Birthday parties in Ibiza, rocking Coachella crowds: For British duo Guy and Howard Lawrence, life is pretty sweet
Last May, Guy Lawrence celebrated his 21st birthday with a party. It happened to be on the top of a castle in Ibiza, where he and his younger brother Howard – who perform together as Disclosure – perched in a DJ booth, unleashing a set of choice house grooves to 10,000 bugged-out ravers below. Says the DJ-producer, now 22, "That's just one of the perks of the job, I guess."
The U.K. duo's sleek, melody-packed debut LP, Settle, is already a chart-topper at home, and after playing a pair of majorly buzzed-about Coachella sets, they're poised to break through here, too. "We didn't want our album to just be an hour of relentless house," says Guy. "The idea was to combine that with club stuff and connect with a wider audience."
There are limits to how wide they want to go, though – specifically, they are not at all up for being compared to Top 40 crossover acts like David Guetta or Avicii. "We're not part of that scene at all," Guy says emphatically. "We like a bit of class in our music."
Raised southwest of London in the county of Surrey by a dad who played in a rock band and a mom who used to sing on cruise ships, the brothers had very different tastes growing up. Guy is a self-described "loudmouth" obsessed with Genesis and Rush. Howard, 19, has always been more of an introvert, listening to lots of classic Eighties funk and soul.
Around 2008, the pair started bonding over hip bass-heavy acts like Burial and Floating Points – which Guy discovered while clubbing with a fake ID in nearby Brighton. "I'd never really heard anything like that before," recalls Howard. "Like, 'Wow, this is electronic music that's actually clever musically!'" They started writing their own songs – their first track, 2010's "Street Light Chronicle," was mixed through Guy's car stereo and was, in Howard's words, "a complete mess." When their tunes – which combine the moody, glitchy vibe of James Blake with the funky bounce of U.K. house – caught on with dance-music blogs, Guy quit his job at a clothing store to pursue music full-time; Howard was kicked out of college for poor attendance. They recorded most of Settle in a converted-attic studio above the auction house their dad runs. "We dusted the cobwebs away," says Howard. "Now it's ours."
For all their globe-trotting success, Disclosure are still basically kids. When they're home, Guy crashes at their parents' place (Howard stays with his girlfriend). And Howard is used to being the youngest person in the room at his own shows. "When I come to the U.S., I'm not really allowed in the clubs that are 21," he says with a laugh. "It's very strange."
This story is from the July 4th-18th, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone.