[ARTIST INTERVIEW] Are Walker & Royce Mastering the Art of Funk?

[ARTIST INTERVIEW] Are Walker & Royce Mastering the Art of Funk?

[ARTIST INTERVIEW] Are Walker & Royce Mastering the Art of Funk?

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/WALKER & ROYCE/

New York City’s Walker & Royce might be house music’s most mercurial duo. It’s as if every time they give listeners a glimpse into their modus operandi, their style takes a complete 180. Their release of “I.T.B” in July catapulted them to stardom in the house music community. DJs like Claude Vonstroke, Justin Martin, Eats Everything, and a flock of other birds dropped the tune in their sets. The song’s vocal sample, which features the repetition of the phrase “In the Butt,” coupled with its tribal backbone, made it a staple for the quirky and off kilter Dirtybird roster. The tune was so massive that Dirtybird head honcho himself, Claude Vonstroke, even included it in his “History of Dirtybird” set during the Dirtybird BBQ in Detroit, a mere two months after the track’s initial release. So, what is this recent frenzy all about? We caught up with Walker & Royce before their Miami Music Week performances to ask them about their newfound acclaim.

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You guys recently had the chance to support Get Real at a few shows in LA, Brooklyn, Detroit, and elsewhere. What is like opening for some of the most influential players in tech house in 2017?
Gavin: Its a very big honor for us and the fact they invited us makes it even more special. Every show was sold out and amazing! We learned a lot being on the road for a few days with such legends.
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Did you guys have a vision of getting picked up by Dirtybird from the start or is it something that happened organically? It seems like your sound has shifted slightly in the past two years towards the Dirtybird aesthetic that Justin Martin and Barclay Crenshaw have pioneered?
 Gavin: We never set out with the intention of getting on Dirtybird, they actually came to us about being on the label after our remix of Bright Lights was released. We have been fans for years but actually thought they had a solid crew and weren’t looking for other artists. Our sound has shifted a bit but it wasn’t intentional, we just keep writing what we think is forward thinking and cool.
Sam: In the beginning it wasn’t even on our radar because we had no idea things would take off! We were in that universe pretty early on though, with our records on Pets. Justin picked up Sister and was playing it a lot and that’s where the relationship really took off.
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What was it like going from relatively underground artists to seeing tracks like “Hit Dem Draws” and “I.T.B.” being played all over the world? Did you expect to get such a reaction from those tracks?
Sam: We almost didn’t let ITB out of the studio, hahaha But then we started playing it and it always crushed. Hit Dem Draws, kind of the same thing. we never know what will happen until we play something live.
Gavin: Its an amazing feeling! We never know what is going to hit with people and what wont. Years back we released a track called Connected on Off Recordings. Solomun played it in all his sets that summer and it ended being a “Ibiza anthem” that year. We didn’t even find out for months that he was playing it.
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You guys recently remixed Justin Martin’s track “The Feels” on his latest album Hello Clouds. Is there any pressure when you’re remixing a producer with as much credibility and ingenuity as a guy like Justin?
 Sam: Yes!!!
 Gavin: Of course there is. Justin is one of the people responsible for our recent success and we have looked up to him since before W&R was even a idea. We needed that remix (for ourselves mostly) to be one of the best things we have ever done.
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We’re coming up on the annual Dirtybird throw down event in Miami, what is it like to be a part of such a tight knit collective of artists? Do you feel like you guys joined sort of a family?
 Gavin: It has literally changed our lives, we finally feel like we belong somewhere in dance music. The whole thing happened really naturally so nothing feels forced and there is no extra pressure that is unnecessary
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On that note, what was it like to play the Dirtybird Campout in Silverado?
Gavin: Its the best festival in America hands down. I know I’m biased but it really is. Its the only party I can stay at all 3 days and not go crazy. Such amazing family vibes!!!!
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Is there any specific direction you guys would like to take your music in 2017?
 W&R: Too The MOOOOON!!!!
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The year 2017 begs a lot of questions. Will Donald Trump be impeached by congress? Will Elon Musk send a rover to mars? More importantly, will Walker & Royce play back to back with Eats Everything on the moon? Some of these might never be answered, but one thing we do know is that Walker & Royce are absolutely smashing dance floors with their latest releases. The duo’s convergence of tribal drums, quirky vocal samples, and heavy hitting bass lines seems effortless and their newest releases are solidifying them as dance musics funkiest house duo. Needless to say, there are big surprises in store for those that keep up with Walker & Royce.
Walker & Royce

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