This page is dedicated to all the musical artist interviews I have conducted so far for Relentless Beats, which deals mainly in the realm of Electronic Music:
RB Exclusive Interview: um..
On the sweaty spring Saturday of the 2018 edition of Phoenix Lights. I had the pleasure of catching the eccentric yet affable duo known as Um.. (the dots are pronounced). While I looked into their sound beforehand, their unique blends of noise, chaos and a lack of reverence for the unstoppable “EDM machine” were even more pronounced in a live setting. In the last year, the duo comprised of Ben Bruce and Dylan Gold have been grinding out strange EPs, obscure remixes, and constantly upholding their “anti” sentiment. Fans of the mainstream may be slightly jarred by their blasé attitude, but their music tells a story of intense respect for the underground scene.
I was excited to sit down and discuss their music, but I couldn’t help digging a little deeper into how um.. managed to surpass all of the mainstream rules and become established with a sound of their own.
With the first question about how their set and relation to the crowd went, I immediately recognized their casually humble demeanor toward their brand; before giving an answer, Dylan and Ben hesitantly looked at each other with sly smiles and discussed how they relate to fans. The duo mentioned the great time they had but acknowledged that their music can take a little time to rub people the right way. Bleeding into my inquiry of their connection with the audience, Dylan explained that these big festivals are always a draw for large amounts of people who might connect with their work, but they also understand the initial hesitance they may have in an environment supported by progressive house, trap, and genres outside of theirs. With a heartfelt connection to the electronic underground myself, I couldn’t help but smile at their indomitable spirit in the face of adversity.
I also couldn’t help but be curious about their creative process and the reasoning behind their song names, samples, and cultural references. While most DJ producers go for clean images that retain an adherence to the major label status quo, much of um..’s mainstay revolves around obscure references, lowercase titles, and gritty self-made album art. As I explained my interpretation of their “F U” attitude toward the mainstream, Ben recognized my own personal appreciation and understanding of their image. I was told that most of their images and music are based around that brand of “DGAF” humor; it turns out that “this is our last song” clearly isn’t their last song, but was the last song they recorded for a session. In regards to “management made us do it,” the meaning behind that track actually contained little angst at all, and simply references humor from the Indie-popular sketch comedy group, Whitest Kids U’ Know.
The conversation progressed and when I asked how they would describe their music to someone, Dylan and Ben did not have an immediate answer. In past interviews, they described their music using silly wordplay (think shitty spaghetti), but I was treated to an honest narrative of the difficulty the duo faced when trying to reconcile their mainstream success with their underground vibes. Dylan explained the hesitancy and lack of support they originally received from certain venues and major labels due to the obscure nature of their image. I joked calling them a “brand relations nightmare” to any major EDM source trying to fit them into the mold they clearly didn’t want to be a part of. While offbeat artists have the chance of reaching mainstream success through internet virility, Ben and Dylan emphasized the blood, sweat, and tears they put into their work and how it took a longer time than most for labels to take their act seriously. Their style stays consistently avant-garde and being themselves in a commercially aggressive industry originally made some of the bigger leaps into stardom difficult.
As the conversation came to a close, I inquired about their upcoming work. Unfortunately, the details they gave seemed vague in regards to their new material, but emphasized their upcoming work with larger labels and expanding their sound. Sitting down with um.. cemented my view of the EDM mainstream while detailing the experiences self-made creatives fight to survive in an industry constantly against them. If I learned anything about overcoming the status quo from um.., always take on the naysayers’ rejection with grace and humility, but use your work to show your truest self and fiery passion.
RB Exclusive Interview: SAYMYNAME with the #HARDTRAP
If you haven’t heard of SAYMYNAME, you are about to get a full-fledged introductory course on what makes the genre known as “HARDTRAP.” From his budding roots in the Los Angeles scene that helped Dayvid Sherman form his sound, SAYMYNAME brings an incredible amount of life experience to the table that frequently meshes with a unique sound that only he could have attained as “Godfather of HARDTRAP.”
SAYMYNAME’s original brand of trap combines what he has learned through the genres of Hip-Hop, traditional trap, and hardstyle. Now, we are sitting down with Dayvid “SAYMYNAME” Sherman to talk strictly music, and get to the bottom of this HARDTRAP business including news of many new releases on the way:
You’ve had some massive success since you first emerged. How does it feel to be leading a sub-genre at a rather early stage in your career? What are some challenges that go along with heading a genre?
It feels great! HARDTRAP has gotten massive support from DJ Snake, Martin Garrix, The Chainsmokers, Carnage, Afrojack, David Guetta, Skrillex, and so many more. One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced since the founding in 2012 was getting people to be open minded to the genre. I faced a lot of backlash because the sound was too “Harsh” or didn’t “fit,” in the scene. Some even thought that hardstyle and trap music were better left separated. My fans really helped change that though and spread HARDTRAP all over the world.
We love your remix of a track called “Dead,” that you released a few months ago; what about that song stuck out to you?
The lead melody is my favorite part of the track. The original was already pretty intense so when Slander asked me to remix it I had to push the sound even further. The “Rise of the Dead” vocal stood out the most and inspired me to make the drop literally sound and feel like the dead was rising.
