Duke Dumont and the Classic House Music Revival
By Scott T. Sterling
Thanks in large part to Disclosure‘s worldwide breakout success, the classic sound of ’90s house music has returned to vogue, with rolling pianos, open hi-hats, and soulful vocals permeating dance floors courtesy of such leading acts as Hot Since 82, MK and England’s Duke Dumont.
Born Adam Dyment, Duke Dumont has been releasing tracks and remixes since 2007, but he exploded onto the worldwide dance music scene with the release of last year’s “Need U (100%),” which delivered an update on the Detroit house movement of the late ’80s personified by Kevin Saunderson‘s legendary act Inner City. The track entered the UK Singles Chart at No. 1.
Dumont followed that track with the even bigger “I Got U,” an uplifting, estival tune that has the distinction of bringing steel drums onto the dance floor. Also topping the UK Singles Chart, his back-to-back singles success has turned up the pressure on the DJ/producer to craft his debut full-length album, which he’s hard at work on finishing.
“I’m about 60-70% done with the album. My goal is to have it done sometime in the summer and then release it in the fall,” he said during a recent phone interview. “There are quite a lot of collaborations on the album. The stage I’m at now is working with lots of vocalists and capturing the best performances I can from them.
“‘I Got U’ and ‘Need U’ are quite big radio songs,” Dumont pondered when asked about what fans can expect from the full-length. “There might be one or two songs like that released as the next single before the album, but the album is going to be a lot more dynamic. It’s not going to just be chart radio songs. There will be more dimensions to the tracks. I want to show more of my diversity, that’s the goal. It’s going to be a range of stuff on there.”
There’s no indication if Dumont’s anthemic new single, “Won’t Look Back” (set for UK release on his own Blasé Boys Club label August 5; a U.S. release date on Astralweks is forthcoming) will be included on his album, but the song’s soaring vocals and percolating old-school house rhythm is sure to ignite many a dance floor with its energy that recalls ’90s divas such as Martha Wash and Crystal Waters.
“I’m working on a track at the moment that’s got a lot of live instrumentation, including guitars, bass and drums,” Dumont offered in contrast to his signature house euphoria. It’s a bit more organic sounding and not so electronic. There’s going to be slower stuff on there, too. I’m just going to try and make the best music I can and not over-think it too much.”
In addition to crafting his debut album, Dumont is also looking forward to orchestrating a full-blown live show to take his music onto even larger festival stages.
“When the album is finished, I’m going to take everything into account and work out the best way I can perform the songs in a live context,” he explained. “I’m going to go straight from the studio into making that happen. So not a lot has been figured out yet on how it’s going to be. I’m too immersed in the album at the moment.”
He’s scheduled to debut his live show August 20 at Oslo in London, UK.
Dumont has been bringing his uplifting DJ sets to clubs across America, and the producer has found that the most receptive audiences have often been where he least expected to be so embraced.
“A good example is I played in Austin, Texas, recently, and I thought, ‘OK, this isn’t going to be that great,’” he admitted. “I wasn’t sure how popular house music was there. It was one of the best shows on the tour. That always pleasantly surprises me. I’m enjoying pushing things further and not just playing L.A. and New York. I’m hoping that the next time I come back I can go even deeper south.”
Duke Dumont only has a couple of U.S. dates set for this summer, but they’re both big ones. He’s on the bill at Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 2, and is set to play an after-party later that same night at the Concorde Music Hall. He’s also on the blockbuster August 5 bill at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado with Chromeo, Cut Copy and Flume.