Disclosure’s studio sits in an abandoned flat in the attic of their father’s Reigate auction house, in Surrey, England. It was here, in 2012, on the heels of a world tour, where brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence withdrew to write songs for their debut album, ‘Settle.’
Since the record’s release, the producers, 19 and 22 respectively, have sold out shows in America, Europe and Australia, transforming clubs, stadiums and festivals into intimate raves, performing their euphoric live show in front of thousands.
“We don’t really have that much equipment,” Howard says of the studio where he and Guy have spent hours hunched over a Juno 106, Moog and microKORG. “It’s all quite basic, a few synthesizers, a MAC and some microphones.”
“We want to collect synths but we haven’t really had any money,” Guy says proudly, revealing the pair has spent the majority of their earnings on the live show. “We didn’t really need them for this album. We did most of it on the computer, sampling other synths that we like.”
Disclosure had first broken big during 2012, with the release of their platinum single ‘Latch,’ but the tour – a hotly-anticipated spectacle of live percussion, glowing rigs and custom-built interactive LCDs – transformed them from up-and-comers in the dance music scene to the upper echelons of a movement which blurs the lines between deep house, garage and pop.
Over the past year, Disclosure’s influence has grown beyond that of their modest studio – it’s hard to name an artist who hasn’t offered to lay down vocals or a DJ who hasn’t spun their tracks.
“I’ll be the one at the computer getting the beat ready,” Guy says of the duo’s collaborative writing process. “Howard will sit with the vocalist and come up with a theme, some key words and lyrics. I’ll turn around half way through the day and be like, ‘Are you ready?’ and usually they’ve got something so we just sit down and record it.”
Going on to talk about their chosen production software, Logic, Guy reveals: “There’s no point in changing the software, they’re all the same. It’s just about which one you learn on and we learnt on Logic. We could probably make a tune on Cubase or Pro tools but it would just take twice as long because we’d be like, ‘Where’s the button to do this?’
“We did music technology at school, which was basically a crash course on Logic,” he continues. “If you have a vague idea of a mixing desk, you’ll be OK, it’s more about learning to record. I spent my whole time learning how to mic up a drum kit properly ‘cos that’s the hardest thing to record. That and the guitars. Nothing really helpful for dance music at all, actually.”
As Disclosure got deeper into producing their debut LP, they were eager to move away from the current music climate – an environment they describe as ‘aggressive’ – while keeping their DNA intact.
“We loved dubstep when it was starting out with Skream and Benga,” Howard says of their life-long appreciation of the genre. “We liked it when it was more to do with dub – that kind of reggae influence. Dubstep comes from dub which is about love and peace. It didn’t used to be this aggressive. It was a darker and deeper kind of thing than this recent melt-my-face music.”
“That’s what I wanted to go and hear at clubs when I turned 18,” Guy adds, reminiscing about venues like Digital, which he would visit three or four times a week. “But it’s ended up in a place where we just don’t care about it anymore. We don’t listen to it.”
With their first set in Australia as part of the Listen Out tour just a few minutes away, Disclosure are surprisingly calm – no manager, booze or girls in sight.
“I think there are some rockstar-ish DJs around, yeah, we’re just not those kinds of guys,” Guy says, before swearing us to secrecy on the names he’s just dropped. “I could throw a TV out of this window right now if I wanted to. But I’m not going to. We’re more laid back.”
When asked about new music, the boys are tight-lipped.
“We haven’t done a remix since the Jessie Ware track,” Howard says to his brother, looking over with a coy smile.
“We should probably do another one soon.”