Akira Barrett and Brandon Chang, collectively known as Rise Over Run, are all about the love. Self-proclaimed purveyors of titty-bouncing, party-starting, floor-shaking music, Rise Over Run shows are the kind of experience that, when the beat drops, you look over at your friends and mouth the words, “God Damn”. Like many of the most successful dance music artists, Rise Over Run made the transition from alternative rock into EDM, bringing with them the melodic sensibility and range of emotion that is a staple of bands like Radiohead or Modest Mouse.
We had a chance to catch up with Rise Over Run in the midst of their busy schedule to talk with them about the move into electronic music, what makes an incredible live set, and how it feels to truly be IAAL (It’s All About Love).
What drew you into music production/DJing and, more specifically, dance music?
Akira Barrett: We have always had a love for music, I met Bran while I was studying at UW and we started an alternative band.
Brandon Chang: I’ve always been a fan of music in general, whether it be electronic, acoustic, indi or as Akira mentioned; alternative. This led me into majoring in audio where Akira and I decided we should get the band back together. We started making mixes and bootlegs for friends and eventually they encouraged us to play live.
What sets your music apart from others in the scene? What are the defining characteristics of your production/mixes/live sets?
AB: The defining characteristic is the energy we bring. Individually we both have very different tastes in music, so together we are able to develop a fusion of our individual tastes.
BC: With each other’s different backgrounds in music, we are able to mash opposing genres that creates surprising sounds for an audience.
AB: We’re very competitive when we play, during our shows we constantly try and one up, and out-do each other. When we play live, it becomes a battle between us. So during any performance there will be a lot of laughing, yelling and slaps on the ass basketball style (haha).
BC: Last word.
AB: You competitive fuck.
Who is one artist that you find to be inspiring or influential to you? Does their style of music influence your production/dj style?
BC: I really enjoy any time I hear a new Porter Robinson live set. It is always a pleasure to see what songs he decides to use and how he uses them in his sets. In an hour he generally plays 40+ songs. Using some songs only for a few seconds, while featuring other songs and mixes them seamlessly.
AB: Laidback Luke is my dude. I really respect his technical skills. He has such a wide variety of skills and a great ear for music; because of this he is able to mix genres, from R&B to Rock to Country blending turntablism into the current day and age of EDM. Instead of staying at a standard house tempo, he varies BPM (Beats per minute) throughout his set; his sets are always so different and refreshing.
What does the dance music scene in the NW have to offer the world that you are proud of? What would you say is the best aspect of the Northwest dance music scene?
AB: The amazing thing about the Pacific Northwest, in our opinion, is that there is no set sound. A lot of other regions and major cities in the world have a definitive sound; you can hear a song and think of Holland, Sweden, Melbourne, or Chicago. With so many different producers, styles, and genres, it’s exciting to watch as the northwest develops it’s own sound and style.
Where do you see music taking you in your life? Is it a short term pursuit, or something you want to become a full-time career?
BC : Finally an easy question! Who wouldn’t want to do what they love as a career? If possible, we would love to never stop. At the end of the day: IAAL.
If you could meet and greet with any artist in the world, who would it be? What would you ask them?
BC: I would love to meet Thom Yorke from Radiohead. Their album “Kid A” was one of the reasons I got into electronic music. He is always pushing the envelope, being creative and has always inspired me to look for thought provoking music.
AB: I have always admired Trent Reznor. All the NIN albums have all sounded so different, combining styles and genres. He never conformed to the idea of selling records, but rather worked on what he believed and loved; creating amazing music.
What is something about your home town/current city that you wish all dance music fans/artists could experience or see firsthand? What do you love about your city?
BC: We love the sense of community in Seattle. There are multiple forums and websites where people discuss current electronic music and share what they like. People go out of their way to promote local DJs and help each other see shows. The sense of community is so strong that it is normal to see people giving away tickets to each other and highly promoting the reselling of tickets for face value. It is beautiful.
What near-term developments do you hope to see in the Northwest dance music scene? How could our scene grow and expand?
AB: We encourage people to go out there and experience the talent that exists within their city. There are so many people out there with different styles and techniques that need the local support in order for them to keep doing what they love. A lot of these events are free and all they promote is for you to come and listen and have fun.
BC: The scene has to grow from the ground up. The local people that are playing in the clubs could be the next headliner. Imagine, how cool would it have been to see Kurt Cobain at the Crocodile?
Finally, what is one thing you want to say to aspiring producers/DJs/artists?
AB: Just keep doing what you like. If you really enjoy the type of music you like and how you play it, believe in it and go with it. It’s a lot easier to perform to the best of your abilities when you’re having fun and doing what you love. Thanks for having us.
Be a fan of Rise Over Run on Facebook and, if you really want to feel the love, join Akira, Brandon, and all of us at Dance Music Northwest for the RELOAD Neon Beach Party, June 20th at Club Volume in Seattle! Click here for details!
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