A groove wrapped around a melody wrapped around a memory. A voice that makes you feel something real. Light, swirling textures grounded by bass lines with power and purpose—bass lines that push you forward.
Deutsch Duke’s free-range take on electronica is the soundtrack to the moments that matter.
From old school soul through to hip hop, pop, funk and rock, Dennis Dowlut has traversed genres as a producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. Full of unexpected trials, unlooked for success and sharp left turns, Dennis learned to follow his instincts on a trajectory through the industry which has been anything but typical.
“Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m a producer who sings or a singer who produces music,” Dennis admits, “but at least it’s a lane that nobody else is in”. With skills in all corners of studio and stage and a thirst for collaboration, Dennis has become a prized contributor in recording studios across Australia, working with the likes of Set Mo, Muto, Peking Duk and Flight Facilities. But it hasn’t been an easy road…
Back in 2005, having landed a record deal with his brother Darren, Dennis was on the ground in LA and primed to launch a career in The States when Darren was diagnosed with a virulent cancer, which would soon claim his life.
Both the devastating loss and cherished memory of his brother have had a profound impact on Dennis’ music and decision making ever since.
Inspired by his family’s soul-heavy musical upbringing, Dennis formed the outfit Electric Empire – recording a live album which cruised on a funk wave straight out of the 1970s. The retro sounds were picked up by Glastonbury bookers, and a slot at the iconic festival launched a series of European tours and label deals which would take the group through the next few years.
These days Dennis comes to your ears as solo project Deutsch Duke, his diversity of experience and depth of emotion channeled into evocative and atmospheric electronica. His forthcoming mixtape presents a brilliant patchwork of sound and feeling, built from the ground up. “I’ve got this habit of recording everything. If I go to church and hear a choir, or even conversations I have with my weird-ass friends. They are the best moments, and the bare bones of how I start making a track.”
Melody led and texturally rich, Deutsch Duke’s music is at once soothing and cinematic. “I’m not a bangers guy” he admits.
Chosen as the first release from new label, Risqué, his latest track ‘So Real’ is a stellar return. An expression of cathartic release, it’s delivered with the vocal prowess and lightness of touch that is fast becoming The Duke’s calling card.
“I wrote ‘So Real’ about Darren—it’s about loss. When my son was born, I went through this whole grieving process again, realising that Darren would never know him.”
“Remember me, remember me” – the warped vocal refrain loops into infinity, threatening to hold us in the moment forever before the chorus – full, free and more than a little wild – releases us. Lifts us. We join the forward march of synth and bass and look up into the sky, look forward into the future.
Aesthetic forms an important aspect of Dennis’ creative output, and the music video for ‘So Real’, directed by Jonathan Vassallo, features his son Bastien in the ultimate freedom of nature—a creative way to forever connect two of the people he loves most.
The power to heal, to travel back in time, the power to hope, to escape, to communicate, to love… it’s all in there, in between the chords. Deutsch Duke’s music may be a smooth cruise to the ears, but its impact runs deep.