Ibiza, Field Day, Bestival ... now Creamfields - get ready for Disclosure
It might be an over-used phrase, but Disclosure’s rise has been meteoric. “It’s been crazy,” says Guy as he tucks into a full English breakfast at East London’s lavish private members club, Shoreditch House. “We went to Australia and everyone was singing the words back to us there,” he says of their appearance at Field Day. No surprise, considering Latch was the most played track on Australia’s version of BBC Radio 1, Triple J, and went gold there.
It’s little over a year since we first clapped eyes on Disclosure’s inimitable live show at Brighton’s Green Door Store. Then the brothers were still driving their equipment to shows themselves, lugging it on stage to set up and then carting it all back off again to the boot of the car once they’d finished, as they teetered on the brink of something huge with the imminent release of The Face EP.
“We’d be there plugging everything in while the crowd were all waiting for us to play. I think we played with our equipment stacked on three oil barrels that night,” says Guy.
These kind of shows are now few and far between for the brothers Lawrence. As we went to press, the lads had chalked up more than 40 UK and European festival appearances this year. Their single Latch reached No.11 on the UK Top 40 and the follow-up White Noise surpassed even that, reaching No.2 and becoming the most played track on BBC Radio 1 for an entire month. Then came You & Me, with Eliza Doolittle, which again charted strong at No.12. Their eagerly anticipated album, Settle, debuted at No.1 on the UK album charts, and just last month the brothers received the news that it had been nominated for the coveted Mercury Prize.
In appearance the duo are little changed. Howard – the younger, at 18 – sports a grey sweater, while Guy is in a simple white T-shirt and black Carhartt parka. Both sport skinny jeans and expensive trainers – Guy Nike, Howard Adidas. If anything’s changed in the past 12 months it’s that they’re filled with the quiet confidence of an act who know they’re on an impressive roll and, for the most part, are having the time of their lives.
Although the last year has been something of a whirlwind for the brothers from Surrey, Disclosure turned heads from the start. An early EP released on Facebook in July 2011 led to a packed first gig at East London’s Old Blue Last, and soon the duo were picked up for a slot on the Annie Mac Presents tour. By summer 2012 their remix of Jessie Ware’s Running was fast becoming one of the records of the year, and slots at Bestival and Secret Garden Party, plus an Ibiza Rocks residency, soon followed. “Bestival was fantastic,” says Guy. “I’ve stood in that tent to watch so many bands and to see people streaming in to watch us was incredible. It was even packed outside the tent!”
Although the brothers may appear to have come out of nowhere, a career in music always seemed to be on the cards. Both of their parents were professional musicians and the brothers were both tackling a multitude of instruments at an age when most of their peers were still playing with Thomas The Tank Engine. Howard says that if Disclosure hadn’t taken off, he would have gone to Goldsmiths to study classical music. Guy was in an indie dance band he describes as similar to Foals or Friendly Fires.
Settle delivered more energetic house and garage-inflected goodness, with an emphasis on creating a balance between traditional songwriting and dancefloor-focused tracks.
“It’s not like we sit there and say, ‘Right, we’ve written five songs that are for the club, now let’s write five that have singers on.’ We strive for a balance. I think listening to a whole album of straight four-four house could maybe get a little boring,” says Guy, as he drains his cup of English breakfast tea.
Howard cites former touring partner SBTRKT’s album as a major influence. “Having a different singer on nearly every track and using a range of different tempos kept that album really interesting. I can remember listening to it and thinking, ‘Wow, I could listen to this stuff all day.’”
Late last year the duo signed to PMR Records, citing the label’s impressive roster as the clincher. “They’ve got people like Jessie [Ware] and Two Inch Punch so it made perfect sense. Every time you hear something vaguely interesting on the radio these days it always seems PMR has had something to do with it,” says Howard, as he polishes off a plate of eggs royale.
The album release was followed by a massive chaser of festival appearances – Glastonbury and Bestival among them – as well as a series of performances at We Love… Space, Ibiza. “They completely nailed it on the terrace last summer and I offered them a return date for this year on the spot,” says We Love… booker Mark Broadbent. And the Lawrence brothers were pretty keen to get back to The White Isle themselves. “It’s the place people travel to to hear great house music,” says Guy emphatically. “Playing the Terrace with people all around us was incredible.”
Now there’s a massive UK tour pencilled in for the autumn, a tour that will see them make the leap from playing to several hundred people in London’s Plan B to several thousand at Brixton Academy in less than a year. But surely all this success has turned the duo into a pair of rampaging mega-egos, intent on a path of self-destruction and brotherly brawling? Quite the contrary. Howard, who used to indulge in the odd beer, has become almost completely teetotal, while Guy – although more partial to a party – clearly has his head screwed on and an intense focus on the music. “I love going out and meeting new people all the time,” he says, “while Howard prefers to go home and read a book.”
While the likes of Daisy Lowe and Florence Welch flock to their shows, it’s props from major influences like Todd Edwards and Zed Bias that impress the brothers most. “We get people who were into garage first time around getting angry that people so young are making it, but then you meet people like Todd and they love what we’re doing,” says Howard. “You know, Skrillex was playing Latch in every set he played. He texted me saying, ‘I just played Latch and it was awesome!’ and I was like, ‘How the hell are you mixing that into a dubstep set?’” says Guy.
But what about album two? If the current house and garage revival casts off on its last voyage, will they be on board, or setting sail for pastures new? “I spent my entire teenage years listening to hip hop so the fact I’m making house now confuses the hell out of me,” says Guy. “I’ve got loads of hip hop beats and we’ve played our stuff to people like Kendrick Lamar and they’ve really liked it. We would have loved to have got a rapper on the album, so maybe next time round.” So could Disclosure be the next super-producer hip hop dream team? A Neptunes for the current decade? You wouldn’t put it past them.
To find out more about Hype, which hits the shelves every Wednesday, visit their Facebook page.
Du Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, 6.30pm, Dhs275. Tel: (800) 86823. Taxi: Yas Island. thinkflash.ae.