Over the past few years, London based producers Nick Harriman and Alfie Granger-Howell, better known as Dusky, have become synonymous with the UK House and Techno scene.
With a production career spanning over ten years and their critically acclaimed sound being lauded by contemporaries such as Jamie Jones and Sasha, to current commercial royalty Calvin Harris, school friends Nick & Alfie have successfully established themselves as leaders in the industry.
Here we attempt to get behind the decks and into the mysterious minds responsible for tunes like Flo Jam and spreading their sound around the world with shows from Melbourne to Miami.
Hey guys, first things first – how did the name ‘Dusky’ come about?
N: It took us quite a while to create it! We had a project before, ‘Solarity’ and when we started working on tracks we were unsure whether to release stuff under that name or not. We spent months working it out. We wanted a word that wasn’t being used by anyone else, a word that was catchy, and we came up with ‘Dusky’. It relates back to ‘Solarity’ as it’s to do with light, so there is a slight connection, but it was just because it sounded catchy!
You appear to have mastered both performing and producing, but which do you prefer?
N: Both. We’ve been producing, as well as performing, for about the same amount of time and they go hand in hand, I can’t imagine doing one without the other. They’ve both got an enjoyable side. The balance we’ve got at the moment is good – we’re able to perform at the weekends and keep our heads down during the week and focus on writing stuff.
Well that was a cop out. You’re playing some amazing venues at the moment but would you say you’ve ever had a nightmare of a set?
A: We haven’t had a bad one for years. We’ve both paid our dues and played a lot of parties where we’ve ended up playing the graveyard shift at five or six in the morning when there’s about two people left. Not particularly fond memories but luckily I don’t think we’ve had a bad gig for a long time.
Yeah, I’m usually one of the two people left. Any pre-set rituals?
A: It depends on the gig – sometimes, if we have no delays, we get there early and drink and dance or if it’s a late set, sometimes even have a nap before we go on!
A nap!? In light of Alex Turner’s recent speech about Rock and Roll at the Brits – what’s the most Rock and Roll thing you’ve ever done?
A: We’re not divaish and we don’t have the right to act like that – those that do, that’s their prerogative. We’re in quite a well-paid job and we’re very fortunate.
Rock and Roll is dead. You’ve received some pretty big plaudits over the years. Are there any up and coming acts you want to back for this year?
N: Someone we always say is Paleman, from Manchester, who releases stuff on 81. Excited to hear what he’s got to offer this year.
Who would you class as your influences?
N: We always get asked this question and it’s a difficult one as our influences are constantly changing. Anyone I really admire at the moment, I might not in six months, or even in a week. It’s difficult to pin point one artist.
A: It’s easier to say that we’re fans of all forms of music and try to listen to as much stuff as possible.
You two are very non-committal. Anyone you find over rated?
N: Yeah, a lot of the EDM guys.
Yes! Fed up of hearing them?
N: No, because I don’t listen to commercial music really. Oh, actually in a taxi for a few hours on the way to the airport, the driver had a commercial EDM station on and I must have heard that Avicii song about 12 times. I was almost in tears, it was horrible. I’ll be happy never to hear that again.
Chibuku – Saturday 18th October
Arts Club – Liverpool
Doors: 23.00 – 04.00
£16 NUS / £18 general
Originally published for OPEN Magazine.