Brownies & Lemonade and Proximity’sDigital Mirage Festival is currently underway as of Friday, April 3rd, with its massive lineup of online streaming performances. For Friday’s lineup, you can see sets from Dab the Sky (Dabin B2B Said the Sky), Seven Lions, 12th Planet, Ghastly, Kaskade, Mat Zo, Yehme2, Arty, and so many more! The live stream can be viewed right here on this page, or you can visit the YouTube stream and join the live chat room. Above the chat room, you will see a donation widget where you can send money to the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. The stream will go on until 2:15am PST. See the full lineup for today below!
DIGITAL MIRAGE. YOUR FRIDAY LINEUP
Dab the Sky (Dabin B2B Said the Sky) Sandro Cavazza Keys N Krates Seven Lions 12th planet Jason Ross Ghastly Kaskade Mat Zo Yehme2 Yetep Perto Nurko Mitis Mako JVNA Arty
Lightening in a Bottle Festival owned by LIB/Do LaB sent an email to ticket holders stating the event is cancelled do to the Coronavirus. They made it very clear they will not be refunding ticket sales. Email Screenshot Below…
COVID-19 might be cancelling all of the usual fun for the coming weeks, including local live music concerts of all genres. With so many DJ’s taking to social media to live stream what would be their live performances, it was a matter of time before promoters like Iris Presents would host a live stream extravaganza of their own.
On what would be a typical “Iris Day” on a Saturday night, Believe Music Hall would be packed with patrons ready to dance the night away in the multi-room venue. Now that COVID-19 has been grinding our world to a screeching halt, Iris wants to bring their signature Saturday night party to your living rooms.
Iris Presents and Imagine Music Festival owner, Glenn Goodhand, took to social media to announce the official live stream party would be happening on Saturday March 21, from 10pm-2am EST.
The even will feature some hometown favorites like Leah Culver, Eddie Gold, Mikes Revenge, and Wolfe. Iris Presents will put on the show just as you would see it any other Saturday night, the only difference is there will be no fans in attendance. Just the stage, production, and of course, the DJ. The promoter is also taking donations on their event page. You can donate to help out the show by clicking here.
You can view the live stream tonight on the Iris Presents YouTube page at youtube.com/ImagineFestivalTV. This is just the inaugural event for what should be more to come since the virus will potentially cancel the foreseeable future events in the coming weeks. The promoters plan to bring more and more production in the near future. Tune in tonight for some Iris style fun to get you through these strange times we’re living in.
The spreading pandemic that is COVID-19 might have caused several large-scale music festivals like Ultra, SXSW, Coachella, and more to pull the plug, Tampa’s own EDM festival Sunset Music Festival is still a go as of Saturday March 14th.
The festival announced Saturday afternoon on social media that they have met with local health officials along with the City of Tampa to take the necessary precautions to keep fans, performers, and the staff safe. For now, the festival is still going to happen this Memorial Day Weekend.
You can visit their website to purchase tickets by CLICKING HERE. As of Saturday morning, the festival also announced that they would have a price freeze, and will honor the current ticket prices through the weekend until Monday, March 16th at 11:59 pm EST.
(Miami, FL)–The Miami Herald has confirmed that the Ultra Music Festival will be postponed until further notice- effectively cancelling the 2020 edition due to the growing concerns over Coronavirus is slowly spreading to the states. This kind of cancellation of a large-scale music event, which people travel internationally to attend, is possibly not the first to happen for this year. At least, that is, until this virus is effectively neutralized.
Music festival insider Festival Owl was among some of the first few sources to make the news public.
I’ve just received confirmation that #Ultra WILL be cancelled due to #coronavirus concerns with an official announcement to come.
I do NOT have further details on refunds, possible postponement etc but the festival’s construction has been stopped.
The Miami Herald reports, The decision to postpone was made in a meeting Wednesday morning between Miami’s elected leaders and Ultra representatives, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. Before the meeting, Mayor Francis Suarez and Commissioner Joe Carollo told reporters they wanted to postpone the event due to concerns over the spread of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.“
Sources also say that city officials have yet to announce details of the change because attorneys are ironing out the legal issues tied to the decision, including the length of the delay.
(Atlanta, GA)— From being the face of Spotify’s Friday Cratediggers playlist, to her live-streams on Twitch, if you follow electronic dance music, there’s a solid chance that you’ve seen the name JVNA recently, and for a good reason! With her mixes including tracks from artists such as Illenium, Slander, Excision and Wooli, it’s clear to see caught the attention of headbangers worldwide. But for every “top-10-banger” in her set you’ll also find an underground ID mixed in as she takes pride in finding the smaller artists that throw down just as hard! JVNA brings even more of a unique energy to her sets through her original tracks and remixes with her very own vocals, melodic bass, and futuristic vibes all throughout.
You can catch JVNA on her City Of Dreams tour all this spring as it makes stops all across the country. Whether you catch her at an intimate, club venue or maybe at festivals like EDC Las Vegas or Sunset Music Festival in Tampa, JVNA is sure to throw down a set you’re not going to forget!
RC: Let’s get some background to start. Where did you grow up and how did you get introduced to music?
