Behind The Beat: Slander

Photo Credit: Donslens

By now everyone is familiar with Slander. They’ve been busy touring all over the country playing various festivals and shows. I got a chance to sit down and chat with them when they were in Pittsburgh on their Superhuman tour.

Only The Beat: Last time you were in Pittsburgh it was for the Gud Vibrations tour with NGHTMRE. How was that tour for you guys?

Scott: The tour was a dream come true for all of us. Derek and Tyler went to school at Icon Collective together and had always talked about doing a bus tour, even before things started happening for us like way back in 2013. After how successful the Palladium shows were in L.A. and the Miami show, which took place about two years ago, it made sense to do this.

In the past, we had some pretty sick shows with Tyler so it clicked. It was pretty cool being on the bus with our best friends for seven weeks. We actually did 36 shows in 45 days which was pretty wild.

Slander Photo Credit: Donslens

OTB: That’s pretty insane! So on this tour, you are making a stop at Lost Lands. Are you guys excited for the festival?

Scott: The concept is really cool because it’s Excision doing his own festival and we’ve been really surprised by the response, not because Excision isn’t big but because it is a destination festival. It’s right outside of Columbus and it’s not easy to drive there. We’ve noticed that kids from Florida or Boston are making the trip. Props to Excision, we are honored to be on the lineup. He’s always played our music and we’ve been a big fan of him even before we were djing. We’re super excited about it.

OTB: You recently played Creamfields. What was that like since it was your first time in U.K.?

Scott: It was our first time in U.K. after touring for three years. It was a really professionally done festival whose production was on point. We were really surprised that literally the only non-house stage was the stage we played on, the Mad Decent stage. Seven out of the eight stages were all house music and that’s not something you see in the U.S.

If you go to a festival like EDC you have Kinetic Field which has a blend of artists, BassPod is all bass and dubstep, Wasteland which is hardstyle and so on. It was pretty incredible that there were so many house stages and those were some of the sickest stages we have ever seen. There was this one stage called the ‘Steel Yard’ and the guy who was driving us told it was supposed to be a hanger that was meant to be used by the military but Creamfields got a hold of it. It was a pretty cool experience.

OTB: Speaking of festivals, you guys have played quite a few this Summer. Which one would you say was the one that stood out the most?

Derek: EDC and Gud Vibrations. We threw a 10,000 person festival and got to choose the lineup and stage. We got to play back to back with Tyler, which is always fun.

SLANDER @ EDC LAS VEGAS 2017

OTB: The lineup had G Jones, Habstrakt, etc. how’d you choose them?

Derek: I knew I wanted Wavedash just because they’re homies and are killing it right now. We got Habstrakt to come back and play again because he did a really good job on the Gud Vibrations tour and the perfect opener for our kind of music. ARMNHMR is also one of our homies from Orange County and we wanted to have them.

Then we were deciding between G Jones and Illenium for that last slot and ended up going with G Jones. He’s more left field bass music and would bring in kids who aren’t mainstream bass music; Illenium and our audiences cross over a lot so he wouldn’t bring too many new people to the show.

It was an really incredible we had one big outdoor tent and we got to do the full version of the atom which is a moving three-piece orb that would rotate while we were djing. It was one of the craziest stages we have ever seen and played on.

L.A. is our biggest fan base which is awesome because we were playing to our hometown crowd.

Photo by Donslens Slander at The Rex in Pittsburgh. Photo Credit: Donslens

OTB: You’ve been playing ‘Superhuman’ out in your sets, including your EDC set. How was it to finally release it?

Derek: We started playing that November of last year at the Orange County show. We were really happy with it. It came very naturally when we were making it.

OTB: Your latest track ‘One Life’ is reminiscent of some of your older remixes and is a pretty emotionally, hard-hitting track. What was it like working with Yookie on this track compared to your previous collaboration?

Derek: When we wanted to collaborate with them we wanted to make two songs. ‘After All’ was a combination of two ideas and it was supposed to be an emotional song but we didn’t go that direction with it. So we wanted to do a melodic track since we already did a super heavy one. We recorded the vocal in February and everything just clicked. The vocal we recorded on the first take was perfect, we tried a bunch of things but it was never as good as the first take where he freestyled the song.

We really think the emotional side to music is important. A lot of people make bangers but not too many make emotional dance music. We really want to develop that in our songs and our next song, with Kazyo, is super emotional and vibey. We are really grateful for all our dope collaborators.

SLANDER & YOOKiE – ONE LIFE FEAT. ZACH SORGEN

OTB: Definitely felt all the feels during your EDC set last year when you played your remixes of Seven Lions and Above & Beyond.

Derek: Yeah, those are the moments that really stay with me. Above & Beyond, they’re writing something and you’re crying and it’s all good vibes. That’s something you will remember all your life not that heavy drop you heard. We want to leave people with positive, emotional memories and bring emotions that other DJs normally wouldn’t.

OTB: So, you guys coined the genre heaven trap. How would you say it’s grown since you guys starting producing?

Scott: I mean it’s interesting because we’ve been pretty true to heaven trap for the past three years or more. People tie it close to future bass because it shares certain elements of it and one of the things that inspired us to make heaven trap. With heaven trap we wanted the vocals to be a bit more different than a lot of the other future bass vocals out there then. I think that’s a reason why ‘Love Again’ is such a powerful track. I remember when Derek was making the track he lived with the vocalist and got inspired the vocal around which he built this track not knowing where he was going with it. But it all came together magically.

When we made ‘Superhuman’ and our new track called ‘Happy Now’, which is coming out soon, the vocals are really powerful and don’t necessarily fit the instrumentals of dance music that are coming out right now. That’s something we really try to incorporate into any emotional track we make. We want to make sure that the vocal brings out emotion in a very special way and I don’t know if we’ve seen it develop that way but we stayed true to what we started. I mean, considering all the genres we’ve been putting out, it can get pretty easy to lose sight of the original idea that got us our core fanbase. Heaven trap songs are meant to make you cry not all future bass tracks can do that so that’s the main thing.

SUPERHUMAN FEAT. ERIC LEVA

Derek: We make bass music but it’s a wide umbrella of stuff but ‘Superhuman’, ‘Love Again’ and ‘One Life’ they all all into the heaven trap genre. We want you to be standing in the crowd crying and moving to the song. We hope to build that connection with you and the song, or you and the person you are with or you and us. That’s why we do what we do, to help you make those positive, emotional connections.

OTB: Do you have any last words before we get into this rapid fire?

Derek: Shoutout to Pittsburgh, y’all are a dope crowd and we’re happy to be back.

Rapid Fire

OTB: Favorite comfort food?  

Derek: Homemade chicken noodle soup

Scott: Shabu Sahbu

OTB: Favorite album?

Scott: Slim Shady LP

Derek: Meteora- Linkin Park

OTB: Favorite Mario Kart Character?

Scott: Daisy

Derek: Bowser

OTB: Puppies or kittens?  

Scott: I have a rabbit so neither.

Derek: Kittens

OTB: Strangest thing a fan has said to you (Twitter, Instagram, etc.)?

Derek: (NSFW) some girl came up to us after a show in Vegas and said her friend wants to ______  my face. It was really weird.

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Snehal Yarlagadda

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