There’s a burgeoning movement coming out of Brooklyn made up of uber talented Deep House and Disco cats and they’re making serious waves. Sam Walker and Gavin Royce, aka Walker & Royce and part of the Nervous/Nurvous crew, have been injecting new life into the music scene with releases on Crosstown Rebels, OFF Recordings and Glasgow Underground. This Friday March 8, 2013, they’ll be making their Chicago debut at Primary Nightclub.
Let’s talk a little about the complex city that is New York. I never had the privilege of really checking out the loft parties up in Brooklyn. The only House I’m really familiar with from NYC was of the more soulful, afro sound from the likes of Shelter and some of the Jersey parties. Can you acquaint us with what I imagine is a pretty vibrant scene?
Well what you are familiar with still very much exists here; however there are a lot of dance music scenes that have flourished over the past decade as well. Over the last few years, in our opinions there was a lull in the scene, but now things are getting to be really great. Some new clubs opening and great parties getting really popular. It’s really kicked the whole city into high gear. A lot of Techno, Deep House and cool Disco stuff is happening every weekend now, not to mention some weeknights. It’s always a multiple choice question when it comes to what people want to do on the weekend.
Over here in Chicago it’s very factionalized with the perceived northside “new” music and southside “classics”. How would you describe the climate over there?
In NYC the night life usually revolves around Lower Manhattan and North Brooklyn which are physically pretty close to each other. It is known that Brooklyn is the “cooler” place and has more DIY loft parties and a lot more hipsters, however we see a lot of the Manhattan crowd coming across the river now. We have also been getting booked more in Manhattan so it’s going both ways. Like we said before, everything is really starting to mix, which we think is how NYC really was years back and is how it should be.
You both met 10 years ago, but your partnership only really began in 2011 when you both started working for Nervous records?
We were friends and hung out but really had different musical taste. We still do to a certain extent but now we see that as a bonus. Before we were younger and immature, we couldn’t fathom someone mixing Disco and Techno together. Now it is what makes our sound unique.
What is the difference between Nervous and Nurvous and how do you find your new artists for the sister label?
I think the idea of the sub-label was to highlight the newer sound that has been making waves and essentially taking over all club music. I think Mike Weiss (owner of Nervous) was a little hesitant at first but really wanted to do something new and fresh. It sort of has the spirit that Nervous had when he started it, in 1991 House music was a risky business to get into.
I’m curious as to who are doing the vocals in many of your tracks and I hear you’ve got some new ones for 2013 that you’re excited about?
We are excited too! We have a track coming out soon with our good friend Louisahhh!!!, you may recognize her from Danny Daze’s hit “Your Everything” as well as some Bromance Records stuff with Brodinski. We are also working with Javi again; he sang for us on “Stare if You Want To” and has an amazing voice. We are doing a record with All Dom Wrong, he was the singer in The Glass and owns Plant Music with Stretch Armstrong. We also have some other great vocalist we might be working with but can’t mention at this time.
Sam I found it really interesting that you used to work for Ableton. What software (or hardware) do you guys utilize for your productions…they’re incredibly lush and intricate.
Sam: Thank you! It’s all software and samples (aside from recordings like vocals, guitar, etc). Some folks are surprised that we’re entirely in-the-box (so far). Ableton’s our host; some reliable standbys are the new Diva by u-He, Native Instruments FM8, and a lot of the stuff for Reaktor. The lead synth in the new track we did with Louisahhh!!! is a Reaktor patch.
So you’ve existed for not quite 2 years and you already have a song Solumun calls his track of the year (“Connected”). I believe Sasha (“Stare If You Want To”) shows you love as well. How did you manage such a feat?
We don’t really know and don’t really want to question it. LOL… But to answer it seriously, we have both been involved and fans of House music for a long time and even though we are new to the international scene, our experience has made our sound more mature more quickly.
In terms of survival in this industry, do you believe in pushing for both quality and quantity in keeping one’s name afloat?
Sam: By far most of what we write we write for ourselves. We don’t write music simply to participate in the culture; we write it because we feel we have to. Our hearts are in our tracks. So that means we’re writing constantly, and as long as we’re doing that then that takes care of both quality and quantity. Keeping your name relevant I think is just all about recognizing what people are feeling and why, reflecting on that, and letting it guide your output.
I see you have a WMC sampler out. What are your thoughts on the waning popularity of this conference and do you think people can still get something out of it? What parties will you guys be playing at…I think I saw something with MK at the Shelbourne…
Yeah, we are really excited about Miami but we do see that the popularity is waning. We think it has a lot to do with other festivals and conferences competing with it. A lot more househeads are heading to Detroit for Movement, and BPM has also become a really big deal. Also it’s very expensive to be in Miami for a week…
However its still a bad ass conference! We are playing the Nurvous Deep party at The Shelbourne with at crazy lineup. Noir, MK, Danny Daze, Murk, etc… Also we are playing the Air London Showcase at the Electric Pickle and a Sub Motus/Electronique Digital showcase at Station. Going to be a lot of fun for us.
Is it safe to say you’ve both been to our fair city? And have either of you ever played here?
Gavin: I have actually not spent much time in Chicago so am really excited to be here. I have never played here and only been in the city for a day before. I’m ready for the grand tour!
Sam: Oh yes I have! Last time I was here was a few years ago before we started the Walker & Royce project. I met up with Frankie Vega (yo Frankie!!) and had a great time over pizza. Though the city’s huge and I’ve only seen a small part, I’m already a superfan.
So what’s in the cards for 2013 for Walker & Royce?
We are spreading the W&R gospel! Hitting more countries and releasing on some really cool labels. Our WMC sampler is out now and is called Base Tan: Miami, and then we have a really big release with Moda Black on April 15th. It’s the track we had Louisahhh sing on: come to Primary this Friday and hear it!