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Duke Dumont: This is how to breakthrough

So... 2014 has gone well then Mr Duke...

Duke Dumont is a talent making serious waves on both sides of the Atlantic this year. He's been grammy nominated, held down his own residency at king of the underground Sankeys, proven a huge success in the UK and toured shows in America that saw packed dancefloors as standard.

There is no denying 2014 has been a huge year for the London born and bred DJ, producer and label owner. Blasé Boys Club is a label enjoying huge success, with releases such as 'Need U' catapulting both artist and label into the limelight.

Ahead of the closing party for Blasé Boys Club and Duke Dumont at Sankeys Ibiza tomorrow night (Monday 22nd September) we grabbed the man for a quick chat about his rise to the top of the pecking order and what that means going forward.

So I know you have a few coveted spots in electronic music this year and also you got nominated for a Grammy. What did that feel like?

"It was completely unexpected. The year before if you had told me I would never have believed you I would be nominated but then I heard through the grapevine that I might be nominated in the best dance music single category and so I kind of stayed up really late in the morning because it was obviously on LA time and then about 3 or 4 in the morning I was checking the website and then it popped up in the category, so instantly I knew that I would be flying over for the ceremony. It is great, I was actually DJ'ing with a DJ called Todd Edwards last night and he has DJ'd with me over at Sankeys and he is an absolute legend to me and he was nominated for the Daft Punk album and his work on that so it's quite funny how many similar artists were saying you wouldn't have thought that house music would have any kind of representation there. So yeah it was really nice."

So how did it change your career you think? I mean there are obvious reasons but what really struck it for you?

"I don't think the Grammy nomination changed my career, I think the success on the back of a couple of the singles is what changed my career. I think that ‘Need U' 100% put me into a whole new different arena. Then the success of ‘I Got U' and that success took me to another level. I mean I'd been DJ'ing for like 8-10 years as a profession and it is only the last 2 when it has got to this level, but that's not to say I didn't have fun before, I had a lot of fun before but it's just on a completely different stage."

And there is kind of a negative stigma if you like as obviously being labeled as kind of commercial and with stuff being played on the radio, but I find it more that you have a larger platform to influence the masses. Would you agree with that?

"Yeah I agree with that, I just concentrate on what I do and I don't tend to seek praise or dread on negative comments. I have peace of mind that I can be proud of the music I play and if I couldn't then I wouldn't release it. But I do 100% agree with you about putting it out there on a larger platform as I think it gives me more freedom to do what I want to do. I might come out with a big dance single but I still do my clubber tunes. One of my favourite things I've done this year is a song called ‘Drumappella', which I'm sure nobody knows and it has got like 3,000views on YouTube. Then you take something like ‘I Got U' and its got like 16-18million views and I wouldn't change it for the world. They both have different things which is why I love music and what I like is making songs that sometimes not everybody will understand and making songs that crossover to a whole different category outside of club music."


VIDEO | A visual slice of the Blasé Boys Club action pie from Sankeys TV.


I read in a previous article that you said that producing is a discipline and DJ'ing is a pay off. When did you feel confident enough to make that transition?

"I wouldn't really say it has been a transition as I've always DJ'd and made music, hand in hand. I started both at pretty much the same time when I was about 16 years old, so it wasn't like I was DJ'ing and then “hey I'm going to start producing” which is kind of a decision that other artists make. But obviously there is a big difference as producing I'll be in a studio by myself most of the time with no daylight and kind of really protecting your craft and it's not met with instant gratification and then Dj'ing is the payoff for the whole work of recording your music and being at face level and seeing the reactions on the faces of the crowd and also on a financial level as well."

Obviously you have done a worldwide tour now. Did the cultural differences have an influence on the approach you had to the night that you were playing at?

"Oh very much so! I was very lucky to have travelled round the world 2 or 3 times before and so I know that in the smaller capacity crowds there can be a big difference, even in the UK, I think the further north you go, the harder and faster they like it. Then the further down south you go the more soulful and vocal they like it and that's just the UK, that's not even country-by-country. It's like in Holland its kind of stereotype but they are a lot more laid back. In France to DJ in Paris is completely different to Marseille but that's kind of what I enjoy and seeing how each city is different to each other. I went and Dj'd in Texas, I never thought I'd ever be Dj'ing in Texas and I didn't know what to expect but now I know what it's like now but yeah I completely agree with your statement. There can be a huge difference."

More specifically, you have obviously been having your events at Sankeys in Ibiza. How have you been preparing for those events and how have they been going? Have they been going well?

"It couldn't have actually gone better in terms of the amount of people that have been coming down to the club. Realistically it's my first real season out in Ibiza. I did come last year maybe 4 or 5 times, but this is me planting my feet in the ground in Ibiza and giving it a big shot and it couldn't have really have gone any better. I think the success of the singles and how things have been going has been reflected in the weekly turnout on the Monday night at Sankeys. Yeah it's been going really well, I haven't heard a bad comment or a negative comment on Twitter or any other social media and yeah there is a just a really good energy down there at the moment and it gives a really good alternative to the table service environment types of clubs that are prominent nowadays in Ibiza."

You have a really strong British fan base, was this the catalyst of choosing Sankeys as your home for the season?

"Well yeah there were 2 offers and Sankeys naturally just felt like the better option. I think in retrospect you are right that I predominately have a British following and being a British artist that is kind of natural and obviously it's a predominately British crowd in there. So yeah I think the combination of all those elements has made it into the success that it has been yeah."

Any particular moments that have stood out for this season so far?

"My favourite moment actually was probably last night when I was playing alongside Todd Edwards who like I mentioned before is a legend to me, and he sung ‘Face to Face' Daft Punk which is obviously the track that he sang on their ‘Discovery' album and he just picked up the mic and started singing along to it and I just thought it was a nice little touch and I didn't expect it. But for me personally it's meeting other DJ's that I really get on with and are very good friends of mine and we just have a good party. I DJ'd with a label called French Express the other day and there is a guy called Jonas Rathsman and I'm very good friends with him and it's just nice to DJ with friends and have a really good family atmosphere behind the decks rather than just try and be a superstar DJ. That's the whole point of the Blasé Boys Club night, so it's not just about Duke Dumont and who I am, it's about the whole night and not just myself."

Lastly, if anybody hasn't been to the Duke Dumont party in Ibiza this summer, why should they go to the closing?

"Because it's a slight alternative to what you might see at one of the super clubs on the island that offers a bottle service type environment. There is a lot of honesty to the night and essentially you are going to hear some of the best-crafted house music on the island. So if you're after both of those 2 things, then I think Sankeys and especially Monday nights you are going to enjoy."

WORDS | Sara McNutt


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