Meet Duke Dumont, the Grammy-nominated wiz responsible for one of the biggest ear-worms of 2013.
This time last week Duke Dumont was in the market for a new suit. On Sunday evening he attended his first-ever awards ceremony – the 2014 Grammys. "I’ve never been to the Brits or the MOBOs or anything like that; I’m going to feel slightly like a wedding crasher," he told us beforehand.
Duke (real name, Adam Dyment) was nominated alongside eventual winner Zedd, Calvin Harris, Armin Van Buuren and Kaskade for Best Dance Recording thanks to his infectious A*M*E-starring Need U (100%). Since that tune slinked its way to Number One in the UK, Duke has found himself on something of a stratospheric journey.
Before hobnobbing with Pharrell, Daft Punk, Stevie Wonder and other pop superheroes at the Grammys, though, we spoke to the modest muso to find out how he’s coping with fame and fortune.
How did it feel to have a UK Number One?
"It was a really foreign experience. A lot of people who make pop music, their objective is to get a Number One. My goal was to make a killer house track that people would respond well to in clubs. So when it happened I was a little like a deer in the headlights. But it’s great. Three years before that I’d only made £8,000 in the entire year and all from doing remixes"
How do you move from a Number One onto your next single, I Got U feat. Jax Jones?
"With a lot of artists there’s a strategy. They have a song in the charts and they already know what the next song’s going to be. It’s quite a calculated thing. But when I did Need U, I had nothing. Because it was a kind of happy mistake, it was like, ‘Sh*t, I’ve got to go on tour for the summer’. So I finally sat down to make this track. Hopefully people are into it. Jax co-produced with me. He’s one of the signings to my new label, Blasé Boys Club."
Why did you decide to start a label? Isn't that a perilous thing to do in this day and age?
"There’s a multitude of things that I want to get from having a label. Number one, to produce good music. Number two, to help the artists we sign to actually make a living from music, because it's quite tough. There are a lot of labels out there who don’t care about the artist. The third goal is to tour as a record label showcase. We’ll all DJ together. We’re Blasé Boys Club. It’s not boys only, but the mentality is that there’ll be a group of us working together and we just want to tour the world and have a good time. I enjoy touring but it’s much more fun travelling with friends.
"I just want to sign music that I really love – kind of like the Factory Records approach. We’re not necessarily ambitious. We’re just building up a strong catalogue of music that hopefully people will look back on and say is representative of a certain time."
What should we expect from your debut album, out later this year?
"Working on an album and releasing a single that could potentially make it into the charts are different things. An album should be a piece of art in itself. Historically, dance albums have always been very tough. When people think of dance acts they don’t think of tortured artists. But there are a few dance albums that I think have set the standard: Discovery by Daft Punk is still a classic and Disclosure’s Settle is an amazing record.
"The majority of my album should sound good in a live context. It’s not about to become an ambient album any time soon. The firm fixture in terms of guest vocal is MNEK. Outside of that I can’t say too much because the final album hasn’t been decided yet."