ENERGY (Deluxe)

ENERGY (Deluxe)

Nearly five years passed between Disclosure releasing their second album, Caracal, and this, their extraordinary third. “There’s a threshold you have to hit as an artist before you can take any substantial time away and people will still give a shit when you get back,” Guy Lawrence tells Apple Music. “After surpassing every expectation we had as an electronic music duo from Surrey, we felt we were probably—hopefully—in that position.” ENERGY justifies the Lawrence brothers’ sabbatical. It also justifies the all-caps title. The album is a carnival of bustling, stimulating sounds that takes in more genres than we’ve probably got room to list. “It’s the first time an album title relates to what’s on the record,” Howard says. “We just liked the word when naming Settle. Caracal is named after my favourite cat. This one is also generally just a bit more tactical than the others. We’ve now got a wider vocabulary. Our skills have progressed to the point where we can choose—like, Guy can choose to put together a French house tune, then I can say I want the chords to make me feel a certain way, and I have those chords available to me now. Before, I would just play all the chords I knew.” Allow the Lawrence brothers to talk you through their evolution with a track-by-track guide to ENERGY. Watch Your Step [Disclosure & Kelis] Guy Lawrence: “The whole track originated at the drum. I was messing around with a few breakbeats samples that I've collected over the last couple of years and pretty much just going through each one by one with Kelis. She gravitated towards it immediately because it took her right back to dance floors and house music. We wrote the whole song on that day in that room—with the drum looping super loud just building it up. We’d wanted to work with Kelis for literally 10 years. I had no idea what she’d be like and was feeling like I’d potentially be a bit intimidated, thinking back to the ‘Milkshake’ video. But she was the loveliest, most easy-going person—who had the most incredible London restaurant recommendations.” Howard Lawrence: “I couldn't hear the breakbeat without hearing that bassline. The premise of the song is around being in the club and being there for you. You’re not there to show off or anything. There’s no ego involved. You’re just there to have a moment. Then as the song develops, you clock that someone else in the room is having their own moment, so you share a moment together.” Lavender [Disclosure & Channel Tres] HL: “It was the first time we’d actually worked with a US rapper. We hadn’t met Channel before he turned up, and he was very quiet and a quite a shy person initially. We think he may have been a bit high. But we obviously knew his tunes so got talking about music quickly and it became really easy. It was definitely the first time I helped write rap lyrics. I think initially Channel might have found it quite weird that I was coming out with some ideas he liked. I’m obviously not a rapper, but lyrics—whether they’re rapped or not—are still lyrics. It’s like poetry. It actually felt easier because I was getting to expore ideas I could never normally. It was a very freeing writing experience.” GL: “We ended up choosing an idea that I had on my iPad, actually. I’d been using some apps for making loops and drums. Then Channel pretty much started rapping and making noises and we created the bassline organically from there.” My High [Disclosure & slowthai] GL: “It’s the only song that has two separate artists on it. The first session with Aminé [who raps the first verse] had some crazy energy. We were pretty jet-lagged and had drank about five coffees.” HL: “As soon as the bassline came in, Aminé just sung the hook fully, straight away. So we went off for lunch and while we were out he’d written the lyrics for his verse.” GL: “It was the tune that cemented the album title and the concept. We came into the studio with nothing, and each played to our strengths. Howard did the bassline, I did the drums, Aminé did the rapping, and it all just worked so harmoniously. It was like we were covering a tune that already existed. We then realised there was a way to bring even more energy to the song—and that was to go to slowthai. We put the song on a loop for five minutes for him and then said he was ready to go. He and Aminé were already friends, so I think that chemistry between them is easy to hear.” Who Knew? [Disclosure & Mick Jenkins] GL: “This song sort of captures a kind of feeling Howard and I have had through our early Disclosure career. We’ve basically been making things that we weren’t the most knowledgeable about at that point. I played drums and guitar, Howard played bass and keys, and we were both interested in songwriting. It’s not like we had a big education in garage and house. We were children when that scene came through. So we had a basic knowledge, but were still able to carefully or almost by accident—I’m not sure which—influence our own sound with it. This is what happened here, I think. I wanted it to sound authentically old and very spacey. We asked Mick outright if he knew UK garage. He didn’t, so we literally played him a few tunes at the top of a garage playlist on Apple Music. The basics that everyone should know. He liked the tempo and the swing, and for him, it was exciting because he was discovering a new genre.” HL: “It was a very educational experience for everyone. I didn’t know Mick could sing like this. When you work with singers, they often want to fill every gap with coals. Because Mick’s first and foremost a rapper, he doesn’t have that problem. For him—and us—it’s more based on feeling and