Which artists do you have in your sights to work with next? What songs have you been dying to remix?
Slander and I are currently finishing up our track. I also just started a collaboration with DVBBS. I would love to work with Tiesto, NGHTMRE, Afrojack or Future sometime in my career as well. Lately I’ve been thinking about remixing Shelter from Porter and Madeon.
You’ve been in Arizona a couple of times in the last few months, what do you love about performing here?
I love the energy that the dance community in AZ brings. The crowd at Crush was the loudest I’ve ever played for.
What’s in store for you the rest of 2017?
I just had a single come out on Spinnin’ Records a couple of weeks ago. Also have another single Turn Up the Bass will be out on Buygore next. I am planning on releasing an EP this fall. I have a lot of dope shows and festivals coming that I am excited for China and Thailand in 2 weeks. Internationally I will be revising Australia for tour #2, as well as a Europe run this fall. I will also be hitting the festival circuit from Hard Summer, Paradiso, MY LED USA in SD, Global in Denver, Foam Wonderland, Life in Color, to Sun City Music Festival in Texas.
Any final words for your loyal Arizona-based fans?
Thank you Relentless Beats and my Arizona #SAYMYNAMESoldiers for the continued support, you guys keep a special place in my heart. You guys go HARD AF!
There you have it, folks; it looks like this isn’t the first, or last time you’re going to hear about SAYMYNAME, and quite frankly, HARDTRAP doesn’t show any sign of giving up in the battle for harder beats, and darker styles. We not only want to thank SAYMYNAME for taking the time in answering our most pressing questions, but also keeping us “in-the-know” of all the sick projects going on in his very near-future. Keep a lookout for “Turn Up the Bass” on Buygore as well as his upcoming fall E.P., and don’t forget to keep HARDTRAP alive!
RB Exclusive Double Feature: A Look At Mako’s First Album + An Interview With The Duo Themselves
Mako’s Hourglass is out now! To go track by track on their album would be way too easy, so here’s the deal on what you need to be excited about: Mako’s album contain an almost singer-songwriter vibe that contains a substantial amount of original vocals that rivals a production that is 10x better than the most effective Imagine Dragons song. What might throw off fans of more instrumental work, is the heavy emphasis on lyrics and songwriting. This is indeed an interesting focus in the EDM world, because we all know what we are about: sick drops, awesome parties, and forgetting our existential universal pain through music. Sadly, Mako is giving us an album that will make us dance with tears in our eyes.
Mako – Smoke Filled Room
You may find it pandering that we decided to publicize the lead single, but we would be lying to you if “Smoke Filled Room” didn’t represent the rest of the album like it should. With each track, you will find a story of a piece of time, and that is something you don’t normally find in the world of everything electronic. In essence, “Hourglass” is what the community has been looking for in their own music for quite a while — raw emotion and songwriting that doesn’t sacrifice itself on production. The vocals you hear aren’t just placeholders for saccharine lyrics, but ones that represent a story Mako is trying to tell, and of course, with the indomitable power of dance. Although songs like “Devil May Cry” carry heavy lyrical content like the single mentioned above, you will be frequently rewarded as a listener to absorb some of the more serious drops that would scare some lighter listeners away. As the album flows on, it almost bridges this odd mix somewhere between Dido and Calvin Harris, but meets someone like Sia in the middle for a real pinnacle in songwriting.
Check out the tracklist below:
01 – Let Go Of The Wheel
02 – Mako & Morgan Page – Real Life
03 – Smoke Filled Room
04 –Wish You Back feat. Kwesi
05 – Into The Sunset
06 – Mako & Rat City – Run For Your Life feat. Natalola
07 – Paradise Lost
08 – Craziest Day I Ever Had
09 – North Dakota
10 – Devil May Cry
11 – Way Back Home
12 – Our Story (Hourglass Finale)
13 – Wish You Back feat. Kwesi (The Him)
Finally, what makes this a true gem is not necessarily the singles themselves, but some of the album tracks you might not have caught yet pre-release. Songs like North Dakota, and Paradise Lost don’t always have a large drop in mind, but tap into a mentality that we love to avoid on the dancefloor when we are trying to escape our problems. When you pick up the album on December 9th, it’s imperative you listen to this album from front to back, because it reads exactly like a novel. Yes, we may not know the details of what may be plaguing some of their minds behind the lyrics, but Mako’s Hourglass runs away from the notion that you must be at a party, or taking part in a crazy dance-fest 24/7. Hourglass follows all the conventions of a fantastic electronic album, but instead lets us know that its okay to reflect once in a while, and maybe that is the fresh air this community needs.
When it comes to the music of Mako, Alex Seaver and Logan Light are about to get a little bass drop in their own lives with the release of their 2016 collection of new tracks that might as well be future hits, Hourglass. With three extended plays as well as consistent work that has been non-stop since the year of 2013, and armed with an upbeat and in-your-face house flow that wants you to party just as aggressively as the synths suggest, Relentless Beats are sitting down with the frontrunners of Mako to give us their down-low on what makes this album special:
RB: Some of your older work contains more aggressive synth riffs, and more electronic influences, while we have noticed a more organic sound come from newer tracks like “Let Go Of The Wheel,” and the newer singles you have released. What influenced the entrance of more acoustic and organic sounds?
