Disclosure: The Brothers BroadcastBy Chloe Nguyen
With electronic dance music booming in the mainstream, the majority of songs filed under the ever-growing genre are fist-pumping, womp-womp-laced beats on loop as opposed to artfully crafted, thoughtful tunes. The musicality that once defined the genre, it seems, is in short supply. English duo Disclosure, however, are a breath of fresh air. At only 22 and 19 years old, Guy and Howard Lawrence, the brothers behind Disclosure, just released their debut opus Settle, on which they deftly stitch together exciting elements of garage and two-step to pop vocal hooks for a sleek and supple sound.
But just because the vocal hooks are pop doesn’t mean Disclosure’s songs are similarly intended. “I feel like a lot of dance music isn’t necessarily ‘designed.’ It’s evolved into being made for the charts, whereas with our music we’re aiming for the underground,” Howard explains, slouching back in his chair in a conference room at Los Angeles’ mammoth Interscope Records building. “It’s almost an accident that it’s getting so much attention.” What isn’t an accident is how Disclosure came to be. The brothers boast an impressive musical pedigree: their father is a rock guitarist; their mother is a vocalist; their grandfather performs clarinet; their grandmother plays classical piano and directs choirs. (Guy jests that if all the musicians in the family joined Disclosure, “it would be a cross between house, choir, Christmas jazz and prog-rock.”)
With a musical heritage as rich as theirs, it’s no surprise that Guy began banging on pots and pans as a toddler. “I made a mess in the kitchen,” Guy says, a mischievous smile curling on his lips, “so my mom eventually bought me a drum kit.” Howard picked up bass and piano around the same age, and though the two were always encouraged to play music, their parents never urged them to write their own. “We’d listen to songs purely so we could learn them on our instruments,” Howard remarks, alluding to the basslines that drew him towards ’70s and ’80s funk and soul and ’90s R&B.