Before 2012 Duke Dumont was known as a ‘producer’s producer’. He was the name on a 12” record the DJ knew to reach for when he wanted to please the crowd, without them knowing who had constructed the mesmerising sonic confection they were dancing to.
In 2012, two EPs on Tiga’s Turbo Recordings (with whom Duke has had a long standing relationship) changed all that. ‘For Club Play Vol. 1 & 2’ offered up sweet ecstatic deep house & UK bass cuts that have united people across the spectrum of music, from early club adopters like Annie Mac, Erol Alkan, Diplo, Martyn and Jackmaster to Fearne Cotton on daytime Radio 1, Trevor Nelson on 1xtra and even podcasts by Tiesto and Avicii. On some nights in Duke’s beloved Fabric London, you would hear the anthemic ‘The Giver’ being played in all three rooms at the same time.
Duke’s early career was mentored by Switch (last sighted producing for Beyoncé) and he made his name as the ‘go-to’ man to remake a pop song for the dance floor (Lily Allen and Bat For Lashes were notable clients). In 2011, he moved out of London to the countryside (Hertfordshire, where his studio overlooks a forest) to focus on his original material.
Synthesizing his influences from techno to UK garage and house he brought back goodies from this zen-like exile. ‘For Club Play Only Vol. 1’ was released in April 2012 on Turbo. With ‘Street Walker’ and ‘Thunderclap’ on there, it alerted the heads to the Duke movement and received support from the likes of Jamie Jones and Simian Mobile Disco.
Remixes for AlunaGeorge and Santigold quickly followed, then in August ‘For Club Play Only Vol.2’ featuring ‘No Money Blues’ and ‘The Giver’ made Duke the man to watch. ‘The producer’s producer’ had become the ‘people’s producer’.
‘Need U (100%)’ features 17 year-old starlet A*M*Eon singing duties. With a chunky low-end, funky stabs and silky vocals this is like an early 90s house classic couched in 2013 techno techniques. In 1988 Inner City would have been jealous of this one.
Co-written by teenage wonder-kid MNEK (who recently sung on Rudimental’s ‘Spoons’ with [artistSyron) the Duke released ‘Need U (100%)’ in March 2013 on his newly minted Blasé Boys Club label, where it topped the UK charts for two weeks.