Bixel Boys Interview – San Diego, CA Dylan TaylorWednesday, April 16, 2014Bass MusicElectroHouseInterviewsTrap0 Comments Running a publication comes with its benefits, at Electric Sloth we were lucky enough to interview the up and coming artists know as the Bixel Boys. Straight out of Downtown LA, but raised in Venice – these boys feel all types of vibes from crazy deep house, trap, to remixes of classics. Check their soundcloud for some sexy jams. Electric Sloth: 3 words to describe Bixel Boys (Ian & Rob) = Bixel Boys: Free, Life, Hashtag ES: Where did you to originally meet each other and how long did it take until you both sat down at a computer and had a producing session? BB: We met through a mutual friend of ours about a year ago (mid February of last year), Rob had already been producing at the time and I had already been djing quite a bit in LA; our mutual friend was just like you guys should meet up – so we did, we threw some tunes at each other, and we were like well we should make a track. We were setup, like a boy band. ES: It’s been about a year since Bixel boys started up, tell me about the evolution since February of last year. BB: I feel like we sort of started off talking about a lot of hip hop / R&B tracks that we loved and I think that’s how we connected originally – so a lot of our original stuff was coming from the deeper side – but I feel like the more we’ve been playing, the more we’ve been evolving into sort of a modern electronic context – so I think our music has taken that path towards a little more energy, a little more grit. We like to think we have a very eclectic sound. ES: You guys are based out of LA, What differentiates the Los Angeles dance scene right now from any other city in the United States? BB: I think in LA it’s just interesting right off the bat because there’s so many DJ’s and producers that live in the city (in such a small area), so there’s this really great sense of community with everybody. For example, the other day when I was walking to the train station the other day I ran into Bare & LA Riots; the other day we found out AC Slater was coming down so we went and met up with him, we also ran into Harvard Bass the other week. So I think there’s so many talented musical individuals in such a tight proximity trying to help and boulster each other that it makes LA this sort of incubator for dance music – where were all able to bounce ideas off each other, everyone treats each other as equals and nobody is snobby about it to one another which creates this really positive and productive atmosphere. It’s definitely a community too, because everybody hangs out with everybody and I think like in your head you’d be like – “well all the dubstep guys are going to hangout over here, and all the bigroom guys are gonna hangout over here” – like it would be in high school or something. But no, everybody chills with everybody and we all use each other as resources to better ourselves and each other. ES: What exactly do you mean when you classify yourselves as big room underground. BB: Big Room Underground sort of came from these tracks that we felt had sort of large, festival type builds that typically come from a bigroom track, but everytime we got to the point of thinking about what we wanted to do for drops we’d always revert to something a little bit darker and weirder. And as we kept reinforcing these two styles against each other – they honestly just seemed to mesh. I think our manager actually brought up the name and we were just thought that actually makes perfect sense. ES: What’s the earliest musical influence you can possibly remember that you think could’ve translated into what you’re doing today? BB: Mine would be just driving around in my car with my mom, and she’d always being playing like Peter Gabriel, Madonna, Janet Jackson (things leaning that way) so in my head I think that’s kind of what I took as dance music at the time before now when it’s now defined very clearly what certain genres of dance are supposed to sound – it’s pretty clear in the early stuff it was very literal, you know, the things we were doing – let’s take this socketpoet and make it this way, and as we progressed I think we’ve gotten more creative in terms of how we use those elements to our advantage. BB: I would say a lot of my earliest influences came from my older brother who was three years older than me and was always able to buy CDs before I was, and I was always the little brother not able to listen to stuff with the parental advisory stickers. The first CD I was actually able to buy with my own money was the Prodigy – The Fat of the Land, and that was the first CD I ever truly owned myself and when my mother found it she was horrified to see that the first track was called Smack My Bitch Up, she lost her mind and from that point on I was banned form buying CDs. ES: How did you go about releasing a record on an Australian record label? BB: Sweat was interesting, I used to do these pool parties in Los Angeles with a bunch of my buddies (and I still do) – and one of my good friends Brendan had lived in Australia for a little while and he would always hype us on Sweat It Out, which was obviously most known for like Yolanda Be Cool – We No Speak Americano, so that’s kind of how they’re known in this swing house context, but I think as the hype died down on that and they develop internally, they were just putting out unreal music and every one of our contemporaries now on that label whether its GoFreak, Indian Summer, or What So Not there’s so many great artists and there’s this clear level of quality within all of their tracks. And so anyways, my buddy Brendan met one of their PR guys while living in Australia before Rob & and I had even met each other – we made Red October and then Black December and the first thought was like, this sounds like a Sweat It Out track – so they were the first label we sent it to and we ended up going with them as they were our first choice. BB: It didn’t explode on either side but it was this slow burn where it was like we were so new in the world of releasing our own music we didn’t really know how to go about things – it was a huge learning experience for both of us. One of my friends is a phenomenal lawyer so he helped us navigate the waters of contracts but once it actually dropped there was this “Oh Sweet we put it out –now what.” And we’d sit there and listen to it and say “Ok this is tight” and then it pops up that Fedde Le Grand is playing it at Sensation and