MIXED BY/ Dual Monitor

In the years since doors and floors have opened back up post-pandemic, it’s still nice to hear a crop of newer artists experimenting heavily with half-time tempos and mechanoid sound design; a welcome zag from the blisteringly paced, festival-ready music that’s a bit overly reliant on referencing the past. Dual Monitor is one of these newcomers that has consistently upped the bar for themselves and their peers across the UK Bass continuum since arriving on the scene. Comprised of Fliss Mayo & Zebb Dempster, Dual Monitor has had a relatively fast ascent, weaving strands of everything from proper dubstep and R&B, to techno and dembow into a seamless quilt of absolute barn-burners. 

They’ve released a number of singles with Cloudcore, a label that has proven over the past few years to be as vaporous as they are provoking, and they’ve let loose other undeniable projects on labels like DJ Cosworth’s tools-leaning HARDLINE. Earlier this month, Dual Monitor announced their 4th release of the year: an immaculately produced 2-tracker EP off SPE:C. Step Pattern is an absolute showcase of Fliss and Zebb’s incredible ability to marry the rhythms of bygone eras with au-currant textures. We’re lucky to be able to connect with the duo, who’ve put together an incredible blend of tracks for our MIXED BY series, and have answered a few questions from us as their latest output continues to seep deep into the psyche of the broader electronic world. 


Hello Fliss and Zebb! Thanks so much for chatting with us – where in the world are we catching you at the moment?
Z: Hey! Thanks so much for having us! I’m back in sunny Essex having some down time. We had a very merry month of May with shows so it’s good to have some time to relax and work on music.

F: Hello! I am up in Liverpool where I currently live, getting prepped for festival season.

Knowing that Dual Monitor kicked off in earnest towards the middle of 2022, can you tell us a bit more about how yall linked up for this project?
F: We were introduced via a friend when I had just moved to Bristol and had no mates. Me and Zebb met at the Christmas Steps pub for the first time and got on like a house on fire. We spoke a lot about music and what has inspired us. Zebb mentioned that he had recently started a solo project and we made a rough plan to hang out and make music together.

Z: Fliss then came to my house in Bristol where I had a pretty basic home studio set-up and we just had a really fun time messing around making some bleep bloop 4 bar loops and the project naturally evolved from there!

F: I really liked the way that Zebb was so keen to try out different styles and genres and he was also incredibly good at explaining the things that I didn’t understand. I felt like I could trust him from day one.

Z: Thank you that’s very lovely to hear! It’s also incredibly insightful working with Fliss. When I write on my own I can get in my head quite a bit and it’s so lovely to having each other to bounce ideas off.

It seems like one of your earliest public releases was with the smoky digital-only collective Cloudcore. How did you pop up on each others’ radars, and what (if anything) about your shared ethos made it clear that they would be good to partner with?
F: I came across CloudCore through a close friend of mine and really loved the sounds that they were pushing. I then joined their discord channel not long after and submitted a rather terrible track to the feedback channel which was met with such kindness and a LOT of feedback. I then sent it to Zebb who was keen to work on it.

Z: We spent a few days going back and forth with different approaches and the lightbulb moment was when we looped a part of the vocal to create this phrasing that would go onto be the main hook of the track.

F: I had such a good feeling about the label in general and luckily they were so kind to have us on there for our first release!

Listening to a few of your sets that have been made available online, it seems like you two not only have fun playing for audiences, but for each other as well. How do you both balance the responsibilities of performing while also making sure you’re having what appears to be the time of your life?
Z: For me, one of my favourite things in the whole world is when I meet up with Fliss and we spend the day showing each other new music that we’ve discovered and having a grand old time. I see our sets as an extension of our shared energy and the excitement we both get from discovering new music. We are definitely playing for the crowd but are also playing for each other and I think that comes across a lot in our sets.

F: I completely agree. What I love about Zebb is that he’ll always throw in such an incredible undiscovered track into every set that we play together. He absolutely loves digging for tracks that aren’t well known but are so good. I’ve never trusted someone so much like I have with Zebb behind the decks and every set is a new adventure!

Pulling focus towards your latest project – Step Pattern is an unabashed love letter to a FWD-indebted time in UK-based electronic music, all while keeping its eyes up toward the unexplored corners of scenes yet to come. What is currently inspiring you both to deftly thread this needle throughout your work?
Z: Thank you so much that is a massive compliment! We are both huge fans of dubstep and whilst we were (sadly) not old enough to experience that very special time in UK dance music we take a huge amount of inspiration from it. We were sampling a fair amount of dubstep and dub into our previous 4×4 releases so it made sense to progress into having a crack at the genre wholesale, whilst trying to give the tracks our own trippy, spicy twist.

F: I’d also say we really love to progress and evolve in our sound. We don’t really know where a track will take us when we first start it – we end up just trying to make it as ‘Dual Monitor’ as possible by doing a LOT of incorrect things before we end up giving each other that face that says, ‘yeah that was pretty good’.

Can you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve prepared for Bolting Bits?
Z: In this mix you’re going to hear a lot of the music and artists who have been inspiring us at the moment as well as some unreleased stuff from us. It’s not a home listening mix but we wanted to thread a zoned out dubby atmosphere throughout.

Thanks again for your time and for your incredible contribution to our mix series…to wrap up here, what’s next up for Dual Monitor?
Both: Thanks so much for having us!!

Gig wise we’ve got festival season and we’ll be at Venue MOT next month and making our debut on NTS which is super exciting. We’ve got two tours coming up but more on that later hehe!

Release wise everything under wraps but there’s something very very cool coming later in Summer.

Interview by Dan.B.