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Slander: “There just wasn’t like any other emotions in trap music at the time.”

Main stage at Paradiso 2017 had many first-time Paradiso performers. One of them was Slander, an LA duo who met through their college fraternity (Kappa Sigma at UC Irvine) and became EDM sensations. DMNW had the opportunity to chat with Slander for their first time at Paradiso. We discussed NGHTMRE, Kayzo, tips for inspiring artists, new projects and Heaven Trap.

Derek and Scott of Slander began DJing at frat parties in college and local shows around Orange County. They were DJs for two or three years, but then plateaued and started working regular jobs. They put some work into improving their skills, and met Kayzo online back in 2012.

“We actually decided to do a song together, and then he brought me to Icon Collective in Burbank for the first time, and it really changed my whole life seeing that there was a whole school just for electronic music, and everyone there was trying to DJ and trying to do this, so I knew that was where I needed to be and that this was the spot,” Derek shared.

After saving up money and with support from his father, Derek had the opportunity to attend Icon Collective, which is a music production program/school in LA. Artists such as Kayzo, NGHTMRE, and Jauz all are notable alumni from the program. With endless nights the duo now has hit songs such as Gud Vibration and After All.

“On my second day at collective, I sat next to NGHTMRE who was in my class and we spent the next nine months together just learning everything.”

Derek said Tyler (of NGHTMRE) was really good at producing before getting into Icon, and with his DJing skills the two were able to swap tips and help each other along in their individual journeys.

“Our first big song was a song that we did with Tyler and then it kind of snowballed from there. I just remember hearing his music for the first time and I was just like, ‘This guy is going to be bigger than Skrillex,’ and I just knew like right away, it was just how he was and everything. Then from there, we started doing shows and now here we are!”

Check out the full interview here:

DMNW: You (Derek) and Tyler meeting at Icon Collective, is that how Gud Vibrations started?

Derek: Yeah! I mean he’s my best friend, he’s my roommate.

Scott: Derek and Tyler, they just really clicked at Icon and that’s kind of how all of it started. There’s a very genuine friendship that I feel like people attach to that brand in a way. But yeah, that’s like the fucking whole story!

DMNW: So you just brought up Kayzo who was just out on the Wreckage tearing it up, man his sets are super exciting!

Scott: I mean if it wasn’t for Kayzo like I don’t even know where Slander would be because Hayden is the one who introduced Derrick to Icon and Icon is basically where all of the magic started happening for all of us not just because Derrick met fucking Tyler there but because Derrick went there and learned all that he learned and then I went there after Derrick so I mean yeah, it’s crazy how everything works out, you know?

DMNW: For all of the producers and new guys that are coming up, would you say going to Icon Collective or a similar type of music school is helpful?

Scott: It definitely helps you; I would say that getting from understanding literally nothing to understanding a really healthy amount, a school like Icon can do great things for you. I feel like if you’re already pretty solid though and you can play some of the shit that you have made, maybe in between some other not so well known producers and your sound sounds like it is there then maybe Icon is not absolutely the most necessary thing of all time. But I mean it’s a really magical place, and we have nothing but awesome things to say about it!

DMNW: Slander just previewed a new single at EDC last weekend with Kayzo, correct?

Scott: Yeah! We’re actually doing two songs with him. So there is Holy which is the track from EDC and the one that we actually opened with today, is the more hard track of the two.

DMNW: What is it like going from doing a festival like EDC to something like Paradiso?

Derek: We have only heard good things about Paradiso, we heard it is the most beautiful venue in the whole country! And we are sitting here looking! I was just excited to come here, people have good memories here! I suppose that can be said with EDC as well!

DMNW: Well we are all stoked to have you here! Let’s talk about Heaven Trap, which is something you guys started. What does Heaven Trap mean to you?

Derek: Yeah, basically it is like euphoric trap music. I was really into trance music and basically I was at this point where I wanted to make a trance/trap song, and you know I thought that maybe people wouldn’t like it but that’s what I wanted to make cause it was the music that we liked so we went for it!

Scott: And at the time there was only turn up music like “smoke weed, fuck bitches, let’s go! Boop boop boop!” You know what I mean?

Derek: There just wasn’t like any other emotions in trap music at the time, like Illenium wasn’t out, there was Seven Lions but his sound was still different from what we’re thinking, so yeah we just saw this lane there that no one was really doing and it was the music we liked so we chose a song that shouldn’t really be remixed which was Above and Beyond Love is Not Enough. You shouldn’t remix that song, it is so good. So yeah we were like alright we’re going to do it, and we went for it and found our niche. We just want people to know that this is our boundaries, we can do anything between. Don’t just expect one thing from us, when you watch our show you can see that like 75% is our hard shit and then the last 25% is our melodic sound, we are a mix of both!

DMNW: To end things, is there any new music that fans should be looking out for?

Derek: Yes, Super Human just came out today and it is basically one of our biggest songs of the whole year. We have a new song coming out every month for the rest of the year, and we have our super big Gud Vibrations show with NGHTMRE in southern California on July 29 so if anyone wants to fly out, it’s going to be super fucking sick and I guarantee you’ll have a good time! So yeah, we are just going to keep this train going! We appreciate all of your support and we appreciate the interview, thank you!

Did you catch Slander’s set at Paradiso? Leave a comment below!


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Important things happen in Pacific Northwest nightlife, and DMNW will send you alerts!