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Adventure Club Interview
by Vanessa Palmer - (Contact) - March 28, 2012
Canada seems to breed some fierce talent – Beiber, Drake… Montreal’s Adventure Club. Alright, that’s an odd bunch to group together but there’s no doubt about the caliber of talent that exists abroad. With that said, I’ve never been into hard Dubstep. I didn’t hear a melody, I didn’t feel emotion; I simply couldn’t vibe with what I considered to be arbitrary sound. After hearing the duo’s “Crave You” remix about nine months ago, I was blown away by the gorgeously crafted, layered melodic sounds that surrounded me. With their appreciation for sound dynamics and an ear for the perfect vocal, these two have not disappointed with their seamless work since that first listen – each remix (and original!), better than the last.
Last month, I caught the opportunity to witness these two electrifying performers (they’re actually just super nutty) at the Key Club in Los Angeles. But as you’ll see, these two consider themselves to be producers first and foremost. …That doesn’t mean ninja jumping, crowd surfing, and vodka pouring aren’t absolutely essential to their nightly routine. Despite their crazy show, Leighton James and Christian Srigley are just two regular guys who just happen to be creating some of the best music I’ve ever heard and are touring with some very big names. Read up below on two of the biggest names in melodic Dubstep, who together are in for one hell of an adventure.
The audio-recorded interview has been transcribed and edited properly for clarity and readability purposes.
You guys played in a band together in High School/fooled around with genres. Did you see yourselves diving into the electronic world or was this all accidental?
C: It was obviously intentional, but at the time, the very initial stages of it, it was more of a hobby than anything else – a side project to the band that we were in…
L: Pretty sure you were drunk…
C: Yeah, I’d be the one who was producing our band. We had a little studio and yeah, I probably was drunk the first time. I had a field day just making Dubstep and it was all just for fun – it ended up being a hobby until it started getting more attention than anything else we’d done previously.
L: And then we were just like… Fuck our pop-punk band…
C: Fuck touring, bringing massive cabs, and heads and drums.
L: We were in a squashed van together with a bunch of amps, guitars… and now we travel with a laptop.
Being relatively new to the genre, have you guys received negative feedback from more established artists?
L: No, artists don’t really call us out unless they’re into super… rudimentary dubstep, they like dubstep for what dubstep is. We’ll get called out for being a bit pop-step or club step. Artists don’t call us out, but people will call us out.
Have people contacted you just to say you guys are awesome?
L: We get like the Soundcloud messages and shit. But then we’ll get tweets saying “Yo, yo, yo! Jersey Shore is DJing right now!” [laughs] But like, we don’t really know why.
L: We get tripped a tiny bit…
C: But that’s kind of expected.
Do you have a track you’re dying to remix, but afraid to touch?
C: Not any more as much, but like last year I just wanted to remix an Ellie Goulding song so bad – everyone was doing it and I wanted to hop on it. She’s just got such a good voice. It was tempting and hard not to grab that acapella and fuck around with it.
L: If we got stems to like, a Weeknd song, then we’d probably go for it.
C: That would be huge.
Which do you prefer to do – original production or remixes?
L: We tend to make all our songs after vocals.
C: Yeah, even if it’s an original – like “Do I see Color”, we kind of used a few vocal samples and cut them up like crazy, made our own melody out of it. But even with our remixes – I kind of hate calling them “remixes”, because all we’re really sampling are vocals. We’re not taking the instrumentals of a track and just switching it up a bit. I’d love to call it a sample, but that’d just get us in a whole lot of trouble. The process itself between originals and remixes, at least for us, is fairly similar.
So you usually just take the vocal stems and not a lot of instrumental…
C: That’s the common starting place for us, just working with some form of vocal.
Speaking of originals, can we expect to hear more like “Do I see Color” for your future original productions?
C: In the future it’s definitely gonna be a balance of…
L: “Do I See Color” and maybe our remix jams.
C: But I mean all of our songs aren’t going to sound like that. That was just an area we were exploring on that one, it was just a fun track for us.
It was very bouncy!
C: Yeah, exactly. You can’t call that entire song dubstep…the drums pick up, tempo changes.
Who’s on repeat for you guys right now?
L: I listen to a lot of Jacques Greene. Super sexy-housey-dub.
C: He’s a local Montreal guy. He’s incredible. We could drive to it all day.
L: SBTRKT is fuckin’ cool, Mansions on the Moon…They’re coming tonight!
Electronic? Don’t say Skrillex!
Both: I love Skrillex! [we laugh]
C: Such a great fucking producer. So innovative.
