No matter the genre, in today’s world of electronic music, singles break artists—not albums. That’s why, when an album is released that isn’t another 11th-hour compilation of tracks from an artist unable to keep up with the 24-hour dance-music cycle, we get excited. No Regular Play’s debut LP, Endangered Species, is just that type of album. Required listening for even the casual electronic music enthusiast, Endangered Species‘ tracklist is as expansive as the South Pacific. Greg Paulus and Nick DeBruyn’s full-length Wolf + Lamb debut could just as easily find its home in the main room of Fabric as it could blaring from a stoop in their Brooklyn hometown on a late summer afternoon. We chatted with DeBruyn about the duo’s recent LP, their live set-up, and their plans for the year ahead. Make sure to catch them this week at the BPM Festival in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
We’ll call Endangered Species “experimental hazy slow-mo house.” Do you have a closetful of synths to make all the different sounds on the album, or did you use mostly VSTs? Can you give us a quick gear list of your studio?
[laughs] Thanks—that’s a pretty good description. We used synths for almost 100% of the keys, basslines, and some percussion on the album, including the Juno 106, Dave Smith Prophet 08, Nord Electro, and Moog Slim Phatty. The Juno 106 is definitely the synth that we’ve used more than any. The trumpet and vocals are usually processed with a Memory Man delay pedal and a TC Helicon doubler and compressor. And the drums are mostly sampled recordings from a Jomox 999 and 808/909 kits. The only VSTs used were (if we remember correctly) a Korg Monopoly and an MS20 for something in “Won’t Quit.”
Every track on the album has a contrary groove to the one before it, from the soulful, hip-hop sound of “Kickback” to the late-summer melancholic house sonics of “The Answer.” Where do all those styles and inspirations come from?
I think most of the inspiration comes from a lot of the music we loved growing up. We’ve always had pretty eclectic musical tastes, so it’s just natural for all those influences to seep into our own music. We got really into hip-hop and jazz when we were young (lots of J Dilla/Slum Village and ’70s Herbie Hancock), and when we began listening to electronic music, we got into almost everything from old Warp and Skam Records to the ambient and euphoric house sounds from Kompakt.
How did you write the album as a duo? Did one of you start a track, then share with the other, then work together?What was the regular workflow?
Some of the tracks we started together and some were started by one or the other. We had an intense work schedule for about a month and a half where we were working pretty much around the clock. Greg would lay down an idea late at night and then I would get up early and add to it. Then later in the day we would sit together and work some more, so there was a nice back and forth during the process. That went on almost every day in May and June when we weren’t on the road, and I think doing it in such an intense time span really captured a moment in our sound.
When you are out on the road, is it always a DJ gig or are you playing live? Since there’s so many different flavors on the album, how could you incorporate them into a live show?
We started out as live performers before learning how to DJ, so the live show has been in the works for about four years. We like to include all the different moods and flavors from the album in our live show, or as much as we can, provided it works. We normally play in night clubs, so we obviously like to keep it dance-friendly and moving along, but as we start to play more venues that aren’t necessarily clubs, we plan on making it much more eclectic with regard to tempo and dynamics. Lately we’ve been doing more and more DJ gigs, which is extremely fun and of course challenging in a completely different way.
Are you guys working on any solo material or playing in any bands on the side currently? Since this grade-A album was just released, I imagine a hefty tour schedule is on the horizon. What’s on deck for 2013?
Greg was playing with the Matt Dear live band for a couple of years, and will continue to do some shows with him whenever he gets the chance. Other than that, we’re focusing pretty heavy on NRP and touring the album. You can check all our current dates here.