Alex: A small part of it was fatigue with the big large synth sound you are mentioning, a feeling that we’d done it several times before. The other was a complete inspiration to dip our toes in all the incredible indie rock + indie electronic music getting put out over the past few years. Its had a big affect on us.
RB: If each of you had to pick a track from your past discography and re-tool it specifically for “Hourglass,” which tracks would you choose?
Logan: Hmm, one of my favorite tracks is one we never released called “Lost in the Fire.” So maybe that one. The only one we really wanted to re-tool was “Our Story” which we did and we LOVE the way it came out.
Mako – Our Story
RB: Hourglass has already seen four single releases as of late November showcasing that roots-y organic sort of sound that combines with your usual electric style; are there any tracks like “North Dakota,” or “Paradise Lost” that we haven’t exactly heard yet that might have some surprises that might differ from the singles?
Alex: Keep an ear out for ‘Devil May Cry’ – which delves a little into an angrier side of our production. ‘Craziest Day I Ever Had’ is another tune that we surprised ourselves with. That one might tuck into a ‘pop-alternative’ genre more so than anything else we’ve yet released. –
RB: After releasing so many singles and extended plays, was there ever plans to release a full-fledged studio album earlier than 2016?
Logan: That was the plan from the beginning but we just couldn’t get all our ducks in a row. After “Children of the Wild” and “Smoke Filled Room” we really said we need to buckle down and this is what we want to do. From that point forward it was all about creating a sound for the album which really began with “Way Back Home.”
Mako – Let Go of The Wheel
RB: Finally, we at Relentless Beats would like to thank you for taking the time and answering our more pressing questions to satiate our addiction to good music. Is there anything you would like to tell the Phoenix community to get them pumped about Mako and Hourglass?
Logan: We love Phoenix but we’ve never actually been. One of our first shows ever was in Tucson but they are nowhere near the same. As for getting pumped on the music – we put our hearts into and hope you can hear that and enjoy the result.
With the Hourglass album release coming up swift, it’s no question that the excitement in the room is very real and very impending. We at Relentless Beats are also incredibly thankful to have had the oppurtunity to listen to their brand new banger days early, and just like a bad used-car salesman would say, “we are passing these savings onto YOU!” We hope this double-feature album review/artist interview gets you pumped as much as we are for the release of “Hourglass”.
RB Exclusive Interview: “Hit Rewind” With Au5
It is a certain fact that many artists in this world have had no formal musical education, and have commonly learned from other musicians and production whizzes involved, or sought out their passion for music without the support of their immediate families. Austin Collins, otherwise known as Au5, came into his early career with already taking classical piano lessons until the age of 12, and took on the task at a young age to tackle Garageband. Obviously possessing parents who aided him in the persuit of good tunes, but also being only 23 and having a Disney/Pixar-contracted song under his belt. Today at Relentless Beats, we are definitely excited to get inside the musical mind of Au5:
Tell me a little bit about your Any Longer/Hit Rewind EP; what was your favorite part about producing it?
The EP was an enjoyable piece to work on. The fact that I did not have any plans or future goals for the EP is what has made it an enjoyable experience. As with any music I create, not having a purpose other than creating makes it feel like fun and not like work.
Au5 feat Q’AILA – Hit Rewind
What was the toughest part about producing it?
Mixdowns, specifically with Any Longer. There are a lot of elements and simultaneous sounds happening in sequence and it isn’t particularly simple to make it sound smooth and cohesive. I composed these songs using headphones because of my studio limitations at the time. I had to do multiple revisions with Any Longer’s mix after I acquired monitors to accurately listen on.
Is there a specific reason you collaborated with Q’AILA on both tracks?
Hit Rewind started out as an instrumental and needed a vocalist. Q’AILA was available and willing to collaborate on it at the time so we did that. It was pretty effortless, as she is a versatile vocalist and a prolific lyricist. Any Longer was a song she wrote, which needed an instrumental. I composed and produced the song around only the acapella which she gave me. It just seemed to make sense at the time to combine them as 1 EP.
Au5 feat Q’AILA – Any Longer
Do you have any preference on sticking to one type of genre in your productions?
I don’t like to concern myself with genre because I believe, consciously or subconsciously, such labeling categorizes and therefore stigmatizes something (art) that is a genuine and intimate expression of an individual. Now I could go on all day about what I believe makes music genuine/disingenuous, but specifically for me, sticking to a genre kills my inspiration and creative flow. Being a musician my entire life and being a lover of all kinds of music, I am not keen on limiting myself to one style, it feels unnatural.
Is there a certain label that you really enjoy your tracks being released on?
Not particularly. Different labels have different audiences, and often cater to specific styles or genres of music. Because I don’t cater to a specific audience, I am open to releasing on different labels. Diverse exposure is more important to me than consistent exposure from a single audience.
Do you have a favorite location to perform at?
Motion Notion in Golden BC has been one of the most beautiful places and events I’ve been to. Probably there just because of the environment.
Is there anywhere you really want to perform at?
Are there any artists you draw inspiration from when producing music?
