Just a few years ago in the not-so distant past, there existed a time of unpoliced revelry, a space where "massive" meant something and fledgling electronic producers carved a path for those to come. Though the growth of the industry has brought a much needed level of safety and responsibility to truly massive events, those where 80,000 people barely causes a blink of the eye, many of today's artists grew up in the far less-regulated atmosphere of the early 2000s. Such is the case for Theo and Michael of Designer Drugs, a pair who started their electronic journey around age 16 in the East Coast rave scene and followed these beginnings to international stardom.
For many of us who have kept tabs on the dance duo from day one, their work brought a gritty electro edge and a heart-thumping bass that introduced us to a world away from the popular trance artists of the time. Now, after finishing a long stint under Ultra Records, Designer Drugs emerges with brand new work, including a forthcoming album, single releases, and even a few videos. "The Drugs Are In Control", yesterday's track off their own Sex Cult Records, sees them return to the underground with a riotous rager that flies in the face of current progressive obsessions. Short climbs and cutting synth lines give an unrelenting energy to the song, which continues driving by a series of unceasing grinds.
Keeping current through every medium possible, it's apparent that Designer Drugs' passion for music still takes precedence. 2014 will be a major year for the guys and Sex Cult, so read on for a glimpse behind the curtain.
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EARMILK: This year you have an album and a number of singles coming out on Sex Cult Records. What can you tell us about these?
Designer Drugs: The album has been in the works for about 3 years so the release is dynamic in variety and style which has always been a goal of ours. No two tracks sound the same so we think it keeps it interesting all the way through. Originally it was scheduled to be released on Ultra but we finally go out of our contract with them and will be releasing it on Sex Cult Records which we are extremely happy about.
EM: On top of this, there will be two videos, right? How was it working in a completely different medium?
DD: The official video was done by Rob Jabbaz in Taiwan. All futuristic 3-d animation which is Rob's specialty. He's a great director and animator. The second video was a fashion line video for Maria Ke Fisherman. We were extremely happy to be a part of that because we are supporters or her artistic vision as a designer. It was great working with her and Jordi Chiletol (the director).
EM: Coming back to the track we have today, "The Drugs Are In Control", what was the production process on this? Anything out of the ordinary?
DD: The song came up after just experimenting with sounds over a beat. We didn't go into this track with any sort of vision. We were tying around with sounds and found one that was inspiring and wrote the track around that.
EM: When talking to Theo last month, he mentioned 2008 being a great time for electronic music. Do you guys want to expand on that?
DD: I think when you listen to the album you can hear our roots and that time period being an influence in a lot of the songs. We tried not to make it as commercial as a lot of the music out there now and hopefully our fans will appreciate that. The response so far has been positive and thankful for staying true to that sound.
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EM: Following this, what are some things you would change about the scene now?
DD: Nah it's all good.
EM: What are some things that have improved since electronic has gone mainstream?
EM: If I were just starting to produce on a limited budget, how would you recommend I spend my money?
DD: Monitors and a fast computer are always at the top of the list.
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EM: What do you wish someone had told you at the start of your career?
DD: It's a lot easier if you are already rich.
EM: Condense a year of your life into a day. What would the schedule look like?
DD: 24 hours in a plane and in a club and a wicked hangover the next day!
EM: Who are a few upcoming artists we should be listening to?
DD: The whole Sex Cult Records family spittin that real shit for the underground. Skitsnygg, Roevy, Alvin Risk, Tagrm, PLS DNT STP, Q.G., Wuki, The Chaotic Good, Leatherface, Monolith, Dandy Riots and the rest of the crew.
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EM: Do you have any plans for fast-paced, diva-centered remixes in the near future? I remember stumbling upon "Meddle" and such back on Disco Workout 5 years ago, which is how I got hooked on Designer Drugs.
DD: We have some female vocalists on the album that follow in that DD tradition. Once the album is out hopefully we'll do a few big vocal remixes because they are very fun to produce. So yeah you'll probably be getting some of that very soon!
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EM: Even with such a prodigious career, what do you still hope to accomplish?
DD: Basically all we want to do is make more tunes and because of the whole contractual debacle with Ultra we had our hands tied for the last two years but now that it's over we should be releasing a ton of music this year which we are extremely happy about.
EM: And last but not least, what are the words you live by?
DD: Turn Down For What? lmao
"The Drugs Are In Control"
- Sex Cult Records