JVNA: I studied piano my whole life and other instruments like the cello. Then I wanted to learn how to sing when I was 10. I took singer/songwriter lessons and my teacher asked if I would like to try producing. He taught me how to produce off of a program called Reason. It’s not popular now, but it was popular back in the day. I made very basic pop tracks, maybe just a guitar or a piano, vocals and drums, that’s it. Then I just kept messing around with whatever genres I wanted to do. Eventually I went to music school for classical music and I graduated last year.
RC: Oh, that’s great, congratulations.
JVNA: Thanks. I wanted to do film scoring and stuff like that, but while I was studying classical music, I thought it was boring. And then my ex boyfriend started taking me to raves. And at first I was thinking, “What the heck is this? This is so bad.” Then he broke up with me and I was so petty at the time. I wanted to learn how to make it, so I tried and it was so hard. This is so different than classical music. Then I ended up loving it and I started realizing that EDM is challenging to make.
RC: Who were some of your influences when you started and who/what do you look to for inspiration now?
JVNA: In the beginning I looked up to Mija, Alison Wonderland or Tokimonsta, all these female DJS. They are so cool and I wanted to be like them. I remember looking at videos of Alison or Mija at a festival, and they were doing their own thing. I’m thinking, “Wow, can I ever do that?” Nowadays I still look up to whoever inspired me back then; but now I’ve been looking for inspiration outside of electronic dance music. I listen to a lot of pop music or artists who aren’t really big yet. I like listening to music on SoundCloud because there’s so much creative talent out there.
RC: Yeah, you can run into some gold out there. Okay, name an artist you would love to collaborate with?
RC: Yeah, it could be EDM related or any other genre
RC: Hell yeah! So your mixes are a vast combination of different genres from future bass to melodic dubstep. How do you choose tracks that go well together?
JVNA: Yeah, I’ve been wondering about that lately; because even with my set today, I’m just playing a lot of different genres. Part of me wants to stick to something; but the thing is, I truly like it. I have some stuff that’s not melodic bass or future bass, some mid tempo stuff. I do feel like the genre of melodic bass still resonates with me the most. But I don’t want to box myself into just a genre. I like trying to be open-minded.
RC: When I first discovered your mixes I felt that if I were a DJ, that’s the kind of music I would play. You literally play every single song that I love.
JVNA: Really? I don’t know how to pick a song that I don’t like….I just like it or not.
RC: You sing on most of your original tracks. Was that a natural progression or was that suggested to you?
JVNA: Oh, it was just something I always did. Part of it was just because if I was tone deaf at singing, I wouldn’t have attempted it. I thought I could sing somewhat, and all I had to do was process the shit out of the vocals. Then it eventually became my thing, and then I thought, “Okay, I should probably try to improve.” So I just practiced a little more, and I’m still practicing everything. I think the way my voice sounds, it fits the kind of sound style that I go for. I think I write music around the quality of the tone of my voice, because my voice is kind of airy and light. I like to contrast that sometimes with really heavy bass production, but with also melodic elements.
RC: So, let’s talk about your very first gig. What is something you remember about that experience?
JVNA: Oh, yeah, it was at a restaurant. Okay, three years ago, maybe two and a half actually. Back then I was posting videos of me on the Abelton Push, drum padding and stuff, and then this local group who hosted the shows every Friday asked if I wanted to play. I found out that my friends were doing it as well, so I thought it was a comfortable enough environment. I played only one of my own songs that I had out back then, and I remember being so nervous for it. I had to learn how to DJ for it, and there was only like three people in front of me. Like one of them was my friend and I was so nervous.
RC: How did it go?
JVNA: *silence* It was… okay… *laughs* It was one of those weird settings where it’s a restaurant, and people are just there eating doing their thing. For some reason or another they have EDM played at that restaurant. There was like three people raging in the crowd. It was one of those types of events! I loved that!
RC: As one of the top rising electronic producers, have you experienced any moments that have made you think, “This is what I do it for?”
JVNA: You know, I majored in music so I have no other choice. I don’t have a 9-5 job. I gotta have a degree in Math or English or Politics. I don’t really have anything to fall back on besides music. So it’s always been like that, even before I made a full-time living out of it. I’d say to myself that I had to do this no matter what. I don’t care if I have to teach piano, I don’t care. I’ll teach at a school. Whatever I do has to be music!
RC: That makes sense. I’ve heard that you like anime. Do you have a go-to?
JVNA: Obviously, I’ve watched all the classics like Naruto, Bleach, Death Note, and all that. Production-wise it’s Guilty Crown. I love the music. I like Guilty Crown because of the drawing aesthetics. The music is sooo good! Both the film score and the soundtrack by Supercell,
RC: I love Supercell!
JVNA: I want to say Guilty Crown because actually that whole style visually is similar to my tour style, my City of Dreams tour.
RC: That brings me to my next question. Which of your songs would you choose as an opening theme for Guilty Crown?
JVNA: Honestly, I don’t know if some of my songs fit, but I think “I’m with you” could fit. Definitely not like “Living in Hell!” I don’t know. Maybe it could be one of those endings.
RC: Okay, so, one last thing. I am going to name 9 artists that you play in your mixes, and you give us the first word that comes to mind for each.
JVNA: Uh, oh!
RC: Said the Sky
RC: That is very true!
JVNA: Euphoric. He’s like the greatest person on earth… He’s Aight. Yeah, he’s aight. *laughs*
RC: Alright, that works. Crankdat?
JVNA: Dope af! All of his drops are so good.
RC: He was really good at this game. He was hilarious.
