We headed to Randall's Island here in NYC to attend Electric Zoo Evolved which had 40+ hours of EDM DJs, 4 stages, an array of food and beverage options and more. Our Labor Day Weekend was jam packed with a number of sets from some of our faves that included Kaskade, Oliver Heldens, Diplo, Good Times Ahead and more. We also checked out acts that we were less familiar with. In the midst of getting in on the good vibes, we sat down with 5 acclaimed EDM DJs to catch up with them on what they're working on, hearing about their sound and more.
We caught up with DJ/Producer SayMyName who is also this month's cover. Known as the Godfather of Hard Trap, when it comes to style - he definitely has it. We found out about his style of music, his latest collaboration with Riot Ten and what he does when he's outside of the stage and studio.
ATHLEISURE MAG: So you are known as the Godfather of Hard Trap. What is that and what is it about this genre of music that you love so much?
SAYMYNAME: Ok so Hard Trap is a genre that I started in 2012. It’s basically a fusion between Hard Style and Trap or like Hip Hop and it’s the best of both worlds. My favorite part about Hard Trap is basically the energy and uniqueness of the sound that it brings to every set no matter whether it’s a festival or a club – it stands up.
AM: Does it change for you whether you’re in a massive venue like here at Electric Zoo or if you’re in an intimate club? How does that work for you in terms of vibe?
SMN: The vibe or the energy is always there. Whether it’s a 100 or 10,000 – like there’s always this raw energy that matches the music. I don’t like to go to a smaller room and change the setup because I still want to see that same energy.
AM: So you just collaborated with Riot Ten with Glocks which is pretty exciting. How did that come about and how excited are you to finally release this?
SMN: Oh I’m excited it’s finally out. Riot Ten and I, we go back and this is something that we have talked about for a minute. He’s done the harder music like more of the Dubstep stuff and just basically using the Dubstep and the Hard Trap and just giving something that our fan base wanted. I’m excited that we got to do it.
AM: We love the new magenta color. How do you love the fact that you can express yourself with your hair color?
SMN: I love that it’s like varied on the season or my mood. So I have done blue, red, orange and now I’m on magenta. I feel like when I go in I just say, “ok I’m going to do yellow.” I think that the louder and the brighter the color, it’s just a bigger representation of the style and that energy. When you see that color and you’re on stage – it’s just in your face!
AM: What other collaborations do you have going on that we should keep an eye out for?
SMN: Right now, I just finished a collaboration with Afrojack. So we’re working on a release for that so keep an eye out for that. R3HAB and I, Timmy Trumpet – there has been a lot of music that I have been working on during the summer so I’m just taking some time off.
AM: You’re a busy guy and you have been at a lot of festivals this season. How do you keep yourself relaxed and focused on what’s happening?
SMN: For me, it’s all about balance. When I’m not on the road, I’m in the gym when I’m not in the studio. I feel that the gym it’s not like I’m coming down because I’m working out, but it’s about really staying healthy physically and mentally. It keeps the creative flow going and the energy. Festival season – the festivals that I have played this year, it’s been insane.
AM: We’re excited to see you perform tomorrow!
SMN: I’m so excited! It’s my first Electric Zoo and this has been a bucket list festival. I think I caught a Hardwell festival clip in 2012 or 2013 and I was like, “what is this Electric Zoo – it’s crazy!”
AM: As someone who travels so much, what are 3 items that are in your carry on to feel like you’re at home and centered?
SMN: I feel like with my carry on, that’s a good question. This is going to sound super cliché, but my laptop. I can take my music with me on it when I want to work from the road. I have books on my phone. I think that the books and the music that I have on my phone keeps the connection between everything. Then just essential hygiene products – my skincare routine is a big one.
AM: You need to be fresh!
SMN: I’m trying, I’m trying – I have to stay on top of that.
We sat down with 2019 Grammy Nominated DJ/Producer EDX moments before he hit the stage. He had just arrived after performing in Montreal to kick off Labor Day Weekend and was in NYC just long enough to play a set at Electric Zoo. We talked about being #1 on Spotify's Dance Rising Charts, musicality and more.
ATHLEISURE MAG: You’ve been known as a genius for all the amazing music production you've done. What is the symbiosis between musicality and production to you in terms of making the great sound that you do?
EDX: Well you know, I think that there first, there is always a good song, a nice chord progression and if it’s a vocal song, there is a meaningful vocal. Then you add to it your signature sound and like the high end production. I think that you can have the best production possible if the musicality is there. It’s very hard to touch people when that’s not there. I’m always focusing on touching people with my music and when I have been doing this for so many years, the quality today shouldn’t even be an issue anymore.
AM: So STAY is on the Dance Rising Charts on Spotify. How excited are you about that?
