me, it’s trying to find the best vocalists to do the best job.
My favorite electronic album ever made is Daft Punk Discovery. Everybody remembers “One More Time” and “Digital Love,” but for me the downtempo tracks, like “Face to Face,” they’re the tracks that push my buttons. I hope my album has that same quality to it. There’s going to be a lot of dynamic in the album.
It sounds like Discovery was a big influence on your upcoming album.
I think the influence for this album is just me doing my thing now, becoming my own person. That album was a big influence; it’s what got me interested in dance music.
What’s your worst nightmare, and have you ever experienced it in real life?
My worst nightmare was literally a nightmare I had years ago I still remember. I was being chased by Ronald McDonald, but it was the evil version of Ronald McDonald because he had green hair, which means it’s the bad Ronald McDonald. He was chasing me on the train tracks in Spain, trying to kill me. It hasn’t happened to me in real life. I think subconsciously, it’s telling me to lay off the burgers.