From the embers of kiwi four-piece Narwhal, a new and untamed beast was formed. Over the coming years, a perfect synergy would form between two kiwi songwriters, transcending into a propulsive force of nature. Makers of lush, low-key dancefloor anthems, DUAL bring together the raw, glacial power of lead vocalist Maurice Miller with guitarist Jamie Pyne’s dynamic guitar lines and electronic production for a heady mix of indietronica.
Formed in Auckland, having made a home in a West Auckland bungalow (complete with home studio), DUAL has been hard at work over the past 5 years. Since their first-ever house party armed with a handful of song ideas, the shows and festival spots came knocking. The pair have supported the likes of Future Classic’s Fortunes and World Champion, performed festival spots at Rhythm and Vines, Rhythm and Alps, and iconic 3-day dance party Splore, as well as being featured by Red Bull Sound Select.
Over this time, the recent Warner signings picked up a dedicated fanbase from the Auckland gig scene. Karangahape Road’s iconic Whammy Bar; a siren amongst the diverse underground of upcoming kiwi acts, lived-in bars, and scummy sidewalks, has served as a formative home for DUAL, a space where they negotiated and shaped their sound with the interaction of their audience. “We’re completely in the moment and everybody is sharing this experience together,” says Jamie when reflecting over their dance-heavy live shows which often involve strong visuals and enough energy to supply power to the entire inner-city grid.
In 2017, DUAL’s kaleidoscopic debut single ‘Yellow’ rose to #1 on the 95bfm Top 10 and carried top positions in the NZ Alternative Airplay chart. This was followed by floor-hitter ‘Doze’, the second single to be recorded from the band’s home studio along with their 2017 independently released EP. The underground momentum generated from these two singles saw the pair hit the studio with prolific engineer and producer Jol Mulholland from The Oven studio in Auckland. This time saw DUAL produce their 2018 hair-raisers ‘Stuck’ and ‘Green Eyed’. Their 2019 single ‘You’re On Your Own’ showcased the grittier side to their uplifting, electronic modus operandi.
The duality in their sound is a thing of beauty. Jamie was captivated from a young age by the larger-than-life energy of Led Zeppelin, inspiring his approach to DUAL’s live set. Playing in the background of Maurice’s household was an eclectic cocktail of anything from Jamiroquai, The Clash to The Horrors. Coming from a classically trained vocal background, the sheer power and rip-roaring energy in Miller’s voice naturally progressed and developed as the years went by. At times, Maurice goes from a gravel-filled snarl to light and airy reverberation, not dissimilar to early John Lennon.
While the writing process is an insular process between the pair, often taking place in their garage studio at Maurice’s house, they are writing for the audience. “We can always feel straight away when a song or part of a song isn’t working just by the energy of the room. So we’ll go away and change a part or drop a song, and constantly shape our set,” says Jamie.
“Playing live for us is what it’s all about. ” Maurice reflects. “When we play live, it's our only time we get to share. Aside from that, it’s really just Jamie and I in a room. There’s really no other feeling like playing your music live on stage and seeing even just one person getting down to it. That sharing of emotion is ultimately our purpose as musicians…”