Hot new talent and multi-instrumentalist Duke Boara, aka James Toomey, is barely in his 20s and has already notched up well over 1 million streams on Spotify alone, spins on BBC Radio 1, and recognition from the likes of Laurent Garnier, Richie Hawtin, Sasha and Severino Panzetta. Now he adds ‘Wairau Bay’ to a growing procession of acclaimed singles since his debut ‘Focus’ in mid-2020 and recent cuts Rain and Sundown. The track has already sky rocketed thanks to huge playlist support, making it yet another success for this new name.
Currently in London, growing up in England’s West Country, studying and living in Newcastle, he also spent five years living and travelling in Asia, where world music and instruments such as the sitar sank into his musical consciousness, leading to a rich melding of cultures. Check the interview below…
Hi James/Duke, thanks for speaking with us! Where are you from, and how did you get into music, turning it from a hobby/passion into a career?
I’m from Somerset in England, so basically the middle of the countryside. I taught myself how to make tunes on my laptop and so I guess it all started from there. I would spend a few hours every day when I got back from college making tracks, and then most of the weekend. I got pretty obsessed with it and it’s been really cool seeing more and more
people start liking and listening to what I create. I’ve always loved music and it was when I started getting into electronic music that it all started happening.
You’ve just released ‘Wairau Bay’ on LG105. This track is influenced by time that you spent living and travelling around Asia, what is it about this sound that resonates with you?
- I just really like the sounds and how much energy some of the instruments bring to the music.
You’ve been putting music out since last year publicly, but you’ve been producing music for a while, and have a lot of new music to come, right? Do you think your sound has evolved already from your first releases last year?
- I think it’s definitely evolved. I’m using a lot of my own live sounds, which really brings a lot to the mix. I’d like to think it’s getting better, but I can’t really be the judge of that. I think there’s definitely more going on in the newer tracks and I think the sound is more interest-ing, which I’m happy about. I do have a lot of new music coming, so hopefully people will be able to hear a progression!
When it comes to your sets, what artists and genres do you enjoy mixing right now?
- I play a lot of garage, house and breaks, but I love playing funky/disco stuff as well. Been enjoying playing tracks by Life Sciences Division, Morose, Aiden Francis and of course MJ Cole, who is definitely one of my idols in music.
Where are some of your favourite spots to go clubbing in the UK?
- Newcastle of course! I’ve been out in London a few times which was fun but nothing was as good as Newcastle.
What have you got coming up after this release?
- Hopefully some sets in the UK, which I really want to do. And then a lot of new music this year and next. It’s going to be very fun!