We sat down with US Bass duo Duke and Jones following their latest collaboration [Trenches] with UK based artist Flowdan. The artists explain how they had always wanted to blend the UK sound with the US Bass scene, and working with Flowdan offered the perfect opportunity to fulfil that dream. Jones explains how the Trenches is an extension of that theme. The duo keen to produce a sound with a whole lot of sub bass so you could really “FEEL IT”.
Describing their music as the art of “less is more”; Duke points out how they make a lot of different genres, with the common theme to try and do as much as possible with the fewest amount of sounds. Further highlighting how they use silence itself as an instrument, from cutting off reverb tails early to create little gaps and a sense of stop-and-go. Allowing the artists to create breaks that are tuneful and catchy, and worth playing out in their own right.
Taking the Leap
The duo started their careers through studying music tech at school, and comparing their artistic creations. We started hanging out on the weekends making (pretty awful) Timbaland-inspired hip-hop beats together, and just having fun for quite a few years. There was a certain thrill in showing friends music we’d made, however bad it was. Duke goes onto point out how at the back of their minds the whole time they felt they wanted to “go pro” and see what they could make of it. This led to the duo taking their music seriously back in 2019, following completion of university, by which point the duo had amassed 10 years of experience of producing their own music. So it felt only natural for the pair to go full time.
“We grew up as massive Flowdan fans and used to love seeing him live at festivals, so it was really nice moment for us personally to have him on our track. I think it’s safe to say we’ve been inspired to make more music with rap vocalists from the UK, particularly in a UK bass style”. – JonesThe duo point to their manager as being their key inspiration. Referencing how he has always pushed them to work hard and try new things. In addition to their respective families who have been unwavering in their giving of time, space and support needed to grow their careers.
Working through Anxiety
Duke explains how they have both suffered from anxiety in pursuit of their music careers. Ranging from the pressure that accompanies making music, to dealing with lockdown. Resulting in a lack of drive and personal circumstances. “It’s a constant work in progress to handle it, but it’s important to respect the anxiety and treat yourself with compassion, rather than trying to force yourself through it. From that angle, it’s also really nice to be in a duo when you’re having an off day, and have somebody else to remind you that you’re doing fine!”
Duke further opens up how in pursuit of their careers, he found it especially difficult to stick with music while Isaac was away at university for three years, grinding away at music in his bedroom at his parents’ house every day without making very much money. “I definitely started to feel more pressure because I was getting to an age where I felt like I needed to have things figured out, especially given that Isaac’s degree was going to give him something to fall back on, whereas I was all in on music”.
Jones explains the key is to be patient! Going onto to highlight that it very, very rarely happens overnight and it could take years before you get anything close to a break. “It helps to have some confidence in what you make, but it’s important to be able to take constructive criticism without being offended – it’s the best way to learn and improve!”
Isaac explains that the duo have a host of new music in the works. With songs in production with iconic UK rappers, with remixes for big artists in the pipeline too. In addition to getting back into playing shows…#watchthisspace