ACL Fest 2015 Friday Interview
Friday, 8pm, Honda stage
"Wow, he's exceedingly nice," you think after the interview, which isn't to say other needle-moving superstars lack sincerity. However, with 21-year-old Howard Lawrence, younger sibling of prodigious UK production and DJ duo Disclosure, there's a tangible earnestness that comes off true, unforced, and without a lick of self-importance.
To this end, they've eschewed the "kitchen sink" mentality found on many follow-ups to smash debuts. Similar in approach to 2013's Mercury Prize-nominated Settle, they're sticking with what's worked for them with September's highly anticipated Caracal.
"I think the key is that we don't mind if people are big or not," says Howard. "We work with someone like Sam [Smith] or with the Weeknd because we think they're really good, not because they're big. We pick the people who aren't as well-known for the exact same reasons.
"We have to be able to get along with them because it's the way we work. We always write some with the artist around the piano, in a really old-fashioned way. We never do the whole 'sending the beat out and getting them to send something back.' We all work together as a collaboration.
"They're all just nice people, too. That's another key part. We don't really want to get involved in working with divas, or people with big egos."
The most intriguing of the brothers' influences is obvious throughout their catalog.
"[J Dilla] influences us in a huge way in our production," affirms Howard. "We are hugely into [J Dilla] because of the sounds, like our drum sounds. He was the best in [drums]. I still think he is. That's how he influences us.
"We got into him without really knowing it. We started listening to all these amazing songs like Erykah Badu, or Pharcyde, or Busta Rhymes. We would be like, 'Oh, I love all these tunes.' Slowly [we realized] all of the songs we liked were by J Dilla. We were like, 'Ah right, I see – genius.'"