"We wake up and our life is surreal..." Why music is following Disciples
The South London trio of Disciples – Nathan Vincent Duvall, Gavin Koolmon, and Luke McDermott – have established themselves among the biggest names in house music – but the boys still have big ambitions
How did you each get into music?
Duvall: I met Gavin in college many moons ago. Not going to tell you how many moons but we were the only two people on our course who were into similar music. We were into House and Hip-Hop, while everyone was into grunge which was pretty big at the time. We then ended up in the recording studio when we should have been playing football. We ended up remaking classic House tunes and classic Hip-Hop beats like 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’. We took that passion and continued to write and produce together.
A couple of years later, I met Luke and he was also into music and we decided to team up. Originally, we were working on each other’s projects individually, so working on three projects at once which we thought was long. In the end we thought why don’t we put it all together, which is when we formed Disciples and within a few months of us forming, we got a major label record deal.
How would you describe your sound?
Boundary pushing. Futuristic. It’s just a cacophony of messes put together by three people who just love all different types of music. You’re never going to get the same track twice from us and we hope our music stands the test of time because of that fact.
What’s been the most surreal moment of your journey so far?
All three of us have individual ones but I think I can speak for everyone and say doing Jimmy Fallon live in New York with Calvin Harris for ‘How Deep is Your Love’. Also BPM Festival in Mexico which was pretty crazy. ‘On My Mind’ recently just going platinum is pretty surreal too. We wake up and our life is surreal, so we take each day as it comes and try to enjoy the journey.
Why the name Disciples?
There’s the truthful story and the one we like to tell people, so here’s the true story. We used to work out of my studio in Shoreditch and every time I went to go and get some lunch, I used to lock the studio and make sure the guys had to come with me, following behind. One day I took a picture and posted it on my socials which has now been taken down because the guys made me. I hash-tagged it ‘My Disciples’ because they were following me wherever I went, and the name stuck.
We physically fight in the studio until one of us wins and that’s how we choose the right hi-hat or kick drum
What’s your favourite part of the creative process?
The fights. We physically fight in the studio until one of us wins and that’s how we choose the right hi-hat or kick drum.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
M.I.A. would be a cool shout. Gorillaz would be cool. Coldplay is one of Duvall’s all-time favourite bands and it would be great to see what A$AP Rocky could do on a house record.View on Instagram
Do you ever disagree when it comes to music?
All the time! That’s why it sounds like a mess. But you know what, we never disagree on the quality of the final product. We’re always in agreement when it’s finished but during; we go left turn, right turn, upside down. And that’s how we come up with what I think is really cool music. It’s all three of our minds put together rather than just one person.
Was there pressure to follow a track as successful as How Deep Is Your Love?
There was pressure from everyone else apart from us. Our label obviously wanted us to follow suit and try get another big record. But to be honest we said to each other that we needed to continue building. We had released ‘They Don’t Know’ which became an underground anthem and suddenly crossed over and it hit No.24 on the Official Charts. We wanted to continue building that, which is why we released the ‘Mastermind’ EP pretty much soon after. I think that’s been the best decision we made because it’s allowed us to still have our feet in the underground Ibiza world. At the same time, we can release bigger records like ‘On My Mind’ and still have that foundation there.
Do you have a piece of gear that you couldn’t live without?
Duvall: I couldn’t live without my laptop. There’s a plug-in called CLA vocals and it’s made by a guy called Chris Lorde. It’s my go-to plug-in, I put it on everything.
We can potentially become a stadium act to be fair, hearing what we’ve got coming up musically
When it comes to style, what are your favourite labels and designers and why do you like them?
We all have quite different styles that work well together, we’re quite individual in that respect. My studio is based in Shoreditch, and for me Shoreditch is a hub for new designers and creative people. There’s a shop called Twin Diverse which is located on Brick Lane that has the sickest stuff. I’m not sure if it’s unisex but I still wear it anyway. Gavin likes All Saints. Luke has a mixture of stuff, he has a Hip-Hop swag to what he wears, mixed with fitted jeans.
We’re label people in terms of individuality but not necessarily big brands, but we wouldn’t mind wearing Balenciaga’s if we got them.
Which of you is the most stylish?
Duvall: There’s only one person that wears Kaftans so let’s say me.
Which emerging artists should we be looking out for?
Dermot Kennedy, we think he’s sick. He’s not really emerging but not many people know about him. You know why? He’s got this Irish folk vibe but also mixes it with Hip-Hop influences.
If you were interviewing yourself what question would you ask?
‘Where’s the album?’
What are your remaining ambitions?
I really believe that we can potentially become a stadium act to be fair, hearing what we’ve got coming up musically. Hearing the way we can dance in and out of a few different worlds and keep the music credible. It just feels like a natural progression to take this to the bigger leagues. Also, to push house music forward is the biggest ambition. What we must do to get there is to make what we love, and I think we’re doing well.