"If you look at our iPod playlist, there is a bunch of everything. This is who we are."
French electronic group Dirtyphonics stopped into Sonos Studio in LA for a private listening party this past week. The always cutting edge and genre bending project are releasing their upcoming EP entitled Write Your Future via Dim Mak tomorrow (February 17th) so we were absolutely thrilled when we got the chance to attend. There's always this terrible feeling that something totally epic is going down at Sonos that you weren't invited to, and being on the other side of that felt quite satisfying.
Beyond that, wild man Trinidad James was also attending the event and performing the track "Hustle Hard" with the boys from Dirtyphonics, so this was an added bonus. We walked into the greenest groom we had ever been in, filled with beer and snacks, and got to chatting away with Charly and Pitchin about their new EP, working with Trinidad, and drawing inspiration from a handful of genres.
12th Planet also made himself comfortable in the back of room and listened in, giving us an additional incentive to not screw anything up or knock over the very-real looking snake on the table. Read the interview below, and prepare yourself for one of the first truly mind-blowing releases of 2015.
"You should try and have 12th Planet give you a hug. There’s no coming back from that."
What was the vision and inspiration behind the Write Your Future EP, and what is your goal for the release?
Charly: We wanted to tell stories. We wanted to tell stories that everyone could relate to, talk about emotions that are very strong, and that’s why we brought a bunch of vocalists on the songs. The first goal is just to have fun writing music. Laying your emotions on the table, and having fun doing it. The goal with it was the same thing, sharing music and bringing something new to the table.
Pitchin: Yea definitely. Especially for us. First trap track officially, coming back with the metal vibe too. Even “Since You’ve Been Gone.” We haven’t made this type of track since 2009 with “The Secret,” which is just full on drum ‘n’ bass vibey, telling a story kind of track. Even “Free Fall” with 12th Planet. The vocals turn it into something more epic. We loved the track, but this is what we do. Bass music, heavy stuff. That’s our comfort zone, so we just felt strong. Since the vocals popped up we were like like “Woah,” because the contrast between such a heavy drop and the angelic voice is awesome.
Charly: The whole story will only be complete with the tour that comes with it, because there’s obviously the writing part, and then there’s the sharing part. To us there’s just no real point of writing music if you’re not going to share it. It’s like talking to yourself. So the EP is written, it’s coming out soon, and then jumping on a tour that is going to take us 'till summer pretty much.
Pitchin: That’s the right point, because when you play tracks that are not released yet, people are stoked because you are going to play something new that no one else is playing. But at the time the track is released, people are following it, and they are happy because people want to hear the new tracks. This is why we are making music, at that point where they are like “Yes, this is what I wanted.” People relate to it, sing along, go hard or whatever.
How crucial was the theme of inspiring listeners to the EP as a whole with the title being Write Your Future and having songs like “Hustle Hard” and “Power Now"?
Charly: Very important. It’s one of the first times that we’ve written with so many vocalists, and it was important to have that on every single song. It was about going the extra mile to reach out to everybody. There are people that know your music or the kind of music you make and they love it and it’s great, but then there are all those other people that don’t necessarily know what you do. You want them to understand the music, and sometimes the words help them feeling that original energy in the song.
Pitchin: Yea “Power Now” is the perfect example. It’s a heavy metal, drum ‘n’ bass, drumstep song. It’s not something accessible, but with the vocals everyone is like “Oh, this is music.” We felt the difference between “Walk In The Fire” and “Power Now.” With “Walk In The Fire” it was the same concept with no vocals, but “Power Now” has vocals. We made a point on this one to have it like that.
What has been your biggest motivation for pursuing so many different genres and styles over the years?
Charly: When we were teenagers we played in metal bands. When we were 17 and 18 we were house DJ’s. Then we played drum ‘n’ bass for a good 7 years. We’ve always loved funk, disco, hip-hop, you name it. To us it would be really boring to play the same thing over and over. When you wake up in the morning you don’t want to listen to the same thing you listened to yesterday. It just depends on your vibe or your mood.
Pitchin: Yea and producing music. Different BPM, different groove. This is the way we are. I know some people want to do one thing and I respect that and it’s awesome and excel at that, but it’s just discovering and evolution. For us that’s what life is all about in general. We just do whatever we want.
Charly: If you look at our iPod playlist, there is a bunch of everything. This is who we are. We love a bunch of everything, so we want to play with everything.
"Trinidad not knowing the music or genre that we produce in brought something different."
You’ve worked with Foreign Beggars in the past, and now have Trinidad James on the new EP. What was the biggest difference between the two?
Pitchin: The main difference between Foreign Beggars and Trinidad James was that Foreign Beggars have the same culture as us. They are like bass music heads. They are even before us. They know everything about drum ‘n’ bass, dubstep, and any of those bass music genres. They are homies; we’ve known them for so long. It was really easy. But it was actually really easy with Trinidad James too. It was exactly what we were looking for.
Charly: What he’s saying basically is that Trinidad not knowing the music or genre that we produce in brought something different. Something extra that was not a rupture from the music, but something that would take it somewhere else.
How did you initially get in touch with Trinidad James, and were you able to get into the studio together to create “Hustle Hard"?
Charly: I think it was on Tinder. But no, too busy. We actually starting writing it at 12th Planet’s studio, then we kept writing the track and we took it on the road with us. We wrote it in Switzerland, we finished it in Paris, and he was in Atlanta back then so we did all that online with computer technology stuff.
"There’s just no real point of writing music if you’re not going to share it. It’s like talking to yourself. "
Outside of music and touring, what are some of your biggest passions?
Pitchin: The only thing we do is skateboarding, and snowboarding when we can.
Charly: Cooking. I also started playing ukulele.
Pitchin: Yea we don’t really have a lot of time off, especially since we just moved to Los Angeles. For now we just decided not to buy a car, because we just like to go around and cruise on skateboards. When we go out a night and are drinking we wouldn’t drive either, so there is really no point.
You guys are originally from Paris but now consider LA your home. What has consistently brought you guys back here?
Charly: The weather.
Pitchin: Back in 2010 when we did our first US tour we were based in LA, and since then we just keep coming back and coming back. We finally turned back and were like “Oh,” we have more friends and homies in LA then we do in Paris now.
Charly: You should try and have 12th Planet give you a hug. There’s no coming back from that.
Pitchin: The weather, the energy you have here for music in general, plus all our team is out here. Our label, the main agency, the management. Working wise it’s so much easier out here. The weather is awesome, we love skateboarding in LA. We can find a better place out here. Yea, it just feels right. It’s just been two months, and we are home. The only question we ask now is “Where can we live now, like where else could we live besides this?”
Charly: Yea you guys had Arnold Schwarzenegger as your governor. There must be something right about here. That’s awesome The Terminator!
All Photos By: Jordan Calvano (Magnetic Magazine)