JVNA: He’s one of those artists where there’s not one song I don’t like from him, you know? Yeah, he’s great.
RC: Alright, Excision
JVNA: Dinosaur! I want to say he’s dope too! Bad ass!
JVNA: Awesome! Love him. Wooli is one of those other people, everything they put out is just so good! He’s a great dude too.
JVNA: *whispers* I was going to say EDM Jesus. But that’s cringe, and not one word. *laughs* I don’t know what to say to not sound weird.
RC: Next. Porter Robinson.
JVNA: Oh, feelzy.
JVNA: Guitar! There is a lot of guitar in his songs.
RC: Okay. And one more JVNA.
JVNA: I don’t know. Nervous? *laughs* City of Dreams? Yeah.
(Atlanta, GA)– From viral “recranks” to massive collaborations with some of the biggest names in the game, Christian Smith aka Crankdat, doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The Ohio native has been showing off his incredible producing skills to the world since day one. This extremely talented and humble producer has been grinding and achieving the heights all the young producers are dreaming of. From the residency at Hakkasan on the Vegas Strip (while still underage), to the stages of EDCLV and TomorrowLand, his unique and distinctive sound won the hearts of thousands of fans all across the globe. When it comes to mixing happy and heavy, Crankdat sure knows how to wow the most demanding crowd. Dropping the filthiest edits with his fun “recranks” and bass house-y originals, he is not afraid of double or even triple drops. But is the crowd ready? Well, you better go see him on tour to find out for yourself!
We were able to catch Crankdat before his show in Atlanta at Believe Music Hall. Crankdat told us how he came up with the name (for the first time!), how he makes his own visuals and high praise for Slander and Eptic.
RC: So tell us a little bit about yourself, how did your relationship with the music start?
Crankdat: My name is Christian Smith, and I’m from Northeast Ohio. I started playing piano when I was seven. That went on for a couple years. I did trumpet in middle school, and then I kind of stopped doing music until I discovered producing electronic music when I was about 15. My parents got me the production suite called Fruity Loops for Christmas. And I kind of just geeked out on it for a couple years and had a lot of fun with it. Then somehow wound up doing it as a career, and now we’re here.
RC: We want to know how you came up with the name, Crankdat? So we watched recent Q&A, and you said there is a hint in Jack U’s 2014 Ultra set. We watched that and still don’t know!
Crankdat: It’s a really bad hint; but, well, since you did your homework, I guess I owe you the answer for that one. So in that Jack U set they have an ID that they play… It was an idea at the time. It was a remix by an artist called D-Bass, and the pre-drop vocal said, “drop that bass.” I had really shitty car speakers and I would play that on the way to the gym every day. And it sounded to me like it said, “Crank that bass,” and I was just listening and I thought, “Huh? Crankdat, that’s cool!” That’s literally exactly how I got my name. That is also probably the worst story of all time.
RC: I think this is actually the first time you told the story.
Crankdat: Yeah, I don’t talk about it very often. So this is probably the first time. Because normally I’d just give a hint, and I would say to media outlets that next time we do an interview I’ll tell you the whole thing; but you guys already got the hint, so I can’t back out now
RC: What made you choose music over perhaps an academic or athletic career? Was there a pivotal point where you realized that you wanted to pursue music full-time?
Crankdat: Was there a defining point? I mean, I always kind of wanted to do music full-time. I don’t want to say that was the goal going into it. At first I was just having fun, but I’d say it was probably when I saw Martin Garrix doing it at a super young age and I was like, “Okay, I don’t need to be in my mid 20’s to actually do this shit! I can just do it whenever I’m good enough essentially. So there really was no defining point, but the why instead of doing academics or athletics was just because I really didn’t care for either of those. I really like music. So yeah, I really just didn’t have that much interest in doing either of those things where my passion was, which was in music. So I just kind of said, “F*ck it, I want to do music, this is where I’m happy. I don’t care. I can do the other things later or another time, whatever.”
RC: This is awesome! You have this unique distinctive Crankdat sound, which is very rare these days. How did you find that?
Crankdat: I absolutely did not. *laughs* Thank you for saying that. That’s that’s really cool that you think so! I have no idea what my sound is, I think the only kind of sound I have is from just making music the same way for a very long time. But I tried to use a lot of different sounds, so I appreciate you saying that. That’s really cool. I didn’t think I had a sound I’m just out here winging it.
RC: Trust me, you do! I don’t Shazam to be able to tell it’s your track playing!
Crankdat: Thank you. Thank you.
RC: How do you choose the tracks to ‘recrank’?
Crankdat: So the landscape has kind of changed over time. Back in the SoundCloud era, I tried to just do one every other week. So I was picking whatever song was popular, whatever song I liked, etc. Nowadays, I really only pick songs that I like. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big song or a small song; if I like it and I think that I can do something with it to make it unique, not better, just unique.
RC: How do you think your style has evolved since you first started producing?
Crankdat: I started off really bad, and then I got a little bit better. And now I’m really bad again. *laughs* Really, I think my style has evolved by just… I take a lot less time making music now and I work a lot faster, so I think I get more ideas out quickly. I know that doesn’t really answer the question, but I think that my sound has kind of been encapsulated by how quickly I make songs, and I think my sound is kind of defined by the habits I have rather than the sounds I use. So I think really, for me, was just developing those habits and figuring out those patterns of like what I liked and didn’t like in the music making process.
