Halloween is always a favorite holiday for many. From the sexy to scary and original to just out of this world, this night brings out everyone’s true identity! Every year, DJ’s far and wide travel the globe play at some of today’s top shows and festivals. This year we were very lucky to sit down with a pair of guys who are fairly new to the scene. Hailing from Orange County in Southern California, Electric Sloth had the opportunity to meet and interview with Slander.

ES: Coming from being students at a well respected school, to becoming well respected DJ’s, was this something you guys always envisioned happening?

Scott: Um…I would say that its something new, I guess my knee jerk reaction to that question is even though we went to UCI, University of Irvine, Orange County was always behind in trends, musically, unlike Los Angeles or other parts of the country. And so um in a way, I wouldn’t say we got hated on, but it wasn’t as receptive as it is now. We actually just played an act there a few weeks ago at UCI, Shocktoberfest, which is a really big music event and it was the first year they did an electronic music event instead of like having hip-hop and I’ve never seen a Shocktoberfest like that and so alive. Even in the years I went to UCI.

Derek: Yea I mean we’ve been doing this for four years so its kind of been a long time coming for us but were just really grateful. As much as we expected it to happen, we didn’t expect anything and we just feel really lucky and blessed that we get to do what we like to do. There is not that many people that get to do that.

ES: Was it competitive being younger DJ’s in the OC with the scene surrounding it?

Scott: I mean its so weird like I feel like old compared to other DJ’s that are out there. I mean I’m 26 and like I saw Martin Garrix last weekend and I’m like holy shit, this kid cant even legally drink and he’s like top 10 DJ you know what I mean? And that goes for the entire electronic music industry. Like all the people you don’t see in spotlights like the managers, the agents, the promoters, a lot of them id say follow a bell curve and I’d sat I’d be on the right side you know? The older side, but its really cool to see. I feel like we didn’t let it stop us or anything and it wasn’t really something we even thought about because this was just something we really wanted to do. Even after we both graduated UCI then Slander hadn’t really blown up yet so to speak and we still worked just as hard. It was like having a part time job on the side that we were really passionate about. It turned into what we wanted and like he was saying we feel really lucky every day, like this is what we get to do. We get to fly to two or three shows a weekend, its crazy.

ES: If you don’t mind me asking, what did you guys major in?

Scott: Poly Sci, both of us, I had like an interesting track through college. I got a track and field scholarship. And we both met in our Fraternity. That’s where Slander started. We’re really lucky our fraternity helped us in the very beginning by getting us gigs at the local clubs and came out to our events when we had no music out. It’s really cool to have that support system there for sure.

ES: How do you keep the energy going with multiple shows every weekend and constantly touring?

Derek: I mean right now it isn’t too bad its like two or three each weekend. Two or three is not that hard, but its like once you get to like four, five or six it gets rough. Back in July we did a four show run and it was four different cities every night and it was like three to five hour flights each time so by the fourth night we where kind of tired but you know this is what we like to do so its like every time I get on the plane I’m just excited that there are just people that want to go see us play and that we have the opportunity to give people a really good night. That’s why we do what we do because we know there’s hundred people who had the best time of there life and that’s what means the most to us. That’s what gives us the passion to keep going.

ES: When you guys where performing tonight you guys spoke about a remix you did to Jack U’s song, “Take You There”, what inspired you to remix this track?

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Derek: Umm I mean for a lot of the production we do its kind of just like a spur of the moment, gut instinct thing so. I was literally sitting at home and the song got released and I saw it on Facebook. Right when I saw it I was like, “ok I have to do it”. So basically that was it. So I just started right there and we finished it within three or four hours. It was really, really fast and we really look up to Skrillex, he’s one of the best live DJ’s. And just like his intensity we try to match or top it. So we wanted to one up there song basically and we did our version. What there trying to do with Jack U is kind of take it away from EDM and so we wanted to take it back to EDM just to make it more accessible to DJ’s because it was at like 160 BMP so we put it at 128 and we made a jump up house part and we made our signature trap part and we just wanted to make it so more DJ’s could play it. I really like the song so yea.