then Treasure Fingers at Tomorroworld, and then RL Grime’s dropping our B-Side on Triple J in Australia. So basically thank god for the internet. ES: Tell me about the sports aspect related to your name and jams? (Ian = branding guy) BB: To me, what the sports and all that references is, whenever we talk about like rappers and things, we always say we like them because they rap about what they know, so for us it’s all about being truthful. And I think if we came out claiming to be EDM lords going to every fat party around the world, that we obviously be false and a lie. So how we wanted to brand ourselves through a means that we actually know. So we’re both big sports fans and since I’m from the bay area and Rob’s from Detroit; and we have these sports backgrounds so whenever we’re out on the road that’s what we talk about so it just kind of turned into this thing where we should treat it like we’re running our own team – and treat Bixel Boys as if we were running our own franchise. Basically let our fans come to our shows in the sense that they’re seeing an artist but then there’s a fan in the sense of going to see your favorite team where you buy their jersey snad you cheer them on – and you watch them and follow them. So that’s kind of our approach – it was something we understand better than marketing an artist. My mom is a Raiders fan and we’re from Los Angeles where there is no NFL team so what’re you going to do you know? ES: Do you guys have to ask permission to use raiders and nike logos? BB: I think we’re just waiting for Nike to show up at any moment, we’ve been making backup logos because we know it’s coming, so when we get the call we’ll have a really dope backup on deck but until then we’re really enjoying the response. I used to work at this little skateboard company in Santa Monica called Sugar Skateboards and we had a design called “Cease & Assist” where we literally intertwined Mcdonalds, Nike, and Apple logos all throughout the graphic and sold it until we got the cease and assist order. And lately a bunch of fans have been sending us their own graphic playing off coporate branding and we absolutely love them. ES: Seems like you guys have been working with viceroy since the beginning (remix wise at least), how’s that been? BB: I think Austin has always been a good pal of ours; always collaborating, going back and forth, we send projects to each other all the time. Austin was able to find this amazing niche inside a very crowded dance market with his whole summertime, beach vibe thing and really take it to the next level. So between his light side and our dark side we really sort of make a pretty good team. Austin is the coolest dude you’ve ever met, you meet him for five minutes and feel like you have a best friend – he hit me up today and was asking about WMC – he’s an awesome dude and is extremely intelligent, and it just makes us super happy to see his success ES: What equipment and software do you utilize? BB: We just use CDJ’s and USB sticks, we don’t like taking laptops to the club. We like to have as little interference between us and the crowd and I feel that sometimes laptops sort of impede you from best interacting with the crowd as it is basically one more layer that you have to go through. BB: Half the time we just want to leave the DJ booth and go to the dance floor, when people look at me for that long of time, I just want to be out there dancing with them. The DJ doesn’t necessarily have to be the center of attention, in fact really they should just be setting the vibe of the room. And I think the best way you can make a fan is by getting guys laid that night – that’s how you make fans. ES: Notice you guys are remixing a lot of non-EDM artists, I really like that. You draw inspiration from a wide variety of genres? is this what you listen to on the regular, or just drawing from past knowledge? BB: I try in the casual day to day to not listen to too much dance music, I find I can kind of get into a creative rut when I put too much focus or energy into a singular subject for too long – so I listen to a lot of local LA radio like KCRW.org – it will literally blow your mind and open you up. BB: I listen to a lot of selection type stuff – Taku, Stew – kind of that like stoner / trap influence – backpacker dance thing that is happening – it’s really cool and kind of eases me a little bit. When I’m listening to music, I just want to listen to music, I’m not trying to rave at my desk. ES: I see you guys had a few other shows booked in San Diego? How did they go and how do you think they will compare to tonight BB: I mean the last show we did was a sloppy mess at Bang Bang. This was by far the loosest set we’d played – he had just got off the plane from playing to back to back shows with GTA in Canada, flown in, come right into the club – all jet lagged and drunk, it was one of one of our birthdays and we had to downshift into cool guy house music and were just playing huge shit – we played Mario and Carl Thomas came out that night. We’ve gotten to the point with San Diego & Bang Bang in particular that we feel comfortable doing shit like that, just kind of laying it all out. Where if it was any other venue in any other city we would’ve probably felt compelled to keep it in a certain range. Bang Bang feels like home for us and loosening up, get a little more experimental. ES: How do you plan on setting yourselves apart from all the other talent in 2014? BB: I mean it’s not really answering you question directly – but I actually think I want us to, rather than separating ourselves from artists, to be about coming closer to artists – establishing more collaborations with people. Now that we’ve released some music and are getting more comfortable in our own skins, it’s a little easier to approach some of the artists that we feel like we’d want to make some cool stuff with. Electronic music is all about the collaboration, and when you can collab with other people in your field, especially guys that you look up to, you’re ultimately going to make better music. We have such an awesome team, made up of a bunch of our friends. And I can’t stress enough that it’s all about surrounding yourself with people you trust and you have faith in. So this year is all about putting our trust into one another, knowing we all have each others backs and we can all make as much noise as we want to as long as we work as hard as we possibly can. Don’t miss these guys when they are next in your town. They are sure to be HUGE!