LessThan3: What inspired you to turn from rock into an electro band?
We used to play instruments with SAVOY and we kind of realized that it wasn’t a big enough sound to go the places that we wanted to go. We started listening to more and more EDM and in 2007 saw a few shows that blew our minds like Daft Punk
and Justice. After that we knew this was the hot sh*t.
Mike: We were always wanting to make dancey music, we just were using instruments. Then we saw people like Daft Punk that had a whole other sound and presentation and we were like, “this is real dance music.” All the sounds and subfrequencies we couldn’t get with our instruments were there.
LessThan3: Has the area in Boulder, Colorado influenced your sound in any way?
Gray: Being in Boulder and being one of the only electronic acts to start from there at the time helped us be able to experiment with a new type of sound, because we weren’t locked down with having to conform to any specific type of club sound at the time. If you were going to start out in New York or another big city you would almost have to conform a little bit more to what’s popular there. When you’re starting a new movement in a new place, you have the freedom to do whatever you want.
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Mike and Gray: Live electro-bangers.
LessThan3: Have you guys worked with 3OH!3 at all?
Mike: We’ve met them and have gone back and forth a bit, but we’ve never really done anything official with them.
Gray: They came out a little before us and their sound is a lot poppier than our typical stuff. We’d definitely be interested in working with them, though.
LessThan3: How would you describe the music scene in Boulder?
Mike: A lot of kids move to the Boulder area for the music scene and the party scene. All the kids are really accepting and supportive, and they’re basically just trying to rave and have a good time. That makes it exciting for musicians when you’re producing something—kids are there to f*cking party. It really helped motivate us to really push and make the music really dancey and heavy.
Gray: Years ago, Boulder and Colorado in general was very jam band-oriented. People who were listening to that music are starting to move onto other things. A lot of that genre has moved onto electronic music like dubstep and drum’n’bass. In Denver you have kids who have been in the rave scene forever as well.
LessThan3: How do you guys like New York?
Gray: We like it a lot, but to be honest we haven’t been here much because we’ve been touring a lot on the weekends, and during the week we work on music all day at our home studio. I almost feel like we haven’t gotten to experience it fully.
LessThan3: What does the SAVOY live setup look like?
Mike: Ben and Gray mix and tweak on Ableton, and we take out a lot of the drum sounds and feed them through my half-electronic drumset with a Roland SPD-S and some acoustic cymbals and kickdrum, which gives it a bit of a live edge. Drums are all we use acoustically, though. Having that definitely separates us from a lot of the big DJs.
Gray: Ben and I are running our mixes with Ableton. All the drum samples are loaded into Mike’s SPD-S, so most of the snares and such are running off of that. He has around 20 pads for each song.
LessThan3: Do you feel that dubstep and electro lend themselves to incorporating live instruments better than other EDM genres?
Gray: Well, genres like trance are older genres that are usually more strictly electronic. People are taking new routes, and some of the newer electro house and dubstep sounds have people getting more creative and incorporating more elements into it. We’re seeing people do things like that more and more.
Mike: It works the other way too. A lot of poppier acts that used to be more acoustic-oriented are bringing in a DJ and an electronic drumset.
Gray: That’s something we’re really excited about too. We listen to the radio, and 80-90% of pop music being played right now is almost completely electronically based. It provides a lot of opportunities for producers like us to collaborate with vocalists and make stuff that can reach a lot of people.
LessThan3: Dubstep is definitely a genre to enjoy live, and you’ve been known to incorporate it into your performances. Some have even said that dubstep is the new punk or rock. Others say that dubstep’s popularity is just a phase. What are your thoughts?
We’re not huge dubstep heads, but it’s a very innovative genre and I don’t see it going anywhere any time soon; so many people still haven’t heard of it. People like bass, and it is such a bass-heavy type of music. I could definitely see it being toned down a bit for the poppier stuff as well. It’s a catchy beat. Some of the synthesis design done by people like Rusko
is amazing, too. We’ve been trying to incorporate that synthesis design with electro, which is getting very popular.
Mike: Skrillex does a good job with that. He has a balance between dubstep and electro which I think has the most potential to be popular. I give him props for that.
LessThan3: What labels are courting you guys right now?
LessThan3: Are you guys working on a full-length album?
Gray: Right now we’re working on a few remixes and singles that will be on our website and on Beatport. Hyping up one track at a time right now is more important than a full release for us. In the future I’m sure we will put out a full-length concept album, though. We don’t quite have the concept yet, but once we do we’ll probably start working on it.
LessThan3: Fill us in on some details on your Dec. 17 show at Brooklyn Bowl.
Gray: It’s our first time headlining in New York City so we are psyched about that. We played Electric Zoo, which was a great splash into the market, but Brooklyn is our hometown now so we are going to really throw down and make it ridiculous as we possibly can. We’re gonna get some great lights, and the DJ opening for us is a really talented tech house guy that also does some pretty huge pop production.