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Meet Thugli—Humorous and Hardworking But Not So Thuggish

Taking off with Thugli: The Humorous, Hardworking Thugs

If your love for Thugli didn't already soar to new heights after their Inflight Mix… sit back, relax and enjoy this flight because you're bound to be swooned.  It was after a night of music searching that I stumbled upon Thugli on and realized these guys were unique. Over the course of their mix they covered genres that not only kept me relax, but my head banging and my heartbeat bumping at a perfect BPM. Since then it's been nothing but love for the tunes that come  with the Thugli name. To my excitement I got the opportunity to chat with the two ambitious, hardworking producers that create the one of a kind Thugli sound and learn a little more about the masterminds behind the music, Pat Drastik and Tom Wrecks.

we are far from being actual thugs so we wanted our sense of humor to shine through

What track are you both currently listening to, anything stuck in your head?

PAT: We are super geeked for that Ryan Hemsworth remix of Lana Del Rey "Summer Sadness." That's been on repeat. Hemsworth can do no wrong! Our friends Keys n Krates new track "Treat Me Right" is killing it. That Disclosure "White Noise" (Hudson Mohawke Remix) too. That one is massive! Lots of good stuff out right now.

Where are you guys from? Do you think this has influenced your music style/ choice of music?

PAT: Both of us are originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and now live in Toronto, Ontario. There's a lot of talent that comes out of Ottawa in so many diverse fields of creativity, but you have to really work hard to sort of prove yourself to the rest of the world. Coming from there has definitely taught us to keep on our grind. Now that we're in Toronto, with such a huge flourishing scene, it's even more motivating because we all inspire one another. Keys N Krates, Grandtheft, Skratch Bastid and all of our good friends are all doing amazing things. It's a great sense of family hereand were motivated by each others progression.

Where does the name Thugli come from?

TOM: Well, after making a few tracks we realized we needed a name for the project, so we sat down over a couple of pints and tried to think of something unique while still being easily searchable.
PAT: Our music is pretty aggressive, hence the "Thug," but we are far from being actual thugs so we wanted our sense of humor to shine through. Combining "Thug" and "Ugly" just kind of fit. Not to mention it looks good aesthetically.

How and why did you get your start? Any interesting anecdotes there? Anyone you owe “big time?”

PAT: We both got our start about 15 years ago. We grew up together skateboarding at a park in our neighbourhood and became best friends. We each bought turntables at a young age and got into scratching and turntablism first. That lead to us competing in DJ competitions and tinkering around with making beats too. From there we started making mixtapes and DJing in clubs. We've been working together for years now but it was only recently that we decided to start Thugli. I had decided to move to Toronto last summer where Tom has been living for the last 8 years or so and we just started working non stop.
TOM: We definitely owe a lot to all the DJs and producers that have been supporting our music. Everyone from A-trak, Diplo and Baauer to Just Blaze, AraabMuzik and Green Lantern. We also owe a lot to the homies Flosstradamus. They put one of our first tracks on their "Banned" mix and that really got the ball rolling for us.

What was your first DJ competition experience like?

TOM: Both of us actually started doing competitions at the same time and our first competition we did together back in 2001. We were both extremely nervous, but from what I remember we were both very prepared. We placed 3rd and 4th respectively.
PAT: There was a DJ in our hometown of Ottawa who won every competition by the name of Kid SL. He was the one to beat. I remember Tom having an amazing diss for him and the crowd went bananas. I also remember the host announcing me 3rd place and I'm pretty sure I shoved my girlfriend at the time out of the way in excitement to dart up to the stage hahaha. Fond memories for sure.

Do you guys ever mix with vinyl? Is there a certain quality you get from playing with records as opposed to computers or other machines you think?

PAT: We don't play out with actual records anymore but that's where our roots lie. We both started DJing with vinyl and still use it from time to time when recording, but now with Serato, we don't need it as much of course. There's definitely that warm, analog sound to vinyl that we all know and love though. It's something that we'll cherish, but it's 100% a digital world and we need to embrace that. The feeling of vinyl on our finger tips is something we can't part with though. Being that we both come from turntablist backgrounds, I doubt we'll ever give up.