EDX: It’s awesome because it has actually been the #1 track on Dance Rising. That’s something that is so special each time. It’s like making you a Sir for music – every once in awhile when this happens! For me, I’m just a kid living in Switzerland in a neighborhood next to Zurich and just exposed to music and trying to reach the world. This achievement is like a big achievement in my point of view because you actually reach so many people all over the world with this and it’s a good opportunity to be on that Dance Rising once in awhile.
AM: What are your 3 favorite remixes that you have done?
EDX: Haha it’s a hard question! I think that I have done more than 50 or 100 remixes. I don’t know and I’m still counting. It’s hard to pick just 3. I like the remix to the Janelle Monae (‘Make Me Feel’) record because it was just a cool song and I liked the whole vibe from it in the original. All the others are like in themselves, are something special because they all have this collaboration with some other songwriter, singer, artist and being able to get influenced by the original version and to add your own vibe to it to make it your own. It’s something that’s a blessing if you get this opportunity and it’s hard to just pick my favorite ones. But the Janelle Monae remix from last year has really given me the challenge that I wanted once in awhile.
I just started a remix for the new single of Loud Luxury. Which was just sent recently to Sirius XM before the release for their playlist at BPM so it is coming out in 2 weeks. It ended up being an effective remix and I was very excited to tease it and play it out like right now.
EDX: Oh yes, that was a good one.
AM: Labor Day Weekend has been very busy for you. You were in Montreal on Fri, you are here today in NYC at Electric Zoo and tomorrow you will be in Dallas, how do you keep all that energy going and feeding all of these people your music?
EDX: Well, it’s like a very rewarding industry that we are in. Being able to play out your own music in front of so many people that give you such great feedback each time. It’s actually cool. I’m actually flying out tonight to Dallas because I’m playing tonight and tomorrow I will be out back to Europe!
Talking with the NJ based trio, Cash Cash, we defintiely got their vibe of just giving a great show that is filled with an array of genres that are just about having a good time. We sat down with them right before their show to find out about what they've been working on, how they work with one another and some of the tools of their trade.
ATHLEISURE MAG: So how do you define the Cash Cash sound?
CASH CASH: We’re a mix of a lot of different things. We’re kind of like a buffet. You get everything with us. You get chicken, beef, vegetables, carbs, salad, dessert – we do it all. We work with Hip Hop artists, we work with pop artists, rock artists, alternative artists. We love it all and we’re always mixing electronic music with different feels and styles of music. Even with just instruments or singers.
AM: How does that work to have 3 of you working together in terms of being on stage or in the studio? How do you deal with those dynamics?
CC: We run a majority rules kind of thing. So if 2 people agree on something, then that’s how it goes. If one person cries enough and pleads their case …
AM: Oh nice so the minority vote can come forward and win!
CC: Yeah if they can convince us yeah – haha the minority vote could win that’s funny!
CC: Really excited. We did a remix for her in the last month of 2017 and the remix did really well. She was happy with it, the team was happy with it and we have been trying to send her songs for a long time and finally she sent us the acapella and we were like, “this is great, we can do something with this.” So we built a song around that and it came together that way. It was great to finally make that happen because artists are so busy these days. She’s out doing world tours and we’re in the club every night. It was great to finally make it happen.
AM: With you guys having so much club time, how do you take time for yourself?
CC: It’s minimal I guess! We’re used to it though. We’ve been doing this for awhile so we’re used to the up and go lifestyle. We’ve been going and you get time off when you get to come home and we love traveling to see the world. It’s always cool to go to new places and then to be able to go back and return.
AM: When you guys are recording, what are your 3 favorite pieces of equipment that you love to use?
CC: Probably the computers – it’s like a love hate thing. Because you think it sucks sometimes, but you couldn’t make music without it. You could have a tape machine, but the computer is better. I feel that it switches – you’ll love a certain synth or something and then you’ll get sick of it, move on and then you’ll look at the wall and there’s your acoustic guitar and you’re like – this is the best!
Around Athleisure Mag's office, we've been playing DRIP by Boombox Cartel, Dillon Francis featuring Desiigner on loop since it dropped a few days ago. During Electric Zoo, we took some time to hang out with the man himself to find out how he experiments with his sound to make distinctive music while continuing to express himself with his collabs as well as his clothing brand.
ATHLEISURE MAG: How do you define the Boombox Cartel sound?
BOOMBOX CARTEL: I define it as breaking the rules and doing everything wrong. Stuff that’s not supposed to be done and trying to make it work. I try to come up with original ideas and there is a lot of research and development.
AM: What's that like?
BC: Putting a lot of time in the studio and making a lot of weird demos. It’s like evil scientist vibes, but I think that that’s what it is. Then just staying true to the underground and staying true to where we all came from.
AM: How do you get inspired and where does that come from?
BC: Well just influences from when I was a kid. Indie bands, synth rock bands to like Hip Hop to Trap, to Houston stuff to just a big mix. I lived in Monterrey, Mexico for half of my life. I was born in Laredo, Texas in South Texas and I went to music school in Minneapolis. So it’s just kind of like gathering cultures and gathering styles and sounds and just putting it all together.