There are plenty of artists that I love, and inspire me in either direct or indirect ways. Often times it isn’t their sound that inspires me to create something similar, more so than it is the feelings and emotions which they induce in me, which charge me creatively. Fractal, Xilent, BT, Mr. Bill, Isqa, MakO, Tennyson, and Sorrow are some electronic producers that have a big impact on how I feel while creating and what I create.
Again, we would like to thank Au5 again for his insightful answers into what it takes to be a virtuoso and upcoming DJ/producer. Judging from his sound, it’s no question that he’s on his way to paving his mark into the giant, tentacled monster that is the umbrella genre of EDM. Be sure to check out his new collab with Q’AILA as well as his other remixes, recent tracks, and original work to get the full “real” on Au5.
RB Exclusive Interview: Bringin’ the Heat With Betsie Larkin
If you haven’t heard of Betsie Larkin since the last time we did a piece on her, before her show at Talking Stick Resort, you might have heard the buzz of her electric performance swarming the corners of the EDM world; even if you think you haven’t, she has the multi-talented ability to also lend her vocals to tracks, a privy to having her work touched by the great Armin Van Buuren, and a sleek knowledge of production values mixed with a set of impressive pipes that can sling any hook. Although Larkin is accustomed to the musical world of performing live, she brought her best game in the form of a rad DJ set that definitely left a powerful impression. Relentless Beats is sitting down with Betsie Larkin to get the full scoop in the day of a life:
You just came off from your “Release” show at Talking Stick Resort; how did you vibe with the Arizona crowd opposed to some of the other cities you have toured?
I had a lot of fun at Release – it was a baking hot day, so it was great to see people leaving the comfort of the pool to dance in front of the booth. I loved the lazy Summer vibe and it was fun to play some of the groovier tunes to fit the desert backdrop.
Armin van Buuren presents Rising Star feat. Betsie Larkin – Again
Armin Van Buuren gave a remix to your song that was released together with his Rising Star alias, Again, where you laid down vocals for the track as well. What kind of musical experience do you achieve having experience with being both behind the boards and behind the mic?
That’s an interesting question – it is a unique experience when I play my own vocal material in my DJ sets. The fact is, so many clubs aren’t set up for vocals so it’s pretty cool that I get to perform them through the medium of DJing. I usually just try to forget that it’s my song and appreciate it as a piece of music, as I do with the other tunes that I play. Of course getting a good reaction from the crowd and seeing them sing along always makes me feel good!
One of your earlier tracks with Ferry Corsten, Made Of Love, shows a lot of progression in your sound and where you came from up until 2016: has anything specifically changed in your vocal delivery or “goals” of production you wanted your brand to be since 2009?
I still view Made of Love as a little gift from the music gods. As an idea, it just landed in my lap. All of the words, meaning and melodies took very little work. I’m still proud of what that song conveys melodically and lyrically. These days I’m a little better at self-editing and consciously deciding what a song or a lyric needs… that said, there’s a lot of luck in what I do.
Ferry Corsten feat Betsie Larkin – Made Of Love
Although we have seen many collaborations, as well as frequent releases of your radio show, do you find that you prefer working alone, or jamming with other artists to get the best ideas out of your brain?
I was in a band when I started out, and that pushed me toward wanting to do more solo. Doing so much solo work made me want to do more with others. At this point in time, I think I’m still on the collaboration kick. There’s nothing better than being on the same page with other musicians and having double the good ideas. It probably has a lot to do with working with people who are cool and encouraging as well.
Lastly, we want to say, thank you for not only giving us an awesome set down in Scottsdale, but we also want to ask a light question to end the interview: what are you currently bingewatching right now on Netflix/Any streaming site?
I just finished Cooked, Michael Pollan’s mini-series on Netflix – amazing if you’re a food nerd. I also watch Miyazaki films when life gets too intense. He’s an Oscar-winning animated film director from Japan who just sees the world through a beautiful lens. I’ve watched and rewatched many of his films. Check out Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle if you want to start with the popular ones.
It was a pleasure sitting down with the femme fatale force of nature known to us as Betsie Larkin. Keep an eye on her Soundcloud for more upcoming editions of “Larke Radio,” as well as hopefully catching more of her next time she tours around the west coast. We at RB can gladly confirm to you that Betsie Larkin is here to bring us a musical force to revitalize her genre.
RB Exclusive Interview: GAZZO’s Armed and Loaded With the Next Big Sound
Last time we checked on Mike Gazzo of self-eponymous GAZZO, we were jamming out to “What U Waiting For,” that pulsing sugary spring anthem with new Indie band,Sugarwhiskey, that taught us even EDM can have some nice riffs from more traditional instruments, and even better, makes us feel a little less shame about listening to sounds that could be classified as “sugary” or “pop influenced.” What makes GAZZO unique in his approached to pop-tinged EDM and house? “What U Waiting For” gave us a taste of what the theory of intelligent yet catchy tunes can be, and reminded us that “catchy” doesn’t always have to equal “music junk food.” Today at RB, we pick this progressive house maven’s brain as we not only learn about his new cover of The Neighborhood’s “Sweater Weather,” but also the man behind the switches and knobs of what Billboard called #12 on their Billboard Chart Indicator, “Next Big Sound:”
What made you want to cover a more traditionally alternative rock song? We hear of many artists big and small remixing and molding the piece into something new, but what makes this “cover” different from that?
