Here’s what you need to know about Disclosure: they’re the sound of 2013 and they’re scarily young. Guy (right) is 21 while Howard (left) is just 18.‘I actually got kicked out of sixth-form college for doing this’, the latter says of the group. They’re fiercely talented and their fizzy mix of garage, house and infectious, tell-your-mates pop is bringing UK dance music back into the mainstream again. Remember the late ’90s? Prepare to feel old: ‘We missed garage the first time round. Guy was three and I was one,’ says Howard, without any cockiness. Looking cool but inconspicuous as they lob their stones, they’re still recognised twice in five minutes. It all bodes well for the release of their frankly incredible debut LP, ‘Settle’, which contains Number Two single ‘White Noise’. It’s destined to be the sound of the summer. Need more proof? They’ve been booked to play a staggering 39 festivals this year. I ask Guy, who still lives at home with his parents, if he’s prepared: ‘I’m going to be a changed man by the end of the year,’ he says, eyes open wide. ‘We both are.’
Though they’re on the decks tonight, Disclosure’s live show involves the pair variously playing guitars, keyboards and drums alongside kick-ass visuals. It puts them on a par with other dance acts with a flair for stagecraft like SBTRKT and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. While they’ll be making festival tents buckle and heave, the music itself was born in more sober surroundings – at their studio near home in Redhill, Surrey. ‘It’s quiet, it’s safe, nothing goes on there’ is Guy’s dry summary of their hood.
Redhill is, however, 45 minutes from clubs like Digital, which Guy would escape to, sometimes three or four times a week.‘Brighton was the first place where I started hearing electronic music other than dubstep,’ he says. ‘I used to go home and tell Howard that we had to make this stuff ourselves.’ One song in particular made Guy want to feed his younger brother’s head – Joy Orbison’s wildly influential single ‘Hyph Mngo’ from 2009: ‘I was like “Listen to this. It’s dubstep, but with chords and amazing samples, and it doesn’t have a big wubwub bass, but it still goes off!”’ Disclosure's 'You & Me' British producers like Orbison have been quietly reinventing music in the shadows for a while now. They’ve taken the soul of 2-step garage, the deep grooves of ’90s house and the bass of early dubstep and made something totally vibrant and new. What makes Disclosure significant is that they’re the first to take this uniquely British and underground sound to the masses, with bags of integrity still in hand.
Asked what gives them the edge, their answer is unequivocal: songwriting. ‘There are so many people whose productions I respect, but they don’t make full songs out of them, y’know?’ says Howard. ‘I think we both realised that if we wanted to connect with people, we had to be about writing songs with meaning behind them, not just production.’
Having a stellar cast of guest vocalists helps too. Among the scores of singers on ‘Settle’ are Aluna (of AlunaGeorge), Jessie Ware and Friendly Fires’ Ed MacFarlane. The last name still makes Guy glow: ‘It was weird, ’cos Friendly Fires are a huge, huge deal for me.’ He’s trumped by his more fanboy sibling: ‘I went to a Friendly Fires signing session once. I got there at, like, seven in the morning.’
During the conversation, another fantasy vocalist emerges. ‘The first show I ever went to was Seal at the Brighton Dome,’ Howard tells me, ‘and it blew my motherfucking mind. It was full of middle-aged women who held me up at the front, cos I was six, and I shook his hand. I was like “YEAH! SEAL”.’ The penny soon drops: ‘We need to get Seal on a track,’ says Guy animatedly, and Howard practically explodes: ‘That would be sick – why haven’t we thought of that before?’
The only man who gets the boys more excited than Seal, remarkably, is Debussy. Out of nowhere, the pair reveal a deep, genuine love of classical music, developed from A-level music classes. We talk for ages about augmented-7th chords, arabesques and why Bach has his limitations: ‘It’s all very to the book,’ says Guy. It’s a high point of an afternoon spent by the beach, but it also brings up one small note of regret – that Howard never finished his A-levels: ‘I was really pissed off. I loved the course. I was learning so much. If this winds down one day,’ he continues, ‘I’ll definitely go to university and study classical music.’ Luckily his brother sweetly suggests an alternative: ‘You could just pay for a tutor? Get a Steinway piano in your lounge and just play all day.’ Howard thinks for a second: ‘That’d be sick!’
