I think it’s safe to say that one of the best parts of living in Los Angeles is the amount of people you meet who are involved in a number of different things that are happy and willing to contribute to each other’s projects. I moved around a lot for many years and never came across the communal, lets get it on together, vibe LA has going on. I was introduced to the Guns In The Sun crew, a group of guys who live on the Westside that DJ (with fine taste and seamless skill) and run a boutique music management company and label, seven years ago when I moved back to LA. In fact, we recently had them spin at our Controversy party, which was a blast. Anyway, Peter Nussbaum from Guns In The Sun told me about this band they represent called American Royalty. You may have heard of them by now, as they’ve been steadily turning heads in the local scene and beyond. The band just released a remix package for their “Matchstick” EP, in which Peter is featured under the alias of Richnuss (alongside fellow remixers Light Year and J Phlip). Richnuss is a new DJ/production duo consisting of Billy Scher, and Peter Nussbuam, whom happen to be cousins. So if this sounds confusing in any way, let me clarify; this cousin duo remixed a band they manage and it sounds pretty damn hot. What makes this most interesting is the fact that the original track wasn’t intended for the dancefloor by any means, so the final result was quite impressive. I was fortune enough to catch the busy Richnuss act for a few questions about the project and release, so read on and treat yourself to some new tunes.
Have you guys always lived in the LA area? What about it keeps you here?
Peter: I've lived in LA for almost nine years now. I love this city—seriously the best music in so many genres happening literally seven nights a week. LA really has only one fatal flaw aside from shitty burritos: transportation. If you can get past that, you're in for the coolest city on the planet. Great food, weather and friends are also a bonus.
Billy: Diversity, sun and proximity to other great cities like San Francisco.
You’re involved in a few other things aside from playing music. Have you always been into DJing or did it come from working in the music scene?
Peter: I'm a huge music nerd, but never played in any bands. I've done work as a music supervisor and been a Guns In The Sun DJ for the past three years, but never written nor could write a song on my own to save my life. All the production knowledge comes from Billy. I'm one of those “ideas” guys, haha.
Billy: I started to DJ when I fell in love with funky deep house.
When and where did this project start and have you guys been involved together musically before?
This project started a few months ago when we were living together in Venice Beach. We were just talking music all the time, which eventually lead to trying out some ideas in the studio.
Did both of you come from the same musical background or was the idea to collaborate super random?
The collaboration was very natural. It basically just came from countless days of us DJing track for track on the living room CDJs. Also, we're cousins, so that says enough.
Going back to the beginnings, what sort of musical artists inspired you when first getting into it? What kind of sounds are you most into today?
Billy: I am a guitarist at heart so I was inspired musically by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughn, the list could go on for days...
Peter: Shit. That's a really difficult question. I grew up listening to punk, metal and gangster rap. Plus my mom always made me trade off Misfits songs for her Motown songs on the way to school, so I've always loved soul and disco funk. As I got older I started appreciating classic rock, folk, metal, psych, etc. Then eventually I realized that there were a lot of great contemporary indie and garage bands drawing from all these genres and making really good music, so I was able to stop living in nostalgia and finally have some favorite bands that were still alive, and better yet, together. I got into dance music and DJing through those kinds of indie-band-but-also-DJ talents (see: everyone on DFA). These days, DJing all the time has really polarized my taste. I’m either listening to garage punk, psych, and soul, or I'm listening to “DJ” music: classic house and disco, deep house, nu-disco, techno, funk, R&B, etc. The Internet is a crazy, dangerous place for a curious music appetite.
How did you discover American Royalty? What about them really made you want to get them on board with Guns in the Sun?
Peter: Well Billy is actually a member of American Royalty. I remember way back when, he played me a demo of “Lately” in his room one day. It was this unnamed project that he was working on with some friends. At the time, Guns In The Sun was just our DJ crew, but we had also just formed a record label and were putting out a vinyl for Jesse Woods. After everyone heard “Lately,” we all immediately wanted to help put out the American Royalty EP as our second release.
Billy: American Royalty has been a fantastic project to work on as I feel there are no creative boundaries. Working with Guns has been a real treat as they have catapulted the group onto a level that we definitely could not reach by ourselves.
As far as producing goes, what’s your “studio” setup so far?
Peter: 800 mixer with CDJs and turntables. KRK monitors. Midi controller. A bunch of old disco, funk and R&B vinyl for inspiration and sampling. We have a couple of hard synths and a drum machine that we've been playing with, but have yet to record with them. Looking forward to utilizing those bad boys real soon.
How did you go about remixing a song that wasn’t a straight up dance track? Was that a challenging thing to do?
Peter: I think Billy’s background in songwriting, particularly rock n roll, definitely helped us. But we more or less wrote an original track first, then dropped in the vocals and guitars to round things out after.
Billy: Peter touched on it, but also with some songs it just happens and you go with it. My motto is “sift through the shit.” In order to create something original you need to create in the first place.
The boys are back at it in Venice tomorrow night to help you dance off that heavy post-Coachella hangover, and I'm excited to be joining them. Check out the poster below and click here to RSVP.