EDM Interview: A Day In L.A. With Dirtyphonics And Recap Video
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending the day with four fine French individuals by the name of Pitchin, Charlie, Thomas and Pho. It was a unique situation for two reasons: First, because when else does a girl get to spend the better part of a day out on the town with four hot French guys? In Paris, anytime. That’s when. But I live in California, and ethnic melting pot aside, that kind of thing doesn’t exactly happen everyday. So, even though I sincerely apologize to all of you male readers out there, you’ve got to give me at least one second to gush, because the moment I was introduced and heard the four perfectly smooth French accents come out of their mouths, I knew it was going to be a good day.
So, lets get right to it; in case the title of this piece didn’t tip you off already, the second reason this situation was unique was because the four French guys I had the pleasure of spending the day with were the one and only Dirtyphonics. So, I headed over to the Dim Mak office around 2 p.m. to meet up with everybody. The plan for the day was simple: eat, shop, and have some good old L.A. fun while doing it. I met Alexander Federic, the Dim Mak videographer first, who introduced me to the band and our fearless driver for the day, Jason. We hopped into the Dim Mak van shortly after introductions and took off for our first stop, which was to Native Instruments. Now I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t already know/assume that all four of the guys spoke fluent French, but as soon as that van door closed, there they went, speaking French at rapid speed while I sat there sort of shocked and probably looking like a moron. Alright so maybe to them it wasn’t exactly rapid speed, but to someone who has only ever taken one French class (and barely passed), it was Star Trek light speed into the next galaxy sort of fast. So, on they went while I listened in fascination; there were only two people who had both perfect French and American accents, and they were Charlie and photographer Jason Fenmore, otherwise known as OHDAGYO. They shifted in and out of accents like it was nothing, which made it all the more disconcerting, not to mention awesome.
[quote]We’re here to share something with the crowd, from the get-go we’re like, ‘fuck this, we’re going to go and hang out with you guys’ [/quote]
We arrived at Native Instruments shortly and took the elevator to the top of the building where we entered a pristine lounge in which some pretty complex looking equipment were laid out. I say complex because my knowledge of DJ equipment is unfortunately quite low, the result being that so all of it looks complex in comparison to the keyboard I’ve had since I was 12. The boys of Dirtyphonics seemed to be happy, though, seeing as they all immediately took to trying out and fiddling with the various pieces on the tables. They discussed details amongst themselves and with the sales rep who graciously allowed me, Alex and Jason to snap a few pictures inside the lounge, and then we were heading out with four infinitely happy French guys. Some of the equipment, I learned would be shipped to them from Native Instrument’s Belgium office, and some they were able to take with them right away. Pho happened to be one of the immediate benefactors of the visit, while he was checking out his present in the van I asked him about it and he proceeded to tell me about how his original, the one he’d been working with this entire time had begun to fail on him, so that little number came just in time for Pho.
Alright, leaving Native Instruments, it was unanimously understood that it was time to eat, and after a short bit of deliberation Pink’s Hot Dogs was chosen as the official destination; those of you who live in Los Angeles are quite aware that Pink’s is staple in our city, so what better way to spice up an outing with our four talented French boys than to take them to eat ridiculously large hot dogs? And so, the lot of us made our way to Pink’s on La Brea. Once there, we parked and started to head for the relatively short line (thank the lord on high) but I noticed that the Dirtyphonics boys had veered off to the right instead of toward the line, and when I looked to see what had so gotten their attentions, there they were, the four of them with their heads poking out of the Pink’s Hot Dogs standee, apparently having a wonderful ole time. It was hilarious, and a little perfect, since there were 4 head spaces in all. We took pictures and film of this, of course, and probably had several lunching patrons wondering why we found all of this so funny. A few minutes later, we found ourselves in the line, and instead of attempting to scan and ultimately choose my food of choice form the insane group of nouns that is the Pink’s menu, I started talking to Thomas. I had noticed that Thomas wasn’t as social as the rest of the Dirtyphonics guys, and that’s not to say that he was anti-social or anything, more like he chose his own moments to talk and participate. My thoughts were confirmed as we began to talk and go\et to know one another a little better; Thomas explained to me that he was more the type who likes to sit back and watch what’s going on around him, sort of take in the happenings around him in his own way. Because his calm disposition made it a little difficult to read him, I asked Thomas if he liked hot dogs, to which he replied “not really,” and proceeded to explain to me the kind of food he does like: food that might be a little more complex, food with detail, but best of all, food that you make yourself. Thomas told me that he very much loves to cook, that it is one of his favorite things, right alongside writing, reading, and of course, DJing. It was nice finding these things out, sometimes when you love an artist/band/DJ etc. so much, you tend to focus on all things that pertain to their professions, so it was nice to start to learn things about the Dirtyphonics guys on a level a little lower than the stage.
