Disciples’ single “How Deep is Your Love” with Calvin Harris and Ina Wroldsen enjoyed commercial success across several countries, and even made it into the Billboard Top 40 in the U.S. Before their recent radio hit, the three London-based musicians who make up the group—Nathan Duvall, Gavin Koolmon, and Luke McDermott—have been making music that might be considered “underground.” When we caught up with Duvall, he had just left the studio after working on Disciples’ next mainstream single. They’ll make their Las Vegas debut on October 31, when they open for Calvin Harris at Omnia.
How did you hook up with Harris on “How Deep is Your Love”?
We actually wrote the song almost two and a half years ago. It was just us three in the studio with Ina Wroldsen, who’s also singing on the record. We intended to release it ourselves, but it wasn’t finished. During this time, Gavin and Luke signed a publishing deal with Calvin Harris’ company, Fly Eye. So we were sending over songs to him, and one of the songs that he came back on was “How Deep is Your Love.” He basically flipped over it.
What did he say?
He was like, “I can’t believe this record; it’s incredible. I’d love to work on it and finish it with you guys.” So we started working on it. He was in L.A., and we were in London. We were going back and forth on emails. It got to the point where Calvin suggested that we release it together.
So the vocals and lyrics were done before Harris came around?
[The radio] recording [of the vocals] was actually the demo, so what everyone is hearing is the first scratched demo that we laid down. We never re-recorded it, we never added to it. It was probably recorded within an hour.
There isn’t much about your background out there. How did you guys meet?
I went to [secondary school] with Gavin. We were the only two guys [there] who liked the same music. Everyone else was into rock and death metal. We were into hip-hop, dance and R&B. We stayed in touch; did some producing. We went to different universities. Then a couple of years later I met Luke. He came from a funky house background and was emceeing and rapping on house music in clubs. He was a great fit because he’s just a little ball of energy—a great lyricist, and he had really good ideas in terms of songs.
When did you start working together as a trio?
We were all working on each other’s projects for a long time before we said, “You know what? This is just stupid. Why are we working on three projects? Let’s just work on one.”
So the production came first then? Or were you all already DJs?
Gavin has been DJing since he was about 15 or 16. [As a collective] the Disciples’ production came first. We already had the skill set, and with Gavin a DJ, that was a later addition.
Disciples’ sound runs the gamut from an underground vibe to more commercial-sounding tracks, including “How Deep is Your Love.” How will you translate that for your first Vegas gig, at Omnia?
We’ve started to piece [our set] together. It will be more thought out than most of our other sets have been. We want to take you guys on a journey, but also be respectful of the fact that most of you won’t know us. So we’ll try to engage with the crowd and make sure it’s a high[-energy] set, but the journey is the most important thing. We have different influences, so it would be wrong to just play one style. Because then you’ll go online, hear songs, then be like, “Oh, I didn’t realize you guys could make that kind of music as well.”
It seems like Las Vegas crowds are not very receptive to music that isn’t highly commercialized.
That’s what we’re mindful of. We want to give you a few [songs] that will make you think. But at the same time, we want everyone to dance.