Duke Dumont
Duke Dumont (Supplied)

Duke Dumont: “My Only Goal is to Have a Very Good Catalogue of Music”

Adam Dyment, better known as Duke Dumont, is one of the biggest names in British dance music thanks to bangers like ‘Need U (100%)’, ‘I Got U’ and ‘Ocean Drive’. But now Dyment has his sights set beyond being a DJ/producer – he wants to be an auteur.

Dyment rarely gives interviews. His presence is elusive, even enigmatic. He could be the anti-Fred again.. Surprisingly, on the phone from his Californian home, he’s not only talkative but tangential, candidly discussing the perils of success and hype. The house stalwart, who became a dad in 2021, apparently values domesticity. “I’m good,” he says. “I’m off the road, with family and making music, so I’m happy.”

Duke Dumont in 2022 | Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Coachella

A frequent visitor to Australia, Dyment has returned for the second time in a year. Last July he performed a live set at the rescheduled but mud-stricken Splendour In The Grass. This time, Dyment is headlining the touring dance festival For The Love alongside Charli XCX.

“I always enjoy coming to Australia,” he says. “Punters are more fervent. The only other crowds that I see as much energy from are like the Celtic crowds – the Scots, the Irish and the Welsh, they go for it. In Australia, it’s the same.”

He jokes about feeling “a little bit afraid” when playing to these crowds. “But I kind of enjoy that chaos ’cause it means that people are having a good time.”

Duke Dumont – ‘Need U (100%)’ ft. A*M*E

Originally from Rayners Lane in Outer London, Dyment wasn’t an overnight sensation. He was active from 2007, releasing his debut EP, Regality, via Tiga’s Turbo Recordings. He cut a plethora of remixes, revamping a track by Modular-signed Perth act Canyons in 2012, and mixed 2010’s tastemaking FabricLive.51 compilation. But he struggled. “I just had no financial success or career success.”

Dyment broke out in 2013 with ‘Need U (100%)’, co-written by MNEK and featuring A*M*E. Coinciding with a house revival, the single topped the UK charts and received a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording. Dyment consolidated his star status a year later with ‘I Got U’, a Jax Jones co-production, and 2015’s ‘Ocean Drive’.

In 2016, at the “peak” of his commercial fortunes in the UK, Dyment relocated to Los Angeles, settling in the storied Laurel Canyon. Dyment describes himself as “a very, very kind of solitary character.” His closest friends are from school. “I don’t really mix in any kind of scenes or cliques,” he says. “I don’t know why; it’s just the way I am. It’s my DNA. I just try to do ‘me’ and express musically what I’m into, anything that ticks my boxes – and I hope other people enjoy it as well.”

Duke Dumont – ‘Ocean Drive’

Dyment contributed to Katy Perry’s now-infamous Witness in 2017, producing ‘Swish Swish’ (featuring Nicki Minaj). But he’s stopped courting the pop world. “I think I turned away from that,” he says.

Pop, he says, has become “like a hype machine.” Nevertheless, Dyment admires the art of pop production and is sceptical of underground dance types who imagine that they can easily pivot. “There’s this sense of, ‘Oh, yeah, anyone can make a pop record,'” he says. “‘Mate, no you can’t. It’s really fucking hard to make a good pop record.’”

In 2020, amid the pandemic, Dyment presented his debut album, Duality. The project had been a long time coming, initially touted as a post-‘Need U’ release. However, he was determined to deliver an enduring body of work. It’s “tough” to furnish a dance electronic album that won’t date sonically, he says. “Good electronic albums, in my opinion, don’t neglect what it takes to make a good song.”

Duality is a paean to UK dance culture, winding through new wave, rave, Balearic, house, garage and breakbeat. Crucially, it has songs. Dyment sought vocalists based on personal affinity, bringing in US house legend Roland Clark, Australian-Swedish dream-pop sisters Say Lou Lou and Northern Rivers indietronica artist RY X. But despite its timely themes of nostalgia and abandon, Duality, like many other dance releases during the pandemic, was overlooked by many.

Duke Dumont – ‘I Got U’ ft. Jax Jones

But Dyment’s perspective has shifted. He’s less concerned with accolades. At heart, he’s an idealist. If at one time he was caught up in the machinations of the music business – which he refers to as “all that malarkey, that shit which I’ve done a lot in the last 15 years” – he isn’t now.

“That’s not the part that is the driver. The competitiveness has no relevance to me anymore,” he says. “I don’t look at another act and think, ‘Oh, I should be up there’ or ‘I should be bigger’ or all of that, because the industry is so big – no one has to lose in order for you to win.”

Dyment’s goal for the future is to craft authentic and resonant music. He assures me “there’ll be a lot more [music] this year.” And he’ll release a second album at some point, to “capture the last year, two years, three years of just what I’ve absorbed and the kind of stuff I’m into.”

“My only goal for the next 10 years is just to have a very good catalogue of music,” he continues. “Some of those singles might be played on the radio; some of them mightn’t be played on the radio. As long as I can make decent music, or music that I can attach my personality to, then I’m happy.”

Duke Dumont – ‘The Power’ ft. Zak Abel

Duke Dumont Australian Dates

  • Saturday, 4th March – For The Love, Melbourne VIC
  • Sunday, 5th March – For The Love, Perth WA

Tickets available here.

Further Reading

Charli XCX, Duke Dumont and Snakehips Lead For the Love 2023 Lineup

Kaiit: “We Continue to Keep Pushing, Despite Not Getting the Recognition We Feel We Deserve”

Ms. Lauryn Hill to Headline the 2023 Promiseland Festival

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