- Words Notion Staff
Dance DJ duo, Punctual, share their entrancing new single, “Smoke Ring”, and create an exclusive mix for Notion.
Back in 2016, Will Lansley and John Morgan launched Punctual when they released their hypnotic dance track “Eva”. Together, their sound has continued to evolve, from their classic anthem “I Don’t Wanna Know” which has accrued over 25 million global streams, to “Imagine”, a feelgood tune to see in the new decade which garnered the praise of BBC Radio 1’s Danny Howard and Scott Mills.
The pair have also performed at an impressive array of events including Clapham’s SW4 Festival, Rize Festival, and Camp & Furnace. They opened this year with another bopping banger, “The Step”, which has a Kah-Lo-esque feel, and are now following up with their latest, “Smoke Ring”. Fusing funky riffs, a deep, stirring bassline, and electrifying bouncy drops, Punctual’s most recent track is made in anticipation of clubs opening their doors again soon.
A mesmerizingly smooth new track, “Smoke Ring” is one to look forward to on the dancefloor this summer.
Read on for our conversation with Punctual and be sure not to miss an exclusive mix made by Punctual for Notion. Dive in!
How has the past year been for you as artists? Has your creative process changed?
It’s been probably the most exciting year of our career so far all things considered! We’ve
hugely missed being able to go and play shows, but it’s meant we’ve had to fully focus on
working hard in the studio and creating more new music than ever.
Creatively the process is quite similar to usual, we make lots of demos across a period of
time, then finish them off over the course of a few weeks. It is funny making so much music
and only releasing a small portion of it. Having said that, we’ve been writing and producing
for other artists a lot more this year, which means we’re getting to see a lot more music
come out, one way or another!
How did your new single “Smoke Ring” come about?
So this was actually a song that was shown to us in a writing session by a writer called Gez
O’Connell. We fell in love with it instantly and knew it was something that could fit the
Punctual sound. So yeah we took the song away and worked on it to give it our own flavour,
we’re super happy how it turned out! We have since written more with Gez and Jordan Riley
(the other original writer) – they are a killer combo.
How many versions of the song were there before you settled on this one?
It is funny you mention it actually, we went through so many different arrangements for this
song. It is important to us to strike a good balance between immediacy and vibiness; too
short a song can lose the flow and too long can lose somebody’s attention.
What always pulls you to that club floor filler sound?
We like making music that has energy in it! The repetitiveness of club orientated music lets
you get into a bit more of a trance than some other styles of music. It is a lot of fun building
tracks up into powerful moments that will work on the dancefloor, whilst trying to retain the
musicality in the tracks that people will listen to at home as well.
Tell us about your career trajectory – how did you get to where you are today?
It has been a gradual build for us really. We’ve always made music that inspires us in the
moment and so our sound has changed a bit over the years but we love that about the
project. This has naturally led to the music we’re releasing now, which we’re super excited
about. We had a bit of success with a track called “I Don’t Wanna Know” last year which has
opened lots of doors for us too which we’re super grateful for. After spending years making
music as a hobby, to be able to make music as our jobs is all we could ever ask for!
What have been some of the highlights of your career so far?
Neither of us would have thought one of our songs would get 30 million streams this time
last year. The success of “I Don’t Wanna Know” has to be the highlight for us, still feels crazy
to us. Last year we also co-produced Raye’s “Regardless” which made the UK top 40 and has over 40 million streams on Spotify now – this is something we are super proud of too!
What’s one of your worst gig stories?
Love this question haha. So…we were playing a gig in a packed venue a few years ago
now, and it was the warm-up for the main act. We were about halfway through our set when
one of our UBS’s corrupted… The track playing got stuck in a loop during the build before
the second drop. The crowd was getting more and more excited as the track just kept
building and building. After minutes trying to fix it, we gave up and tried to mix another track
in but it was the biggest failure of all time, such a letdown for everyone in the club. There
was one poor guy at the front who had worked himself up into a frenzy and the look of
disappointment on his face afterwards still haunts us to this day.
Talk to me about your mix. What vibe were you hoping to create, and why have you
chosen these tracks in particular?
This is probably said all the time but the music we look to put in mixes is stuff that we think
sounds new and exciting. Whether that is an interesting melody, infectious bassline, weird
synth work or cool drums – these things perk our ears up. Somebody like Bleu Clair is a
good example of people we listen to and think… ‘Wow, how did he make that?’. When we
make a mix we want someone to look up the songs after and find out who they are by!
But yeah, we don’t go too deep in most of our mixes, although in a club we would go harder.
We imagine people will be listening to this sort of music on a run, or during work or when
relaxing so we try to keep it quite musical for the most part!
What’s next for Punctual in 2021?
The rest of the year is going to be a busy one for us, we have a handful of tracks we are
going to be releasing under Punctual which you will start to hear very soon. This will include
some remixes, and original material too that we are super excited about.
Aside from this we also have loads of tracks that we have co-written and produced which will
be coming out at various points. We can’t say exactly what they are just yet but we assure
you there is some really exciting stuff so keep your eyes peeled!
Hopefully we will be able to DJ again soon too. We have SO much new material to play, so
like many others we are itching to get back!