Dusky discusses America’s shift towards underground music
In a comprehensive interview with Billboard last week, London-based duo Dusky reflected on their dynamic in the studio, their decision to pursue music full-time, and the steady shift they’ve noticed in America’s music scene toward more mature sounds.
Nick and Alfie met in college in the UK and became fast friends through a shared passion for DJing and music production. One of their earlier projects together was Solarity, through which they produced “more progressive house stuff before it became EDM, along the lines of Sasha + Digweed,” according to Nick. The name change to Dusky happened while the two were working on a new album for Anjunadeep.
“The stuff sounded so different from what we did before, so we were like, ‘Why not use a new name?'” said Nick. “Since then, we’ve just been working on that kind of sound.”
Success, both commercial and underground, followed soon after. Their 2012 album Stick By This was picked up almost immediately by Pete Tong and supported heavily on a more widespread level, while tracks like “Flo Jam” championed the underground arena.
“It slowly built up like that. We had a run of a few tunes that kept the momentum going and it kept growing and growing,” Nick told Billboard. He also credits their timing as a key factor in their steady ascent.
“Other people coming through at the same time like Disclosure, Huxley, George FitzGerald and Midland had almost a similar kind of vibe, so it just developed from there,” he said. “I don’t think there’s one tune that was a turning point.”
Lately, though, it seems nearly everything Dusky releases scores high on the charts. Their favorite tunes, such as “Words Later On” off their Careless EP and “Inta” off their recent Love Taking Over EP, haven’t received as big a reception as chart-toppers “Yoohoo” and “Careless.” Both Nick and Alfie agree, however, that their Beatport successes have proven useful to their careers as artists in different ways.
“It certainly seems to have helped our music reach to a bigger audience…it’s managed to spread the tracks to far-flung corners of the globe, and it’s a great feeling getting to play to those audiences when we tour around the world,” said Alfie.
“It takes a bit of time for those things to really filter through. Even if you have a Beatport No. 1, you don’t really feel the effect of it, in terms of your profile, for like another six months or so,” said Nick. “It wasn’t like a sea change – it felt rather gradual.”
Nick finally quit his day-job importing animal onesies from Japan in 2013.
“From a financial point of view, I had more success from that than music, but obviously music is my passion,” he said in the interview.
An increasingly busy agenda and heightened demand in America may turn the finances around, though. Since early 2003, the two have been touring heavily in the United States and they say the parties have without a doubt become bigger and busier in the last 24 months. People also seem “more clued up” about underground music, according to Nick. The outfit was asked to play the main stage at Escape Wonderland, something he said would’ve never happened last year. There is definitely a shift, he told Billboard.
“People think those big festivals are always really shit, but the crowd is so young and so open to what you’re playing that it’s actually really refreshing,” he said. “Rather than going to play in London or Berlin, where everyone’s really clued up and can go see loads of amazing DJs every weekend, for some of these kids that come to US festivals, that’s their blowout opportunity to see some music they can’t see every weekend and they really embrace it. I appreciate that.”
Read the entire interview here.