Interview by Tiffany Lam. Last month, I had the pleasure of catching up with Guy and Howard of Disclosure in Toronto and chatted about being brothers, touring, Holy Ship, and some of their favourite things. They were such humble guys, very well-versed and mature for their young age, and they were definitely different from many electronic artists around lately. It was such a pleasure to interview them, and the live show and visuals were absolutely mind-blowing. A Disclosure live show is definitely something you don’t want to miss.
Check out the lengthy exclusive interview below!
TL: Disclosure. Where did that name come from?
Howard: Really boring story. We needed a name for our MySpace page and Guy was filling out his car insurance and it said Disclosure on it, and we thought it was a good word and it stuck.
TL: So if you were to rename your group something else, what do you think that would be?
Guy: Haha I think the reason we called it Disclosure was so we’d never have to do that; I’m really bad at naming names of bands.
H: Megatron? Is that taken?
G: That’s the thing, everything’s been taken. There wasn’t many ‘Disclosure‘s out there, so that was helpful.
TL: I heard you guys started playing music pretty young, and that your parents were also a bit of musicians as well. Is this true?
H: Yeah, they were both professional musicians. They had music all around the house all the time, so we were just encouraged to play music from a really, really young age. I think that’s definitely why we do it now.
TL: Being brothers, how is it like working with a family member? You know, being a musical duo traveling everywhere together… Do you guys ever get sick of each other?
H: I think it’s fine. People often think we argue all the time but we don’t really spend that much time with each other on tour; we travel with about 12 members as a crew so there’s a lot of space to just socially move around. It’s nice.
TL: I also heard that your parents toured in Canada a lot. Did you guys ever get to visit Canada back then?
H: Our dad did. He was in a rock band and they toured Canada for like 6 months at one point; it was pretty serious touring. But that was much before we were born, when he was maybe just older than us now. This is our 3rd time in Canada; we’ve done Toronto, Montreal, we’ve done a few shows.
TL: Has there ever been any time for some sightseeing or is it usually just tour, tour, tour?
G: Yeah, usually just in and out. Canada’s always right in the middle of the tour, or at the start and then we have a couple days off here. We had last night – went to the cinema, haha.
H: That’s about it.
G: Saw the CN Tower. Didn’t go up it yet, but I’d like to.
TL: Now tonight, Toronto gets kind of like a Disclosure double feature — there’s a live show here at the Danforth Music Hall, and then a DJ set right after at the Hoxton, which are both sold out. Can you maybe elaborate a bit on what these two back-to-back shows will be about?
H: Well tonight here we’re playing a live show – so that’s with all our instruments and all our production, playing all our own songs. Then we’ll go over there and DJ, playing other people’s songs too.
TL: Any favourite songs to play live?
H: To play live? I think it changes depending on what’s recently been added to the set. We added “Apollo” just before we finished the last tour and I think that’s probably it because we’re least used to playing it, so it’s more exciting.
G: It also depends on the crowd and which song is biggest where. Here when we play You and Me people always go absolutely crazy, whereas in the UK it’s more “Latch” or “White Noise”. Those are definitely still crazy here as well but it’s nice to get the response changing where you go. We kind of look forward to that moment.
H: Especially in Australia, “When A Fire Starts To Burn” is by far our biggest song, for some reason, so that one’s huge out there and not really that known anywhere else, haha.
TL: Favourite aspect of being on the road?
G: Hmm… Playing shows I guess. I mean, a lot of it is just traveling and not sleeping very much, but it’s a very minor problem compared to how great playing shows, partying and meeting people, basically. I love meeting people and especially other artists as well. We just did this thing called Holy Ship which was really, really fun. Just hanging out with our mates the whole three days, in with the crowd as well around the boat, meeting really cool people and playing shows. That’s the best.
TL: What would you guys say your proudest or best moment is so far? For Disclosure.
G: Having a #1 album in the UK was amazing. Being nominated for a Grammy as well, and the BritAwards. All those things, you know, cause when we started making music or making the album we didn’t have a single conversation that was like, “Let’s try to win an award here, I think we can do it!”. It was literally like, just having a laugh and making music for fun. And yeah the awards are just a nice biker up, and cause we worked so hard last year doing like 50 festivals and tour after tour… It’s almost you know, it’s worth it. Everyone appreciating our work, it’s a really good feeling, especially getting the Grammy’s – that’s crazy.
TL: Who are your favourite artists right now?
G: My favourite producer right now is Kaytranada, who’s from Montreal actually I think, so that’s cool.
H: Yeah, me too. We went to see him play recently on Holy Ship!.
