Walker & Royce are a DJ and producer duo coming from the mid 2000's house music scene in New York. Sam Walker and Gavin Royce made it official in 2011 and are now widely known for their unique signature sound on many dance floors and festivals across the world. The two are also one of the most promising talents on Dirtybird, having made multiple appearances at the iconic events like BBQ, Campout and more. Recently, WALKER & ROYCE teamed up with CHRIS LAKE on a brand new EP called “Close Your Eyes” which has been a massive success. Since their release of their debut album “Self Help”, the two has been touring nonstop. We got a chance to meet them before their performance at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco.
How did you both get started in music from the beginning?
Walker: What really changed it was when we started working together. Before we were working together I was producing stuff and worked for Ableton. It was always in the back of my mind but didn't really have the opportunity to make it go somewhere. I've been DJing for years and stuff and we worked on some new mixes together. The chemistry is really good and we've known each other for quite awhile. We haven't really sat down and worked on something before. At the time I had quit my job and I had this free time to start producing music. It started in 2011. It was kind of whatever at first and see what happens. Then things to start to actually happen, and then it gets really hard. You think it will be easy but it's not because it takes a long time.
Who or what is your biggest musical inspiration?
Royce: Obviously Prince was a huge influence on me in my childhood and spoke to me. I started listening to house before I even knew what house was. I was always into that stuff and it kind of just grew from there. My cousins from England would go to these raves and come home with these rave capes. I knew I was going to be doing something with music.
Describe to us your sound.
Royce: Funky, in your face, house music. Dramatic in a way that there's a lot going on with big and risky noises. It doesn't take itself too seriously. It's fun and it's for everyone.
Talk to us about your recent EP with Chris Lake called “Close Your Eyes”.
Royce: It was amazing working with Chris. He's been our friend. He expressed that he was a fan of us and we're a fan of him. He was like oh hey we should get in the studio one day and it actually happened with him. He works very fast which is impressive. He makes up his mind very quickly. He's like that's the best sound, that's the best bass line. We will take more time pondering about it, etc.
Walker: We didn't really have much time and he was like no no no come on lets go. He had something really basic in the beginning. Actually both tracks started from the same initial sort of set. The first track, “Dance With Me” the main part of it was there already. It was a combination of happy accidents and intentional moves. Every good track is a bit of a happy accident. That track blew up way bigger than we could ever anticipated. It went off.
How was it like working with ARDALAN from Dirtybird on “Escapade”?
Walker: Going into it we were like wow we're going to be working with Ardalan from Dirtybird.
Royce: Ardalan has never made a song we didn't like.
Walker: With both Chris Lake and Ardalan, although they're very different people but being able to work with these guys was incredible. We went over to his place, generated a whole bunch of sound from cool instruments. Some of the beats he made from using an app on his phone. So after generating a whole bunch of content, we went back and sort of wrote tracks and shared them back and forth.
You just got back from performing in Chicago, how was it?
Royce: Chicago is one of our favorite places to go. It really is, we love going to Chicago. I feel like every time we go to Chicago, we have a really great time and the next time we go back it's even better. It was fun, we did Mamby on the Beach which was a festival right there on the water. We did the after party which was a long extended set at Skybar. It was completely packed.
How has the touring been this year in general? What are you excited to be playing later on?
Royce: Touring has been crazy. Since our album we have been touring nonstop. We've only had a few weeks off total since last September. We're really happy we worked towards this and not to complain but traveling can be tiring sometimes.
Walker: Sometimes I will not know what day of the week it is. Just today I forgot we're here and I'm like where are we next week?
Do you have any upcoming releases you can share with us about?
Royce: There's some things on our Instagram. I like to tease or see the reaction of people later to see if we're doing a good enough job. We're working on something with Sophiegrophy. She's a featured artist on our album. She's a rapper from Melbourne who is insanely talented. We're going to work with her some more. We got a couple remixes in the pipeline that are set to release later this year. You know we're always working on original stuff.
Walker: Stuff that we're working on we'll put on our Instagram Stories.
Being from Brooklyn, NY, describe to us how music was there and how different it is compared to other parts in the U.S.
Royce: Yeah, I feel that New York follows a little more of a European vibe. It's the way the people are there. We definitely feel that the music is perceived a little bit differently than the rest of the U.S. The response is different, not in a bad way of course. It's hard to put your finger on it.
What is one thing you are currently obsessed with?
Walker: Westworld and cult documentaries.
Royce: I've been binge-watching Mad Men because I've never seen it before. I'm just going all the way through it. We got some new gear as well. On a personal note I have a newborn girl and her name is Kylie.