Sep 02, 2014

To call Slander’s rise “meteoric” would be an understatement. Having completed production school a year ago and still maintaining full time jobs, the “heaven trap” LA duo is still in the process of taking it all in. We spoke with them at Moonrise about their beginnings, how their team has aided along the way, and an upcoming foray into house.

Arty - Up All Night (Slander Remix) [Insomniac]
LessThan3: How did you enjoy playing your first festival?
Derek: It was amazing. Playing on the mainstage here at Moonrise was a dream come true. The crowd really showed up for us. We played a bunch of our new original tracks and they did better here than anywhere we’ve every played them. It was amazing to see people react to music that we’ve never played.
Scott: I love it because more people come to a festival than a show, and if you’re doing a good job and giving the crowd the good energy that they need, it’s a circle of energy that feeds off of each other. It’s not like a venue where you can only see so far back. It’s just a sea of people. When everyone starts getting crazy, it makes you go crazier, and they in return get crazier.
LessThan3: How did you prepare differently for this set?
Derek: We just had to shorten our set. We basically played the same one hour set we usually do, just a bit edited. We have a different set for one hour than two hours.
LessThan3: You guys are also playing TomorrowWorld. What are you most excited about for that show?
Derek: It’s just an honor as a DJ to be able to play there. It’s another dream come true. I would argue it’s one of the biggest festivals in the United States. So for us to play there, at a pretty good set time, and since we’ve basically come onto the scene in the past year, it’s really unbelievable. We can’t wait to go experience the crowd there because people come from all over the world.
Scott: It’s gonna be my first “TomorrowX” that I’ve attended so I’m more stoked about going and checking out everything.
LessThan3: What would you attribute your rise to fame to?
Derek: Our We Like To Party remix was the beginning. Before that I went to Icon Collective Music Production School in Los Angeles. I started that in July 2013. That was when I really put my foot down and said “We’re gonna do this.” After I finished Icon in March, that was when things were really starting to ramp up and our production increased like 50-fold. These days, there’s so much competition you have to have something that’s so f*cking good that it stands out, like that remix hit. That was really what did it for us. It just hit two million plays yesterday. I remember making the song in a little studio at the school with NGHTMRE, who was one of my classmates. Seeing it get so big, being played at EDC, TomorrowLand, Coachella–I would never imagine this song we made in a little room would go so far. Now our Pompeii remix is popping up just as hard as We Like To Party did when it started. We think that’s gonna be our next big one. We played it today and it was really amazing.
LessThan3: How has Will and Steven’s management helped you?
Derek: Will basically got us in front of all the agents. Circle was looking at us before brought us on, but after he picked us up, he basically called every agency and was like “Yo.” He got us in at Drai’s. He got us our first show there. After we finished that first set there, Victor Drai came up to us and kissed us on the cheek and was like “thank you so much.” And we were like “thank YOU so much.” Three days later they offered us a residency and that was one of the best things that could have happened to us. Especially this early on. Having Vegas as a staple is really important. That venue is just amazing. Without Will we would have never been able to get that opportunity.
Scott: We got signed not even a month before that gig. And then all of the sudden we have a Vegas residency. We were super humbled to get that. We built a lot of what we had up to March with no industry push. We didn’t know anyone. Will was perfect for us because he had all the connections that we didn’t have. All the areas that Derek and I lacked in, where we needed to get to the next level, Will fulfilled all that for us. Steven has those extra connections with labels and stuff. It’s the perfect team for us.
LessThan3: What’s been the biggest surprise to you?
Derek: Every day. Every day is a surprise.
Scott: It’s still so early for us. Not even half a year ago, we were on the grind. We both graduated college and both had full-time jobs. I think the craziest thing is that we just got into it. And now when go to Orlando, New York, or come here, we have legitimate fans that we never even knew we had. We are entering the market as new artists for all these different territories. To see people that we touched with our music come to our shows, and bring us kandi, or do stuff like that, or want to take pictures with us after a show, I think that’s most surprising. Every single time it happens we’re like “Woah.”
Derek: We played a show in Lubbock, Texas in the middle of nowhere and we had fans there. It was so crazy. They made us the craziest kandi. It’s crazy to see what the Internet can do when you have something that’s good. I remember TomorrowWorld was one of the biggest, craziest things. Then we heard we got Nocturnal. For us, We’re from SoCal, so Nocturnal is the one we’ve been going to forever. Nocturnal and EDC, that’s our dream, to play those shows. For Nocturnal we’ve got a great set time. That show is gonna be our best show we’ve ever done.
LessThan3: How did you meet?
Scott: We met in college. I’m a couple years older than Derek and I’m part of a fraternity at UC Irvine. He rushed our fraternity but he only came out to a few things. He didn’t actually pledge the first time he came through. I went to Together As One one year, and in this big area of 30,000 people, I sit down at an aisle seat on one of the rows and I look to my left and Derek is right there and was like “Woah, you’re a Kappa Sigma.” I said “you look familiar; didn’t you come out?” He said “Yeah, I didn’t really come out for that much stuff so nothing really transpired.” I said “Dude you should really come out next quarter.” So Derek came out, got a bid, and went through pledgeship and we became bros. That was 2010 and that was when electronic music was starting to surface. We’re from Orange County so it’s a little bit behind LA in trends, I would say, so we were trying to play electronic music when clubs only played hip hop. Our first gig was in a side room at a club called Sutra in Orange County.
Derek: We played five hour sets in the side room because they would just give us the room and say “do whatever you want.” So we would just have our friends and we would play house and trance for five hours. That’s basically where we started. Then when trap came about, it really resonated with us and we knew we wanted to dive into it. Now we are actually moving back to house music. We’re sitting on five originals that are house songs and they have trap elements in them as well. Our main goal is to play on mainstage at EDC and we know what we have to do to get there. We’re just gonna make what we love. It’s worked so far so we are just gonna keep doing it.
LessThan3: Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Scott: In electronic music so much can happen even in one year. Look what happened to Carnage in one year. That’s just one year.
Derek: I would love to answer that question with a good answer, but for us, we are already doing exactly what we want to do. Probably in the next month we are going to quit our full-time jobs. That’s what we’ve really been waiting for so we can do this full time. After that, we basically accomplished what we wanted to accomplish. We want to play Ultra, EDC mainstage, TomorrowLand, and all that stuff, but we have a feeling it’s gonna come. We really not in a rush. We’re just appreciating every day as it comes. In five years I feel like we’ll still be doing this. I don’t know at what level, but I’m excited just to be able to say I could do this as my career. We’re really blessed.
Scott: Think about how many people want this. For us to have the opportunity to even have a try at this is insane to us.
LessThan3: If the world was ending in LessThan3 minutes and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Derek & Scott: September by Earth Wind & Fire. It’s a song that transcends all generations.
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