No Big Deal: an Interview with Walker & Royce

On New Album, Collaboration, and Bending the Rules

Perfect Circuit · 03/21/24

Sam Walker and Gavin Royce have been in the game of dance music production and performance for years—and it shows. Everything they do is the perfect combination of fun, care-free, and highly skillful. Their studio output is comprised completely of tracks destined for the dance floor: every track is designed for creating a fun, powerful, and irresistably danceable live experience. Recording and performing as Walker & Royce, they've proven time and time again that they have killer production chops and an acute sense of what types of sounds will get people moving.

On March 29th, Walker & Royce's newest LP No Big Deal will be released on Dirtybird Records. Following the success of the No Big Deal, Pt. 1 and No Big Deal, Pt. 2 EPs, this LP offers even more tracks with even more collaborations: everyone from Harm Franklin and VNSSA to Reggie Watts and more. These tracks have pristine production and adventurous sound design, but they don't come across as a technical exercise or experiment: at the end of the day, this is all just dang good music, concentrated into a single, nonstop stream.

To celebrate the release, we've teamed up with Walker & Royce to give away a Novation Peak—one of their favorite hardware studio staples. (This contest only runs for a short time, so sign up while you can!) Additionally, we talked with Walker & Royce about the process and production of No Big Deal—scope out the full interview below.

An Interview with Walker & Royce

Perfect Circuit: Hey folks! Thanks for taking the time to talk. I'd like to start just by asking—how does the collaboration between the two of you work? Do you send tracks back and forth, or do each of you tend to take on certain parts of the composition/production process?

Walker & Royce: Sam and I have been working together for almost twenty years now. With him based in New Jersey and myself based in LA, we’ve found that it creates a form of connection that is more beneficial—in which we can both take space and time and focus on the creative spark that brings us together on something we are both incredibly passionate about.

PC: What is your typical production/setup workflow like? Do you generally work entirely in the box, or do you add in hardware as well?

W&R: Very much hybrid, you never know when inspiration strikes, whether we’re on the go or chilling at home we like to make sure we consistently have the tools on us to be able to stay creative.

PC: Are there any particular pieces of hardware or plugins that you have been digging into lately?

W&R: The newest we love is called Vital. Specifically, the lead synth from "Cheap Thrills" is a patch we got from there—it has been so sick to use.

The [Novation] Peak has been great, as it’s really our holistic synth on everything. We love the built-in distortion too! Not only that, but being able to map it to Omnisphere has been killer.

PC: I'd actually like to talk more about the role of collaboration in your recent work—it seems like collaboration has become a huge focus in your music in the last couple years. What has led to you working with so many different artists? And how did you choose what artists to work with?

W&R: Just to flip this a bit—I think this question is a good hallmarker of why we decided to name our label Rules Don’t Apply. Our industry as a whole is built in a way that it’s so hard to maintain the integrity of staying creative. With questions like “what are you working on,” “who did you work with,” etc.

We decided to leave that lane of thinking behind and really rock on with choosing the artists who are so musically talented. From Reggie to VNSSA and James and more, this entire project is really an ode to just putting out the best possible music.

PC: Is there a particular way that collaborations usually take shape, or does it change track-by-track/artist-by-artist?

W&R: Not really! Very custom to each track and artist. Most of the time the collab is vocal oriented. Consistently though, these are collaborations that happen with people who we look up to.

PC: Could each of you point to a specific collab that was particularly fun or exciting to you? What made these particular collaborations so noteworthy or memorable?

W&R: OMG yeah—so when were were recording our newest track "Motivashun" with Reggie Watts, he had just come back from like, a Porsche ride with Jay Leno and friends—literally hopped in the studio once and that’s all that was needed. For the most part, all our collabs have been so inspiring not only to just be a part of them but to also see how the creative brains of these artists work.

PC: So, collab talk aside, let's talk more about No Big Deal. Musically speaking, No Big Deal definitely feels like it fits in as a next step in your catalog—similar vibe as past releases, but branching into some new directions as well. "I Don't Remember" and "Tha Tea" feel like great examples—lots of wild/fun sound design, with a super high energy level. When making No Big Deal, were you consciously trying out new techniques, new workflows, or just trying to find new vibes? How do you see it as differing from your prior releases?

W&R: Good question—it’s really about just releasing the best possible music right now with no strings attached. We want to be able to showcase our production ability, but also not consistently stick within one genre. As has been the case with this project as a whole, the goal of Walker & Royce is to be fluid, non conforming, but create the best possible experiences through music.

PC: So, with No Big Deal finally coming out, what's next for you folks? Do you have shows coming up? Working on new music?

Rule Bending. That’ll make sense soon ;)

Pre-Save No Big Deal here!