Electronic music has always proved a fertile place for double acts. From Sasha & Digweed to Tiefschwarz, there is no shortage of brilliant duos doing their thing. Another such name to add to that list is Wayward. Lawrence and Louis are a British duo who possess a beautiful, otherworldly sound that’s very much their own, and it’s a method of approaching their craft that’s quickly winning them friends in high places aplenty. On that note, they’ve won plaudits recently from a host of the scene’s most interesting DJs, and have even had their work remixed by the likes of Hammer and Man Power. Much like Hammer and Man Power, they seem to be following a similar trajectory too. With their first release of 2018, the magnificent ‘Good Afternoon Mr. Magpie’ out shortly, we decided to pass some quick questions their way…
WWD: How was the last year for you guys and what were the highlights?
Lawrence: 2017 was a really positive year for us musically and we released some of our best music to date. I think both releases on Silver Bear were highlights, especially getting Man Power and Hammer on the remixes for the Alexandra EP. Also, some of the shows we played, alongside Moxie, Jeremy Underground and Chaos in the CBD were really fun too.
WWD: As musicians, do you make plans and aims? What are your hopes and dreams for the year ahead then?
Lawrence: There are always goals, aims and certain things that you want to tick off the list. It’s what keeps you motivated and focused. In 2018 we’re looking forward to having our most productive year in terms of releases and want to continue working as hard as possible in the studio.
WWD: So… apart from one another, who would you absolutely love to work with?
Lawrence: D Bridge, The Neptunes, Burial.
Louis: Toumani Diabate, Matthew Herbert, Mike Skinner.
WWD: We’re really loving the new EP. Was there one particular inspiration behind it all?
Louis: More than anything else we were probably most inspired by our gear and the sounds they make. Our beloved Juno-60 and DSI Tempest feature heavily across all 5 tracks so this really drove the songwriting process on this EP. It was written over the course of last summer, which had its ups and downs. The final track we wrote, Calanques is sort of an ode to our trip to Marseille at the tail end of the season. To us, this track feels quite reflective, reminiscent of a summer gone.
Lawrence: The first track we wrote on the EP was ‘Good Afternoon Mr. Magpie’ and I think this formed the skeleton of the EP and the kind of music we made over the summer period. We had planned to create more club ready tracks, but sometimes you have to follow what is inspiring you in the studio at that time!
WWD: Can you tell us a bit about how you both became involved in electronic music? What motivated you to start producing music in the first place?
Lawrence: From a young age my brother Dan was always in the room next to mine at home on Logic or mixing on his 1210s. I’d always hear him creating drum n bass breaks and the low rubble of reese bass lines through the walls. Because he was my older brother I wanted a go, using his decks whilst he was out and when he gave me Logic I haven’t really looked back. I’ve always known I’d want to be involved in music in some way but making music on Logic was always what made me the happiest.
Louis: In all honesty, Lawrence was a big influence in me producing electronic music. Prior to Wayward I had been DJing a lot but only ever used Logic software to produce terrible dubstep tunes and record bands.
WWD: What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing up-and-coming producers at the moment? Do you feel there’s a pressure to be particularly vocal on social media, for example?
Lawrence: The sheer volume of producers out there and the difficulty of cutting through that is challenging but it does put more emphasis on having your own unique sound which I don’t think is a bad thing. Soundcloud changing and becoming less accessible has made a difference. It was such a great place for emerging artists to put their music online. There doesn’t seem to be a space like that at the moment which definitely makes it harder to get yourself out there.
Social media is important, but nowhere near as important as your music. You see a lot of artists these days who seem to be pros at social media but their music hasn’t got much substance, which is sad. I think the focus should always be on creating and working on your craft, social media will follow that.
WWD: And what advice would you give to people starting out?
Louis: Make music for yourself first and foremost. If it means something significant to you then it’s more likely to resonate positively with other people. Going into the studio thinking I wanna make a track like x,y & z so that a, b & c will release it doesn’t usually work out too well.
WWD: So how does it work between you in the studio? Who does what? Is each day as different as the next?