Do you have a specific event or period in your life that is linked in your mind to a song or album?

PAT: When I was 16-17 years old, I went to San Francisco on a trip to go skateboarding. I remember looking in record stores there trying to find The Pharcyde's "Bizarre Ride II," but couldn't find it anywhere.  Instead, I came across their, at the time, new album Labcabincalifornia and opted to buy it.  It ended up becoming the soundtrack to my trip. Listening to that album while skating down to all the spots like EMB and Pier 7 made me feel like I was in another world. Whenever I hear a song from that album, the feeling of nostalgia I get is indescribable.
TOM: Hahhaha. There's something about that album and skateboarding that just go hand in hand. Labcabincalifornia and skateboarding for me too. So many good memories.

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I think music has 100% influenced everything for us. From what we wear to how we live life and…how we are as people.

Can you walk us through your various musical phases?

TOM: We both have had a love for music from a very early age. We grew up listening to a lot of  different styles music. Eventually we really fell in love with rap/hip-hop. Both of us were super underground rap heads in the late '90s early 2000s. Then once we started playing out in clubs, we started branching out and playing everything from house, baltimore club, to dirty south rap, indie rock, techno. Having such a diverse background of influences in music has definitely paid off for us. We find ourselves taking elements from everything that's influenced us while still keeping that core hip-hop feel that first lured us into making music. It's all come full circle now.

PAT: I think music has 100% influenced everything for us. From what we wear to how we live life and generally, to how we are as people. I think once you find your passion, it completely consumes you.  Every part of you will somehow be affected by it and it becomes who you are as a person.

How have you guys grown from the producers you started out as to the men behind Thugli?

TOM: We've definitely come a long way I think. I started out making beats and DJing for a local rap group that was on the underground, backpack rap vibe. This was around 2001-2002. From there I started making music for a few more well known rappers in Toronto such as DL Incognito, Tara Chase, Theo 3, etc. As time rolled on and our tastes in music started developing more we got into making different styles of music.
PAT:  I was wrapped up in DJ battles and making routines forever that I didn't really start getting into production until around 2005-2006. That's when blog house and Baltimore club was really popping off and when we started diving into making that kind of stuff. We both started doing Baltimore club remixes, then house. It's cool because the style of our production and our sound is super influenced by all of our early work. It all come full circle again. From making underground rap and house to making rap beats with house influences.... it's dope. We've kind of dipped our hand in all different types of music as far as production goes.

Use the Internet to the best of your advantage. Its the worlds biggest and best record label.

What do you like to do in your free time when you aren’t traveling or making music?

TOM: In our down time we usually just spend time with friends, family, GFs, etc… We love skateboarding, movies, eating good food.

What was your favorite toy as a child and when/why did you stop playing with it?

PAT: My favourite toys growing up were MASK. They were like Transformers, but better in my opinion. Between one of my friends and I, we had every single MASK toy that was out. Including the truck that turned into a toothbrush holder and toothpaste dispenser. Probably the only reason I wanted to brush my teeth growing up. I stopped playing it because I turned 10 and that was that. Hahaha. Time to to start skateboarding.
TOM: Ya, I guess our favourite toy growing up would have to be the Skateboard. I suppose it's not really a toy, but that's what we spent the majority of our youth doing. We still do it from time to time even though we're rusty, haha.

If you could give any piece of advice to a younger you starting out, what piece of  advice would that be? Did you have a mentor or someone who greatly influenced helping you?

TOM: If you're just starting out, the best thing to do really is to keep true to yourself. Make the music you want to make and don't be afraid to let people hear it.
PAT: Use the Internet to the best of your advantage. It's the world's biggest and best record label. We definitely had a lot of mentors back in Ottawa that paved the way for us. Guys like Techtwelve, Karam, Dj Illo were all huge influences on us. They really took us under their wing.

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