ES: So you guys have created your own genre of music, Heaven Trap, what inspired you to make this?

Derek: Um I mean for us when we got into EDM we were Trance heads first and so my first show was Armin Only and I really got into Above and Beyond. Probably one of the best shows I’ve ever been to was Trance Around the World 350 in Los Angeles. Above and Beyond has a connection with there fans that no one else can really touch. There fans would go to the ends of the earth for them. I basically herd the acoustic version of “Love is Not Enough” and the first time I herd it I instantly went to tears and like for the whole track I was like “ok I need to do something with this because obviously it resonates with me super hard.” Going into it I thought I was going to make a chill kind of trap remix.

Derek: My idea was kind of based off the AlunaGeorge DJ Snake remix, just to make a mellow trap remix and this was when we where doing festival trap songs. But as the song progressed it turned to what it is now. I was kind of inspired by Ganz, he’s an Amsterdam based music producer and he did a Flume remix that I really, really liked and I kind of took elements from that and had it in ours and you know at that moment we where still really, really up and coming last year. I feel like when your up and coming and people don’t know your name, like back when it would say “Slander Remix”, no one would know what it is going to be so that’s why we would put “Festival Trap Edit” on our “We Like to Party” song so I figured I needed to come up with a name for whatever this is. Obviously it didn’t have a name so I wanted to think of a synonym for the word “Euphoria” but it had to be a location. So the only thing I could think of was like heaven and then obviously it was trap so. I remember where I was. I was at my friends house thinking of it and I remember when I thought of it I thought it was a weird name of whatever.

Scott: He texted me and said “lets call it heaven trap”. And I was like “Heaven Trap Huh?” its catchy though!

Derek: Right when you here it you know what it is even if you have never herd it before. It’s like euphoria with trap in it so its kind of something that stemmed from our early influences mixed with our influences now. I mean where just really happy that we where able to create something unique. I feel like that is the hardest thing for up and coming producer’s. To create your own genre is probably like  the  number one hardest thing to do when your up and coming. So we just feel blessed that we kind of found what our sound is by accident and we thought of a good name for it. I mean it really is a personal thing to us and the whole reason we did it was because we want to have the same connection with our fans as Above & Beyond has with there fans. So our thing is there are a lot of people in trap who’s only emotion is “turn up” and its an emotion but that’s the only emotion and so we wanted to bring more positive, more feely emotions into it.

Scott: As you could tell by our sets we play everything.

Derek: So we save the heaven trap at the end, so we play bangers at the beginning and then at the end kind of leave people with a warm fuzzy feeling. So when they walked away there like “Did I just see a trap artist? Or who did I just see?”. And our whole motto is like we want to make people cry at the trap shows. No one else is really doing that and I know it sounds weird but that’s the only way you can really break through is if you do something other people aren’t doing.

ES: Can you tell us about any of your new music coming out?

Derek: Well we have a bunch of new tracks. But the next one that is going to come out is called “Ascension” with NGHTMRE, he’s the one we made the “We Like to Party” remix with. He went to Icon with me in Burbank, its a music production school, and we actually made this track back in July and we premiered it at Nocturnal main stage in September. We where going to release it around September but it just got pushed back. Right now its going to be our first original out. Where more excited for this record then anything we’ve released. A lot of people are asking for out original music because we haven’t put any out and there was a good reason for it. Our main plan was to just put out remixes basically until people couldn’t stand it anymore and so we are really excited to put out our originals and show people what our sound really is. It will be released November 18th.

Scott: But I’d say for fans reading this interview, just expect both house and trap from us from now on. And like with the Jack U song we wanted to make a hybrid song. That’s the music well play in our sets and the music that we love. Our whole thing is making music that we love, we don’t want to make music that is forced. We don’t want to be forced to make 128 or forced to make trap music. I think that as EDM is kind of progressing here its kind of like what GTA did with “Death from Genres”. And I think that good music is just good music.

ES: What was your favorite show or festival of 2014?