And we ate, all of us with our hot dogs, polish sausages, cheeseburgers and one burrito courtesy of Jason, who decided to deviate and grab Chipotle next door (Carnage would be proud). We came, saw, ate, conquered and went on our merry way to Melrose, commencing with the shopping. There we were in our group, walking down Melrose on a nice sunny day, feeling pretty nifty. Charly and Pichin disappeared pretty quickly, having apparently found what they were looking for. Julian, Thomas and Alex went off pretty soon too, so me and Jason were left pulling in the rear. This is when Jason told me an interesting little story. In April of this year, Pichin and Charly went off to Albuquerque for a reason I don’t remember, but the rest of the gang decided to party at the Euphoria Music Festival in Texas where they met up with Datsik, and in accordance with classic rock star guidelines, the night did not end for them until about 7 in the A.M. and “everybody was completely, belligerent drunk. Like, I mean, belligerent.” And it gets better. “I’ve seen my video guy’s dick about a hundred times now, because he runs around naked on the bus all of the time. I watched Datsik punch bare fist to bare dick three times that night. His [the video guy’s] dick actually ended up on my arm because his girlfriend was giving him some sort of over the pants hand-job, and it was one of those awkward moments where I was trying to squeeze through because space in the bus isn’t that big. I’m trying to get to my bunk and she’s like booty-dancing on me and I’m like, ‘just fucking move out of my way I’m just trying to get to my bunk, and the next thing I know she’s grabbing my dick and I’m like, what? And she moves out of the way, and now his bare dick is just on my arm. I punch him, and then Datsik comes running in screaming off the top of his head random shit, and it was just insane. It was all because we had no tour manager, Clancy was in Albuquerque with Charly and Pichin, so it was just like, boys night out time a thousand.”
Jason also told me about certain times at the Avalon, Hollywood, “yeah when you’re at Avalon downstairs after like, 12th Planet or somebody plays it’s always a shit-show. Like, Jack Beats played, Dillon Francis showed up to play with them, Kill the Noise showed up, Borgore showed up, and the green room by the end of the night was just fuckin’ thrashed. Everybody was just wasted off their ass to the point where they couldn’t tell you their own names. That was probably one of the worst and best nights that I shot; it’s when you get a certain combination of artists together, that’s really where it happens.”
By the time Jason was through telling me these nothing short of awesome stories, we had reached a shoe store that Julian, Thomas and Alex had gone ahead to find. We spent a good chunk of time in there, looking through the ridiculous selection. Charly and Pichin eventually joined us, Pichin joining in on the search for fly kicks and Charly finding a shoe that everyone agreed Steve Aoki would love. Several sizes and various boxes later, we left the shoe place, but not before Jason left his own personal mark and Dirtyphonic’s in and around the place. On the way back to the van, I got a chance to talk with Charly about Coachella, his girl, and a few other things.
[quote]“I spent the entire afternoon trying to do press in I’m gunna say, half-sober states.”[/quote]
Charly informed me that the first weekend of Coachella had been quick and a little bit of a blur, since they weren’t exactly sober for the weekend. This is why he was especially looking forward to Coachella round 2. “I didn’t really see much, I didn’t get a chance to walk around and see everything, so it will be nice to get another chance. Also, my girl is coming down on Sunday.” I asked Charly about her, and he proceeded to tell me that she lived in Colorado and was a performer. This is when he told me her name, and I realized that I knew exactly who she was. Her name is Mseasy, and if you haven’t heard of her already, she is an internationally renouned gogo dancer, performer and artist. She is the founding Artistic Director of Team Ez Entertainment, which is comprised of a group of entertainers who you have seen performing at huge shows both in and out of the United States. Those of you who regularly read Magnetic articles might remember that we did a post back in February alerting everyone to a new reality series called The GoGo Life. Yep, you guessed it, that’s about Mseasy and her team. Read the article here.