I think the main reason I wanted to cover this track in particular was because of how many times I listened to it/have listened to it. I mean I’m pretty sure 2 summers ago, I listened to this track 10 times a day at one point [laughs]; Just one of those all around incredible tracks in my opinion. With that being said, I think what sets this apart from most artists in my lane is that I recorded every single instrument in the track. Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass and some drums. Also, the “vocal-esque” lead is actually me singing; [I] put a lot of heart into this bad boy.
Your last track featured Sugarwhiskey, a very recent Indie Pop band who performed well-harmonized and beautifully on your last single, “What U Waiting For;” What goes into the process of finding, and also selecting vocalists who represent your artistic image of what you want out of a track?
Well for this particular track, this was a group of people I’ve known for a while who just recently formed this band. When I heard the early stages of the writing of “What You Waiting For” I was instantly hooked on the idea. It was such an incredibly catchy track from the start. From there, I produced around the vocal with some stems that Larz and Allie [from Sugarwhiskey] laid down and that’s how we came to the end product!
Where did some of your influences come from? The production that goes into your music has an undeniably modern European sound with some of your synth riffs in “What U Waiting For,” but your past work like “Proximity” has also reflected a heavy knowledge in darker sounds and loud drops.
Well I think I take inspiration from everything I listen to. Nowadays, I’m leaning towards more R&B Electronic Crossovers like STWO, as well as indie crossovers like Tycho. On top of that, I also find inspiration in my homies around me and in the music I will listen to forever like Coldplay and Gov’t Mule. I think without being eclectic in your listening, your style will never adapt even when you stick to one genre. It’s important to keep an open mind as an artist!
As an artist with a more recent career history, you are undeniably gaining traction in a genre that has been identified as oversaturated and becoming commercially popular at an alarming rate in the United States; what do you believe is your “fresh” approach to the current status quo of EDM?
Well I think it’s partly to do with getting in touch with my roots as a musician and songwriter. I’ve been creating, recording, and playing music since I was in 5th grade. I have thousands of demos on my computer from middle school and high school through some college. I think my approach is unique because I’m bridging the gap between the music I grew up playing (in bands and stuff), with the producer I’ve been for the last several years. I think I’ve also dropped the idea that I need to be an “EDM DJ.” The next year of “Gazzo” is going to show way more than that.
When you’re on the road, what do you jam out to on the way to your show?
Honestly? Flume, Chet Faker, Tycho … really chill dope music; It’s relaxing. I’ve also never really been “nervous” per say for a show, only excited. So I don’t really need like pump up music or anything. Probably because I’ve been playing shows since middle school!
When you bring a vocalist onto one of your tracks, how closely do you work with them to achievewhat you believe is your ideal creative image of what it should be? What are some of the prereqs or keys to success to working with GAZZO?
I think an open mind. A track of mine can sometimes go through a million different stages, keys, chord progressions, etc. I have some tracks I’ve worked on for a week and some for over a year. It takes reincarnation to sometimes achieve what you want out of a piece of art. As far as vocalists go, coming in ready to work and ready to fucking hang out! I think an important part of making something truly amazing is vibing with a person or people.
As mentioned, although your career is fresh, you’ve achieved a lot in your short time as an artist; have you found your favorite city to play at yet?
I think my favorite city to play in right now is Kansas City. Every time I’ve been there, the energy is outrageous and the promoters/club staff are some of the most hospitable I’ve dealt with. Other than that, New York City will always be my home!
Finally, on terms of future plans, do you have any upcoming full-length albums, E.P.s, or larger bodies of work in the making that fans should know about?
I’ve finished up an EP and have another eighty percent done already. This summer and into next year will mark some big changes and tracks from me. I’m super excited to get this music out!!
We at Relentless Beats want to thank GAZZO for taking the time to sit down and answer some of our pressing questions. Be sure to keep GAZZO on your radar, because going from a pretty delicious and sugary house anthem into an alternative band cover shows that his creative jumps and leaps will yield quite a few surprises for listeners in the next few months. GAZZO may be just showing up on our radars, but he has a trademark fusion sound and knowledge of performance that is here to stay.
RB Exclusive Interview: Cracking the Code with Binary Hertz
Matty Spangler and Jeremy Bruce Lee Miller came together and built what seemed to be a tiny studio in Southern California, but turned out to be an underground hit factory that has produced noteworthy tracks that the mainstream has not yet grasped on to. Binary Hertz is a new force to EDM that has actually been right beside us all along. Both DJs who combine to form this duo have more experience in the electronic genre than most of us realize. Both Jeremy and Matty have over 20 years of experience, Matty in AZ and Jeremy on the West Coast, yet both show a fresh enthusiasm to a brand that they want to ignite.
Originally hailing from Arizona and California respectively, the duo, from their home-made studio in Southern California, are the leaders in the birth of a new music revolution. Their goal? “To embrace the current styles of EDM while at the same time influencing the next generation of dance music. Binary Hertz are more than just another DJ or production group; they are creating a platform, one piece at a time, which will revolutionize dance music as we know it today.”