RC: Your mixes and set production are very clean and spotless. Tell us about your creative process, and how do you choose those tracks that are going to create a double or even a triple drop?
Crankdat: Okay, so I kind of have an answer. It’s pretty tricky. Triples can be messy. So we’ll start with doubles. All right, for a double, the way that I like to do my doubles is using lot of songs that kind of have a melody that goes on top. So what I’ll do is I’ll take those songs and I’ll play them, and then I’ll play another song that has like kind of a really grungy, sort of like bass sound to it. For example, I have a double that I do, which is my song called “Welcome to the jungle” with a song by Bandlez called “Mr Yoi,” and I’ll play “Mr Yoi” underneath “Welcome to the jungle.” What I do is I just cut out the low end to “Welcome to the jungle,” and then it sounds pretty nice. That’s just the way that I like to do mine. I like to pick a song that has a melody, or like a sound that is pretty upfront and then just play something that’s really grimy in the background.
RC: That was awesome and very informative. It’s becoming more common lately for younger artists to stray away from writing complete songs, and focusing more on the initial drop, where you always tend to compose complete well rounded tracks. What advice do you have for newer artists who think they just need a decent buiild and a banger for a drop?
Crankdat: You know, 50% of me wants to say, “Hey, just keep doing what you’re doing.” And the other 50% believes there’s more to a song than just a drop. If the only part of the song was the buildup and the drop, then all of the songs in electronic music would just be, you know, a minute and fifteen seconds. You make the rest of the song for those who are actually willing to listen. Not everybody’s wanting to listen, and that’s totally fine. But in the way that I like to make my songs and the way that I like to make anything that isn’t the buildup with the drop is, you know, if somebody is paying attention to this and listening to this, I want them to really like it. I want it to help make the rest of the song enjoyable for them.
RC: So I’ve got a question about your amazing visuals. How did you learn how to create your own visuals? How long does it take to create that kind of animation?
Crankdat: I have a couple different answers to that question. I use a program called Blender and it’s free, it’s open source, and I am a big Blender supporter because a lot of the other 3D animation programs are not free and open source. So because of that Blender has kind of taken the 3D world by storm over the past 10 years. I have not been present for these 10 years. I’ve been present for the past roughly 1.5 years. I started doing my visuals in the summer of 2018. I was on a tour in Europe, and we had a couple of days off. My videographer that I took with me had a little bit of experience with Blender, and he showed it to me and I was like, “Okay, I could maybe do something with this.” I just started messing around with it and I had a lot of fun with it. I thought, “Okay, I could have full creative control here instead of, you know, paying somebody else an absolutely obscene amount of money to make some visuals for me that might not even be what I need or what I want.” I could maybe just try to do these myself and ideally, over time, make this process totally in-house.
To answer the actual question you gave me, I did a tour in 2019 last year around this time actually called the Gear World tour. I had the tour set up to be totally time-coded, which means that all of the visuals were perfectly synced to the music and it was super complicated and an absolute disaster if anything went wrong, which it hardly did, praise God. But there were a couple of times that it did, and when I’m making the actual animations, it can usually take about a day or two, then programming them to work in time-code is probably another day or two. So in reality, you’re looking at about a week per song and it can take a really, really long time, which is why I’m currently not using that system. I’m testing new visuals for when I do that system again, ideally later this year.
RC: Wow! I think you covered everything. I did some stuff with Maya in college. Have you heard of that? It’s a nightmare!
Crankdat: I have, actually. Autodesk? I’ve heard that Autodesk is literally the most outrageous software ever.
RC: It was so difficult. My computer was also really bad, and it was crashing all of the time. It was just so nerve wracking.
Crankdat: I don’t think there are any computers that are good computers for Maya. *laughing* Cool, though, props to you for doing it! I tried cinema 4D actually when I started, which was when I first had an interest in doing my visuals, was top of 2018 I started Blender that summer, top of 2018 I tried cinema 4D with my lovely girlfriend and she quit like two days in, and I quit one week in. I was like, I have no idea what’s going on!
RC: Yeah, this could be super complicated. So you used to go to festivals as a fan, which is more fun to be in the crowd or on the stage?
Crankdat: I’m a stage guy. I mean I just like performing, but I really like seeing shows, especially now, now that I’ve like been behind the decks. Sometimes you can lose the appreciation for what it’s like to experience a set in the crowd. So I try to do one at least every half year. Just recently I went to Slander’s show. They came through Pittsburgh.
RC: Dylan Matthew is…
Crankdat: A God! *laughs* I was very pleased. I thought they did a great job, and I’m very proud of those guys. It gave me a lot of really good insight as to, you know, how the crowd feels during set. Because no matter how much you practice, no matter how good you think you are doing at your job, you don’t really know what the crowd is experiencing unless you put yourself in those shoes.
RC: That is very true. Well that brings me up to my next question. Are there any artists you are most looking forward to catching at Tomorrowland?
Crankdat: Oh man! I’d have to look at the full lineup. I think Eptic is there, if I am correct. Eptic is probably… It’s between Eptic and Troyboi for a tie, my two favorite DJs, aside from like Skrillex and all that; but they don’t even count, those are Gods. Not that Eptic and Troyboi aren’t because they totally are, but they’re my favorite DJs that I want to see. So Eptic is probably number one on the list. I don’t know if Troyboi is there. I don’t think so. I wish!
