It was just last September when M.A.D.E (Brian LaPierre and Cody Cox) and BassCASE(Jason Case) got their foot in the revolving EDM door. As winners of Insomniac Events' Nocturnal Wonderland Discovery Project 2013, they pulled their musical masterminds together and put on one of the best shows the infamous Insomniac Art Car has ever seen. From Trance to Tech, Hardstyle to House, these three artists pulled something off that resonated with people for a long while after their set was complete. This unconventional performance was filled to the brim with risks - would they lose fans? Would listeners understand the direction? This was make or break. Now, sitting in the production studio a year later with Brian and Jason I have been rest assured, they're making it.
From securing a residency in San Diego at the largest growing all-EDM club Somewhere Loud, headlining events and making new original tracks - M.A.D.E and BassCASE are putting everything they have into their music and now, their label. As I listened to them open up about their goals for the Electronic Music community, the bastardization of house music and the longing for superior talent to stop being ignored, a spark was ignited and I knew that this might just be the new perspective that this culture needs. Super Friends Productions is the shot in the dark that we've been looking for. No bullshit, just good music with good people. Alongside M.A.D.E and BassCASE, producers from all across the spectrum are stepping up and joining in. Audio Rock, Mutiny, Matnetik and Vena Cava are the secured additions to the new label - together they are pushing out Tech House, Electro & Progressive House, Trance, Hardstyle, Melbourne Bounce, Dubstep, Drum & Bass, Moombahton, Happy Hardcore & Glitch Hop sounds... and that's just the beginning.
While the Super Friends Project is still in the development stage, what has already started is causing a frenzy in San Diego - if you love EDM, you love Super Friends. I had the chance to sit and talk with Brian and Jason to get some much needed clarity on the project -- what I left with was hope for the future of this industry. #FuckGenresLetsDance
You guys have been busy this year -- since your winning Discovery Project slot at last year's Nocturnal Wonderland you've secured a residency, ventured deep into the industry and now... a label? What can you tell me about the Super Friends Project?
Brian: I mean, we're basically just done with putting our trust in other people in order to put on a great night of music. We have this vision as to what a truly memorable, unique night of music can be and we want people to see it, and feel it. On the other end, we want to make sure that nothing goes wrong -- you know, every time you go out there's always problems that you're running into. Whether it's venues, promoters, artists, whatever. There are things that we saw that we didn't like, and now we're going to change it… do it on our own. People go down the normal route and make a complaint about it, but we don't want to complain - we want to make a solution. We're problem solvers.
Jason: We want to create the ultimate experience and throw the party. Not like a promoter throwing a party-- but the artist throwing the party. We're about unity, we want to grow and help every thriving artist grow with us. No matter what their art form, this is about helping one another and reaching out beyond music, we want to reach out to everything.
I think that every artist can relate to these circumstances. So what is this "vision?" Get us down to the very roots of the project.
Brian: Our vision is to reconnect the industry. We want to bring every part of this industry together and make our own experience…. An experience that holds a space for those who are open minded. Live artwork is an element that we are really looking to bring back into this as well. It's a culture, so we're trying to expand on that idea instead of just playing in a club.
Jason: We want to get the support from the artists, from the community and from the venues and really give everyone their fair chance to shine. We want to showcase live art, musical art, the art of promoting… every type of artist is welcome.
Sounds like a solid experience... like an appetizer of music - I dig it! At what point did you guys come together and decide that this was the route you wanted to venture down? It seems like a lot of artists are shooting to run a "label" these days.
Brian: If you ask any artist nowadays what their struggle is in this industry - it's going to be about promoters, selling tickets, their genre not being accepted or being controlled, volume control, the list goes on. But we're artists… and we don't have control over those things right now. You know, we're not business guys all around - but we are strategy guys... So we have built a strategy. We want to tour and do all these great things but it's all about being united in the industry. We need artists and people who will unite with us, who have the same vision as us, and feel the same way about the present issues in the scene. A lot of this stems from being different, having a different sound and not being accepted for that - we're going to change that.
To change the way we see EDM labels in the industry is motivation - congratulations on that. But what do you think will separate what your vision is from anything else that's already offered out there?
