Being a DJ is no easy task. One must know how to properly mix songs, match beats, and  incorporate effects and get a crowd going. That being said, neither is playing an instrument. To properly combine these skills together is a completely different story though. Pairing live and synthetic sounds can be incredibly difficult but, when properly done, can produce incredible tracks as bands like Modestep and Pendulum have already proven. It’s always refreshing to see up-and-coming artists taking risks, which brings us to our First Look Friday feature on The Beat Kidz. Scroll further down for the accompanying interview.

Hailing from Orange County, CA, Duncan Johnson and Nico Nendez are the minds behind The Beat Kidz . They create a killer combination of Duncan’s live drumming and Nico’s bass heavy music. Their genres range from Dubstep, Trap, Hip Hop, Electro House and more. Duncan Johnson is a London native who migrated to California and immediately and became immersed in punk rock. He brings the punk drum style to the table to contribute to The Beat Kidz unique sound. Nico, is from California and grew up in the Los Angeles rave scene, where he learned how to properly use heavy bass to contribute to the tracks and remixes they’ve released so far. Complications arise when it comes to transitions with live drums on stage, but Duncan and Nico have created their own system to keep their performances interference free.

Not only do they have a unique style but are gaining recognition for it already. They are winners of Insomniac Event’s Discovery Project and were lucky enough to perform at Nocturnal Wonderland. Their remix of Muse‘s “Madness” was aired multiple times on KROQ’s RocNbeats show. They’ve attracted so much attention that they are already headlining events such as EDM Magazine’s Bunker Night Life in LA and the 3rd annual ‘Spring Bling’ in Anaheim. A few of their tracks were even featured in a UK film titled ‘Antisocial’. Needless to say, The Beat Kidz are on the road to success and are showing no signs of slowing down.

Electric Sloth was lucky enough to grab them for a second for a small interview to find out the backstory, challenges and future aspirations that The Beat Kidz have. Here’s their responses:

How did you guys meet?

We met about a year and a half ago when I was working at a record label in Orange County, CA . My manager invited me to an event that her boyfriend was spinning and I went along to check it out.   Nico and I instantly connected, we exchanged numbers and it went from there.   I’d been wanting to play drums alongside a DJ for a long time since Travis Barker and DJ Am started doing it. Travis is my biggest inspiration and anything he does I think is just gold so I wanted to see how it would go.  The next day Nico and I met up and went straight into the studio to jam and it instantly clicked!

What prompted you guys to start the beat kidz?

We initially started this for fun. It was a great outlet for me to play drums and start using my brain in different creative ways. It was also surprising that in the rise of popularity in the edm world drummer / djs weren’t really a part of it and we thought it was a really cool thing to do and have up there visually.  We think that it brings a real live energy to the show and something interesting and different for people to enjoy.  Being new to the EDM scene and watching so many people from the rock / pop scene begin to enjoy EDM music we thought it would be a nice bridge for people like me.

Younger kids who are warped tour kids are wanting new music but are so used to warped esq radio bands and I think we are a stepping stone and good introduction into what dubstep really is. There is a stereotype in this community about dubstep and how it is obnoxious and crazy noises and shit but it’s really not. There’s a lot more depth and broader meaning to it.  I think we can really help educate people who are interested in it but haven’t taken the step to not be afraid to listen ya know!

What brought you guys to get a live drum set involved?

It was always my intention to play drums in the group. We decided we would do this for fun and if anything happens cool, if not its just a fun way to express ourselves and make music. It honestly starting capture attention at shows and online and we decided to make it permanent and came up with the The Beat Kidz.  There is also huge energy behind a live drummer and electronic drums just aren’t as raw or real.  I’m an acoustic dude I ain’t fucking with that electronic drum shit cause if the power goes out or something it’s over!!!

How does the punk style drumming fit in with the electronic portion of the show?

I think it fits really well and I get super obsessive about making sure my parts fit well with the track. I feel like you can go two ways with it. 1st way is just doing like a simple beat the whole way through and just keeping beat but that isn’t the most fun. With me I like to compliment the music with the percussion adding in simple beats or bell and splash work, tom beats, cowbell and woodblock to really bring the music out with the drums. Then when the drop hits; riding a crash hard projecting the music again with the drum energy. I really feel the music when I play so I want to project that onto the crowd and make them feel what I feel.

What did it take for you guys to win Insomniac’s Discovery Project?

That was all Nico! I was on a nickolodean children’s television show tour at the time and had no real concept of what the Discovery Project was about. I remember Nico asking me to tweet, vote and tell my friends.   I was like sure no problem! So then weeks later, I was in New York and got a phone call from Insomniac saying we’d won.  I got some deets and gave Nico a call.  I remember this moment well, on the call after I told him he started freaking out because he was so stoked.  I remember saying,  “So this is good?” He said, “Yeah dick this is huge!”

How was the actual Discovery Project performance?

It was fucking epic. I flew back from NYC, we rehearsed for a day, stayed up all night going over the music in our heads and rocked it the next night.  It was our first real show, It was Insomniac, I had my dream drum kit, and all of our homies came out.  It just was a surreal and an amazing day for us!

What would you guys have to say your best show was and why?

For me it was when we played the Roxy Theater on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood.  It was a show put on by Future Events, an up and coming promotional team out of LA. We had an amazing set locked down, friends came out, we played awesome, made some fans  and got some great feedback. Also for me being from UK and always dreaming of playing my drums in LA I was just elated! A kid from England playing drums in Los Angeles I felt like I made a dream come true!

What does the future hold for The Beat Kidz?

We have currently signed a few tracks to some labels which will be out this summer and we have shows booked every month in the LA area.  We may also be playing our first out of state festival this summer in New York, some parties out at EDC and aside from that we will continue to have a good time and make badass tracks.

Find The Beat Kidz on Facebook, Soundcloud, and their official website.


[soundcloud url=”″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]