What first drew you to into music production and future bass in particular?
Dillon: Well way back in the day, when I was like 17, I was buying shisha (tobacco) at a local smoke shop when I first heard Electronic music. I asked the guy at the counter who the artist was and he was like “ahhh Baauer.” From then on I was hooked, but being a minor I missed out on going to the initial shows my friends were going to, so instead I picked up the laptop, downloaded a cracked version of Ableton, as everyone does, and began writing the most tragic trap beats ever. Fast forward a couple years, I was sitting in one of my Music Production Club meetings when I first met Brandon. He was new to the club so I decided to reach out and collaborate on a tune. It ended up being a super catchy future bass tune, and we really clicked as artists so we decided to form SO CALLED. We knew that we could be successful writing future bass, so we wrote our debut single Ultra Violet, a certified ill.Gates remix, and a couple bootleg remixes of tunes we really liked.
Brandon: I was a freshman in high school and a buddy of mine started playing Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Spirts” on the piano and I asked what song it was, and he told me to check it out on YouTube. I was immediately blown away, so I downloaded FL Studio and bought a MIDI keyboard and started writing these awful house tunes. I really got into the likes of AU5, Virtual Riot and other heavier artists early on, but I always found my taste for music also strayed toward more melodic beats when I sat down to write. My future bass roots are in artists like San Holo, Draper, Boombox Cartel, and some of the more chill tunes Virtual Riot puts out.
Going over your Soundcloud we can tell you love producing future bass, However, we have never heard future bass quite like you make it, Could you tell us more about how you managed to achieve your sound?
Dillon: Haha thank you, honestly, I pull a lot of my inspiration from artists like KRANE, Hex Cougar, Louis Futon, Kaytranada, and Gylzey. I love those huge saw chords with ethereal vocal chops. I guess you could say its trendy, but I just like the way that our songs vibe when we play them at shows. I like to dive into chord progressions and make these huge, thicc saws that make people’s eyes light up. You’ll hear some unique sounds and rhythms from our drum tracks as well. A majority of our sounds are serum based, it allows us to create these organic sounds that add this signature flavor of every SO CALLED beat.
Brandon: I’m a very picky person when it comes to our tunes. Dillon has a very free-spirited approach to the writing process, while I am analyzing every sound in the mix and trying to put it in the best possible light. As artists, a lot of the time we want to put so many elements into the track but there is only room for 3-4 sounds at a time. Also, as Dillon said, our huge chords are a massive part of our tracks and I think we do it in a unique way that we enjoy just as much as our listeners.
Your latest remix of “ready yet” is very well mixed and mastered and would play very well in clubs and festivals, did you ever DJ your music at a club? Do you plan to play your music live?
Dillon: We play shows all the time, I have played larger venues before, but it was an opener slot so it was pretty quiet. Being that we are in college, we play house shows all the time, which has made a name for ourselves locally. Those are the riskiest equipment wise, but they are the most fun. We usually have an opener that roles with us, so Brandon and I can do some green room shenanigans before we go on. When it’s go time we usually are sneaking to the stage in a tiny basement filled front to back with people jumping. Honestly, that’s why I make music, there is no better feeling than throwing down in some filthy basement with a bunch of kids that normally would never go to an electronic concert. We used to draw 200 plus people to these houses every weekend, but unfortunately, cops don’t appreciate loud music and parties going much later than 11 pm. Nevertheless, SO CALLED can be found DJing just about any house party. I wish we made more money playing music, but I didn’t start making music to turn a profit, I do it for the crowd, the energy, the feeling you get when a room full of people is screaming your name. Call me old school, but I have always loved playing music for people regardless of how much money I make.
Brandon: We haven’t played together for a club yet, but as Dillon said we’ve played a lot of house shows. I love the atmosphere at these college house shows because people show up to throw down and get lit. It’s always great when you get a crowd of people jamming to music they may never have heard before. It’s that awesome feeling of sharing your creative mind with others while they sweat like crazy and heat up a basement to 100 degrees. Have you ever been in a basement that feels like 100 degrees in the middle of February? As for playing out music live at a festival or club, that is really one of our top goals for the next few years.
How is it like working together? Do you have any specific roles in the studio?
Dillon: Like I said before, there is a reason why we chose to be a collaborative project, our workflow is amazing when we get together. Obviously, we can’t always make music in the same room and sending projects back and forth is a hassle, which sometimes doesn’t produce the best ideas. However, when we get in the studio together we can tell whether the beat is going to be good within 45 mins of creation. I have an insanely fast workflow in Ableton, which cuts our time spent on something we would eventually scrap down a bunch. It usually takes us 3-4 hours to write some fuego beat that is 95% complete. This is where I shine because I ignore the minor mixing flaws that Brandon must correct right away.
Brandon: 90% of the time Dillon is starting a beat, even if we’re in the same room. Usually, for the first 30 minutes we will just throw stuff into the track until it sticks and then once we have rough arrangement down I’ll take it home and go to town on the mix. When we have a chance to get in the same room, I’ll try to get a midi keyboard in my hands and improve on top of whatever Dillon is doing in we get something really special. That’s how we wrote Ultra Violet in fact. The high-energy complex beats we make need a lot of space to breath to really sound good, so it takes a sharp ear to perfect these mixes. I also really enjoy doing sound design, most putting together serum patches and effect chains.
Where do you see yourselves in the next 5 years?
Dillon: That’s a great question, I made some huge networking moves this year, I linked up with someone who tours with Bon Iver, I don’t want to ride their coat tails, but I can’t pass the opportunity to hang out and pick their brains. We live around the Summer Set Music Festival so that would be pretty cool to play. Honestly, I don’t know what the future holds for SO CALLED, so all I can say is we’re going to keep playing shows, writing interesting music, and living life to the fullest.
Brandon: In the next 5 years I would like to have played Summer Set Music Festival with Dillon, played some shows in the twin cities, and I want to collaborate with more artists. The great thing about the electronic music scene is all these artists across many different styles can come together and create something brand new, something they never expected. I also expect that our sound will have evolved and I’m curious how I will feel looking back to today in 5 years.
What are your goals for the new year? Any upcoming projects we can get excited about?
Dillon: I want to play Skyway Theater at least once, maybe a summer tour around the Midwest. As far as projects and new music, it’s funny you ask because we were working on an ep for like 6 months and right before we had it finished my laptop died. We lost everything, truly devastating, that’s why there is such a huge gap in time between Flying and No Option. Right now, we are sitting on probably 4 tunes that are almost done, Brandon’s putting the finishing touches on the mixes and masters. We took a new turn style wise. Don’t worry you’re still getting that SO CALLED future bass style you know and love, but it’s just in a different package. A lot of wavy tunes, some eclectic trap beats, and another couple remixes. Cypher is the first beat we plan on releasing, should be out 3/12. Followed by Apache! To keep up with our new releases follow us on social media @socalleddjs !
Brandon: This year we really hope to be playing more shows in front of a larger crowd and releasing music faster. After we lost Dillon’s hard drive (Rest in piece that EP), we started working on more remixes. I think this year will be a big year for us putting out music. Keep an eye out for Cypher coming out 3/12!
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