RC: It’s Eptic’s first TomorrwLand! And it’s his home country!
Crankdat: Dude just had a crazy year. I remember talking to him, I know this isn’t part of the interview, but I remember talking to him at a festival in Germany two years ago and he was just kind of bummed. And I told him, “Dude, you have some of the best music in the game, no argument. Please keep going. Please do not stop. You are my favorite DJ hands down”, and a year and a half later and he’s doing better than he’s ever done with his career and I’m really happy for him. He’s a really nice guy too. I have a lot of respect for him as well because he does his own artwork and visuals. Very inspiring.
RC: So I’ve got one last thing for you. We’re going to name 8 artists that you’ve either collabed with or play in your mixes and you give us the first word that comes to mind for each.
Crankdat: Okay. All right. I might have some stories behind it depending on who…
Crankdat: Great producer.
RC: Okay. That was two words.
Crankdat: We’ll make it one word. Because if I just said ‘producer’, that’s just like, “Ah Duh!” *laughs*
Crankdat: Uncle… *long pause*
RC: Okay. Any explanation to that, or are we moving on? *laughs*
Crankdat: The first time we met, I shouldn’t say the first time we met, the first time we worked together, Scott actually self proclaimed himself to be my uncle.
RC: Uncle Slander, that’s so sweet.
Crankdat: Yup. Uncle Slander.
RC: We did our First Dance to “Superhuman”.
Crankdat: No way?
RC: Yup. They reposted it on Twitter. But we still haven’t had a chance to meet them.
Crankdat: Oh, that’s so cool. They are the nicest dudes I’ve ever met. They’re the best.
RC: All right. Moving on. Adventure Club.
RC: *All laughing* That Okay. We did an interview with them and we came up with a name Crankdat AC for y’alls collab
Crankdat: I like it. I’m all for it.
Crankdat: Brostep Strikes Back. *laughs* I can’t think of anything other than that! If you name a track “Brostep Strikes Back”, you’re asking to never be labeled as anything other than Brostep. I love Matt though, I should say nice. Very nice. Sweet man.
RC: Okay, Marshmello. Go!
Crankdat: Head! *All laughing*
RC: This is on point so far.
Crankdat: I’m a very straightforward guy!
RC: All right. Eliminate.
Crankdat: Ooh. Okay. I have to actually think of a word because I just got sounds.
RC: Weeble Wobble?
Crankdat: Yeah! I could say wobble! Laser. High pitch. That’s two words. We’re going with laser.
RC: Yookie. *whispers, “Sucks”*
Crankdat: Sucks! *laughing* I was going to say edit but sucks is just as good!
RC: Okay. One more, Crankdat.
Crankdat: Oh, trash. *laughing*
New Speaker: Omg, no!
Crankdat: So Yookie sucks, Crankdat Trash. Very good. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Trash.
(Atlanta, GA)– When meeting an artist for the first time, you’re never really too sure what to expect; so it’s incredibly welcoming to be greeted by two friendly faces offering that pure Los Angeles-style comfort and conversation. These guys are Two Friends. This humble electronic duo from LA is all about working hard, playing hard, and simply having fun. Since they emerged in the scene, they’ve reached unbelievable heights. What started as a fun project in high school grew into an international phenomenon that quickly gained a dedicated fan base.
They created a buzz by remixing several all-time favorites like “Mr. Brightside” or “I Miss You” by Blink-182 to name a couple, and adding a few special elements to give it a totally unique sound. The original music catalogue of Two Friends just screams, “We are having fun, and so should you!” And that’s what I love about these guys. Their contagious and energetic vibe, which can really be felt in their “Big Booty Mix” series, makes you want to get up and lose yourself on the dance floor. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to chat with Matt and Eli on the Camp Superdope Tour with Matoma before their set. The two shared with us how the project started, where they find inspiration to write their original tracks, and high praise for Swedish House Mafia.
RC: We always start with the basics, tell us how did you guys meet each other and decided to become musicians?
Matt: So we met each other in middle school in Los Angeles and kind of became friends there, but we weren’t doing music together or anything. I kind of played guitar and then in high school Eli kinda got into mashups and stuff. When we were graduating high school, we were like, oh, we’re not playing sports anymore, let’s learn to produce music. We didn’t even know what that meant, but we just bought a program right near the end of senior year and then we split off for college. But during college we were almost treating it like a full-time job. Then we started gaining momentum in college. So probably by junior year or something, we’re like, alright, let’s try this full-time when we graduate. And now it’s been four and a half years since we graduated, right?
Eli: Yeah. We graduated in 2015, so four and a half.
RC: So what was the first software you used?
Matt: Pro Tools- the first, and so far, the last.
Eli: We literally, not a joke, went on Google and searched, what programs should we get to produce music? And it was like…
Matt: And it’s not a popular one for production at all.
Eli: But there was some forum that said pro tools, blah blah blah. And we’re like, all right, let’s do it.
Matt: I think if we could’ve gone back, we would have chosen Ableton; but now we’re trying to switch anyway, so it’s like we’ll see what happens. It’s hard to switch.
RC: Okay. Who was/were the producers that you listened to at first that made you realize this is what we want to do?
Eli: I think it was back in the day. Yeah, it was probably a lot of Avicii, Alesso, Swedish House Mafia. We grew up in LA, and Coachella was a big deal for our whole school, so we’d go. I think that was kind of the first introduction to going and seeing a lot of the DJs at Coachella and not even really understanding what it was or how it’s made or what the hell is happening.
