February 7th is almost upon us and that means The Do LaB's mid-week musical debauchery at King King in Hollywood is just about here. Prepare thyselves. You may remember our introduction to the night from a few weeks ago. And if you never read about it, well, allow us to fill you in: Gigamesh and Them Jeans are playing in Hollywood on Thursday night and it's going to be fantastic. Enough said. We figured it would be best to ask the both of them a set of questions so that you all can get a bit more familiar before the party and hopefully learn a thing or two. This was our first time chatting with Minnesota-bred Gigamesh, also known as Matt Masurka. And since Them Jeans (known around here as Jason Stewart) actually lives here in LA, we've had the pleasure of bugging him for articles several times before, but the more insight the better, right? Both of these artists have been heavily active as well as successful in their world for a solid chunk of time now, so it's always interesting to hear whatever it is they have to say.
People often assume DJs love partying all night and being the center of attention — neither are natural things for me. -Gigamesh
At what age did you first start DJing and what triggered you to get into it?
Gigamesh: I started when I was in high school using two Sony Walkmans. I DJed at high school dances and marching band parties. I was mainly exposed to turntablist and electronic music culture from a friend who would go to raves with her older sister, as well as shows like MTV's Amp.
Them Jeans: I messed around in high school with turntables but started taking it more seriously around 21, I was always into music but never had an outlet for it, so DJing was perfect.
Who were some of the first memorable DJs that you witnessed perform when you were first starting out?
Gigamesh: I grew up pretty far outside of Minneapolis so I didn't witness any DJs perform until I could drive -- and at that point I was more into live bands (I actually still am to be honest). However, I do vividly remember a friend taking me to a small club where a DJ was playing with vinyl and thought he was the coolest guy alive....then the headliners went on and performed with live synths and I thought they were the coolest guys alive (can't remember any of the artist names unfortunately).
Them Jeans: DJ AM and Diplo. I would go out and see DJs all the time but they were the only ones outside of super serious turntable dudes who were doing things I found really interesting.
What would you consider to be the most crucial traits of a DJ today?
Gigamesh: Versatility (doing more than just DJing), adaptability, open-mindedness.
Them Jeans: My favorite trait in a DJ is the urge to take risks and play some stuff that might not work, but the most crucial trait for me currently is song selection, because with modern technology it's not so hard to mix songs anymore.
Did you have any formal music training or background prior to electronic production methods?
Gigamesh: Yes, I have a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in Recording Arts.
Them Jeans: No formal music training but I grew up playing guitar and bass.
Name your top favorite parties in the city you currently live in.
Gigamesh: Wak Lyf, Blackout, dinner parties with friends.
Them Jeans: Favorite LA parties are Private Label, the Do Over, A Club Called Rhonda, Fade to Mind, and Low End Theory.
Name five DJ/producers of today that you think the readers need to listen to.
Gigamesh: Flume, Cashmere Cat, George from AlunaGeorge, Kelpe, Luke Abbott.
Them Jeans: Zomby, SFV ACID, How To Dress Well, Mr. Oizo, Boston Bun.
What do you do outside of playing and making music?
Gigamesh: I like to read and watch movies, and hang out with my girlfriend, friends & family.
Them Jeans: I do a talk show podcast called Tall Tales, I'm really into cooking, and comedy.
Do you think there are any assumptions people make about your lifestyle that are actually false?
Gigamesh: People often assume DJs love partying all night and being the center of attention -- neither are natural things for me. I'm often most content while working at home making music by myself.
Them Jeans: Not really. The stereotypes exist for a reason, but most people assume DJs, especially ones in LA, are just dumb party people but most of my friends are pretty laid-back intelligent folks.
A lot of people are annoyed by the rising fame of dance music on a mainstream level, but what are some of positive aspects of the situation?
Gigamesh: I'm annoyed that people think it's a new phenomenon. Pop music has always had a huge dance element and has always been influenced by music outside of the mainstream. Early rock & roll was all about dancing and was based on the blues. 70's disco was obviously about dancing. 80's pop, no different. The '90s were more hip-hop heavy but it was originally based on disco samples and was still based on partying and dancing. The '90s also had massive hits that came right out of nightlife/rave culture (C&C Music Factory, Technotronic). I guess it's just been a little while since that was a regular phenomenon so the current generation isn't aware of it. As for EDM, mainstream music has naturally become more electronic as technology infiltrates every aspect of our lives. Anyway, my attitude towards mainstream music is the same as indie/obscure music: if it's good, it's good.
Them Jeans: I guess the positive aspect would be the mainstream dance music people who use their fame and notoriety to help bring up their peers instead of only trying to big up themselves.
So there you have it! Some words of wisdom from Thursday night's DJs of choice. Make sure to RSVP and learn more about the event on the Facebook page. You can still buy advance tickets here, but they'll be available at the door too of course. And to listen to some of the artist's material, head over to The Do LaB's blog. While you're at it, why don't you support our Do LaB friends on Facebook + Twitter too. We hope to see you at the party, but if you can't make it, we'll be sure to show you what you missed out on afterwards.