L: I mean, without Skrillex we probably wouldn’t be here to be honest…and tech-one, Tech-One! He was like the catalyst for us. He did this Bring Me to the Horizon remix – heard it one morning and we were just like, “Holy fucking shit!” Our favorite band just mixed with EDM – it blew our faces off. We were just like, I guess we can mix the two genres together. We started a living room mosh pit to that song…
Two months later, we started producing tracks.
What do you guys have to say to the stereotypes of Dubstep being a bunch of noise, wabbles and whomps? Your style has evolved into a very melodic one – did that happen naturally or were you trying to get away from that harsh sound?
C: It’s definitely less wompy [laughs].
L: A little bit of both… we kind of got tired of the wompy dubstep, and once we saw the melodic dubstep was working and people were being responsive to it, we just went with it.
C: We just started focusing in that area more.
Do you guys listen to the crazy stuff?
C: We definitely listen to some of the crazy stuff, I think more me than Leighton. I’ll have my playlist of just the grimiest, most radical Dubstep.
After doing some research, I know you both listen to some hardcore stuff…
L: We still listen to hardcore all the time. Before shows we’ll play it, we’ll play some of it in our sets too… Bring me to the Horizon. [see Leighton's shirt, pictured above!]
Typically when you look at Hypem charts and your stuff that’s been most popular, it’s the tracks that feature high-pitched vocals from independent female artists who are pretty obscure (Foxes) – what is it about these lesser-known artists that inspires you guys?
C: Part of it is because we want to feel like were sampling more than we’re remixing. We want people to hear an actual song we’ve created instead of hearing “a remix of a song they already know” – I like the aspect of having vocals that not many people have heard, being able to rework them, and not having that feel awkward for someone when it’s not the exact same as the original.
L: We want to create a whole different tune. And a lot of the remixes we hear, they’re just the exact same tune with maybe an altered drumbeat or shifted tempo.
I didn’t know who Foxes was two weeks ago…
L: Yeah, we kind of like to remix artists that I guess would mutually benefit both of us. Foxes become known; we get a bit of cred. Oh! It’s also easier to contact those artists and get stems.
What, in your guys’ opinion, makes it difficult to stand out in an electronic age where “everyone is a DJ?”
L: Production wise… We kind of just make what we want to hear. As far as live goes, in no way do we consider ourselves ultimate DJs.
C: We were producers first and foremost, and once it started picking up we just started DJing because it was viable. We love it and we’re having a whole lot of fun, but we’re not gonna say we can “out spin” people. We’re still new to the live DJ scene.
L: We just started last January…
C: Yeah, within the past 6+ months, as far as Djing goes. We’re pretty new.
What programs do you use to create?
C: Something called Sonar Cakewalk producer.
L: If you’re in the EDM scene you probably wouldn’t know about it. A lot of other producers will come up to us and be like “What do you use?” and we’ll say “Sonar Cakewalk” and they’ll just be like “What the FUCK is that?!” They’ll have the deer in the headlights look– no one really uses it for EDM, it’s mostly for band-oriented tracks, which is what we used to record on.
C: It’s just a live recording, like how a recording studio records. It’s not as simple as some of the other ones, but it’s what we were doing when we were in the band.
A lot of people criticize electronic music for being unauthentic or inorganic. You guys actually know how to play instruments, have you used a lot of that knowledge to build new tracks?
L: We all know how to play pretty much everything…definitely use a lot of theory, timing is super important to us. I mean, structurally the songs have to make sense. As far as playing live instruments on a track, we still haven’t gotten to that yet. We’d like to – I’d like to get a midi drum set, set up to our computer. I’d like to play live, on top of everything.
Do you guys remix on the spot?
L: Yeah, we definitely remix on the spot. Every show, but it depends on the crowd.
C: We don’t prerecord anything…
L: We don’t pop in the CD…
C: Unplug the mixer, pop in the CD! [we all laugh]
No but if we’ll get criticized for our performance, it’s because we fuck up or something like that. We have our idea of what we’re gonna do, but it’s still live.
L: It’s still organic.
Where do you two hope to be a year from now – what do you plan to do to continue this sound you have? I wasn’t into dubstep before I heard you guys – you made it into a fluid sound. Sticking with that?
C: We always try to progress, but within a reasonable amount. I guess it’s a little easier to ‘reinvent’ your sound with electronic than with anything else. I don’t know though…it’s always a different standard for EDM. You expect, like, Coldplay to sound like Coldplay over the course of an album. But if you release an EDM album with the same sounds and the same feel over every single track, you’ll start bothering people.
L: Yeah, Pendulum did that with Knife Party. They had their whole drum and bass feel, then they came out with Knife Party.