Matt: I think when we were first learning how to produce, we were kind of just copying, trying to figure out how to get that clean and nice sound. So I think in the beginning it was those Swedish guys, and I honestly think that’s probably the most common answer.
Eli: But that was also the first stuff to really land big in the U.S. for the mainstream. Obviously, there’s so many other genres that have the roots here. Towards the end of high school, 2010-2011, Swedish house mafia is getting on the radio a lot, Alesso and Avicii are blowing up. I think for a lot of American kids at that time, this was what they were being introduced to.
RC: Well, what about now?
Matt: I feel like back then our influences were a lot more focused, and now it’s just kind of all over different genres. I mean, like dance music, pop, hip-hop, rock, just a little bit of everything. It’s honestly hard to reference one because it changes every month really.
Eli: More like a lot of the songwriting side as opposed to only production side.
RC: Ever since you emerged in the scene, you’ve been unstoppable. What’s the most challenging thing that you guys had to deal with in these years?
Matt: Patience, maybe?
Eli: Yeah, I would say luckily there hasn’t been a major setback or a major hurdle. I think it’s kind of been a patience thing and having the focus to make certain sacrifices if you think that it’s going to be worth it in the longterm. So not rushing into certain deals that could kind of screw you over, or not rushing into certain gigs that might mess up your style.
Matt: And also just having patience in general, because it’s really been a slow but steady grind. And I think that’s pretty normal, unless you have a huge radio hit or something. So patience, patience, and perseverance.
RC: That’s awesome. For your original beautiful tracks like “Out of Love” and “Bandaid”, where do you find inspiration to create whether it’s EDM related or not?
Matt: Yeah, both of those kind of have a foot in dance and a foot in pop. I think when we started those and a lot of stuff we’re making now, it’s just… ‘Do we like it or do we not?’ Like not so much thinking, ‘where does it lie?’ I guess we like pop and dance, so that’s kind of where it ends up going.
Eli: I think we’ve gotten better about just going with it if there’s a cool idea and we are feeling good about it. You know that if you still get excited by it, it’s obviously a good sign. So for “Out of Love,” I know that one started with that guitar lick that’s still is in most of the songs. Matt just had a voice note where he’s playing that and then it’s like, you know what, we got to make a full song around this. Bandaid, I think was the lyric, we knew that tagline…
Matt: Yeah, we had the chords and then just like the “bandaid ah, ah, ah!” *singing the tune* I’d say, nowadays, it’s usually a combination of a tiny instrumental idea with a vocal, or a hook, or something like that because we like to write a lot.
Eli: I think the goal is also not to rush it, but basically keep going. No matter what, you’re going to get to a point where you just get a headache about the song. You’ve heard it too many times. You don’t know if it’s good anymore, you lose all your perspective. So that beginning part is very important, and if you are excited about it keep going as hard and as you can as fast… Again, don’t rush it, but go as fast as you can to use that inspiration and keep going because it will run out. So if you could get the meat of the song done, then you focus on the other parts.
Matt: Go! Go! Go! Yeah. You got to get it done as fast as you can!
RC: Do you ever write the lyrics first?
Matt: Usually if you have a lyric, it’s not necessarily a melody because you need help with the chorus behind it, or at least what tempo it is.
Eli: There’s not a formula that we always follow. Each song can be a little different, so there’s definitely a good amount of our work where we had the title, and you think of this is a cool title for a song. If the song is called “Dollar menu,” alright, now we’ve got the title down. What’s it about? And then we start building off of it.
Matt: The cool thing about songwriting and music is just the unlimited potential. You can go about it the song title first, you go about the idea, then you can go about the production. It’s just unlimited, and it really keeps things fresh when you’re making stuff.
RC: Your set production seems very thoughtful and time consuming. Tell us about your process of finding out a track like… let’s say Blink-182’s “Say It ain’t so” that could mash up with Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” and flow perfectly into “Old Town Road?”
Eli: Yeah, I mean, for the mixes, it kind of ends up being a lot of trial and error. It wasn’t necessarily that we thought those three or four songs you mentioned. It wasn’t like we had the idea all at once. Like, “Oh it’s gotta be this to this.”
Matt: Honestly, in the beginning I think it’s more like mathematical and scientific. It’s just what key is this in, what is near this BPM? You know, just testing things.
Matt: Once you hear something or if it’s close, a really good sounding thing might be worse than the coolest combination ever.
Eli: I think the conceptual part of it is that there are certain ones that sound great, but they’re not very interesting?
Matt: Because if no one knows the vocal, it’s just a cool song. But if it’s a nostalgic thing from the eighties over a dance drop from this year, it feels cooler. You know?
RC: Sure sounds like you’re having fun doing it! Is there a specific track that you like to drop the most in your sets?
Matt: Of ours? Probably the one that goes off is our “Mr. Brightside” remix. Just because people know the vocal and it’s just a fun one to play.
RC: That’s an amazing remix!
Matt: Thank you. I appreciate it. There’s a lot more at this point and now our sets are getting pretty heavy towards edits from “Big Booties” mixes or our originals, or remixes with a couple of other things thrown in. The sets can get filled up quickly now, so it’s good. It’s been getting more Two Friends related over the years.