Brian: We have no limitations - we are here, hiring YOU as the artist to go out there and do your thing. That's the other thing, we're hiring you! We're paying you to come do what you love. Most places nowadays you have to promote, sell tickets and more to get paid or you don't get paid at all. This isn't the case… we want to be able to give artists money to help invest in their careers. These artists that we have right now, they bring people.. a lot of people! But they have no compensation and they aren't getting paid. How are you supposed to evolve as an artist and build yourself if you aren't getting paid? We're artists. We're broke. So let's fix it.
You guys have clearly had your fair share of experiences - there's a lot of passion in your delivery. Tell me, how did this idea evolve into an all out development? Starting a label doesn't happen overnight - but I sense you already know that.
Brian: I mean Jason has always been on that side of things, wanting to build and run a label, it's always been his vision. For me, it started with our Super Friends project at Somewhere Loud in San Diego. Cody and I started the project with the intention of creating a different show, a multi-genre show that brought a completely different demographic to Somewhere Loud. From the beginning we truly believed that this venue had something different for people. It had people who wanted to be there for the love of music, it was a good vibe. And we realized that we were coming up, and they were coming up -- together we could make something happen. With all of the ghost producing and bullshit and people locking down the industry right now with multiple aliases it's like… how were we ever going to get anywhere? So we started the Super Friends Project.
Jason: After that, we just called all of our buddies and starting watching it evolve. Now we're locking in residencies and fundraising for the label - we're pulling seven minds together instead of just one and we're making it happen. A lot of these guys are underground artists, you know they don't have a "Top Track" or anything, and because of that you get this nitpicky response back from venues or labels - but as soon as you play it live, everyone is getting down to it. It's new and original music, people are willing to give it a chance with or without an established venue.
I hear that! There's so much "bring back the underground" coming from fans across the scene - maybe this is a way to help revive that feeling. What is your end goal with the label? What do you want to see come out of it?
Jason: We want to be able to have someone come in and hand us a track that everyone else has turned away and give it that chance. We want to leave it up to the community - we'll throw it on a set and see what the response is. Eventually, we'd like to get every one of these artists on tour.
Brian: It's not just the outcome, it's the ongoing goals as well. Everyone knows that feeling after having a crappy night - something went wrong with the promoters or with the sound. Someone's time got cut short and someone else didn't make it on. The lights, the security, the list. Something will always be disconnected. We want to take that mystery of who to blame out of the picture. We want to put our full responsibility into this - there's nothing worse than having someone who played such a small factor in the production of your night make the biggest mistake and have the biggest impact. We want to take full responsibility of our experience and if it's bad we want to be able to fix it, if it's great we want to make it better.
You said previously that you are looking to expand the sound… provide an environment where multiple genres are invited to play and create their own unique art form in a single space. That's not really something that's being done currently in the industry - can you elaborate on that?
Brian: Yeah, we really want to give the opportunity to all artists, not one of a specific genre. Right now we have Futuristic Bass Music, we've got Drum & Bass, Tech-House, Dubstep, Happy Hardcore, Hardstyle, House, Trance -- we have a following that is so open minded and open to all types of music, they're fans of everything not just one sound. We want to have the ability to put out an EP full of unique, original tracks from all across the board. Why can't the people who have already opened their minds and are intelligent to all these different sounds get it in one place? Now they can. You don't have to go to 10 different labels to get the sound you want.
Jason: We're like… cross-genre promoting. Someone who came to the label looking for Tech-House might come across Futuristic Bass Music and fall in love with it. We want to give artists the chance to shine, and fans the chance to evolve.
I love the idea of genre crossing, I think that everyone finds something they love in the unexpected. What are you guys going to be looking for in newcomers to the label? Beyond their background or style of music, what are you seeking in an individual to become apart of this movement?
Brian: Empowerment and loyalty. Loyal artists that are more into this and want more from their label than just a release. We want artists who are going to swim upstream in this waterfall of an industry right now because we have so many plans with this project -- such as starting a production class. I'm going to use military instructor training skills to teach some of these guys how to give formal classes so we can have classes where one of the artists teaches some knowledge on a wide variety of softwares ... We want to be able to learn from each other.
Jason: As far as picking out artists, we need them to be involved in the collaboration of shows, labels and direction. We need a team player who is willing to go beyond just playing music and have their hands in everything.