You’ve probably heard Disciples, even if you don’t know them by name. The London electronic trio, made up of Gavin, Luke and Duvall, lit up the electronic scene with their single “They Don’t Know” a year ago, so much so that even Calvin Harris took note. They collaborated with the world-famous DJ on “How Deep is Your Love,” released in October. And just like that, Disciples was heard on nearly every Top 40’s station across the globe.
Having a sound that is difficult to pinpoint to any one genre has helped the house artists break away from the normal genre boundaries and attain an accessibility that few in electronic music ever gain. They are all at once retro and modern, and maintain a slightly darker edge than what one would typically consider house music. Even for listeners who wouldn’t consider themselves electronic fans, it’s next to impossible not to bob your head or tap your fingers on the nearest surface when listening to one of their songs.
But for a group that has over 3 million views on one YouTube track alone, and has gained so much exposure in such short time, little can be found about Disciples online. Their air of mystery almost seems like an integral part of their intrigue, as though it’s just part of their style. But their anonymity won’t last long. We were lucky enough to speak with Duvall about how they brew their particular brand of house music, and the undoubtedly extraordinary future ahead.
So the three of you create house music together. Tell me what it’s like to create in collaboration like that. Do you generally agree and have similar musical tastes, or do you feel each of you brings something different to the table?
We fight in and out the of the studio all the time, sometimes bare knuckle boxing, or if its a serious problem, roman grappling wrestling can often take place. All jokes aside, when we make music together all problems fade away, we have a common goal and thats just to make music we all like which is always something we can agree on. our different tastes is what makes Disciples work.
So Gavin and Duvall, you two met at University and began playing music there. How did Luke end up joining?
Gavin and I met on a Music Technology course at Reigate college in Surrey. He was a year below me, but we were the only two people who like the same music. We’d try and remake hip hop beats like 50 Cent’s "In The Club" and Donell Jones' "What’s Up." It was terrible, sounded like some tin can recordings. Well, mine did anyway. We had always worked together on and off on different projects and found that house music connected with us. I met Luke as a rapper actually, he’d always been into house music. He used to write bars over early 90’s house tracks and send then to me. I used to think this kid had no right doing this, but it sounded great, so I brought him to the studio and we started working on his project. It got to the point where we were working on 3 solo projects. We thought, let's stop messing around and put it all together.
It’s hard to box your music into a genre. It’s similar to deep house and nu-disco, but also completely unique. What are each of your biggest outside influences that continue to trickle into your sound?
It’s almost impossible to put it in a genre. We joke around say, if there was a genre called confused, we’d be in there. But I don’t think we’d have it any other way really. We all like different things and naturally bring these influences to the table. Gavin is into techno/tech house and early progressive records, Luke is always showing us real old school house records which came out when he was like 1 years old, and I’m really into songs, lyrics and melody, as well as funk bass lines.
Who does most of the vocals? Was there a point when you three decided you wanted most of the vocals for Disciples done by you, rather than solely featuring vocals from other artists?
We still feel that way and we’re taking the time to nurture that side of things. Luke is on every track on The Following EP we recently brought out, and I’m singing on the song "Yellow" which we did with Robin Schulz. We love to collaborate and are not shy to put out records if they sound great with someone else on them. The music comes first with us. Definitely in the near future you will hear a lot more of us, especially on our album.
Tell us how your collaboration with Calvin Harris on "How Deep is Your Love" came about. Do you feel that you gained a lot more notoriety or things changed considerably after its release?
Gavin & Luke are signed to Calvin’s publishing company Fly-Eye. We were sending songs back and forth for his feedback and "How Deep Is Your Love" is the one that really pricked his ear. Calvin suggested we work on it together. We could hardly say no, could we? Plus, we’ve been fans of his since "Acceptable In The 80’s" so it was actually an honour. 25 emails back and forth and it was done. We weren’t really thinking about the notoriety at the time, but it has given us a boost. What we love about this record is how many countries round the world have taken to it. It's emotional when you hear crowds of people from different countries singing the lyrics back to you.
Your song "They Don’t Know" and the accompanying music video that was released early this year have both really blown up. What was the inspiration behind that song, and how involved were you in creating the storyline for the music video?
I feel "They Don't Know" really embodies what were about and what we’ve been about from the beginning; that record was all vibe. Drums, bass line and vocals, all free-styled and finished within a few hours. We didn’t have any input with the video but we were happy with the outcome.
What is the craziest thing that’s ever happened on a Disciples tour?
I’m unable to connect the dots fully on this one as I could end up saying something I regret, but it involved an incredible show in Madrid. Asleep in my hotel room, 5AM, knock on the door, its the police. Thats all I’m gonna say.
Any pre-show rituals?
What is it like playing a home show in London? Do you feel that’s still where you have your most die-hard fans?
I think we always get a shock when we play in different countries as we have some great fans all over. We never expect a big reception but this year has been insane. Canada was great, Lithuania showed a lot of love, we had some wild times in Madrid, but London is definitely close to our hearts and it's forever our home. When we headlined Ministry of Sound in South London a few months back, the crowd unlike any other.
You guys play a lot of long marathon sets, what is that like? Is it difficult to keep up the energy and enthusiasm, or are you all so used to it at this point that it’s become easy?
I’m glad this still gets mentioned. I think Gavin can definitely tick this experience off the bucket list. He handled it like a pro - 5 hour set! But I guess when you’re playing the music you love and everyone is in the moment with you, it's not too difficult. I think we don’t allow it to become too easy otherwise it becomes stale. We’re always fine-tuning our DJ sets and shows.
You just wrapped up your debut U.S. Tour. What was that like?
Hard work, fun, painful, wonderful, tiring and incredible all at the same time. I think we all got sick at one point. We’d land and go straight to the venue, do a show and then fly to another city, studio sessions in between. We were shattered by the end of it. But, we all loved it at the same time. It was great to be in the US playing our music and winning people over.
Your new EP, The Following, was just released. How do you feel your sound has evolved on this EP?
Our sound is forever evolving because we are influenced by our surroundings. In the last year we’ve definitely been influenced by tech house which is evident in the EP, but we still keep the driving and funky bass lines we’re known for. And being able to involve Sir David Rodigan on "Mastermind" was cool. He didn’t like house music before. He does now.
What’s next for you guys after all this touring?
We're doing what we were born to do: Make More Music!
story by Lauren Hoover
photos by Mads Perch