In 2015, Matty and Jeremy came together to form an electronic-duo that has a mission. Kicking it off in Phoenix, providing us with their introspective brand of club-bangers and bass-thumpers, Binary Hertz will be opening for Infected Mushroom on April 29th. Join us in this musically intimate interview as we have a chat with two EDM heavy-weights who have witnessed the rise and fall of Rome over the course of their near two-decade long careers:
What first inspired the two of you to craft beats and produce music?
Matty: “We ran into one another on the top of a mountain (literally) in Colorado at a private event, not realizing that we knew one another from a decade ago until a few hours into our conversation. We spent most of that night in Jeremy’s truck listening to his original production and I really liked it, and I am a picky one. After we basically ignored the entire party listening to his music in the truck, he invited me to his studio in Boulder. A month or so went by and I finally made it out there, and I was really impressed. Fast forward a few months and a few tracks later, he invited me to join his project Binary Hertz. I happily (or probably reluctantly) accepted and we packed our shit and moved to Cali to chase the dream. Really, the inspiration came from our mutual taste in music. Our similar backgrounds as successful DJ’s and passion for dance music allowed both of us the courage to give this project a serious push.”
Jeremy: “After reconnecting with Matty after so many years, I was excited to share what I have been working on with someone that I have always known as an incredible DJ. With his massive and loyal following, some of the people I respected most in the scene happen to be among his many fans. I realized that via his perspective I would gain a critical, yet welcome response, to what I already had in the early stages of my music development. When we finally sat down in the studio for the first time, it was immediately clear that we were on to something bigger than either of us had anticipated.”
Matty: “I had arranged for Jeremy, an opening slot for Junkie XL at Myst, maybe 12 years ago. I was doing the booking in the Ballroom and a resident DJ, Thomas Turner was the main promoter for Myst House 7340. Anyways, some of our mutual friends showed me Jeremy’s CD (as DJ N10CT) and I arranged to have him in the opening slot. This is noteworthy because you don’t just give some random dude, that is a friend of a friend, that’s not even local, an opening slot for the headliner at Myst. It was the biggest dance music night AZ at the time and it was tough enough to get that slot myself, and I worked there! It took us a few hours after we ran into one another in Colorado to realize.”
Your music has an extremely likeable sound that has grown since the beginning of your careers. What do you think are the best changes you’ve witnessed in the genre, but also some of the more unfavorable? How have you as artists adapted to this changing climate in dance music over the last couple of decades?
Jeremy: “It would have to be the ability to do so much more when it comes to producing music.The sheer amount of VST’s available to us now, their quality, and how their capabilities are literally limitless. It wasn’t that way when I first started producing. Now, the work flow and the infinite possibilities make producing music that much more enjoyable.
Because making music is now so much more affordable than it used to be, it creates a different kind of struggle. The downside is that there is so much more competition. However, on the up-side, there is a ton of good music that comes out each and every day.”
Matty: “When it comes to adapting to the changing climate in dance music, we really try to stick to what it is that we love musically. We both feel that this is crucial to our success yet we realize that we have to incorporate what is new and trending to stay relevant. We are constantly listening to what is new and popular and then we take some of those pieces and apply it to what is tried and true to our sound.”
It is obvious that inspiration came from many different avenues given, Matty, you have performed under different aliases such as Matty Spangler for your progressive music and Nick Papageorgio for your deeper material, and now again as another name in Binary Hertz. What is it about Binary Hertz that is going to separate you from your past material, and how do you believe that Binary Hertz will fit more into the mainstream electronic dance culture?
Jeremy: “Ill take this one: That’s easy, it’s ME! Let me explain. The bottom line is, Matty can be really [long pause] reeeeeeally mellow with his Djing and production. However, I am in direct opposition because I tend to be more chaotic with my songs. Yes, we have very similar taste in music but I tend to take giant leaps that are out of the box and in a much more experimental way. Matty is much more traditional; our number one goal is to reach out to as many people as possible. We feel we can achieve this by not limiting our selves to a single genre. Many of our songs cross through two, sometimes three genre’s before we move on to the next.”
As you know, there have been many marks made by old-timers and newcomers alike that have dabbled in not only EDM, but those that have also attempted to cross other genres of music into the world of electronic dance. Who could you recognize as some of your favorites in the world of EDM, as far as artists crossing-over and experimenting with sounds as you are?
Matty: “This is a tough one. There are many artists that inspire our music yet it is hard for us to think of someone that has not stuck to their foundation in a major way. As far as one that has “crossed over” we would have to go with Daft Punk and Kaskade. Daft Punk evolves with each and every album at a rate that is downright impressive. You never know what you are going to get with their new stuff, but it is always amazing. Kaskade built his roots with deep soulful house, and now his music reaches an energy level that is a force to be reckoned with. Some other artists that come to mind in this regard are: Eddie Thoneick (one of our favorites, love this guy), Porter Robinson, James Egbert, The Glitch Mob, Swedish House Mafia.”
Kaskade – Disarm You [Binary Hertz Extended Remix 2016]
RB: How would you describe your writing and production methods when the two of you have an idea in mind?
Jeremy: “Often we sit down and we show one another a random track we heard on Facebook, YouTube, whatever. From there, we decide on a particular sound then we argue about what part of that track is the hottest, the best, and why. Next, we try to harness the essence of what we were listening to, what we agreed on, and we begin layering a song with that ‘idea’ in mind.”