Derek: I mean Nocturnal, I don’t think anything will really top that. TomorrowWorld was also super sick. Thoughts are definitely are top too. But Nocturnal is our favorite because that was like one of the shows we have been going to as fans for a really, really long time and for us to be up there finally was like everything hoped for. We got to play from 10pm – 11pm at night. We didn’t come in and play like 1pm- 2pm, some how we got this amazing set time at night. We played the second biggest stage and it was the biggest audience we ever played for and when we stepped off the stage it was the most amazing feeling ever.

Scott: Then they came to us and were like “Hey do you guys want to play main stage?”

Derek: This was like 15 minutes after we got back to our trailer one of the guys from Insomniac came to us and said “Nicky Romero might be late so if you guys are down you can play the main stage for like 10 – 15 minutes” and where like “Whatever”, we thought he was fucking with us or whatever and then like 10 minutes later he comes back and is like “are you guys ready?” and then I was just like “Holy Shit….”. And then we went up there, before we went on, the stage manager was like “Do you have a lot of songs?” and I’m like “Yes”, because we only thought we were only going to play like 10 – 15 minutes and then he’s like “Your going to play for 30 minutes at least” and so that changed everything. 10 – 15 minutes you cant really show case who you are but 30 minutes you can so Scott and I just went back and forth and picked the songs really quick. We where still on the adrenaline rush from the first set we played. So there where no nerves.

Scott: We went from going to like the biggest show of our lives, to THE Biggest show of our lives.

Derek: Literally 45 minutes after our first set. There where literally 25,000 people out there and playing on the main stage that has been our dream ever since we started DJing.

Scott: I literally almost blacked out up there because it was literally so crazy.

Derek: We where just so much on a adrenaline rush and my parents where there and my dad was literally standing behind me in the booth watching me play on the main stage and it was just one of thoughts moments that will never forget for the rest of our lives. We love Insomniac, thoughts are the first events we went to so it really, really ment everything to us. It was a big step and we are really blessed that happened.

Scott: I would defiantly say that TomorrowWorld was just epic because we got that gig very early from us being signed with an agency so it was really unexpected and we had a earlier time slot, we played second. I know Derek thought there was going to be like 50 people there.

Derek: We played 2pm – 3pm and usually it takes so long for people to get in the festival but we lucked out again our stage was right next to the camp ground which had like 40,000 people sold out. And so every single person who was there on Thursday ready to go on Friday just came in and they where just like at our stage. When we stepped on the stage at 2pm there was like 6,000 people there. There was trees on both sides and we couldn’t see the back of the crowd. I couldn’t believe it. I literally thought there would be like 200 people there and it was nuts. TomorrowWorld is cool cause its like in the forest and there are no building, nothing. And its an international crowd and its 21 and up so its just a different vibe, so yea it was just super sick for sure.

ES: What can we expect from Slander in the future?

Derek: Were just going to put out a bunch of originals. I think were going to plan for an EP, but we just have to see, just because the way things are now. Its just almost better if you put out a song every month, then if you wait cause then things kind of die down. So we’ll put out a couple of originals and then we have a really big year planned for 2015. Were going to play a lot of the shows we’ve always dreamed of playing and our goal is to make as many people happy as possible.

Scott: It’s still kind of hard for us because we’ve basically been in the industry for like 6 months. So we just want to be really careful about what songs we release and how we release them. You can defiantly expect and EP from us and an Album but it just wont be immediately. We want to just first get our music out there, keep our hype going by doing one song a month on average, then hit them with the EP and album on the way.

After our interview with Slander we took a few quick photos and we where on our way. Leaving this interview we felt a whole lot of different emotions from excitement to inspiration and the feeling that if you really have a dream, and a passion, to not let anything stop you from making it a reality. These guys stories and what they shared with us was from the heart and very true to them. Both Scott and Derek are very humble, knowledgeable, and inspiring people to listen to. This will be at the top with one of the best interviews we have ever done. We look forward to linking up again in the future with them and talking about there success!

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