texture.” Douha (Mali Mali) [Disclosure & Fatoumata Diawara] HL: “Fatoumata Diawara is a Malian artist, and she featured on ‘Ultimatum’ [2018 single]. When we approached her about using the sample for that track, fortunately she loved what we did and sent us over all her a cappella tracks and told us we could do whatever we wanted with it. So we made this song, not really knowing what we were splicing together lyrically. We sent it over to Fatoumata to get her blessing, and also to discover what we’d created. Fortunately, we’d created a song that lyrically is a celebration of Mali. Every line is a variation on ‘The people of Mali are good’, which we were delighted about.” Fractal (Interlude) GL: “There was a lot of back-and-forth about whether we needed interludes. Howard and I pushed for them as we’ve got such a variety of genres, tempos and languages that these instrumental moments act as a nice palate cleanser. All our favourite albums have them—and without them, we worried that the record could feel like a playlist, or a collection of singles. My goal with this one was to see how J Dilla I can go. I wanted to just channel his energy.” Ce n'est pas [Disclosure & Blick Bassy] GL: “This was the closest thing to a jam we’d done in a really long time. Me on drums, Howard on bass, Blick ad-libbing vocals. His vocals are obviously layered group vocals on the final thing, but every word is the first thing he sang on each take. He just followed our lead in an unreal way.” HL: “I speak a small amount of French so understood a few words here and there and asked Blick what he was actually talking about here. ‘Nothing, bro!’ he replied. Some of it is French, some of it is the local Cameroonian language he spoke growing up and most of it is just beautiful, melodic scatting. I’ll write a melody and sometimes fill in gaps with some nonsense before going back and filling it in with actual lyrics. Blick doesn’t do any of that. He just leaves things as a vibe. It’s brilliant.” ENERGY GL: “We were so happy to reunite with Eric Thomas. He’s a motivational speaker, podcaster, author and minister who we sampled on ‘When a Fire Starts to Burn’ [from 2013 debut album Settle]. He’s an MC without even knowing it. We spent a lot of time worrying about where to put this track as it’s such a punch in the face, but we think we got it right. I had been messing around with library records for a while. I got a nice hook-up with a couple of the guys at the Bruton Music library in London. They’ve got everything from cheesy TV and radio jingles to rainforest noises to traditional Irish folk songs. They also sent me over a huge folder of African and Brazilian tribal drums, and I instantly found things I wanted to chop up and find a vocalist to match that energy.” HL: “The reason Eric’s sample came about for ‘When a Fire Starts to Burn’ was because we wanted to work with a rapper, but didn’t know any rappers. Or how to get hold of any rappers. So I quite literally typed ‘Detroit man speaking’ or ‘Chicago man speaking’ into Google and after a lot of weird shit, stumbled across Eric’s motivational speaking. After that one, we were convinced everyone would start using Eric samples. But they haven’t, so we thought, ‘Fuck it, we’ll do it again.’” Thinking 'Bout You (Interlude) GL: “I pretty much picked this sample [‘You’re Still the One’ by Copperpenny] because it was usable. I wanted to learn more about chopping and how I could manipulate that sample in with the drums. Could I, basically, make something that’s soft, that’s so tender work with an absolutely slamming beat?” Birthday [Disclosure, Kehlani & Syd] GL: “Originally it was just Syd. She’s so relaxed, really chilled, and used to be an engineer so is a dream to work with in a studio. She set up her own mic, basically recorded herself. It’s probably the oldest song on the record—we wrote it in 2018. I love how it’s almost two-step garage, but it’s got a dubstep kind of tempo and it’s almost R&B. It actually has a kind of old-school Disclosure sound going on. We took the song home from LA to London and realised it would sound pretty cool as a duet. Syd was down, but insisted it had to be a girl. She suggested Kehlani, and we were obviously totally up for that but also thought it might just be the sort of thing that people occasionally say and nothing ever happens. Then a week later, it was done.” HL: “We normally hate working remotely. We always want to be writing together so we can creatively collaborate, because we’re very particular. But then Kehlani sent her verse over, it was so perfect and there was literally nothing I could change. I tried, to be fair, but I was making it worse. So we made an exception, just for Kehlani.” Reverie [Disclosure & Common] HL: “After recording the song, we read Common talking about how this was the first time in his entire career that he had written lyrics with someone else. I couldn’t believe it, but he later told me that he normally writes everything in his car while he drives. He also never writes anything down, and this was one of the only times he’d written lyrics down. And thinking back, I definitely remember getting the sense that he thought I was weird for writing everything down into my iPhone. But writing with him was just an absolute dream come true. He was so humble, introduced himself to everyone in the studio and was genuinely surprised we knew so much of his music. It feels like a great song to end on, because, again, it captures the energy of the project. Common had never worked in our way, we’d never worked in his, but we were all open to all of it. Let’s go.”

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