Due to your diverse backgrounds and experiences in the growing EDM industry, do you ever face creative differences?
Jeremy: “Always; our success absolutely relies on our creative differences. “
Matty: “Only when we are talking to one another about music. We both go about things in a very different way but part of the process is that we both have our strengths and weaknesses.”
RB: Both of you are using Binary Hertz as a means of emerging from the underground to, as you say, “revolutionize dance music as we know it today.” What is your plan of action to do so?
Matty: “We are really focused on making a diverse style of music that will not pigeon hole us into any specific style. The goal is simple: make the music we love (regardless of genre), and fit it into a set that is cohesive and that will move people. We want there to be highs, and lows musically, all over the place really. We have been to many shows over the last few years and noticed that often, each performer’s songs, in their set, were very similar to one another. To us, that limits the potential movement of the energy flow. To think that if we have an evolving sound, in our sets, that would be revolutionary. This concept is the core of our project and our main goal.”
Using your extreme knowledge from nearly every aspect of the scene, from 20 years ago to today, from the promotions side of things to the production side of things, you’d like to use this to push yourself into the spotlight, but also to aid in directing the path of the future of dance music. Part of this is showcasing the abilities of new artists and labels. How important do you believe it is to push these lesser-known artists and labels, and in the end, how does doing so also benefit you?
Jeremy: “I feel that this is wildly important. The more people that are involved in growing an environment the more successful everyone will become. When I was young, we had “techno,” and at the time, we didn’t think it couldn’t get any better than that. All of the sudden, there were sub-genres and now you could choose from house, trance, jungle, DnB, hardcore, whatever. It was an exciting time when we all realized that there was no end in sight.”
Matty: “For me, cultivating the younger generations by sharing your hard learned knowledge will not only make them better, but it will make the entire music scene grow. It will also make you have to step up your game too. Back in the day of vinyl, only a select few could get their hands on the hottest tracks, for many different reasons. You either had to be friends with the record store guy, you had to be able to afford it, and you had to know the name of the song (which a lot of DJ’s did not share)! This made things tricky to get your hands on the good stuff as all of these things did not come easy. If music and knowledge is made exclusive, then only a few benefit, if we share it with everyone, then we can all grow. I feel that music and knowledge is meant to be shared with anyone who seeks it, and we all benefit from that.”
With all of this said and done, we will get to experience the revolution first hand at your show when you open for Infected Mushroom on April 29th. What will we see from Binary Hertz when they take to the decks at The Pressroom for the very first time?
Matty: “The set consists of just about every genre that we hold near and dear to us. This live set is a culmination of all of the things we love about dance music. A lot of our songs focus on really hard hitting bass lines that have trance-y elements that permeate from within. There are some dubstep elements, as well as some deeper and even funky grooves. Overall the sound is pretty big, energetic, and plenty of parts to sing along to. We have a handful of remixes that should catch your ears right off the bat as well as plenty of original songs too. Everything we are playing will be originally tailored for this specific show.”
Any final words?
Binary Hertz: “We would like to add that we are thankful to Thomas Turner and the entire Relentless Beats crew for giving us this opportunity to step back into the light.”
We want to thank Binary Hertz for sitting down with us and giving us the real on the genre of EDM. Be sure to check out their Soundcloud for their latest work, and be sure to keep your ears open for some sick tracks from two guys who definitely know their shit: The revolution has begun.
Catch Binary Hertz at The Pressroom on April 29th for Infected Mushroom’s CVII Animatronica Live Tour!
RB Exclusive Interview: You’ve Just Been Dancepunk’d by Couples Fight
Arizona’s music scene, generally speaking, has seen waves of ambiguity mixed with constant comparisons to other regions of the United States who have seen a higher retention rate of home-bred local music acts that have not had the same success in the valley. The year of 2015 also leading up to present day 2016 has been a year of growth in the ebbs and flows of AZ’s local scene, specifically with new-found band Couples Fight. Headed by Travis James and Alaynha Gabrielle, this self-described Dancepunk, Electropop Punk duo have been listed by the Phoenix New Times as part of the “16 for 16,” or the roundup of artists who Phoenix should be looking to this upcoming year for groovy tunes. Most publications who have recently interviewed the duo have acknowledged their music as mixing relationship-orientated arguments against pumping beats; mixing the angst elements of punk, but putting an almost comical spin to the gritty yet nostalgic back-beats. In recent weeks, Couples Fight has had an unprecedented surge of novelty and success that has renewed enthusiasm into the local Arizona music scene.
With only their very first public performance at the Broken Hearts Ball under their belt, this would be the ripe time to get to know the band, and also have a drink with one of my former high school alumni and see where life took her after our high school theatre days. Currently Travis, Alaynha, and their live guitarist Rick, recently concluded their first live performance on February 13th, with a lineup consisting of Jessie Williams, The Linecutters, and Sad Boy Trumpet Club. Titled, the Breaking Up EP on their Bandcamp page, their July 27, 2016 release was garnered with praise before they even had a chance to hock their music to a live audience. Riding on the success of their first live show, and also the positive commentary from the release of their EP, the adrenaline was high, the heat was flowing, and the party was on. As the band is still trying to make a mark, developing a unique sound had also been a theme in further developing their artistry.
