Matt Simmers, Chris Barlow, and Jon Spero are in a pretty enviable place. Not only are they are a part of the successful D&B trio Terravita, but they also operate with equal success as the electro-house-focused Hot Pink Delorean. While the priorities can easily switch between the two projects, in the last couple years, the trio has refocused their efforts on Terravita’s line of drumstep productions, and as such, these boys are busier than ever with tour dates, releases, relocations, and remixes galore.
We chased the guys down to ask if they could give us the story behind their inspiration. They put together a list of tracks that made them want produce music in the first place and ones that helped to evolve the Terravita sound of today. Here they are, starting from the earliest to the most recent.
This track was one of the first EDM tracks that got all three of us into EDM when we were 14 or 15. This was the start of it all for us. Part of the reason we could relate was the aggressive vibe of the tune and its sort of punk-rock attitude.
This was another one of the first tunes that really got us into EDM for the same reasons as “Smack My Bitch Up.” Aphex Twin was also the artist that really got us into D&B-style beats and drum edits. Even though this specific tune didn’t have them, it was still one of our favorites by the artist that did expose us to those drums first.
Bad Company was the artist that added that techy edge to D&B. The song that did it was really “The Nine,” but “Planet Dust” was our favorite!
It’s impossible to really pick one song off of this LP, because it was the LP as a whole that brought this type of songwriting and engineering into EDM and specifically D&B. The engineering on this LP really set the bar at a new height, and by learning to produce our drums and synths through hours of comparison, we developed the engineering techniques we use today.
“Rockstar” took the vibe Pendulum brought into D&B and added a bit of a punk-rock edge to it. The energy in this song and the way it builds up and drops is something that we and other artists still try to emulate today. This track was also an amazing DJ tool to use while double-dropping, which has helped influence our song structure.
“Hood Rat” was one of the first tunes to have that half-step vibe and beat, which later influenced us while making our first drumstep tunes “Lockdown” and “Up In the Club.”
“Moonwave Renegade” was one of Noisia’s tracks where they really flexed their synth design. The synths in this track not only influence our sound design, but definitely influenced current artists like Skrillex.
“Swagga” was one of the first dubstep tunes that used more D&B-style synths, which made it one of the first dubstep tunes we thought would work in a club. Before this track, most dubstep to us was something we would listen to getting high and playing videogames instead of partying in a club. This is one of the tunes that made us want to do dubstep.
It would be impossible to not mention Skrillex. Love him or hate him, “Scary Monsters” changed the game. The sound design combined with engineering and very musical melodies helped the song, and consequently the genre, reach millions of new fans. At the same time, it raised the bar for all other artists in the genre.
“Bonfire” is the closest track we could think of (that isn’t our own track) that shows where we are at currently. The engineering and musical components of the song are amazing. It’s also drumstep, which is the primary genre for us, even though we are also doing 110 and 140 BPM. “Bonfire” also combines those elements with a catchy vocal riff, so it manages to be a full song that works on the dancefloor, instead of just a dance track for DJs to play, which is something we are striving for on all of our new Terravita tracks.