Interview: How Walker & Royce took SELF HELP to the Dance Floor

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Interview: How Walker & Royce took SELF HELP to the Dance Floor

For some time, house duo Walker & Royce have been teasing their debut on Dirtybird with a fresh take on feel-good house. A perfect fit for the west coast label, their album has revealed a stacked crate of dancefloor tunes all cut with a humorous edge. Starting off with an anthemic heater, ‘Take Me To Your Leader’ became an instant summer hit. Infection verses paired with percussive and bassy low ends became a common theme across the 11-track release. Boasting a unique line up of features, the boys enlisted collaborators from across the board. Overall, this cohesive representation of their project’s evolution has a smash hit on the charts and on the decks.

As the guys step to the main stage, we checked in with them to see how Self Help is working out. You’ve likely dance to one of their recent records at any given club night over the past years so it’s time to get familiar with the boys. Crack a cold one and see what Walker & Royce have to say about this milestone.

Self Help is shaping up to be a game changer, it’s been a long road to this release. What does the album mean to you, any hidden meaning in the name?

For us it’s really a milestone, we hadn’t really given an album a thought until this and we’re so glad we did it. Self Help means a lot of stuff, our original idea was poking fun at self help culture but then it started to take on other meanings. Like, music is a form of self help, or our music is our own self help when we can’t find what we want to play, or like we had to stick to our guns to make it this far.

It undisputed that ‘Take Me To Your Leader’ was a summer hit with a verse that’s become a dance floor singalong. You guys know the legend Dances from back in the day in NYC. What clicked to make this a Dance With White Girls collab?

We had spoken to Dances a few times over the years about a collaboration but the stars never seemed to align for one reason or another. When it came time to do the album we knew we wanted a lot of vocal material to work with. We hit Dances with a few demo tracks (just some good grooves) and a day later he sent back a few different ideas. When he asked what we wanted we said “just turn on the mic and go”. TMTYL was a one time through freestyle, we don’t even have a second take. He’s so good at what he does.

Be real, what’s the most ridiculous experience with Dances during his days on the NYC after party circuit?

There are so many to name we can’t choose one. We think it would be best for you to ask him yourself. hahaha

The big man, Mr. Barclay Crenshaw shepherded this one through the gates of Dirtybird. You just came from their annual campout, and it looked rowdy. What’s it like to have an album coming out with this crew?

It’s a dream come true, it’s totally surreal! We’ve long been Dirtybird fans but didn’t imagine we would end up here. Everyone, both the artists and the fans, are just so super supportive and positive, it’s incredible what’s been created.

You’re just coming off the Euro leg of the headline tour as well, how was it and what are you guys looking forward to stateside?

Europe was great, we played a quite a few shows in Germany which was really cool. We always have fun when we go out there. As far as the rest of the tour we are really looking forward to playing every weekend. The album is going to be a big feature in our sets obviously and we are excited to play it for everyone that comes out.

Which one of you is most likely nowhere to be found right before your set?

Sam Walker – Hah, probably me (Sam) I’m usually happy to chill until right before we go on, I definitely want to check out the crowd beforehand though. So maybe I’ll walk through and get the feel of the room right before I go play.

The Walker & Royce project has made it to the top of dance music only after years of dedication and consistency. Your tunes have been supported consistently by guys like Pete Tong. Any frustrations or downs on this journey to the mainstage?

Sure, but we try not to dwell on it. We consider ourselves very lucky despite the bumps in the road. And you learn from everything that happens, we feel like there probably isn’t any other way besides screwing up along the way. and yes, Pete Tong has been supporting us for a long time, from way back and we truly appreciate the plays!!

As producers and influencers in dance music, how do you two hope to inspire the next generation of producers and DJs?

Maybe just by knowing that hard work pays off over time, and that it may take a long time but it can still work out.


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