G: He’s done a remix of one of our songs called “January”, and he also has a tune called “At All”, and the video is him hanging out with these body building women. You’ll find it, it’s funny. He’s a really nice guy and his production’s really, really good.
TL: Biggest music guilty pleasure?
H: We need to come up with better answers for this question.
G: I quite like Kylie Minogue – “Slow”. I think that’s a really underrated song. It was a massive tune, but I don’t think the house world really appreciated how house-y the production is and it’s absolutely great. And the video is just her lying around on a towel, it’s a really good one.
TL: What are your biggest pet peeves? You know, something that grinds your gears.
H: Oh right, so we stayed in this hotel here last night, and there was a party going on in the room next door… that’s it. What’s going on in the room next door. Hate it.
TL: Is it because you’re not being invited, or?
H: No no, it’s just cause I want to go to bed.
G: Soooo boring, it’s unbelievable.
H: No, come on I mean, anything keeping you awake is my pet peeve. Sleep’s valuable on tour, haha.
G: Mine would be crying children, yeah. I’m not good with kids, haha.
TL: Best meal on tour this year?
G: The best meal I’ve probably ever had would be when we went to Abu Dhabi for this DJ set over December, and I took my best friend out cause it was his birthday and we went to Marco Pierre White’s restaurant. He taught Gordon Ramsay to cook; he’s like a legend. We went to his steakhouse… best steak.
H: Probably the sushi that we ate in Japan, I’ve just never had sushi as good as that before. I’ve never really had sushi before that to be honest, but I haven’t been able to match it. Much different than sushi in a box.
G: I know we had sushi in Las Vegas and their idea of it was something like pork belly wrapped in rice.
H: I mean it was delicious, but not really authentic.
TL: How would your mom describe your different personalities?
G: I’m more extrovert, Howard’s more the introvert, more chill. Howard likes to play a show, go out and make a tune, read a book, go to bed. I like to play a show, do a shot, go out. It works for us, haha.
TL: Is that how your friends would also describe you guys?
G: Definitely, everyone knows Howard’s the chill one.
TL: Most private thing you’ll admit?
G: There’s not a lot of private stuff out there, which is great! Haha. I’ve said in a few interviews I used to do gymnastics. Howard used to say I did ballet as well, which is not exactly true but I did used to do dance.
H: I’m qualified to instruct wind surfing.
G: But that’s not a bad thing.
H: But it’s private. She didn’t say it had to be embarrassing.
G: Well, now I’ve just embarrassed myself for no reason there then, haha.
TL: A bit like the last question, is there anything your fans would be surprised to know about you both?
H: I think a lot of fans would be surprised to know which one of us is called Howard and which one is called Guy. We often get people at front row and they’re like, “GUY!!” at me, and I’m like “Noo… over there!”
G: The age comes up often too. Especially on Holy Ship, people often asked [Howard] “Are you the older one?”. It’s cause I can’t grow a beard. Big brother thing, I can’t grow a beard! There’s a private thing.
TL: If you ever found yourself running from the police, it would most likely be for…
H: This is a dangerous question, let’s think carefully, haha.
G: I don’t think I’ve gotten into one fight ever. I don’t really get naked that often, especially outside, so nudity wouldn’t be one.
H: I don’t get naked outside [either], no. I got chased by the police once with all my friends because a guy handed me a bottle of, what I thought was beer or something. He was like “Can you hold this while I do up my shoe?” and as he did up his shoe, he ran off. Then the police turned up and saw me with this thing, I still don’t know what it was but they shouted “HEY!” so I just dropped it and left. Still don’t know what that was about… Quite like to know, if anyone’s got any input.
G: Oh I know one for that one. Trespassing. I used to go to this place with my mates near where we live, which was something like the biggest abandoned mental asylum in the UK. We used to break in there and go look around. There were still beds and stuff of mental patients, really creepy. Went there on Halloween a couple times and there’d be dogs in there that’d scare you. It was really good fun. It’s all been knocked down now but it was really, really cool.
TL: Last question: What are some plans for 2014?
H: We’re touring until late September time, so we won’t have much time for writing really, but we’re doing bits and bobs, and then once we stop then we’re going to work on the next record for the next 6 months.
G: There will be music released before then though, especially with and for other people, just not in album format. I’ve been doing a lot of producing for people as well and Howard’s been writing with people like Sam Smith for his album. We’ve kind of just been more working with other people rather than solely on Disclosure stuff. It’ll be out fairly soon.
T: No plans to take time off or anything like that?
G: Nah. We had a bit of December off, but I feel fine.
H: All ready to go again.
Interview / Photo by Tiffany Lam. Check out more interviews from our spring Issue #17 here!