Sitting on a spacious outdoor porch with Travis, Alaynha, Rick, their assorted housemates, and my four dollar bottle of wine I grabbed from a local Circle K, I poured myself an over-served portion, and thought I would start with –what I thought was – the more basic questions. Over time I engaged the band in questions about their favorite originals from other artists, their production and song-writing techniques, and getting to the nitty-gritty of what brand Couples Fight has to offer the Valley.
How did you guys come up with this idea? Why did you want to do this?
T: “Shit man, that’s deep. *laughter*”
T: “I have already given this answer in an interview.”
Ah crap, I was trying to be the Barbara Walters of the situation —
T: “Let’s – you answer! (Travis points at Alaynha)”
A: “I honestly have no idea.”
T: “Why are you doing this?”
T: “Alaynha, the man asked you a question, why are you doing this?”
A: (Proceeds to be silent)
T: “There is a question on the board, and it says, “Why are you doing this?”
T: “Are you too high for this?”
COUPLES FIGHT- Whatever You Want (LYRIC VIDEO)
As I proceeded to pour myself another glass of wine and spilled some on myself, this theme of odd-answer debauchery (from myself as well) would set the theme and pace for the interview. We truly never did gain insight into that question, so I moved on.
One of my favorite tracks on your EP [Breaking Up] was “No, Not Tonight.” I really enjoyed the twerkilicious beat that starts up around the 1 minute mark. Could you explain when it comes to writing and producing your songs, what do you start with?
A: “Kind of like this weird thing where we will go off and start with a very simple chord progression that sticks with us throughout the day, and we will think of random hooks and combine what we have. Sometimes I’ll just record my voice doing ‘BOOP BOOP!’ Travis does most of the production because I suck at Fruity Loops.”
So you guys use Fruity Loops in the production of your music?
T: “I know Fruity Loops is like the joke of the electronic music world, but I think it’s a really good joke. I also use it in conjunction with another ancient program, or used to be called Cool Edit Pro, which is now Adobe Edition. I’ve just been so used to these programs for like a billion years that I can’t abandon them. The musical process is very collaborative.”
Is the song writing process solely on you two? Or do you include Rick (the live guitarist), or other people?
Rick: “I actually learn the songs after write them, and hopefully in the future I’ll start writing.”
A: “That would be cool actually.”
Do you guys want to talk about some tracks that didn’t necessarily make it on the EP, but you felt really passionate about? Was there any tracks that you decided to not put on the EP?
T: “Well, we actually came up short on tracks and wrote a last minute one that one of the two of us would prefer to be thrown out, I think.”
A: “I hate it.”
RB: I really hope it’s not the one I told you I liked.
T: “I personally think that they are all smash hits.”
A: “I think there are winners on the EP, good ones, and ones that I would hope to never have to sing again.”
Couples Fight – Um, Who Was That
After pouring ourselves another good round of drinks, we all launched onto a controversial discussion of whether television needs actress Rashida Jones, or not. Once getting back on track, I decided to inquire about the artists they enjoy in their free time.
Has there been any songs by another artists that you’ve wanted to remix, or cover in a live and/or studio environment?
A: “Yeah, there’s this band called Masked Intruder, who have been around for about four to six years. They’re this punk band that will write about stalking a girl, but she doesn’t know they exist, which is weird. They have this song we’ve wanted to do. There’s also a lot of Meatloaf covers we’ve wanted to do! Maybe Meatloaf and Cher covers.”
T: “What about an Aqua cover?”
A: “There is a legitimately planned idea for us to do an Aqua cover.”
T: “We would also want to throw in that we want to do a David Bowie tribute.”
RB: What kind of Bowie do you want to do? What kind of plans?
T: “We are going to do a ridiculous 8-bit version of “Under Pressure” but only at the end – the TAIL END of the concert. It will never be recorded in the studio.”
So, you just had your first live debut. What kind of crowd did you see at your first show?
T: “We saw a mix of punks, parents, and all sorts of –“
A: “ASU goody-goods –“
T: “Bongo hippies. Some asshole thought it would be okay to play bongos during our set.”
RB: Like during? Like while you were playing physical music?
T: “I spent a good minute and a half yelling about this douche.”
A: “There’s a video of us on Facebook playing the ‘No, Not Tonight’ song, and at the end you can literally see us, and see me scream ‘who’s fucking dog is that?”
T: “(shouts) GET YOUR FUCKING DOG OUT OF HERE!”
A: “We started yelling at this guy because his dog decided to walks on and over the stage.”
T: “We eventually do want to get into the rave scene, and see if a promoter will let us do a short set. I feel that a lot of people would find us funny and probably get us.”
That dog probably has really bad hearing.
It was an awesome time to again reconnect with my former classmate, Alaynha, and also meet some great new people like Travis, Rick, and their housemates. The night eventually drew to a close when I somehow awoke up on their outdoor couch at 4 am, quite unsure with how the night ended. All I can say is, thank you Couples Fight for your enthusiasm and passion for your art, and please click the bottom links to hear some good old-fashioned arguments over some sick FruityLoops beats.
Sources: Phoenix New Times