Walker & Royce have been the talks of the town this summer. Abducting the minds of the youth with their breakout hit “Take Me To Your Leader,” as well as playing one of the most talked about sets at Dirtybird Campout, these guys are quickly making big leaps in the house music world. With their new album, Self Help, we can rejoice knowing we’re about to dive into a deeper, more diverse, and freshly creative display of sound from Walker & Royce. The album consists of an eclectic array of smooth and vibey tracks with soulful vocals and catchy hooks, alongside their classic 808 Dirtybird booty bass dripping with grimey synths and thumping subs. In light of the album release, EARMILK got a chance to chat with the guys about their time at the Dirtybird Campout, their new album, their collaboration with Green Velvet, and their upcoming tour around the US and Europe. Stream to the album below.
These days, everywhere you turn you can find a book on self-help, whether they’re legitimate or merely a modern day philosophical claim of overpromised personal progression. The books more or less guarantee that everyone can become the Buddha over the 200 pages of pseudo-psychological word vomit, which makes it quite easy to laugh at. Walker & Royce thought so too, thinking of the name “Self Help” with a few reasons in mind they shared, “It’s poking fun at Self Help as a marketing scheme. It refers to us pushing on through when there’s no clear path forward. It’s about how music can be a form of therapy. It’s about how when we don’t hear what we want to play in the musical marketplace, we write it ourselves.”
With Self Help on their mind, they set up a Self Help booth at Dirtybird Campout, where any camper could come hang out, ask them a few questions, and hope for one of the funnier version of therapy in the midst of a festival. They described the booth as, “a super cool to hang with and get to know some fans. It ended up being a bunch of jokes and some pictures, no one really asked for advice, unfortunately, Ardalan was scheduled to be there one night at 4am and totally bailed. What a flake…”
With the versatile range of diverse and innovative music from their new album, I was interested in how they channeled the Self Help inspiration to convey the sonic essence of the mind, booty, and soul. “For the album, we really wanted to draw from all things we are fans of and that have inspired us. We didn't want it to be a 10 track EP, we wanted it to be something listened to in many situations. Versatility was very important but we also wanted it to work as one body of work. We were listening to a lot of FKA Twigs also…”
Green Velvet, one of the Godfathers of Chicago Techno and label boss of Relief Records, made an appearance on Walker & Royce’s track, “Rub a Dub.” A collaboration made in the heavens, the track made rounds at Dirtybird Campout with enormous praise from the crowd and fellow artists. Green Velvet somehow turns every track into pure gold, and Walker & Royce knew so too. “We have been friends [with Green Velvet] for a few years and have a few releases on Relief," said Walker & Royce. "When he said he wanted to be on the album we freaked. To have such a legend on our album was so amazing to us. It took a while to make it work and his vocal was the last to come in just before the album was due. It really felt like a buzzer beater and it turned out amazing.”
Walker & Royce’s set was the obvious crowd favorite at Dirtybird Campout, with the entire festival packing the audience from corner to corner. The energy felt like a turning point in the festival, and with such high praise, I wanted to see how the guys felt on their side of the DJ decks. “We have never had a crowd like that before, it was amazing," they shared. "The time slot we got was bananas and we had never been that nervous for a set. It was butterflies but in the best way possible. Having Dances up there with us added an element we had never really had before. It felt the most like a concert out of any of our performances, we will never forget that feeling.”
The upcoming Self Help tour offers a new platform for Walker & Royce, traveling throughout the UK, Germany, Estonia, as well as my own stomping grounds in Los Angeles at Sound. As their first headlining tour, make sure to witness the album unfold in front of your own eyes. Instead of grabbing that new self-help book you saw on Amazon, grab your tickets below.
Buy tickets HERE
Buy album Stream Link HERE