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The certified dancefloor bangers of Duke Dumont have electrified clubland over the past few months. Just don’t call it a comeback.
Words Patrick Swift
Photos Carsten Windhorst
Formerly known for his prolific remix work for artists including Lily Allen, Mystery Jets and Bat for Lashes, 2012 saw Duke Dumont make a triumphant return with unadulterated party bangers including ‘The Giver’, ‘Thunder Clap’ and ‘Street Walker’, the latter of which featured on Erol Alkan’s ‘I Love Techno’ and Tiga’s ‘Non Stop’ compilations, as well as getting hammered by the likes of BBC Radio 1’s Heidi, Boys Noize and Switch. His dancefloor-destroying ‘For Club Play Only’ series is now the first port of call for those who want a piece of the ‘new jack techno’, where house and techno collide in a crescendo of bouncy yet fierce and unrelenting club ammunition.
Thirty-one-year-old Adam ‘Duke Dumont’ Dyment was born and grew up in Rayners Lane in Harrow, north-west London (“Jai Paul grew up a few streets away from me, and Ashley Beedle came from around there too”, he tells us). With supportive parents, and despite representing Great Britain at judo until he was 16, music was what stuck. His school days demonstrated his astuteness, if anything else. “My high school report sticks with me,” he recalls.
“I got all Cs, and the head teacher wrote ‘He knows exactly the amount of work he needs to do get by’.”
December 2006 was when Adam broke through after winning the Diesel U Music award, beating thousands of hopefuls to be named the best unsigned producer in the world. Before that he dropped out of university, and ended up composing ringtones in 2004. “I actually enjoyed it as far as day-to-day jobs go,” he says. “I used to sit there and recreate pop songs on a MIDI keyboard. It was like the film Karate Kid where he’s learning to paint the fence, at first he doesn’t understand, but later it all starts to make sense.”
For the past three years he has lived in the Hertfordshire countryside, away from the distractions of city life but not too far from London, the city he loves. “I’m more productive now because I’ve been able to strike a balance between the chaos of DJing at the weekends and then almost completely cutting myself off from the world during the week,” he says.
In 2007 his smash ‘Regality’ EP on Turbo followed the competition win. He wrote it just a few weeks after the competition. ‘The Dominion Dubs’ EP on Switch’s Dubsided label in August 2008 came next, until Adam’s ‘FabricLive 51’ mix was released in April 2010. He then came back with a bang in 2012 with ‘For Club Play Only Part 1’ in May, and ‘For Club Play Only Part 2’ in September, both of which hinged around house music with their pitched-down vocals, in parallel with other producers like George FitzGerald, Dusky and Huxley.
“I went quiet because I was busy trying to figure out which direction to take my music, but at the same time I did a hell of a lot of remixes. Everyone always asks me, ‘Where did you go?’ but It’s not as though I went away, I probably did too many remixes if anything.”
When Mixmag talks to the Duke he’s feeling the effects of playing at a sun-drenched Stereosonic festival in Australia, awaiting his return flight back to London
so he can crack on with his work before he jets off again to Zurich to play at a club called Blok. While he admits that he favours clubs over festivals, he’s happy playing out his own brand of jacking house music wherever it may be.
He comes across as a softly spoken, articulate person who does not want to over-analyse his music. “I’m very blinkered, to the point where I don’t know how successful it is,” he admits. “I’m very happy with how the last two EPs did, but I don’t listen back to my tracks, and what my music says about me is not for me to say.”
Adam is not one to rest on his laurels though, and the emphasis is on the future. He plans to continue his ‘For Club Play Only’ series, as well as start his own label, Blasé Boys Club. As labels increasingly become less about making money, he sees it as the ideal opportunity to push the music he really cares about. The Duke abides.
Duke Dumont ‘feat A*M*E ‘Need U (100%)’ is out March 4 on Blasé Boys Club