If you think that innovation in house music has already hit the roof, then you need to lend an ear to Brooklyn's No Regular Play for some of the freshest, most forward-thinking sounds to rock a machine drum beat.
Since joining the Wolf + Lamb label-collective in 2009, Nick DeBruyn and Greg Paulus have captivated international clubgoing audiences with their imaginative, self-styled approach to dance music. With their elegant, spartan fusion of jazz, Dilla-esque hip-hop, and slow-mo deep house, NRP's sound is as contemplative as it's dancefloor-friendly.
Summer 2010 saw the release of their latest effort, the Doesn't Matter EP on Wolf + Lamb, along with lots of opportunities to blow minds with their one-of-a-kind live performances across the Atlantic. And these ain't no run-of-the-mill DJ sets. You'll catch Paulus, a classically-trained jazz trumpeter, blowing his horn over an improvisational live electronic mishmash that defies all expectations of what club music can be. But NRP think even bigger than the nightclub party format -- one current project, for instance, involves a big-scale collaboration with the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra.
We caught up with NRP's Nick DeBruyn in advance of their performance at Electric Pickle this Saturday, and talked about the duo's influences, their process in the studio, and latest projects. Read the full Q&A after the jump.
New Times: It seems like not so long ago that we were covering your debut Miami performance at a warehouse party in Little Haiti, and now you guys are international stars performing at all the requisite hotspots from L.A. to Ibiza. What have been some of the highlights of your journey so far?
Nick DeBruyn: The highlights have definitely been being able to tour with the other guys on the label and putting on Wolf + Lamb showcases. It's been amazing to travel from city to city with close friends and introduce our music within the context of the label.
Despite the guise of 'EDM' your sound is anything but formulaic and it makes us wonder what the creative process is like. How do you and Greg typically approach a track from start to completion and what is your M.O. in the studio?
I wouldn't say there is a normal working process that we follow. Sometimes we'll come to the studio with an idea, or be inspired by a track we just heard and use that as a jumping-off point. Other times, one of us will start working on a loop and the other will come in to finish. Sometimes we have preconceived notions of what we want the track to sound like, whether it be more dancey, or pop-inspired, or jazz-inspired, etc. This rarely holds up throughout the creative process though, and we'll end up with something completely different and unexpected.
NRP's live sets can be really languid, atmospheric affairs that often stray from predictable dancefloor grooves. What sort of feelings or experiences do you aim to elicit on the floor?
I'm not sure we've ever really thought about what kinds of feelings we'd like other people to experience. I think our aim is to present all of our original productions in one continuous piece, where there is some similarity or bridge from song to song, while still being able to change the mood over the course of the set. In that sense it's similar to DJing. There are definitely sections that are more overtly oriented for the dancefloor and others less so, where it's a little bit more like listening to a band perform. I guess our goal is for people to still dance and enjoy the music, but force them to listen a bit more intently than they normally would at a club.
Which artists and sounds would you say have had the biggest influence on your sound?
Greg and I both grew up listening to a lot of the same music. We were both really into hip-hop, mostly any project that Dilla was involved with. Also, tons of jazz, like Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and more contemporary musicians like Roy Hargrove. This might not influence our music directly all the time, but I think growing up listening to similar music has definitely cemented a shared musical aesthetic that makes collaborating much easier.
We're awed and excited about the rumor of a 25-minute piece to be performed with the Minnesota Orchestra in 2011. What can you tell us about this project?
The idea is to combine full symphony orchestra, luckily one of the most accomplished in the world, and combine improvisation and electronics into this format. Greg's father, Stephen Paulus, is a classical composer and they had wanted to work together on a piece for a long time. They came up with the idea together and pitched it to the conductor after a concert, and they absolutely loved the idea. It was originally just going to be jazz-based but as NRP grew we decided it had to play a part in the piece.
Where do you see the NRP project going in the next couple years?
We've been talking more and more about expanding the live set out, trying to incorporate more hardware, instruments and musicians. It would be great to eventually turn some of our productions into something that could be performed by a full band. For now, we're just slowly trying to build it out ourselves, seeing what can be added, what makes it more interactive for us while still working in a nightclub atmosphere.
What can Miami expect during your performance at Electric Pickle?
Greg just started singing vocals live which is a huge addition. And of course you'll be hearing some trumpet. We've got some new, unreleased material that has been added to the set which we're really excited about playing. We love playing at the Pickle, the energy is always amazing, so hopefully you'll hear something special on Saturday.
No Regular Play with Wolf + Lamb, Deniz Kurtel and Residents. Saturday, November 20. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Doors open at 10 p.m. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.