RC: Awesome. Your mixes include an insane variety of hits from the early 2000s to EDM Classics, from Shakira to Illenium, and even some of the best vine quotes there are. But If you had to choose, What would you pick as your favorite vine quote, and your favorite throwback track?
Matt: We don’t even have a master list. And people ask us like, “What is this from? Which volume?” and I’m like, “I have no clue…”
Eli: There’s been a lot, because we’ve done 16 of them and each one has around 12, so there’s been at least over a hundred.
Matt: Theres a couple from “The Office” that I just hold dear. But damn, I don’t know. What’s your favorite [Eli]?
Eli: There’s a lot. And it changes every morning. I was going to say “Every Morning,” and I was thinking of the one from Shrek, “In the morning, I’m making waffles.” That’s a good one.
Matt: Oh, “I Have nipples, Greg. Can you milk me?” Thats a good one. There’s a lot of good ones.
Eli: That’s always a fun part of throwing those in at the end. And then favorite throwback? I think it’s cool, the more unexpected, like mixing an Elton John track… there’s not a lot of dance remixes of those type of songs. So I always like when we’re able to figure out a way to put in the Beatles or Queen.
RC: Is there a different genre that you would like to try yourself in but haven’t yet?
Matt: It’s kind of interesting. I feel like a lot of our unreleased stuff is going towards the direction where it honestly has “a foot in dance,” and some of it is way more dance than others. But there’s rock in it. There’s pop in it. Eventually there will be country, no doubt. And theres some rap thrown in. So honestly pretty much hitting everything.
RC: What about some dubstep? (or riddim lol)
Matt: I can see some harder stuff coming soon. No Doubt! Some remixes, of course. *laughs*.
RC: If today was the end of the world which song would be a perfect soundtrack?
Eli: Happy song or sad song?
RC: I don’t know, It’s up to you!
Eli: If today was the end of the world. Damn, that is scary.
Matt: You only got a few hours. Yeah. We’d fly back to LA real quick!
Eli: What song has stuck?
Matt: I would say it would have to be… One of our songs or any song in the world?
Matt: Alright. I’m going to do maybe… something by Frank Sinatra. Just the vibe, you know?
Eli: I don’t know. Red Hot Chili Peppers and it could also be one of their almost sad ones, like a “Soul to Squeeze.” That’s what I’m going with.
RC: I’ve got one more question for you. What’s in store for Two Friends for the rest of 2020?
Matt: We’ve got a lot of music. It’s hard to work on the road, but we’re grinding. We have stuff coming out soon. We’ll have another “Big Booty Mix ” to release probably by April. A lot of touring, like right now with this tour. Then we’ll probably be on the road more and more after this. Then just bigger and better things constantly. We’re excited!
Eli: Next single is end of January. And then we’re kind of just wrapping up all the other ones.
Matt: And a couple of remixes, a couple of other stuff, but a lot of sick stuff we are excited for.
RC: Awesome. Well, thank you so much.
Matt: Thank you. Thanks so much for having us. I appreciate it.
(Atlanta, GA) – Two words: Happy Hardcore. If the name Gammer doesn’t immediately pop up in your head when you hear these words, well you might want to go check him out. The UK producer is a walking incarnation of the genre. 6 times “Best Hardcore DJ Award” winner, Gammer is an insanely talented, versatile and simply fun to watch DJ. His music makes you want to jump, dance and completely lose it on the dance floor.
Aside from Happy Hardcore, he proved his versatility with his hit track “The Drop” which was played by the top DJs at festivals all around the world in 2018, while the man himself was humbly producing new bangers. His sets are always full of unexpected drops, fun twists and his own flips. From happy jumpy tunes like “Burning Up” with the pioneers Dougal and Darren Styles to Parker’s fun remix of an all time classics “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada to his insanely popular flip of Ran-D’s Zombie remix, Gammer knows exactly how to deliver while staying true to himself. Ravers Choice got to sit with Gammer before his show in Atlanta and chat about his relationship with the music, praise for Space Laces, and his favorite anime.
RC: Let’s start with the basics. Tell us about your relationship with music. How did your journey start?
Gammer: Oh gosh, that’s a big question. I always wanted to do music ever since I was like five years old. I guess. I just, uh, I remember like listening to… working around, listening to Michael Jackson a lot on my Walkman which is like a boomer Spotify player.
RC: You think we don’t know what it is? You think you’re that old?
Gammer: That’s, yeah, that’s exactly what i thought haha a thing. So I would listen to this music and think, “Damn this makes me feel good. I want to do this.” And then I’d see DJs on TV when like Fatboy slim sort of blew up. I’d see him DJ and I didn’t know what he was doing, but I thought, man, that looks cool. And so I was pretty set on being heavily involved with music from a young age and that never really wavered.
RC: That’s awesome. Who were some of your influences when you started and who/what do you look to for inspiration now?
Gammer: When I started, Michael Jackson was the obvious one. Peter Gabriel was a big influence and then when I sort of discovered rave, Scott Brown was a big one. Scott Brown used to make some incredible euphoric hardcore and that just really flipping did it for me. These days it’s kind of like, it’s a bit more eclectic. I’m a massive Justice fan. Love Porter Robinson, Kanye, you know, for better or for worse as always. I like his sort of abstracts arrangements and the way he sort of executes ideas. Just like anywhere really, you know?
RC: That’s awesome. Who is your favorite artist that you would love to collaborate with?
