Nov 06, 2012

Brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence of Disclosure are one of the most sought-after young groups in the growing garage scene. We caught up with them after only their second show in the U.S. to learn about production techniques, crazy gigs in Ibiza, and some good old sibling rivalry.

Disclosure - Control (Original Mix) [Greco-Roman]
Disclosure feat Sam Smith - Latch (Original Mix) [PMR]
LessThan3: This is your first time in the U.S., right? How have American audiences been responding to the sound?
Guy: It’s weird because I was just chatting with some friends, and my best friend’s dad is here, strangely. He said if you’re a live act in New York that it’s kind of hard to get a crowd going off, so I think we did well because everyone really enjoyed it. I’ve only been in New York for two days but I love it, I wish we could stay for another week and just chill, no shows. We’re staying in Brooklyn but really love Manhattan, especially the East Village. Reminds me of East London.
LessThan3: For sure, the show was excellent. Could you explain your live setup?
Howard: We both play multiple instruments on stage. Since there’s only two of us we have to multitask quite a bit to create the same kind of thing as a live band. I tend to play more of the chords and the subs and stuff like that, whereas Guy does more of the drums and the vocals, works on the MPCs and stuff like that. But we switch it around sometimes too.
Guy: We just try and play as much as we can, and then we route everything else through Ableton, messing with that on controllers and such.
LessThan3: What’s the production process like?
Guy: We use Logic rather than Ableton for production. When we start a song it’s usually an individual idea, like I’ll start a track or Howard will start something else. It’s not really until halfway through or towards the end when we get together and actually finish it. If we start a song together we usually argue it to pieces and it doesn’t work. Nothing gets done like that because we’re too critical.
LessThan3: How do you see the whole UK bass and garage scene growing in the US?
Howard: I didn’t really know it was until now.
Guy: Well, obviously garage came from America in the ’90s, so it’s got its roots in the country. It took England a while to get back into it even, early 2000s, so it’s good that it’s catching on again. I love that it’s coming back, because it’s definitely our favorite. It’s got the most soul, not just buildup, drop, buildup, drop.
Howard: We were like one or two when garage was in fashion, and when we first started looking into it a few years ago we felt like we missed out. So it’s awesome that now it’s back and we’re able to drop tracks from guys that were making this stuff twenty years ago.
LessThan3: Who were your main inspirations in the garage genre?
Howard: Todd Edwards. He’s a legend.
Guy: Jeremy Sylvester. His back catalog of underground stuff is unbelievable.
Howard: Zed Bias, absolute hero.
Guy: Anything that came out on the labels Nice ‘N’ Ripe and Locked On, too. Everything they released from about ’94 to ’01.
Howard: I think a lot of the people we just mentioned were really underground, whereas the pinnacle for me was Artful Dodger.
Guy: Yeah for sure, because they made a pop album, but it was so tasteful too. They didn’t sell out, they just got big.
LessThan3: How was the clubbing scene back in Surrey where you grew up?
Guy: It was sh*t. There was none. It’s like a suburb of London, right in between London and Brighton. I had a fake ID since I was 16 and used to go out to a club called Digital in Brighton, and went out to watch dubstep, actually. I never wanted to make dubstep, but I loved to listen to it when it was good. Like Pinch & Shackleton, Loefah, Skream & Benga, those guys. I even saw Rusko once, which I wasn’t really enjoying. And then they started getting more house DJs like Julio Bashmore, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Joy Orbison. Joy Orbison is a massive influence as well.
LessThan3: What’s the craziest clubbing or gig story you guys have?
Guy: We’ve done a few shows with Skream and Benga, and those guys are just f*cking insane. I can’t explain it to you, they are just mental. Lovely guys. Have had some pretty crazy nights in Ibiza this year as well.
Howard: Have had like five shows there.
LessThan3: Where at in Ibiza?
Guy: We did Ushuiaia for Radio 1 Weekend with Annie Mac and Redlight, that was massive, like 8,000 people.
Howard: We did Space the day after that, the Space Terrace, one of the best clubs in the world.
Guy: Garage is creeping into Ibiza as well, but it’s still being dominated by guys like Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler. Carl Cox and Pete Tong too, running the place. You know David Guetta’s got a club in the airport in Ibiza?
Howard: I went in there with my manager in the daytime to see what was going on and everything was pink, very European.
LessThan3: Has touring and producing brought you closer together as brothers?
Guy: Yeah, definitely. We didn’t really share a lot of interests as teenagers. I did a lot of sports, I used to do gymnastics. We started making music when I was 18 and Howard was 15.
Howard: Before that we were actually both into really different music.
Guy: If someone had asked me back then if I wanted to form a band with my brother, I’d be like no way, that’s so weird. Then he got cool.
LessThan3: What’s the worst fight you guys ever got into?
Howard: We only ever get into fights about food. Like earlier, Guy ordered a massive enchilada, and I didn’t because I wasn’t hungry. And look, he still hasn’t finished it!
Guy: I gave it to you to finish!
Howard: So now I’m hungry and I’m asking if I can have some because I probably should have ordered one. Every single time, one of us will ask for some of the other’s food, and then when you hear them say it you’re just like “oh man why didn’t you just order one…”
Guy: I tried to give it to you, and now you’re going at me for not finishing it!
Howard: See we’re arguing now, because it’s about food.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Guy: Voodoo by D’Angelo. The whole album. In 3 minutes. I love anything that J Dilla produced, and I think that’s one of the best things he was involved with.
Howard: Definitely same.
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Guy: Fruity.
Howard: Loud.
Guy: Sticky.
Howard: Yeah; fruity, loud, and sticky.
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