Two Armadillos is Giles Smith and Martin Dawson (aka King Roc). Crafting infectious variations of deep house the pair have released music with the likes of Dessous, Four:Twenty and Smith’s own Secretsundaze imprint which isel named after the London-centric parties of the same name he runs with James Priestly.
Today marks the release of the first part of their debut album, Golden Age of Thinking, which will be released across three separate 12′”s. You can hear the first record at the bottom of the page.
Favourite part of the day to create?
Martin: We are both very much morning people when it comes to working in the studio. When Giles is over in Berlin we are normally on it by 10am. Strong espresso and ready to go!
Method or madness?
Martin: Honestly a bit of both. Giles is very good at knowing what sounds he is looking for and after working together for a few years I have got my head into what he is searching for, so I normally do some prep work before hand collecting sounds and samples. This is very much the method part. But then when we are writing together we really just throw things together very quickly and see if it sticks. Our best tracks are normally 80% done in 4 hours. I think it’s important to work fast when there are two people in the studio to keep things interesting and keep the ideas fresh. Nothing kills creativity like listening to a loop for 3 days in my opinion.
Giles: Yeah as they say house is a feeling so you have to go with the feeling and vibe of something. At times we manage to follow a pre-thought path whereas other times we are thrown off course but this is often when things get interesting.
First musical love?
Martin: Nirvana and rage Against The Machine. I listened to these bands on repeat when I was a young teenager.
Giles: Probably Erik B and Rakim and believe it or not George Benson. I was the proud owner of “Paid in Full” at a very early age and almost immediatley gravitated to black music.
Last musical love?
Giles: Aybee – the new Ron Trent / Chez Damier – he has a pretty uncomprimising style that puts most “deep house” producers to shame.
One thing you cannot live with out?
Giles: Fragrances. I am a bit of a fragrance whore. Love Terre D’Hermes for summer or MAN by Comme De Garcon in winter.
Martin: It has to be guitar for me. I first started playing when I was 10 learning Spanish Acoustic and I played in a couple of bands before learning to produce music on my own. I still listen to a lot of guitar-based music. In fact I probably listen to more of that than electronic stuff.
Giles: Hmm it would definitely be a brass instrument. Probably the trumpet. Have a lot of time for jazz and this is a big influence in Two Armadillos sound.
Your biggest break so far?
Martin: We were asked to remix ‘To The Mountain Top’ by Discowboyz which was an early project from Steve Bug. The remix was part of the Dessous 10 year anniversary compilation and I think it really helped to open Two Armadillos out to a larger audience. The track was super simple and very old school flavoured but came at just the right time as this was really blowing up again a couple of years back.
Martin: I am really organised in the studio. I have folders full of different categories of sounds whether it’s percussion or melodic. I have set these all up in sampler instruments in Logic so I can quick access whatever I have in my mind. It means the creative process isn’t slowed down by hunting for specific sounds for ages. Unfortunately it’s not the most fun part of writing music but it has to be done to get good results for me.
Giles: I don’t always do very well with adhering to this but don’t take life too seriously!
A place to create?
Martin: It’s not so much about the place but the people you work with. Just because you have similar tastes doesn’t necessarily mean it will work well as in a studio relationship sense. That said if I am working with someone I do prefer to be in my own studio because I know where everything is and how to get the results I am after.
Giles: I think its also very much your state of mind as opposed to place. If you are not in the write mood stop and do something else.
Last thing that inspired you?
Martin: The Horrors – I just saw them live and loved it. Quite moody on stage but the music is excellent
Giles: People around me every day in some way or another whether it be one of those major “wow” moments or something that might seemed quite insignificant at the time but long term contributes to help you see something in a different light, or maybe even see something that you have never “seen” before.