Casual DJs are up in the Artist Spotlight this week. These guys are super talented artists based in Chicago. They have been playing at some of the dopest venues that Chicago has to offer. They’ve also been busy doing a college tour and they’ll be throwing down a set at Castle on November 29th. Check out this interview we did we Casual DJs and check out some of their tunes below.
What made you want to start DJing/producing?
Stephen: Well, we both come from very different musical backgrounds. Growing up, Rob played the drums in a few different bands, and is trained in music theory and performance. I’ve always been an avid music collector and have thousands of CDs and records I’ve been collecting since I was a kid. What’s cool is even though we both come from different musical backgrounds, we have very similar influences. It was probably five years ago when we starting going to see live DJs, and we were super inspired by how they held the energy of the whole crowd and could take them in any direction they wanted once they were hooked. Rob actually started DJing before me, and it wasn’t for almost six months before we just decided to link up and try Casual DJs.
Who is your biggest influence(s)?
Rob: We are both inspired by a wide range of DJs, Producers, and live bands. Groups like Odesza and What So Not inspire us to be unique and always look for new sounds and styles. Guys like Srillex motivate us to keep grinding out music and shows. He is a road warrior and finds ways to evolve as an artist without giving up his signature style. Bands like Umphrey’s McGee and STS9 reminds us that, above all else, it’s still all about the music.
Whats you’re favorite record of all time?
Rob: It’s tough, but Deadmau5’s Longest Road has to be my favorite track.
Stephen: I’m actually going to go down a different path and say my favorite record of all time is STS9 ‘Scheme’
What was your favorite party of all time that you have played?
Stephen: Last year we were doing the first of year the GoodSex with Friends College Tour and we were hosting at Illinois State that night. We ended up having an afterparty at a good buddy of ours place. It was wall-to-wall all night and we got to play out some other music that we’re really into that we don’t get use at gigs, it was had a good time.
Who is your favorite artist to collaborate with?
Right now, I would say Freak Island. If you haven’t heard of these guys yet, look them up. These guys are absolute wizards of production, and so much fun with work. Keep an eye out for some new stuff from Freak Island.
Who do you want to collaborate with in the future?
Stephen: I would love to work with the homies in Odesza. We had the opportunity to share the stage with them about a year ago, and the progress they’ve made since then is incredible. They are actually a huge inspiration for us starting the Casual DJs live performance aspect which we are bringing to the live show very soon.
What’s the most embarrassing thing thats happened to you at a show?
Rob: The first legitimate show that I played was at the Rave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was opening up the Pretty Lights Music Stage for Eliot Lipp, Supervision and Michal Menert. I was so nervous and was standing like a statue with my mouth open searching for a track on my computer when my gum fell out of my mouth onto the mixer… I doubt anybody noticed (somebody definitely noticed) but I couldn’t help but laugh at myself, which eventually made the night a little smoother.
What do you like to do when you’re not working on music/DJing?
Stephen: Anytime we have a night or weekend off we love to go see all different kinds of live shows. The music scene in Chicago is awesome and there is always a bunch of great live acts playing on any night of the week. Also, were huge fans of the local talent here in Chicago and love going to see new DJs and other friends of ours.
What is your opinion on the current EDM scene?
Rob: We both love the all of the live instrumentation taking the electronic world by storm. I think that it creates a bridge from electronic music into a lot of other genres, which creates so much more room for it to grow. Communities of artists from all different genres are coming together and producing some incredible music.
What do you think will be the next big thing in EDM?
Rob: Personally, I feel like the whole “next big thing” cliche has too much to do with major record labels and making money. Music is always changing, and sounds tend to fall in and out of popularity as people are introduced to new things. I think the ‘”Big Thing” is just code for “who can we make the most money off of?”
What do you think about all these “frauds” in the EDM scene using ghost producers, buying likes and purchasing their own tracks on Beatport?
This is sort of plays into that last question as well. The music industry is exactly that… an Industry. Big labels are always trying to put out a good product and sometimes they turn to ghost producers to create whatever type of music is trending and pick up big name DJs to be the poster child. In a perfect world, Good Music = Good Business. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and sometimes Good Business = really shitty music.
Is there any upcoming releases/shows we should keep an eye out for?
We are DJing at Castle with some super talented local Chicago DJs on November 29th, coming up in a couple weeks. We are also releasing a mix very soon through our new YouTube channel and Soundcloud. Super excited for the next couple months.