Two memories blur into one. On tour with a travelling festival, in another Australian city, holding court with Disclosure and Azealia Banks, Duke Dumont is seriously unwell. He has food poisoning and nobody has seen him for hours. His set is about to begin and from nowhere, he bounds out of his trailer and onto the stage. In a world full of oversized egos and giant, Swedish DJs, he is refreshingly small. If you weren’t up close, you might miss the silver cross that dangles in his ear, as he slams two Red Bulls, lights up a cigarette and storms the festival in appears to be platform black boots. Duke Dumont will not die today. A year later, on another road leading away from home, the car stereo is broken. It refuses to spit out the Gorgon City CD, which plays on repeat for almost half a day. It is big room house without pretence. The car shakes with the force of it. The driver and his passenger hold hands across the divide established by seat belts. The record begins again, as endless as the stripes on the highway. Gorgon City will not die today.
There is a fascinating interview with the director of Wonder Woman, in which she describes maintaining a categorical ban on the word ‘cheesy’ throughout the making of the film. Using that phrase, she maintained, stopped the cast being authentic about their emotions, as if scared of professing love for something that might not be understood as cool, or relevant by the profession. Duke Dumont, and to a similar extent, Gorgon City, has made an artform out of shunning preconceptions of cheesiness. Theirs is music for parades, for gigantic outdoor arenas, for late night taxi rides and dumb blockbuster films, bedroom voguing and street carnivals. Alone they are formidable, and together for the first time on ‘Real Life’, they are close to unstoppable. It is disco, house and big beat all rolled into a new package, glazed with the voice of NAATIONS, a stellar Australian vocalist.
Reactions to this song will not be muted. There will be hands up in the air, punching in time with Chicago-inspired piano stabs, feet moving uncontrollably to the perfectly polished bass synth. There will be flashbacks, the phased, multi-toned humming that brings the track in reviving an abandon that is now only used with cynicism. But ultimately, there will be joy. Top level electronica, the type that goes to Miami and cashes cheques in Vegas, is fast losing its allure – and its sense of humour. Trust then, that the ones to bring it back are the ones that never actually forgot.
Duke Dumont will not die today. Gorgon City will not die today. It’s time for a house special – with extra cheese.