Dusky Interview

Dusky Interview let them eat cake

Dusky will be heading out to Australia for the epic New Year’s Day festival that is Let Them Eat Cake. Here we caught up with the dance duo to find out about their new album ‘Outer’ and unearth just what goes into their techno influenced sound.

We’re at the end of another year and what seems to have been another huge year for Dusky. What has been your high and lowlights of 2016?
Our first live show at Village Underground in London last April was a big moment for us. It was the first time we played a lot of the ‘Outer’ music out and was a big change going from DJing to actually performing our music. We had a few technical issues just before doors so it was a nerve-wracking few hours before we went on, but everything went without a hitch and it really went off in there.

As for other big moments: finally releasing ‘Outer’, doing our first Maida Vale session and being asked back to do a second Essential Mix were all special for us. Our live show at Parklife in Manchester was especially crazy and a festival highlight! It’s definitely been a busy year fitting everything in, but there haven’t been any real lowlights and we tend not to focus on the negatives.

You released your sophomore album ‘Outer’ not that long ago, and the first single taken from that was the retrospective beats-based track ‘Ingrid is a Hybrid’. An amazing track which is very old-school sounding and very reminiscent in parts of Orbital. Do you have an affinity with the music from early-mid nineties? What was your favourite artists/albums from that era?
It’s a hugely important era for us, as it is for a lot of electronic music fans who grew up when we did. There are almost too many acts and sub-genres to mention, which is probably what made it such a diverse and inspiring time – there was so much to immerse yourself in: old school rave, hardcore, UK garage, Belgian techno, jungle, electronica, acts like Orbital, The Orb, Daft Punk and Chemical Brothers, we could go on!

Congratulations on the new album ‘Outer’, it really is a killer album! What music/artists had the most influence on the album when you produced it?
Thank you – that means a lot. We wanted to make sure it sounded like us and for the album to have a modern style, but also represent the music and influences that have meant so much to us over the years. On that side, it’s heavily influenced by a lot of the 90s electronic music that we grew up with and mentioned in the last question, and the classic albums that many of those acts released in that era. We also really wanted the album to have an overall arc and narrative, rather than just being a collection of club tracks. Something people can listen to at home or on the bus, as well as out at clubs or shows.

‘Outer’ features a host of vocals from guests like Pedestrian, Solomon Grey, Gary Numan Wiley and Wiley. Numan especially must’ve been a big one for you to get! Was it an easy process getting him involved?
The instrumental for ‘Swansea’ had a very 80s-inspired electronic vibe, which Gary Numan felt perfect for – he pioneered those sounds. We knew we wanted him on the record so found a way of getting the track to him… a friend of a friend of a friend used to work with him and passed it on. Luckily, he really loved the track and emailed to say he was up for working on it. It was a massive result and a real honour for us.

The remix package for the first single included an awesome version from techno mainstay Shed, a brilliant and inspired choice for remixer. Is there anyone left on your wishlist that you would like to approach for a remix?
Thanks – it’s always fun choosing remixers for singles! We’d love to get one of the old Belgian techno legends like CJ Bolland on a remix at some point, or even a classic US electro pioneer like Drexciya. In terms of more modern artists, Denis Sulta and Fort Romeau have both been smashing it this year, so they’d be great too.

From some of your recent DJ sets we’ve heard (the Triple J Radio mix comes to mind) it feels like Dusky is moving towards a more techno-orientated sound. Is this a natural progression for you or a definite decision to move towards a harder-edged sound?
Techno is a big influence on what we do and has been for some time. It’s one of the bedrocks of modern dance music and has arguably influenced all the sub-genres that have come since in some way.

You will be returning to Australia to play at the Let Them Eat Cake Festival just outside of Melbourne. You played there in 2014 which was only the second year of the festival – and now Resident Advisor calls it the best one day NYD festival in the world. What was the lasting memories from the festive which you took away with you?
The line-up was on-point and there was an obvious commitment to quality, credible sounds, so it was a really enjoyable one to play for us. The weather is always a lot better than London at that time of year too!

With 2017 just around the corner and your album released, what will be your main focus for next year?
Touring and promoting the album has been pretty non-stop for the past few months, so we’re looking forward to just getting our heads back into the studio and seeing what comes out. We’ve got a lot of activity planned for our 17 Steps label over next year, with EPs signed from Bwana, Christian Piers and B.K.R – the latter including a Jamie Jones collaboration. We’re also going to bring back our Take A Trip all the night set at some point next year too.

And finally, what is your most essential travel item that you cannot leave home without?
It’s an obvious one but we’d have to say our laptops… We DJ with them and we start writing the majority of our tracks on them whilst on the road, so we’d be a bit fucked without them!

Catch Dusky at LTEC 2017 this New Year’s Day for tickets click here