RC: Any newcomers that caught your attention whether its a hardcore artist or a dubstep one?
Gammer: This is one of these questions I know the answer to until it’s asked. And I’m like, Oh…
RC: Oh, that’s really funny because every interview we do, people just draw a blank on this question.
Gammer: Oh, f*ck. Callum Higbee is a fantastic hardcore producer who is definitely doing some damage right now. Jesus Christ, this has completely alluded me. I’m totally out of touch. Eliminate! Eliminate because eliminate makes dubstep and trap. That sounds like you’re slapping your lips together, but it works really well. He’s very talented. He makes me want to eliminate myself and give up.
RC: Oh, no, please don’t say that. You take time producing spotless quality tracks, tell us about your creative process?
Gammer: Okay, so what I do is I boot up, I load up my computer, I try and start an idea. I spend the next five weeks convincing myself that I’m useless and can’t do anything right. And then the track’s done. I think one of my problems these days is, there isn’t so much of a process. I’m just frantically throwing things down and trying to make something happen. Whereas genuinely what I like to do is like get some chords and vibe out and just see where it takes me.
RC: What about your last track, ‘Brostep Step Strikes Back’?
Gammer: I wanted to make something that sounded like old Skrillex, just screechy ridiculous nonsense and it’s, it’s just so like, I wanted to do something with a lot of the obnoxious mid range because like dubstep hit a point with me where it’s great, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like tonally it’s all gone tonally and sonically, to me, since I’m not deep in the dubstep scene myself, it’s a bit gotten a little indistinguishable. So I just wanted to do something that you can play on like the worst sound system and you can’t hide from that. *making crazy noises* I love it. Also the vocal chops, I don’t know. It’s fun.
RC: EDM trends are constantly changing, one minute you’re super into heavier stuff and then you switch to fast and lighthearted tunes. Is it hard to keep being true to yourself and producing the music that you want to produce instead of following the trends?
Gammer: Sometimes, yeah, sometimes I get caught up in the kind of the race of it all. But honestly the whole thing is to just remind myself that I’m making what I want to make and if people like it or not, that’s on them. I can’t like spend my whole career trying to cater myself the trend you know? Because I just end up miserable which has happened. So, yeah.
RC: So, the dubstep styles you produce tend to have this classic old school Bear Grillz, Eptic, or Barely Alive sound to them. Who are some artists, old or new, that you find inspiration from when you’re creating a heavier track?
Gammer: I mean, that’s Eliminate again, that’s like a free advertisement. I like Eliminate, Eptic, just some fun bounces. Oh God. Anything by space laces. Oh shit. Oh my God. Yeah, because… F*cking… Excuse my language.
Okay. Space Laces actually, that was the name I wanted to say earlier. Anything he does, anything immediately grasps my attention. It’s so like chunky and thick and just it sits in its own lane, you know, anything by space laces just blows my f*cking cock.
RC: Awesome. From the old days of pressing on vinyl to currently streaming on Spotify or SoundCloud, what are some of the negatives and positives that advancement in technology and social media have upon artists?
Gammer: I mean, over-saturation is the obvious one, but you know, it can’t be helped, you know? So the big challenge I guess for what I try and do when I release music is try and make tracks that each have… Every track has its own identity and stands out on its own merit. So that hopefully I make music that turns people’s heads rather than just going down the “what’s popular? I should just make that.” I think that’s kind of what the “difficult” is. Where I come from, a background of “I could just make like straight up 50 songs that sounded the same, press them and like cash in on them.” Now I have to sort of be a bit more conscious, which is a good thing. And yeah, just try and make shit pop.
RC: Yeah, absolutely. What is a “must do” when you arrive home after being away for a long period of time? Do you have any family traditions after a lengthy tour?
Gammer: Yeah, I’ve got this new weird tradition of spending time with my kids. I mean it’s not like the “2019 traditional vibe”, but you know, they’re pretty fun. I like that. Nah, I love my kids. Oh, the first thing I do is go see my kids and spend time with them. And then I’ll go home and I crack open a cold, slightly flat, sparkling water. And I usually play like Tekken or Dark Souls or something for hours. And yeah, I would unpack. You know, sometimes I don’t unpack for months and it’s crazy.
RC: Do they help you to unpack?
Gammer: No! *laughs*
RC: Does your internet presence match your actual personality?
Gammer: What do you think?
RC: So far you’ve been really reserved in this interview.
Gammer: Oh, okay. It depends like what scale my autism is operating on any given particular day. Right now I’m kind of tired and I’ve literally come from the hotel room, like working on my Palladium show. So I’m a little bit like, I guess vacant, but…
RC: Oh actually, we got the tickets to the Palladium show to support your kids. We can’t make it, but you know.
Gammer: Thank you. I mean I want to clarify. I could feed them, but my Supreme and Balenciaga doesn’t pay for itself. And you know, they got healthy metabolism so they can go longer without meals. Yeah.
RC: All right. I’ve got one more question for you. So I’ve seen that you were watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure recently, what is your favorite anime?
Gammer: Right now it’s JoJo’s Bizzare Adeventure. And Akira. Akira always sits on top.
RC: Awesome. Which of your songs would you choose as an opening theme?
Gammer: Oh, God. Holy shit. That’s a really interesting question. I don’t know, maybe “Zombie” just cause it’s fast and kind of nuts, you know, I see the Japanese getting down on that.
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