In just the past couple of years, Sam and Gavin, otherwise better known as Walker & Royce have become a Household name in House music. Standout releases on labels like Crosstown Rebels, Relief, and This Aint Bristol solidified their name leading up to their first Dirtybird EP in the summer of 2016. A little over a year later, and the Brooklyn-based duo have finally dropped their long anticipated Self-Help album. The LP is a truly unique sounding record, as it borrows the immensity of religious organs and choirs, combined with tough four on the floor grooves, transforms it into an impressive collection of palatable dance music. As they trot around parts of Europe and most of North America, we caught a few moments in between with the guys to get a word on their beginnings, inspirations, and processes, as well as their newfound friendship with Dirtybird.
W&R: We met when we were helping some friends throw loft parties way back in 2003. These were house music parties so we were both into house at the time, but we didn’t really have a lot of overlap at that point. Sam liked progressive and Gavin was more into deep- or disco-edged house. We didn’t start working together until way later though, like 2011, when Sam had quit his job and Gav needed someone to help him do a remix. Gavin was also doing some A&R for the new Nervous Records sub-label Nurvous so this gave us a immediate outlet for material.
Your track with Dances With White Girls – “Take Me To You Leader” – has undoubtedly been on the summer’s hottest tracks. What can you tell us about creating this track, the sound you were going for, and working with Dances.. ?
W&R: Working with Dances was incredibly easy. We sent him some track beds (which did not actually end up being the track) and in a day or two he sent us back several different ideas, and almost everything was awesome. We went through and picked our favorites and then wrote a track around that, basically from the ground up. Take Me To Your Leader started off a little more minimal with 808-style drums, and then at some point we found this happy little chord progression which we never seemed to get sick of. Then we started filling in the rest of it and from there it felt like it wrote itself.
Even though you’ve been making music for over 5 years – this year marks a huge milestone – the release of your first album “Self Help.” Share with us why now and what your goals were for this record !
W&R: Yeah! So, Claude VonStroke was the one that sort of told us we should challenge ourselves to do one and his confidence in us sort of gave us the courage to do it. The real challenge was to see if we could finish it all! Writing a lot of tracks at once, we’ve never done this much material at the same time. But we were given this blank canvas and that allowed us to take certain risks, which made it more fun and adventurous. The goal wasn’t to just write several bangers; one main thing was working with vocalists and doing some types of tracks that we’re not usually able to do. And you hear this with My Own Thang, Role Models, Need Ya, etc.
You guys are starting your “Self-Help Tour” – how has that been going so far? Any fun memories to share?
W&R: Well, we just played the DB campout which is always so much fun. This year we were blessed with a really amazing set time on Saturday night. The crowd was insane and we had Dances perform with us. It felt the most like a concert out of any set we have ever played. We mean that in a cool way, it was the first time we really showcased the album.
You guys have been members of the Dirtybird family for a while now – how did it all start?
W&R: It all started really when Justin Martin played our Bright Lights remix for Claude, he emailed and asked us for it. That then lead to us signing the Boy EP which also had ITB on it. From there the relationship has just kept growing. It really feels like a family.
Favorite pre-show drink / snack?
Gavin: I like a liquor drink of some kind to calm the nerves, Tequila, Mezcal or Whiskey usually…
Sam: A good Mezcal really hits the spot.
What else are you listening to these days? Favorite artists to sneak in to a set? What’s on your recently played that would surprise us?
Gavin: Recently its hard to really get into other music since we have been so caught up with ours but been into the new Toro Y Moi and FKA Twigs. Also revisiting my youth and listening to a bunch of Smashing Pumpkins, especially the Siamese Dream album.
Sam: Honestly most of my time is spent writing music so I don’t get much chance to listen to others, like I only need a pinch of inspiration and I’m off and running. But if I had to say something, you know recently I threw on some old Metallica. I really loved that stuff as a kid.
Buy their new Self-Help Album here – https://www.beatport.com/release/self-help/2112966
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