Lewis Thompson and Laurie Revell are the Leeds-based production / DJ duo best known as Just Kiddin. Following an impressive couple of years with over 130 million streams globally on singles including ‘Hysteria’ and ‘Body Talk’ on Danny Howard’s Nothing Else Matters imprint, the house duo have now been snapped up by label of the moment, Perfect Havoc. As the guys drop the first in a three single global deal with Perfect Havoc – a label that currently holds the longest running UK No.1 single in 2020 with Joel Corry & MNEK ‘Head & Heart’ – we caught up with them talk about producing in lockdown and the creative roles they each adopt in the studio, to (nearly) running over a bear and fussy eating in restaurants…these guys are one’s to watch.
Welcome to DMC World. Where are you in the world right now and what was the first thing you did this morning?
Lewis: First thing I did this morning was fix my coffee machine and eat a yoghurt – winning!
Laurie: I’m currently at my place / studio in Leeds. First thing I did this morning was video call my family and check up on how they were all doing in lockdown. It involved hearing my nephew count to 10 for the first time (with a little help).
You’ve joined the burgeoning roster of Perfect Havoc alongside the likes of Joel Corry, Tobtok, PS1 and Simon Fields. How did that come about?
LE: We’ve known the PH team for a long time now, I can remember having a great time with Adam Griffin (co-founder) and Tobtok first time we met them at Splash House in Palm Spings (interesting place). I think we’ve been admirers of each other for a while now. We’re super impressed with how they work so wanted to make this happen!
LA: It just worked out naturally, and we all share the excitement about what we’ve got coming up.
What roles do you both adopt when it comes to creative sessions, writing and producing?
LE: I like writing a lot and start a lot of ideas in sessions, I’m good with chords and melody. Detail and finishing ideas probably isn’t my best strength though haha. I think there are a lot of parallels to being a producer in a session and DJing in a club. You’ve got to set up the vibe to find something everyone in the room connects with. Rather than track selection, I guess you’ve gotta use chords and melody to inspire people to write over.
LA: Every day is different. I could be in a studio with a singer one day, writing and producing the music while helping with lyrics and the next day, all alone creating a vibe or developing ideas into full songs. For me, the most important thing is being inspired, and I will take up whichever role is needed to follow that inspiration for however long that takes (I can be a bit of a perfectionist).
How are you coping in lockdown overall, and how has producing in lockdown changed for you – have you gone completely virtual?
LE: Pretty much yeah. In some ways I’ve been quite enjoying it. Zoom sessions have been surprisingly good at times, I do miss that interaction with people though.
LA: Luckily, being a music producer you can be really adaptable in situations like these. We’ve collaborated with people all over the world, so we’re very used to working remotely when it’s the only option.
Let’s rewind to when you met at secondary school in Kettering. How did you come to be friends, were you in the same classes / did you share the same interests even back then?
LE: We started a band together! I guess it was a mutual respect out of each other’s musical abilities. Laurie was a drummer and I played guitar. Then we discovered electronic music and the rest is history!
LA: I would say indie, electro and trance pretty much sums up our teenage friendship.
What influences you, musically?
LE: I hate to say but probably travel. I think getting out of your comfort zone and into unfamiliar territories makes you think differently about things.
LA: Hearing music that makes me feel like I’m living at another time / a different place or gives an emotion I can’t quite put a finger on. Or simply something that bangs.
Your new single on Perfect Havoc is called ‘When You Say It’. Can you remember a time when you put your foot in it by saying something you shouldn’t?
LE: This is a weekly occurrence to me, how much time have we got here?
LA: “Nice to meet you” I’m getting pretty good at thinking I’m meeting someone for the first time when I’ve already met them.
You’ve previously played at high profile events and venues such as Ibiza Rocks, Boardmasters, and Electric Forest. What is your most memorable event and why?
LE: It’s gotta be Camp Bisco in the U.S. We had a busy schedule at the time so thought it’d be a good idea to fly from England to New York for one night. Awful idea. Almost missed the gig and very nearly hit a bear on the highway going out of New York into Pennsylvania.
Speaking of DJ sets, how does your style in the booth differ to that coming out of your studio, if at all?
LE: It’s just about high energy, emotive vibes for us. A lot of parallels to the studio really.
LA: Pure vibes.
What would you say are the other’s best and worst qualities? Let’s face it, we all have annoying habits!
LE: Laurie’s has got to be his fussiness in restaurants haha. He’s a big foodie and one of the best cooks I know, so fair play really. Best quality has gotta be his positive outlook on life, the glass is always half full with Laurie! Touring is always fun.
LA: Aah Lewis, you sweetheart. You’ve made this really difficult… Okay, it would be his occasional lack of attention to detail. He’s great for getting things done superfast, but I’ve definitely once or twice received a song from him fully labelled, which is actually just 5 minutes of silence. Although that was around his meditation phase. There are a lot of great qualities to choose from, but I would say his ability to make friends with anyone and make any situation feel comfortable is up there. He’s a top lad to have around.
What’s next for Just Kiddin – we hear there’s a single dropping on Perfect Havoc in January?
LE: We’ve got LOADS of new music finished up. It’s exciting. The next one will be early next year – can’t wait for you to hear.