Interview with UK Duo Punctual

Propelling towards the summer season, UK house duo Punctual provide us with an early prescription of summer with their single “We Could Have It All”, which marks their second release via Monstercat. Their high energy, atmospheric sound enriches every fibre of your body with positive endorphins. With a project in the pipeline if “We Could Have It All” is anything to go by, their EP is set to be colossal. It’s good news for fans as their EP ‘Maze’ is scheduled for release in May 2022, which is perfect timing as we are on the cusp of the summer festival season. 

In 2016 Punctual was formed by the creative union between Will Lansley and John Morgan, who met as teenagers. From their roots in Newbury, the duo are rising through the ranks in the electronic scene and they are doing this on a global scale. They’ve been championed by tastemakers such as Zane Lowe, Pete Tong and Phil Taggart, as well as the legendary Elton John who played a single of theirs. 

A pivotal moment in their career was their success of “I Don’t Wanna Know” back in October 2022. The single smashed the million streams threshold and it has since been streamed over 30 million times and it broke the top 100 in the UK. They are also responsible for some huge remixes with Raye, Jonas Blue, Awa, Honne, and Amber Mark and they’ve also teamed up with vocalists including Nabiha, Kid Ink, and rock band Skinny Living. Aside from their ventures as duo they have worked with the likes of Jason Derulo, JP Cooper, Sleepwalkers, Sigala, Steve Aoki and Rudimental. The electronic duo have also earned spots at renowned festivals such as Glastonbury, SW4 and Tomorrowland.

In anticipation of the new project ‘Maze’ we interviewed Punctual and discussed their forthcoming EP, new single “We Could Have It All”, working with big names in the music scene and gigs in the pipeline.

In the run-up to your upcoming EP release you’ve shared your single ‘We Could Have It All’, what’s the inspiration behind the song?

We’ve really been trying to make club-orientated tracks with great songs behind them, and this is one that we felt hit that spot for us. When we listen to music, we are generally first inspired by the melody and chords, so when we heard Sarah and Raphaella’s ideas for the track, we knew it felt right!

You’ve also joined forces with Raphaella and Sarah Close, how did the collaboration come to fruition and tell us about the writing and production process behind the single?

We actually started the idea over a Zoom session nearly a year ago now. We had worked with Sarah before and heard Raphaella’s music before too, so the session was one we were eager to do. The process for us when writing is usually the same. We show the writers a few chord/synth patterns and see which one we all vibe with most. In this case, the vote was unanimous for this instrumental and we all hit a vibe. The girls then went away for 10 minutes or so and came back with a bunch of melodies that we later went through and arranged. They wrote the lyrics and we finished up the track! 

The project is set to drop just in time for the summer festival season, what inspired you to release the ‘Maze’ EP now?

“Maze” was actually one of the first songs we made after coming out of lockdown! We had just moved into our new studio and it felt so good to be back.

We made this song in a session with Sophia Brennan and Josh Wilkinson for the first time that day and the song came about so quickly. Phia’s voice is so beautiful and we fell in love with the song straight away. I suppose that in a way, this song symbolizes being free again, as it will always remind us of that first period of time back working with people again.

I’m looking forward to hearing the full EP! Without giving too much away what can fans expect from the project in terms of the sound but also concepts explored?

We can’t wait for you to hear it all! The tracks on this EP are all reflections of the mood we were feeling on the days we made them really. But we don’t tend to be too conceptual with the music we make; we mostly try to make stuff we enjoy listening to as well. If we think too much about this sort of thing, we find it takes away from the fun and spontaneity. 

If you could both summarise the EP in a few words how would you describe it?

Energetic, Melodical, Vibey

Taking it back to your early musical roots you both met through a friend, whilst growing up in Newbury. What were some of the early experiences that gravitated you towards music and was there a specific moment you decided to pursue music as a career?

We had been making music together and separately for a while until one day we got an email from an A&R at Warner Music saying he heard a song we made together, and he loved it. We were at Uni at the time and this was pretty exciting for us. There was definitely a realization that this could be something. He asked us to show him more music so we got to work across the next year together and it all went from there!

Punctual kicked off in 2016 and you’ve had since toured globally, worked with huge artists and gained a lot of support on the radio. What have been some of your career highlights so far? Having radio support by Elton John must have been a huge highlight!

This year has been really great for us so far as we have been able to release so much music. We were really excited to have released tracks with Aluna and Sonny Fodera last year, we’ve always been fans of them both, so that was cool. We have a few gigs coming up soon too, so hopefully, we will have some more highlights to come on that front.

You’ve worked with some massive names and you’ve both produced and wrote for the likes of Raye, Jason Derulo, JP Cooper, Sigala, Steve Aoki, Rudimental and many more. What was it like to work with these artists and what have been some of your favourite tracks to work on?

It’s hard to pick out a favourite from these but working with talented people is just so inspiring. We always say how much we love Raye – her songs are just amazing, and producing the Jason Derulo track was definitely a highlight for us. We feel very lucky to be able to work with people like them.

Does your creative process differ from when you work as Punctual and when your work with different artists?

When producing and writing for other people, different artists have different styles and fan bases, and their music is aimed to be played in different situations. This means we have to take a different approach every time. Having said that, you have to trust your gut and there isn’t always a right way to do things. In terms of making music for Punctual, we actually never write songs for ourselves, we just know at the end of the day if we both feel a connection to it. This way seems to bring us songs naturally, rather than forcing them on ourselves.

You’ve also worked with the likes of Kid Ink and Skinny Living and also had remixes with Raye, and Jonas Blue. If you could choose any artists to collaborate with on a single or to have on a remix, who would you choose?

We are both big fans of RÜFÜS DU SOL, working with them would be wicked. Swedish House Mafia has also come back with some really amazing new music too, we really rate those guys so that would be very cool.

Last month you announced that you will be performing at Wile Out Festival, do you have any more festival dates or gigs in the pipeline?

We are looking forward to supporting The Stickmen Project in a week’s time at Night Tales London which should be a lot of fun! We also have a bunch of other gigs lined up that we, unfortunately, can’t announce just yet, but keep an eye out! 

Check out the new single here

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