Derek Andersen and Scott Land met as fraternity brothers at University of California Irvine. Their DJ careers started as half a joke and half destiny. Originally DJing parties for their fraternity because at the time everyone only played hip-hop, Andersen was passionate about bringing house music to OC. After DJing only house music at his own party Derek teamed up with Scott to make Slander as a way to entertain their friends. It wasn't until DJing a beach party in Havasu for all of their fraternity bros that they realized they had found their calling. At the time the EDM scene was just about to blossom in Orange County and what they created was an innovative and fresh brand of house music that eventually, with connections from their fraternity, banged in every major OC club opening for world renowned DJs like Dillon Francis and Madeon.
Little did they know a mere two years later they would be pioneering a DJ movement that incorporates hip-hop with dance music in OC. The birth of their new trapstyle sound is actually what they were originally trying to get away from but magically creates a symbiosis of the two sounds. They headlined a show at Ten Nightclub in Newport Beach last night and tomorrow they are opening for A-Baum at the Yost Theater in Santa Ana. We caught up with Derek and Scott in their Newport home-base and talked about their transition from house heads to trapstyle advocates. We also learned a little about the genre that is taking the blogosphere and internet by storm.
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"It's funny because before every club wanted us to play hip-hop and we wanted to play house music," says Andersen. "Now every club plays EDM and we're trying to re-introduce a new style of hip-hop with EDM and dubstep elements." Maybe Slander has always been ahead of the game or maybe just at the right place at the right time, but they have been quite lucky with their career thus far. After playing the NiteGuide Magazine one year anniversary party at the then Galaxy Theater (it's now turned into The Observatory) in 2010, Slander was quickly recognized by OC promoters and offered a partnership with the Cali Connect crew. From there they got to open for everyone from Benny Benassi on New Years Eve to trance legends Cosmic Gate.
"These days with being a DJ, you need to be able to bring a lot of people to the venue," says Scott. "What helped us accelerate faster was that since we came from a fraternity we always had a good amount of friends come out to support us." Friends who at the time didn't necessarily know house music but came out anyway and were gradually exposed to EDM. Now this has come-full circle as friends of Derek and Scott who used to love hip-hop are being exposed to a new kind of sound with Slander. "For me it just grew organically because of the tastes of the people we were around," shares Andersen. "When the Flosstradamus remix of Major Lazer's 'Original Don' came out it was the first time that everyone in my life agreed on the epicness of this track."
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After releasing their "Summer Traplist" in July they realized that there was a high demand for trapstyle music. Trapstyle can best be described as real gritty hip-hop beats and progressive dance music merged together. "When I released that mix there were only four other releases like that on the internet at the time," says Derek. Their remix collaboration with Omeguh of Clockwork's "Titan" which charted at #44 overall on soundcloud has been well received including at a recent gig where they opened for Borgore at Ten Nightclub. That's only the beginning of trap for Slander as they are working on lots of collaborations with other trap artists like Ace Future known for his Dada Life remix. "We don't want to produce songs like a trial and error," says Scott. "We want to put out a song that we are really proud of and our fans can say holy fuck this is really good."
For the time being, Slander is focusing on their collaborations to hone their original sound. They have also been picked up by Radio FG USA as their newest resident DJ. They now have two hours a week of air time in Europe on 18 stations and the only trapstyle dedicated radio show on FM in Europe. They share the air waves with other Radio FG USA residents like Nari & Milani, TyDi and Gregori Klosman. "The bottom line is that it's really beautiful to see a genre embraced by so many different cultures," says Scott. "We still play house music and progress into trap when we feel the crowd is ready. Which is what you can expect from all of our gigs this week and our first INTOTHEAM weekly in Long Beach next week."