As the quest for '90s-sounding house music continues, along comes Duke Dumont’s ‘Need U (100%)’. Sort of Gat Décor’s ‘Passion’, Daryl Pandy’s ‘Sunshine & Happiness’ and Inner City’s ‘Good Life’ all rolled into one, this deep house massive is so accessible it hurts. A seductive male humming vocal, clanging, bouncy Clavia keys, lightly clattering house beats and a great soulful vocal from singer AME, this tune has classic written all over it from the very first listen. As likely to appeal to the Hed Kandi crowd as the more underground Jamie Jones set, ‘Need U (100%)’ is set to be the latest dance track to bust into the charts — as dance music continues its unstoppable mainstream takeover.
‘Need U (100%)’ follows up the Duke’s 2012 EP for Tiga’s Turbo imprint that boasted yearning deep house cut ‘The Giver’ and ‘No Money Blues’, a blissed-out, shimmering house track that could’ve been straight from Murk’s studio or on seminal US deep house labels like Naked, Wave or Chez. Duke Dumont has come a roundabout way to deep house stardom. He tells DJ Mag that it was “Passion and UK garage” that got him into dance music in the first place, referring to the madcap Coalville nights in Leicestershire — slap-bang in the middle of England — that were the first dance music experiences for a whole swathe of late '90s and early noughties club kids.
After starting to produce, his pal Sinden passed some tracks of his to Switch, aka Dave Taylor, who released a Duke Dumont EP on his label Dubsided in 2007. “We spent some time recording together when he lived in Chester, and over in LA a few years ago,” the Duke tells DJ Mag. “We got on, because I think we are quite similar.”
The tracks were probably best summed up as fidget house, an innovative genre full of chopped-up beats and itchy grooves that soon became bastardised by overblown main room electro house anthems. “Like a lot of dance music sub-genres, it faded away,” recalls the Duke, “while the core foundation genres remained, house and techno. But it served as a remedy to boring house music at the time. Things got very pretentious and introverted, and it put a groove back into house music. I don't think you should dismiss that.”
Moving towards more of a classic house groove, the Duke’s two EPs on Turbo have paved the way for ‘Need U (100%)’ — which may even break into the UK pop charts. Is he ready for mainstream recognition? “To date I have released over 30 tracks, whether it is a song on an EP, or a remix,” he says. “I think I’m ready for any recognition people may provide.”
The Duke says he’s thankful that he’s paid his dues and taken his time to line up all his ducks. “It’s given me the time to perfect my art, whether as a DJ or a producer,” he deadpans, “and means I won’t suffer from the 'quick in, quick out' problem a lot of artists can encounter.” ‘Need U’ is the first release on the Duke’s new Blasé Boys Club label, which he’ll be putting a lot more tracks out on by himself and other artists he likes as well. “I'll release music that excites me, and hopefully help talented artists forge a career in music,” he says. “There is a lot to come.” You know that: 100%.