When it comes to the UK underground house and techno scene, one of the biggest acts to break through in the last few years has been Dusky. Born and bred in London, production duo Nick Harriman and Alfie Granger-Howell have used the last 3-4 years to truly elevate UK as one of the preeminent bastions of deeper electronic music. EARMILK has long supported the duo, even interviewing the boys back in 2013. They've come a long way in that time, having dropped a number of stellar tracks on Anjunadeep, before moving on to create their own label 17 Steps and continuing to release exceptionally innovative and well-craft dance music. Now, on tour to promote the recent release of the single "Ingrid is a Hybrid," along with its remix package, we were able to chat with with the duo once again. Red below to learn more about the boys, their current influences, and their plans for the future.
EARMILK: From the beginning, you've always produced stuff more on the deep house/techno/tech house side, but with that, I feel like you have more melody than many of your colleagues in the genre. "Ingrid" seems to be a good example of that. Would you say this is intentional?
Alfie: To be perfectly honest, that's what we produce because that's what we really enjoy. When we craft sounds, we begin with the premise of producing an interesting melody, not just linear progressions, unless we're in Berghain and we decide to drop some industrial techno (laughs). It's not something that we strictly adhere to, but when we're on our own we tend to listen to a lot more variety in music, mostly melodic stuff and we try and show that through our productions.
EM: So is that where you want to take 17 Steps?
Nick: Well, we'll see right? The way we've formed the label, we've left it really open, and we are kind of just letting it develop naturally... with the music we make and the music our label-mates make. There's actually some really cool stuff coming out soon, with a more Techno sound, that you would probably classify as a techno release. But with 17 Steps, we really want to keep it open and not tie ourselves down to one or two particular genres. I think we've got some upcoming releases that will show off that variety.
EM: Well, speaking of your music, I'm personally a huge fan. I think "Skin Deep" is some of the best music I've ever heard. And it's cool to see a lot of your Anjuna brethren really giving melody back to the deeper, tech sounds.
Nick and Alfie: Thanks man, that means a lot.
EM: With that, let's talk about one of your more recent releases: "Ingrid is a Hybrid." It's clearly more progressive than many of your other releases. Is this an indicator of the direction you want to take your sound?
Nick: Progressive has always been an influence. It's not something that we're specifically thinking of when we consider the future, but it always has been and will continue to be a part of our sound in general. But yeah, that specific track has a lot of 90s progressive sound in it...
Alfie: ...Kind of feels like old-school Orbital a bit...
Nick: Yeah, exactly. but it's really just one part of the album, which will have a variety of different sounds and influences. "Ingrid" really fills a particular area, you'll see that when you hear the album.
EM: So when can we expect the new album?
Nick: Hopefully September, but the dates keep moving around, so let's just say fall of this year.
EM: And it sounds like your current tour coincides nicely with the upcoming album…
Nick: Yeah definitely, but more than that, we love touring. We both started DJing before we got into the production side, so it's something we both really enjoy. We just finished playing EDC this past weekend, and we're heading to Electric Forest tomorrow. Playing live gives us a chance to test a lot of our music out, and the longer sets let us craft a journey. Honestly, DJing is the fun bit, it's the traveling and junk that gets in the way (laughs).
EM: So can we expect a new single soon? Maybe as your tour starts wrapping up?
Nick: Well, to be honest, the next single was supposed to be out around now. But "Ingrid" ended up doing really well, getting a lot of radio play, so they're going to let that sit for a little longer and soak up attention. But yes, the next single is ready and should be out very soon. It's going to be more "four-to-the-floor" style dance track. Not necessarily harder, but something maybe more familiar as a Dusky track.
Alfie: And it has a vocal on it as well. With this album, we've tried to make every song great for the dancefloor and great for just listening at home. A lot of the times, you have one or the other: functional dancefloor tracks or private listening. We hope that every track satisfies both.
Nick: Yeah, for album I think that's really important. For EPs, you can focus 3-4 tracks in one direction or another, but albums need to be cohesive bodies of work.
EM: Well we're definitely looking forward to it. Last question, as always: If there's anything you would like to say to your fans out there that might be reading this?
Nick and Alfie: Thanks for supporting our music, and come see us!
Thanks for reading, and make sure you catch Dusky live whenever they come near you. Check the links below for more details.