The San Francisco Bay Area became the West Coast Mecca for the sounds of dubstep back when tracks like Matty G’s “50,000 Watts” were radiating from the surrounding soil. New sounds and faces have emerged from the area since then, but none of them have wobbled their way into a middle ground between dubstep’s current trends and its early frequencies with the same ability as Megalodon’s. The duo’s fresh approach to the heavy-sub class of dubsteppery has them leading a wave of US producers. Their expanding notoriety and latest EP, “Runtime Error” (Bassclash Records), triggered us to hunt down the duo in order to find out more.
Can you tell us a little about your background? Where did you guys grow up, and where are you based now? Who are your roommates?
Phil was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cory was born on the East Coast and moved around until he ended up in the Bay Area where we met, starting various bands and music projects. We are still based out of San Francisco and live in a house with fellow producers and homies Supreme, Carrier and Sublo, among a few others. The creative energy here is pretty intense sometimes. (Yes, we have five home studios.)
How did you get started producing music?
Being musicians already, it was just what we gravitated to once we got into bass music. We are both pretty much self-taught producers, Cory’s been on Reason since 2.0 and Phil picked it up soon after we started the duo in 2008.
It’s a natural backlash against all of the super aggro tracks that are getting so much attention right now. It’s about the bass and rhythm, not the meanest noise we can come up with.
How would you describe the sound you make?
For the most part we aim to make minimal, heavy tunes that are hopefully going to go off on a dance floor. We want to branch out and create our own sound while staying true to the dark and spacious vibes that dubstep originated with.
Did you have any mentors when you were starting out? Who helped you get established?
When we were first starting out we definitely looked up to big local acts like Babylon System, Sam Supa and Antiserum. We started a residency at Redline SF in 2009 which really established us here in the Bay. Eventually we got picked up by Simplify Agency out of Seattle, and that has helped a lot in getting us out on the national DJ circuit.
When did you first feel that you had finally discovered your own specific sound? .
We had a good idea of where we wanted our sound to go, but it wasn’t until we wrote the ”Lockdown” EP on Badman Digital that we feel we had found our edge. After we had written “Like This” with Conscious Pilot, we knew we had discovered that specific sound we were looking for.
How do you explain your music to your family members?
They don’t seem to really understand it but have always been incredibly supportive. Phil’s mom is “into the sound,” and Cory’s parents are musicians themselves and have since accepted dubstep as an actual form of music.
There seems a renaissance of bass-centric tunes that are closely related to the sound of dubstep’s first generation. What would you attribute to this surge in popularity?
In part we believe it’s a natural backlash against all of the super aggro tracks that are getting so much attention right now. It’s about the bass and rhythm, not the meanest noise we can come up with. We feel each tune has its own place and time, but any good producer or club night should be showing off a decent variety of sounds.
Do you know know what kind of track you want to write before you sit down to make it, or is it more a matter of experimenting and just seeing what happens?
It varies really, a lot of the time we will set out with an idea but come up with something completely different. Trial and error is a good way to put it, but each tune is definitely dependent on our current mood or state of mind.
When you sit down to make a track, what’s the first thing you typically do? How long does a track typically take you to make?
Lots of drum work and/or trying to hammer out that idea we have in our head. We can usually jam out most of a tune in the better part of an afternoon, and there being two of us definitely pushes the process along.
What does your current production setup consist of?
Reason 6 and a pair of 5-inch JBL monitors.
Are you joyous, carpe-diem go-getters in the morning, or vampiric night owls?
Cory is typically useless before noon; Phil is usually up early for work. We do most of our writing during the day, so we’re usually up and on top of business either way. How about vampiric go-getters?
Which one record do you wish you had made?
Cory: “Spongebob” by Coki (DMZ).
If you could save one musical relic from your home before the San Andreas faultline opened up and swallowed your entire block, what would it be?
That’s easy, the hard drive.
When you’re not listening to electronic music, what do you listen to?
When you’re not making or playing/making music, what’s your preferred pastime?
X-BOX 360, if anyone wants to tag on MK9…hit us up.
Tell us about your upcoming gigs and releases…
The Gangsta Sh*t LP/12” (Dubline) and “Like This” 12” (Section 8) should be out by the end of the year. We also have a number of releases coming up on F-one’s Dubstar Records, including a track on the Lost in Space LP out in January 2012.