[quote]“It’s cool because we kind of share the same life, so I understand what she does, and she understands what I do.[/quote]
Charly continued on to tell me that they had not seen each other since Miami week. “It’s cool because we kind of share the same life, so I understand what she does, and she understands what I do. It’s pretty much the same industry, and we understand the whole traveling part and everything that goes along with it. We actually met at work, believe it or not. It was at EDC Denver back in 2010? We were friends for a few years until we found out that it was a little more than that.”
We had reached the van at this point,, our next destination back to Dimmak studios to have a quick interview with yours truly, and then to head on downtown to a barbeque that Terravita, specifically Jon Spero, invited everyone out to before the show at Club Nokia. We arrived at the Dimmak office in no time at all, refreshed, grabbed some redbull, and then the guys sat down with me for a few minutes so I could ask them some questions.
You guys were obviously brought together by music, and you enjoy sending your time together of course. I know that can be hard to come by with such a big group, what is that like when you’re together as a family and musically?
Pichin: It’s the same
Charly: Yeah, family and musically speaking, you know, It’s the four of us just hanging out together and we obviously share a common vision of music and what we want to do, and it kind of goes hand in hand with the same vision of life. As a family or group of friends or a band, there’s obviously lots of tension and passion altogether, so it goes back and forth between arguing about something and then laughing about it and then you know, sharing something and jumping there. It’s a super energetic dynamic of experiencing life in general, whether it’s through music or traveling.
I’ve heard that some of your favorite cities that you’ve performed in have been Los Angeles, Vancouver, and New York, is that correct?
Pho: And Puerto Rico, too.
Nice, what about these places make them your favorites? Are there some things that happen in these places that stand out, or is there a general thing that connects them and makes them your favorite.
Charly: It’s a mix of memories of certain gigs that we’ve played at or moments we’ve spent there, and the energy that we found there and obviously from there we’ve met a bunch of people that you know, became our family, our traveling family. So obviously we have a lot of connections in Los Angeles, same thing in Vancouver; Vancouver was one of the first shows we played in North America. Puerto Rico is insane every time we’re there; there is something special between them and us, and New York also has something pretty specific about it. It’s almost like a kid’s dream place of you know, we’re French and we’re going to play in New York and the first time we ever played there was insane. It was in the Best Buy Theater and it was packed and it was definitely one of those night’s we’ll always remember.
Nice. Well, I know you guys all grew up with metal, and that when you got together, you wanted to create a different kind of sound with those elements. What is it like to get people into the music like they do with metal, but in a completely different genre and style of music that you just created?
Charly: It was kind of natural, I mean for us, we experienced that when we were younger and playing in metal bands, so when we all got together on stage, we kind of just kept the same attitude. And obviously by having this energy that we have on stage that’s pretty specific to Dirtyfonics, there’s a connection between us, the crowd, and the music altogether, and it kind of makes one big thing that moves altogether at the same time. So you know, obviously we feed off the energy that the crowd gives us, they feed off the music and our energy, and back and forth up until the point where the whole thing is vibing together.
Pitchin: Yes and the fact of being close to the crowd as well, this is why we stage dive, we go down there at every set. We shake hands, everything; it’s high contact, we all rage together.
Charly: Yeah, and the thing is like, you know when you play in a rock band, it’s a little bit different for the drummer, but lets say you’re the guitar player, you can run on stage from left to right and back and forth. Now being in a different environment behind this big-ass table filled with equipment, you know, you could feel some sort of separation between you and the crowd. Because we’re here to share something with the crowd, from the get-go we’re like, ‘fuck this, we’re going to go and hang out with you guys.’ Obviously we’re going to play the music, but as soon as we can have a little time, whether its during the set or after the set, we’d love to go and share this with the crowd, because it wouldn’t make any sense to do this if there wasn’t any connection.
Pitchin: Yeah and if you think about, like 10 years ago, DJing meant that there was just a booth in a club, and none of the DJs really went out into the crowd, or even ever grabbed a microphone. 10 years ago DJs were just standing behind the turntables and just playing, and that’s it. Right now, this is ten-times better just to share. I know everyone needs to be behind their machines for the most part, but to be in front of them, shouting into the microphone and just going crazy, its even more enjoyable and you realize even more the importance of that moment where the crowd is insane.”
