Electronic music duo Art Department discusses their second album.
In 2009, Jonny White met his collaborator and fellow deejay Kenny Glasgow at a house party in Toronto, where, at the time, Glasgow was already a name brand. “I was going to Kenny’s gigs regularly,” White explained on the phone last week from Buenos Aires, where he and Glasgow were performing as Art Department, their joint musical project. Soon after they met and moved in together, the electronic producer Damian Lazarus asked the roommates to work together on their own track. The result, “Without You,” not only hit number one on the electronic dance charts, but iTunes later awarded their first album, 2011’s The Drawing Board, electronic album of the year. “After ‘Without You’ was released, a friend sent me a four-page spread about us in DJ Magazine with the headline ‘The Hottest Duo in Dance Music,’” White said. “That’s when I knew we made it.”
This week, the duo releases their second album, Natural Selection, which retains their futuristic, bare-bones sound, and Glasgow’s haunting vocals, which echo sparingly over the beat. While their results are certainly harmonious, the duo hardly had any face time during the album’s creation. Instead, they made the record over Skype and e-mail between Barcelona, where White is now based, and London and Toronto, between which Glasgow splits his time. This may explain why the album’s vibe, with its dark reverb and seductive beats, is reminiscent of the European underground electronic scene, which is slowly creeping into the output of American deejays. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays all over the map, as the duo reunite to tour the new album. “When you play over 150 shows around the world,” White says, “it’s an adventure with no end.”