Words by Greg Sawyer
House fans will probably know you both via your solo projects, but how did the new Just Us project come about?
Well we have been flying through this industry individually since we both met in NYC. We always would connect when we were back in the city and exchanged the passion for the music and new music, the adventures we had been on and that hunger that we both still have running through our veins so eventually the time really came upon us to jump on some collaborations together. New project, still us so Just Us.
How will your output as Just Us differ from your previous work?
I think when you’ve had an early taste of real success in the business and like any artist or athlete being thrown in the business at a very young age, your best is yet to come and there’s a patience & maturity that occurs and in our case, in the studio and with our sound. Before it was getting as many of our ideas out and released, now we really vet those ideas, we have a sound we are chasing, we have a proper business head and creative head for all that we do. Steph Curry will always be a nasty shooter, but add Keven Durrant to the team and you both will remain great as individual basketball players but together the chemistry will change, but change in a very good way. We have never been more prepared for whats to come then we are now.
We loved your debut release ‘Cloudbusting’, but hear it had a bit of a rough ride – can you tell us about some of the obstacles you encountered?
We wouldn’t say obstacles we would probably best say just one big huge wall that even Donald Trump would be proud of. At the end of the day we not bitter and respect that Kate Bush’s people have orders to say ‘no’ and we followed every possible avenue to get the record legally available but in the end it wasn’t to be. It’s a shame though because it was obvious it would have been a win win all around. Walking away though to feel the love on a record that you can not even stream let alone buy and to do as well as it did, DMCBuzz Chart no 1, Annie Mac’s ‘Hottest Record in the world’ & Pete Tong’s ‘Essential New Tune’ we can only smile and move on to the next 10.
What was the most frustrating part of all the legal issues around the release of Cloudbusting?
Fully knowing the record was a hit but having our wings clipped and giving our fans something different then what they already told us was perfect, that sucked and sucked bad. We saw it every day online and we could do absolutely nothing about it. We were sued 3x before noon on the Friday of Pete’s 20th anniversary show and you’ll never know what Essential selection we were on that show because it never could be aired. That attempted but failed to derail the momentum we had built with, “Everytime it Rains”. We realized it was someone else’s record but even Kate broke her career doing the same thing we did on her record, she too used something NOT hers to reach her acclaim. In the end, we did what most did NOT with this record but second place is not who Just Us is so it still stings.
Onwards and upwards though, your latest release ‘Flirtatious’ is another banger, and 100% original so hopefully no repeats of the issues you faced. Was that something you had in mind when deciding what to do next?
100%. I mean we both artists and always hearing inspiring music old and new daily. We both fully live only in music its just part of our DNA but defiantly for now were like we own the next few no one can f$%k with on the original material your about to hear. But doesn’t mean if one of hears something we won’t be afraid to go to war with something, were producers and DJs and can vision what we hear.
Tell us about working with Wolves By Night on the record… was he always someone you had in mind for the vocal? And how have the responses to this one been so far…?
Early on in our careers we saw how hard it was for artists to break, we were fortunate in our individual careers to have the outlets from Pete, Erick, Roger, Radio 1 etc but these days its even more competitive. When we met Wolves by Night both separately years back he was a super young & raw producer but not yet doing his own vocal work. When he sent us some of his new ideas, we just about fell over and we knew it was the right time. He at first didn’t think his voice was that good and only used his voice as he needed something over his own productions but its in moments like these that you can either agree or you can throw a truck load of gas on that spark and watch it blow up. Wolves by Night will be a force of any kind that he chooses and we are just happy to have caught him early and to have given him an outlet and fueled some of that confidence with a lot of positive assurance. He’s in tow with us for his 1st time in Ibiza next week too so that will be big for us all. Responses have been incredible, they keep asking us how we got The Weeknd & George Michael to sing on our record.
You’ve both been in the game a fair amount of time and have seen plenty of changes in the industry, how does the scene feel to you at the moment? Are you feeling good about the current state of house music?
The scene is in one sense thriving completely and there so much good music and of course changes in the industry is life. But!! Unfortunately there is so much utter rubbish and talentless idiots also running around. Don’t get us wrong, we salute where the credit is due but I’ve had enough of a lot of them. House music well that’s really fun and great and you can see the ones who are still punching the path ahead are still the boys we grown with and that’s who we respect. If your going to lead then lead yourself by example and inspire more than you realize.
How do you see the scene developing in terms of musical trends over the next few years?
We actually hope we start dropping the trends to be honest. One person makes a great record, then there are 1000 new records that sound just like it? Nah, we are too talented of a world in Electronic Music Producers to stoop to that these days. It’s our genre that is forcing the hand of the likes of Khaled, Bieber and so on to come into our party and see it’s bigger and badder than theirs and so much that they have to be part of it to make hit records. Our shows are bigger, our fans are more dedicated and knowledgeable and this is why you see the pop world chasing our world. Lets drop the trends and grant the fans what they really want to hear, which is great music…period!
What one thing do you think would improve the scene for the better? Anything you’d like to see more or less of?
I think it all comes from the top I would like to see majors have better AnR’s who actually remember or know what it was or is like to hear a record in a club just take a dance floor of people to that level of Wow what is that record. There the records we want to make there the records that should be crossing over and exploited. Just feel the AnR s now and promotors all just buying with their eyes from an Instagram post with pyros and a lot of easy deliveries. The new generation should be hearing always new music not just the same sound from the same few artists. There’s a serious sheep follow mentality and that mugs off a lot of people in our eyes.
What’s next for Just Us?
Several records finished now and just a matter of getting them out in the timely fashion to make the most impact. We’ve just done a great deal with Sony and The Orchard in the UK to be part of our new brand, “Shadow Box” in releasing our new music. A few more with Wolves by Night, another with Macy Gray some very cool collabs with producers we’re loving at the moment. Kicking off the Just Us tour as well which will be great. Big show at Hi in Ibiza and keeping our foot down on the gas pedal as always!
Anything else you’d like to tell us about…?
Yeah stay tuned we’ll be playing our first Ibiza show at Hi Ibiza Aug 7…
Just Us and Wolves By Night ‘Flirtatious’s is out now – http://smarturl.it/JustUsFlirtatiousMlt