We caught up with Cal & Harrison from the London based grime production and DJ duo, Deuce.
Our next podcast instalment comes from Deuce, an electronic London duo consisting of brothers-in-law Cal & Harrison. After joining forces together from a production and DJ perspective in 2017, the duo have been dropping grime instrumentals ever since with their latest EP, War Serpent, now available on Slimzee’s label, Slimzos Recordings.
How did you guys originally get together and start making beats together, what were your backgrounds before this?
Cal: We’re brothers-in-law, we met 7 years ago in 2011. Harrison was only 13 at the time, there’s 9 years between us. I remember I went back to the house with his sister (my fiancé) and Harrison was sitting at a computer having a go on fruity. We got talking and I told him I’d been making beats on and off for a long time. I found a copy of Cubase, took it round to him and starting showing him all the basics. He’s a freak! He learnt how to use it in like 2 weeks!
My parents are old skool ravers. So I grew up listening to house and jungle from a young age. I started DJ’ing early 2000’s, my next door neighbour had a pair of Gemini’s and I used to go round to watch him mix garage tunes for hours. He had this PlayStation game “music 2000” that we used to make DnB beats on too. Eventually he taught me how to mix “shout out DJ K” and I got my own decks. I got bored of mixing and bought a sick custom pc and put Reason on it. That’s was about 2005, I’ve been making music ever since.
Harrison: As Cal mentioned above, the first time we met I was in the corner of the room making 8 bars on Fruity haha. From a young age I was obsessed with music – which probably stems from my Dad’s obsession for collecting records. I didn’t have any decent equipment at that point other than a really slow PC, but I used to download any production software I could get my hands on. I had a copy of ‘Sonar Cakewalk’ which I used to mess about on but had no clue really to what I was doing with it, I just wanted to experiment and try to make my own tunes. I Had an old Yamaha keyboard thing laying about the house which had a sequencer on which I used to try and make loops on too.
I’d been playing the drums for a good few years at the point, up until I got into production which then took over. I used to scoure Limewire on that old PC, download all the sets and tunes and try to copy ‘em. Grime, Jungle, Garage. Since then I’ve just been making a lot of tracks, to get to the point where I was happy putting things out. It was about this time last year where me and Cal decided to do things together officially, make tunes and DJ as a duo. The progress we’ve made since then has been great for us.
Give us some more info about your latest EP, War Serpent, released last month on Slimzee’s label.
Just before the new year we made a mad dark beat called “Diamondback” and it inspired the theme for the EP. Each track is named after a venomous snake, apart from the bonus track “N gage”, we threw that on because people were asking for it. Originally we planned to make it a vinyl only EP and release a limited amount of copies first, then put it out on digital. We had it all planned out with the artwork and promo etc but as soon as Slimzee and Garna suggested it as a digital release on Slimzos it was a no-brainer. That’s a massive achievement for us and an opportunity people don’t get often, so big up Slimzee, Garna, As if Kid and the rest of the Slimzos family for taking us in.
What other plans do you have in the pipeline for the remainder of 2018?
It’s still early days for us so we’ve got a lot planned. We’re constantly making instrumentals and putting them aside. Because there’s two of us we talk ideas all the time and try to come up with interesting ways to get music out. The follow up to our EP is a remake of the classic grime track “Str8 Flush by Low Deep”. We shot a cypher video featuring Saskilla, Ten Dixon, Emz and Bzerk. It looks mad! Along with the visuals we are giving viewers the opportunity to win the 1/1 Music House Dubplate of “Str8 flush” featured in the video. If it goes well, we’ll probably keep doing it, with different MC’s and a new dub giveaway each time. We’ve also got a massive track with Killa P titled “Expensive Dubplate” that needs releasing this year, so that will be out soon. We’ve got a few sets coming up too, one in Shoreditch in April. The plan is to just stay consistent, enjoy making music and see where it leads us.
What would you say is your favourite software, producing, mixing kit etc for creating the dirtiest grime sounds?
We can both use a bit of everything software wise. But Cubase is home for both of us. All our software is pretty standard really, we use all the ‘go to’ VST’s that most producers use these days. Can’t go wrong with Waves, we use the Waves bundle for everything mix wise. We’ve both got hardware synths too. The Korg Minilogue is our best friend at the moment. Designing sounds on it is so sick. Everything sounds round and punchy, barely needs processing. It’s easier to get close to the sound we want using hardware for us.