Lawrence: We work separately quite a lot and come together when we know we’ve got an idea that we’re both really excited about. I’m more on the production side of things and Louis songwriting but we do share roles a lot of the time as well. We’ve now got a live set up with drum machines and synths which has made the studio a really exciting place to work.
WWD: Do you generally agree on most things musically or have there been times when you strongly disagreed? What do you do in that sort of scenario?
Louis: I think it would be counter-productive if we agreed on everything. Ultimately some of our favourite parts in certain tracks have come from a disagreement, which led to scrapping something and trying again. Of course it’s difficult at times and only works because there is a good level of trust in the collaboration.
Lawrence: We fight till one of us calls it quits and lets the other win!
WWD: And is there a certain piece of kit that you always rely on? Do you generally make music on laptops or on hardware? Does it matter?
Louis: We made music just on laptops for a long time and struggled to find the sound we were hearing in our heads. We’re now almost on a completely analog set up and feel like we’ve finally found the sounds we were searching for. In the last year our studio has grown massively. It obviously doesn’t matter when you’ve got people like Four Tet creating New Energy on just a laptop but hardware has a mind of its own sometimes and synths and drum machines can often provide a much needed spark when you’re starting a tune.
WWD: And what about your DJ style? Would you say you have a particular ‘style’? And much like production, do you generally just follow the vibe or are you more tactical about how you play together?
Lawrence: It has taken us a while to get accustomed to djing together, making sure we’re both on the same page when building the intensity in our sets and also knowing when to switch it up. Over many years of playing together we have learnt a lot and our sets are now more fluid and exciting. We both enjoy long blends and big builds but it’s also important to keep adapting your mixing style sometimes doing quicker cuts and shorter builds to keep the set interesting. It is also all about trying to understand the crowd, imagining what they’d like to hear next or how far you can push them in a certain direction.
WWD: Do you have a particularly favourite place to play? If so, what makes that place special?
Louis: Beaverworks in Leeds. We were running nights up here for 4 years while we were students and had some incredible moments playing in the Warehouse. Also having got to know the team behind the venue, it’s really refreshing to find people who are putting on parties for the sake of having a wicked party, not driven by greed or status.
WWD: You’ve enjoyed some great early success with your music. How long did it take you to get to a stage where you were confident enough to release music? Is being confident in your music something you find difficult? Or do you nearly always know when a track is completed?
Lawrence: In the early stages of Wayward the decision to release music was kind of made for us and put online by blogs when we’d sent it to them. It is difficult to be confident in your own music but that special feeling when someone else appreciates your music and is really into it overcomes that fear. As we’ve become more experienced as producers we now have a method we go through once we’re finished with the writing process which makes it easier to finish tracks off. It’ll always be difficult to let go of a track and say it’s done but you have to trust your instincts!
WWD: Aside from one another, who’s been the biggest influence on your work? And what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Louis: In the short break we took from writing music we made friends with a really good guy called Marc Brown who produced Smoke City. As someone who’s a seasoned pro in the industry he’s full of great advice. His words of wisdom have had an influence on me and he even handed down some gear to us. Big up, Marc!
Lawrence: My parents have always said to me “keep creating” and that has stuck with me from a young age. Biggest influence is pretty tough as their are so many different aspects of life that inspire you. If I were to pick one person it would probably have to be my brother, purely because he introduced me to electronic music and I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if he wasn’t for him.
WWD: And what do you reckon you’d be doing if you weren’t in music?
Louis: I studied TV Production at Uni and during my final year placement I was offered a role at the company. It was a real fork in the road moment for me and in the end I chose to pursue music – so had I not been making tunes, I’d probably be working in television.
Lawrence: I was working for a music label before I went to uni so maybe something similar to that. Recently I’ve been thinking about training as an electrician!
WWD: Finally, what tracks are really rocking your bag at the moment?
Louis: Leafar Legov – Ourloveisstrong. I’ve waited for ages for this to be released having first heard it and become obsessed with it in Leafar’s RA Mix in 2016. Feels good to finally hold the record.
Lawrence: I’ve been listening through all of the old autonomic podcasts recently and refound gems like Jimmy Edgar – LBLB Detroit and Arpanet – Illuminated Displays.
Out now on Silver Bear recordings. Buy here.[Photo Credit: Nathan Greenwood]