London based house producers Punctual are a name rising up, that have taken to the charts and a remembered name across the dance scene. Having put out their single ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ that saw over 20 million streams, we took some time to catch up with them on the record, lockdown life and on their favourite artists they’d collaborate with…
Hey guys, thanks for your time today. How are you both doing?
Hey, good thanks! Just sipping on a cup of tea, about to head into the studio to work on a few bits! It looks like it is going to be a nice day here in London!
Your last track, ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’, was about people who confront their unfaithful
partners. Where did the inspiration for this come from?
Mario Winans’ original track has always been a big tune for us growing up – that vocal has such nostalgia to it. We knew if we did a flip of it so we could play it in our DJ sets and give the original track a new life in a different context.
How would you describe your creative process as individuals and as a ‘Punctual’?
We always try to put sounds we haven’t heard before into our music to keep things fresh, or new combinations of them at least. The process depends on the individual track though really, if we are producing a track with an existing vocal then the chords/bassline are created around this. If we are doing a writing session with someone then the chords come first and the writer will trial melodies over this with us until we have something we are excited about and then lyric/flesh out the track!
John’s forte lies in most of the actual music for Punctual, so he will trial progressions/basslines until we have the most satisfying sound for the track. Will’s forte is in refining these ideas and working on melody/mixing to get the tracks to the finish line in the best way possible!
Does it change depending on the nature of the track being made?
This is how we work with existing songs/vocals but the process is slightly different in writing sessions. John will whip up a few loops pre session before the writer comes in, so when they arrive we all listen and settle on a loop we all like. Both of us often work with the writer to come up with melody and lyrics that we are all feeling, whilst John fleshes out the track. Once we settle on melody Will will do the recording and then vocal production.
If you could collab with any artist, who would that be and why?
This one might not add up with the kind of music that we make but we both think Kevin Parker is a legend (who doesn’t!?) so it would be insane to share a creative space with him… And to play his drum kit through all that weird phasey reverb stuff he has going on would be so much fun haha.
As mentioned in every interview ever, we would also like to work with Jacob Collier (especially John) – he seems like the loveliest guy but also one of the most talented if not most talented people in the world! Jacob, if you’re listening, and want to make some jazzy dance music, we’re here for it!
What positives have you taken from the current world situation?
You know what, it really just makes you appreciate what you have already sitting under your nose. Many of us have spent so much of our lives rushing around to work and having this fast paced life where we barely stop to breath, so having a forced change of pace can give us time to reflect on what really makes us happy. For some it may be realising the importance of their relationships with friends they can’t see, and for others it may be spending more time at home with friends and family you otherwise may not have given the time to! Aside from this, we now have a population of well versed banana bread makers, so that is another positive!
Life after COVID, where will you go clubbing first?
Naturally we can’t guarantee any sets in this current climate, but we would love to get out to Ibiza when possible! We haven’t been before (crazy right?) and it would be so awesome to play our new tunes out there and do a few road tests for ones in the making!
Do you have any other releases coming out soon that you are excited about?
Yes! We are dropping a new single in the next couple of weeks so keep an eye out – so excited for you to hear this one, we love it!
What inspires your sound?
We grew up listening to lots of dance music as teenagers and especially at university as we DJ’d in clubs most weeks. Knowing the effect that music can have on people in a club or on a dancefloor had definitely curved a path for our creative process. Having said this, outside of Punctual I wouldn’t say either of us listen to much dance music in our spare time. RnB chillers, Jazzy numbers and Soulful jams are more likely to be pumping through the cans or car speakers at night!
What has kept you sane throughout this year?
This year has been tricky for everyone but we count ourselves very lucky that we’re able to continue to make music and do what we love every day so that’s helped a lot! That’s what’s so great about modern music and technology, that you can pretty much make a full track with just your laptop and headphones wherever you are in the world! It would have been a very different story for lots of musicians if this pandemic had happened 20 years ago.
Do you want to shout out any up and coming producers / DJs?
Absolutely! We have been finding music for our mix series ‘Right On Time Radio’ for the better part of the last year and have found a handful of people we really rate. Check out Mick Mazoo, Bleu Clair and Robby East; all of these guys do their own thing and you just know it is them because of their synths! So cool…