Disclosure Talks About Classing Up Dance, Mary J. Blige Collab and Next Album
Two brothers from the U.K. bring back a '90s sound and spin off hitmaking vocalists in the process.
"We like to have an element of class in our music," says Howard Lawrence of Disclosure. "That's what's lacking in today's chart music, I think."
The brothers Lawrence -- Howard, 19, and Guy, 22 -- have indeed classed up the joint since the release of their Grammy-nominated debut, "Settle," in May 2013, a collection of new music that sounded like it was hurtled from the dancefloors of the 1990s, belying their young ages. It landed on year-end top 10 lists in everything from finicky indie-music blogs to glossy fashion magazines, extending the dance music conversation beyond the frat boy neon of EDM.
And while it didn't set the charts on fire, peaking at No. 38 on the Billboard 200, it established the Brit-born Lawrences as tastemakers and fantastic A&R guys: 'Settle' was loaded with features that kicked off the careers of other young artists, including crooner Sam Smith and trio London Grammar.
Even Mary J. Blige couldn't resist the brothers' classic grooves, approaching them to cover "F for You," sung by Howard on the album.
"We said, 'Sure, whatever you want,' " he recalls. "She wanted to sing a new verse, so she sent us hundreds of vocals she thought might work. We sifted through them and had a great time." The new Blige-loaded version of "F for You" arrived in February.
Rifling through an icon like Blige's variations on your theme isn't a typical teenage experience - or even a common one in music. "It did feel slightly obscure," admits Lawrence with a laugh. But Disclosure has defied the norms, thanks almost entirely to "Settle"'s 14 songs, each of which has taken on its own life through a remix, video, performance or legendary duet. It's the rare mark of a great album.
After more touring in Europe, Australia, a stop at Coachella and two Disclosure-curated mini-festivals called Wild Life (in California and Chicago), the brothers will set about making a "Settle" sequel -- this time with heady expectations intact. "In late September we'll drop off the map and work on our second album," says Lawrence.
Will hipster lightning strike twice? With four ears this good, it's worth a hefty advance.