A Conversation With DUAL

December 4, 2020

Blending elements of electronica with live instrumentation, DUAL has an undeniable funk to their sound. A stand-out in the New Zealand scene DUAL has been beginning to build a buzz with their feel-good songs and epic live shows. After releasing a series of singles, DUAL has now dropped their latest EP ‘Lately I Don’t Know’.

We caught up with Jamie and Maurice from DUAL to chat about their new EP, production process, and playing live.

Check out the interview below.

So you’re gearing up to release your new EP, ‘Lately I don’t Know’, can you tell a little bit about the project?

Jamie: It’s kind of like a conglomeration of different songs we’ve been writing for a while. ‘Lately I Don’t Know’, ‘Honey’ and then a few more songs we’ve had for a while and have been playing live. They’ve been pretty well live tested and we’ve been working hard to get them sounding as good as we wanted them to. So pretty excited to release it. 

You’ve released a few singles leading up that have delved into different realms of electronica, what can we expect to hear throughout the project? 

Maurice: Similar sort of sounds to the other songs. They’re all sort of guitar-driven and are based around similar sounds. The two different ones on the EP would probably be ‘Honey’ and ‘Lately I don’t Know’ in terms of differences. 

The whole EP is self-produced, excluding ‘Honey’, can you tell me a bit about your production process as DUAL?

Jamie: Most of the songs we write are guitar and vocals. We get them sounding good and structured, if it sounds good on guitar and vocals it’s gonna sound good when we add more stuff to it. So, we usually start there. We work on the arrangement with the drums, bass, dropouts, and everything ourselves, and then take it into the studio and record it all. Then whatever stuff we’ve programmed as well and sent it off for mixing. 

Maurice: We’ve had quite a lot of control which is cool. We like to keep it that way.

You worked with Kody Nielson on ‘Honey’, what was that experience like?

Maurice: Yea it was wicked! We’re fans first, so just the fact we had the opportunity to work with him and hangout was very cool. He was great to work with and brought a lot to the track, his drumming and energy were amazing. It was cool.

You have a lot of self-produced songs so what is it like working with another producer in Kody?

Jamie: We’ve done it before with a few people. But with Kody, he’s an amazing drummer. We’re not drummers, so we arranged it on Logic and then took it to him. He reinterpreted the whole rhythm section and recorded the drums and he brought so much energy.

It’s always a back and forth with producers with the finer details.

I know you guys have an awesome live show, is that live-element something you have in mind when song-writing?

Maurice: I think definitely with these tracks on the EP. We’ve been writing a lot more recently because we haven’t been able to play live, so you’re conscious that the songs you are writing really need to be good live. So we definitely are.

Jamie: We’ve written songs in the past, when we first came up we were playing live so much so we were always able to test what would work. Like if a certain section dropped out and you’d lose the energy of the crowd. It’s been different not being able to test it live now, but we’ve played enough to see what works and what isn’t. 

Do you guys think you enjoy the live element more than the songwriting? 

Jamie: I think it’s completely different worlds. When you’re in the zone writing a song you can’t beat that.

Maurice: Yea.

Jamie: But then you also can’t beat when you’re playing live to a good crowd and everyone’s enjoying it. You can get lost in the flow-state. It’s kind of like the same thing, you get lost in it.

Maurice: Yea you really do.

Jamie: I can’t choose one or the other haha

Is there a track on the EP that is a personal favourite at all?

Jamie: My personal favourite is one called ‘My Way’. It hasn’t been released yet and it’s the first time we’ve made a concept song. We wrote it in the frame of mind where you turn up to a hotel in a foreign country and some mysterious Angelina Jolie character turns up. It’s all supposed to be mysterious like a Jame Bond thing.

Maurice: It’s almost like a spy meeting. It was our first time writing like a fantasy song. My favourite would probably be ‘Over And Over’, which is another new one actually.

Did you manage to play those live at all before lockdown? Or are they going to be played live for the first time at your upcoming show?

Jamie: ‘My Way’ we’ve never played live. So the first time is gonna be at the show. ‘Over and Over’ has been pretty well road-tested and has always done well which is cool.

What are your plans over Summer?

Jamie: We’re playing a show on Saturday at Lot 23. It’s quite a cool studio space, so we’re gonna get a smoke machine and lasers and go all out. Then we’re playing we love Aotearoa on the 19th of December and a bunch of shows early next year which will be fun.

In terms of the live show set up what does that involve?

Jamie: We have a drummer now! It’s always been me and Maurice, I play the guitar and he’s singing. We’ve used backing tracks to get that big electronic drums and bass. But we’ve got a Drummer, George, which has added a lot of life to set and made it a whole lot more dynamic. We can’t wait to do a full show with the new set up.

Do you think there’s going to be a tour on the cards?

Jamie: I think next year definitely!

You can check out ‘Lately I Don’t Know’ below.

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