[INTERVIEW] Walker & Royce Break Down Their Sophomore Album, 'No Big Deal,' + More

Walker & Royce, Interview, Miami Music Week
| April 19, 2024

Tech-house duo Walker & Royce are known for their house heaters, infectious stage presence, and eccentric personalities. With over a decade under their belt as DJ-producer hybrids, this bicoastal pair have long generated a following with their bodacious sound and cheeky aesthetic.

On top of being piping hot off the release of their sophomore album, No Big Deal, Walker & Royce's label, Rules Don't Apply, hosted a sold-out show during Miami Music Week, further cementing their status as leaders iacross dance music.

We were fortunate enough to chat with these house pioneers, diving into the creative process behind their latest anthems and exploring the ethos that is driving their music forward.

Check out our exclusive interview with Walker & Royce below. 

 

iEDM: “Might Just,” featuring James Patterson, is one of the latest singles from your new album. How did this anthem come about, and what was it like collaborating with James on this track?

Walker: Gav knows James from back in NYC, and we also worked with him on our album Self-Help. We did a track called “Can You Pass That?” which went off, and we knew wanted to work with him again. 

He came over for a session, and already had this cool vocal idea. We put down the vocals and had something going by the end of it. Then Gav and I went back to change a bunch of the background sounds to showcase the vocals more.

Royce: Working with James is amazing. I have been friends with J Patt for a long time. Whenever we run into each other, we say, “we need to do more music together.” So we finally did. And we plan on doing more soon. 

iEDM: This heater blends dark underground sounds with playful toplines. How do you strike a balance between maintaining your signature sound and experimenting with new elements?

Walker: Our sound just comes out no matter what we do. We never have to worry about that. We are always playing around with new synths or finding interesting samples to toss into the mix. House music is like a wall that you throw stuff at to see what sticks.

Royce: We love playing with that balance. 

 

iEDM: Evident in collaborations with Diplo, Channel Tres, Mindchatter, and Aluna, your sound has evolved and gained widespread recognition. How do you approach these diverse collaborations, and what do you look for in a collaborator?

Walker: They are all different, and everyone works in different ways. We know what we do best, so we try to let the people we are working with add what we cannot.

Royce: It is about being adaptable. Every situation is wildly different. 

iEDM: As bicoastal artists, how do you find that your surroundings influence your music, and do you feel a stronger connection to one coast's music scene over the other? Or are there certain aspects you love about each, making them equal?

Walker & Royce: What is most important is having a good place to work, no matter where it is. For example, a well-equipped room which sounds correct, with a nice desk, screen, and monitors. But it is also essential to be somewhere creatively inspiring occasionally. That can be a city, out in nature, whatever. It just doesn’t need to be all the time.

 

iEDM: Your sophomore album, No Big Deal, is out now! Can you give us a glimpse into the creative process behind this album? Are there any tracks that were created surprisingly quick or one that took a ton of time and reworking compared to the rest?

Walker & Royce: Yes “Motivashun” took forever, that is why we are releasing it at the end. On the other hand, “Stop Time” was pretty fast. Maybe a week or two tops. 

There is a “thing” that we are aiming at abstractly, not sure how to describe it. A set of sounds that all feel right. We have been trying to sneak little bits of trance in here and there.

iEDM: Your label, Rules Don't Apply Records, has been a platform for your own releases as well as collaborations with other artists. What inspired you to start your label, and what do you hope to achieve with it?

Walker & Royce: We never thought I was going to be a touring producer-DJ. It seemed like a pipe dream. What we wanted to do was own a record label. 

We dreamt of that being how we impacted music. We wanted to find artists we believe in and that is what we are doing with RDA. It is about building a community.  

iEDM: Sam, as one half of Walker & Royce, what facets of your musical background do you feel you bring to the duo, and how do they complement Gavin's contributions?

Walker: I am doing the engineering, and I think a bit of everything goes into every project. I went to school for classical trombone a long time ago, and that comes across in the synths at times.

I was into progressive house and those sounds have started to find their way back into the soundscape too. But I can be a little myopic, and it is important for Gav to bring in other sources of inspiration that I would never explore.

 

iEDM: Gavin, similarly, what distinctive elements do you contribute to Walker & Royce's overall sound, and what is your favorite part about working with Sam?

Royce: Sam is such a crazy good producer; it is insane. He can pick up any instrument and just start playing it. So working with him, I feel like we can make anything we want. 

A lot of what I do is get him out of his own head and sort of get him to push his limits. And then we do all of the arrangements together. I love working with Sam, it’s a great partnership. 

Walker & Royce, Interview, Miami Music Week

iEDM: As veterans in the music industry, what advice would you give to emerging artists looking to establish themselves in the scene and find their unique sound?

Walker & Royce: Do not be afraid to take risks. Also, do not concentrate on what others are doing. It is really crucial to stick out. 

 

iEDM: From now until 2025, what predictions do you have about shifts and rising trends in the global house and techno scene?

Walker & Royce: We have no idea really. Music is always changing and so are we. The “anything can happen” magic is why we love making music so much. 

 

iEDM: Whether in or outside of music, what are the main goals you wish to accomplish by the end of 2024? How do you plan on completing them?

Walker & Royce: We are trying to spend more time with family while also building our RDA family. Just like our music, we are trying to find that right balance in our lives. 

CONNECT WITH WALKER & ROYCE: SPOTIFY | INSTAGRAM | X | SOUNDCLOUD

 

Photos courtesy of Walker & Royce.

 

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CONNOR PHILLIPS

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Fueled by his passion for EDM, Connor’s life revolves around dance music and its ability to bring people together. Raised in upstate New York, Connor was deprived of festivals and raves until he attended Florida State University, where he was instantly hooked. Fast-forward to today and Connor has become a house and melodic techno DJ, an avid EDM-based interviewer and writer, and has worked PR for the likes of Matroda, Bleu Clair, and other new-wave house icons.

Outside of music, Connor loves pretty much any sport (huge Knicks, Yankees, and NY Giants fan), going on hikes, traveling, and food. Based in Florida, there’s a good chance you will eventually run into Connor at one of the popular festivals and clubs throughout the state.

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