When you guys first set out to start making music together, did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to accomplish, or did it kind of sneak up on you?
Charly: We knew that we wanted to explore lots of different genres of music in general, and we also knew that we didn’t really give much of a fuck about the so-called rules or what people were making, we just wanted to create the music that we couldn’t hear anywhere else. I guess it kind of just came naturally, the precision and attention to detail has always been there, and the in your face part as well. It was a matter of having the sound mature and find the right balance up until what’s happening today, but you know, its always evolving. You know in a bunch of interviews we you can get questions like ‘oh how has your sound evolved from the first days?’ Well ok today it’s a lot more organic, we’re including more vocals now and collaborating with a bunch of people, so it always had the same drive and energy, but it’s obviously evolved from what we were doing three or four years ago. So ask the same question four years from now and I’m sure we will give a different answer, but it would still be the same passion and energy.
Alright last question: In regards to your tour and the coming days, is there any place or anything that you’re specifically looking forward to or are just ultimately looking forward to all of it as a whole?
Charly: Obviously all of it, and then you know we could say New York or Los Angeles tonight, obviously we can’t wait to play these places again, and at the same time we can’t wait to play places we’ve never been at.
Pitchin: Yeah like Red Rocks. I mean, that venue? It’s just insane. I can’t wait to get there and just see what it’s all about.
Charly: Yeah and also Coachella, I mean we played it last weekend, but you know, it was something very big for us next weekend again. So we’re just really excited to be on the road and to be able to share our music with whoever the fuck wants to listen to it and party with us.
Pitchin: Yes and even if it’s like, I don’t know, a four-hundred capacity club, like a sweatbox or a sea of people at a big festival, they are two completely different situations, but they’re all amazing. It’s just all about the energy of the crowd; whether its 10 people or 10,000, for us it’s the same. We actually might even rage more if it’s just 10 people.
That about ended our little interview, and immediately after, we climbed into my car and another, and shot over to the barbeque downtown. We parked, grabbed some beer from the market, and then headed into the building to meet Jon up at the very top. It was a very entertaining elevator ride up, mainly because all four of the Dirtyphonics began rapping to “Bugatti” and several others. I wish I had recorded it, but to be honest I was laughing too hard to remember to do so. It may have been recorded in the video, however, so make sure you peep it!
So we reached the top with Charly taking the lead and holding the box of Corona above his head. When the four of them cleared the stairs, a universal “AMERICA. FUCK YEAH” came out of all of them, and by the way, this was while a large American flag sort of wafted around in the wind behind them. It was one of those special American-French moments people talk about sometimes…yeah not really, but it was special. Then commenced the chilling; everyone drank, talked, watched the sunset. You know, the stuff of romance. OHDAGYO had some mini photo shoots with the guys as the sun just about finished setting, and then it was it was time to get to Club Nokia. It was a hot second before we were in the elevator, and one more before we were in the lounge designated for the Dirtyphonics. For the next hour and a half, everyone relaxed in their own ways; Charly took a disco nap, Pitchin did some work on his laptop, Thomas on his ipad, and Pho talking to a few people. Food was ordered, people started to come, and drinks made their ways into hands. Then of course, it was their time to hit the stage; now unfortunately they were booked to play a DJ set only, so that meant that mainly Pitchin and Charly were to man the tables. All four came out of course, representing their team as one, and then Charly and Pitchin jumped right into it and the place went wild. The people of Club Nokia had mass amounts of love for the Dirtyphonics, and it showed in the signs they thrashed around, the energy they threw right back at the stage, and of course the ever-present fists in the air. It was a really good show; Alex and Jason had a lot to work with as they snaked across the stage getting their footage, especially as the gang did exactly what they’d told me they always do: got out from behind the tables and partied with the crowd. In short, the show was awesome, and when it was over the crowd was screaming for more. Everyone rounded up in the lounge, drinking, hanging, celebrating; it was a good time. The Dirtyphonics boys decided they would relocate for the after party, and I decided to stay and check out Modestep’s set. And so, we all parted ways; it had been a top-notch day with Thomas, Pitchin, Charly and Pho, and I was glad to have had the chance at it. Check out the video for a more visual experience of the day and as always, carry on…
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