Want more? Here are four more classic UK dance debuts
See Disclosure live
Disclosure, Rudimental, Sam Smith, George Ezra, Seth Troxler, Wu-Tang Clan, Annie Mac, Jamie xx, David Rodigan, Maya Jane Coles, Heidi + more.This new festival is an extension of Disclosure's Wild Life party series which toured the globe in 2014. It's now landed, as it were, in the glamorous setting of Brighton City Airport, where you can catch a superb selection of DJs and bands, all chosen by Disclosure themselves and Hackney crew Rudimental (both of whom will also perform live). There are plenty of top house and techno DJs – Seth Troxler, Maya Jane Coles, Jamie XX – poppier sounds from Sam Smith and George Ezra, plus the mighty Wu-Tang repping hip hop, with more acts to be announced. A very inviting new addition to the UK's festival calendar.Read more
Disclosure, The Prodigy, James Blake, Mumford And Sons, Sam Smith, Muse, Metronomy, Future Islands, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Django Django, Alt-J, James Bay, Tiga, Julio Bashmore, Breach, Mogwai, Azealia Banks, Chromeo + more. Formerly known as Optimus Alive, this ace Portuguese festival boasts a stonking, genre-straddling line-up with something to suit pretty much any taste under the sun – of which there should be plenty, considering the location. Some of the many big-draws on offer include UK house sensations Disclosure, quirky popsters Metronomy and Django Django, fuzz rock behemoths The Jesus and Mary Chain, prog rock superstars Muse and enduring electro-punks The Prodigy. There are also plenty of top beats to help you dance the night away, from the likes of Tiga, Julio Bashmore, Ten Walls, Breach and more. This should be one fine party.Read more
Led by cherubic actor/singer Olly Alexander, this trendy-looking three-piece are dead set for big success in 2015. Their soulful, bouncy choons draw heavily on ’90s house music, and should soon launch them into the chart stratosphere where they'll orbit alongside Disclosure and Clean Bandit.Read more
Paul McCartney, Disclosure, Florence + The Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Muse, Pharrell, Africa Express, Die Antwood, Jamie xx, The Gaslamp Killer, First Aid Kit, Hot Chip, Kygo, Nicki Minaj + more. This Danish powerhouse has been chugging along since 1971 and now stands tall as the largest north European music and culture festival on the circuit. Put simply, it's a huge, week-long beast. Despite the size, it's a surprisingly slick operation and as you'd expect, the line-up covers pretty much anything and everything – from global pop stars to underground dance dons – across an impressive eight stages.Read more
Disclosure, Rudimental, Caribou, Ben Howard, George Ezra, Wu Tang Clan, Nas, Mark Ronson, Grace Jones, FKA Twigs, Jungle, Hercules & Love Affair, Metronomy, Jessie Ware, Mark Ronson, Fatboy Slim, Everything Everything, Action Bronson, Madlib, Richie Hawtin, Annie Mac + more. No, not a Blur tribute festival but a huge two-day offering from a top notch Manchester production team offering a sterling mix of DJs and bands that leans more towards dancier endeavours – as shown by the presence of beat bigwigs like Disclosure, Rudimental and Fatboy Slim, plus electronica auteurs Caribou and James Blake. There's also majestic hip hop from two of the ’90s big hitters, Nas and Wu Tang Clan, and a smattering of electronic indie-pop from the likes of Metronomy and Everything Everything. It's located at the mammoth Heaton Park, several miles north of Manchester city centre.Read more
Muse, Disclosure, Of Montreal, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Mumford And Sons, Counting Crows, Future Islands, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Alt-J, Azealia Banks, Of Monsters And Men + more. Refreshingly fuss-free and rampantly eclectic, this three-dayer is held on a hill, surrounded by mountains but only a 30-minute drive from Bilbao. They've got form for booking big names that err on the alternative side of mainstream, and this year is no exception, with three big headliners (Muse, The Jesus And Mary Chain and Mumford And Sons) backed by plenty of indie action and local flavours, which you could also witness by driving down to nearby Pamplona for the running of the bullsRead more