AM: We’re loving DRIP with you, Dillon Francis and featuring Desiigner from an Athleisure Mag perspective, amazing song to workout to! How did that come about?
BC: Thank you so much and that’s what we wanted! Dillon is one of the most happiest human beings that I know. He’s always really enthusiastic and we tried to make something that meets in the middle. Something euphoric, something happy, something bright, something really colorful and that’s what came to be. And also, with Desiigner, he’s one of the most down to Earth rappers. I work with so many rappers and I think that Desiigner is the only rapper that I can say he is like a genuinely good person that is down to work and to do it for the people. He was there and we were in the studio until 7am like coming up with ideas – smoking weed and my whole house smelled like weed for the next week.
AM: But it was worth it!
BC: But it was worth it! We made a really positive and happy song and we’re all happy to put it out.
AM: It’s a hot song. We can’t say how many times we’ve had it on loop.
BC: Thank you so much!
AM: So your FC custom jerseys – those are really cool! Where did that come from?
BC: That came from living in Monterrey, Mexico and just going to soccer games every week. I see a lot of baseball jerseys in the EDM community and there’s isn’t enough love for the soccer community. Soccer is just as big or I think bigger! So just playing soccer, every show I go to I ask for a soccer ball and collect a university ball or something like that. I’m a huge fan. So working on those from scratch with a friend in Downtown LA – right now we’re working on a brand partnership with a big company. We did it all from scratch. One of my good friends Colby, helped us out. He has a beautiful warehouse – cut and sew, he created the patches from scratch and they will be back in stock this next week!
AM: Exciting – eventually you can have a whole line!
BC: We have some shorts coming up, socks, the whole kit for the kids.
AM: What are 3 things that you do being so busy and spreading yourself in so many places – to just get back to you?
BC: Yeah, I grew up in Texas with my dad grilling twice a week. So me and my homies barbecue twice a week – or at least once a week. I have a Harley Davidson back at home and I take it out on the 1 highway to go get some fried shrimp and then I come back home and just head to the studio.
One of our favorite remixes is 'Red Lips' by Good Times Ahead as it's been earcandy on our playlist for nearly a decade. So sitting down with this duo talking about a number of exciting changes taking place in the group was a lot of fun. In addition to hearing about their new label, their rebrand and what they've been up to this year, we also found out about where we should be eating the next time we're in Miami.
ATHLEISURE MAG: You guys have had a lot of going on lately – you have the rebrand of your name and your own label. Can you tell us about this?
GOOD TIMES AHEAD: The label is called Good Times/Bad Times and I think that one of our favorite things about having our own label is being able to put out our own music whenever we want. It’s kind of like the main reason. At the same time, it’s also a good platform for us to showcase the Latin influence we have in our music and a lot of the people that we play in our sets and just showcasing that to everyone. Kind of bringing a new thing to the game.
AM: When it came to introducing us to some of his favorite music, our Co-Founder Paul, introduced us to your music. We covered the Fold Festival and we saw you there as well. What is it about your free of genre music and just really bringing together good music?
GTA: For us, it’s mostly just about the energy that music has and the type of energy that makes you feel the way that you do. That’s why whenever we play music, any music that we play either hand selecting it or making it – it, has a certain kind of energy to it. It’s kind of what lets people just have fun as it’s such a fun sound to it. That’s pretty much what attracts us to music in general. It’s about having a good energy about it.
AM: Once again you guys have been super busy with so many festivals. How many have you done just this summer alone?
GTA: This summer probably like 4, but that’s light for us. We still played a lot of festivals and shows, but this year, we took it a little easier because we were focusing on finishing up so much music. 2 or 3 weeks ago we put out our album. We had the record label launch and the whole rebranding of everything. We have been working a lot behind the scenes and just taking this year kind of slow to just work on that. We’ve been doing this now for 8 or 9 years so it’s kind of nice to have a little easy period.
AM: You guys also have a clothing line as well – tell us about that.
GTA: Oh yeah, so it’s kind of something that we dabbled in a little bit. I’m personally a fan of fashion and that kind of thing and street brands. Shout out to Jay of Triple 7 – he hooked us up with so much knowledge on just how to make your own label and your own kind of style. We just kind of wanted to bring that to the festivals that we went to and the parties that we go to and it’s been cool. It’s kind of the same thing that we do with our music. We kind of let the clothes speak for themselves – they’re just really cool and really good quality. They’re good to wear and you can wear them at a festival or just to go out in. It’s kind of in line with our same kind of style as well.
AM: What are you working on right now in terms of collabs?
GTA: We’re definitely doing a lot of stuff as far as on our own with our own label and stuff. We have a lot of collabs. We’ve been playing this one thing we did with this group called Fight Club which they’re actually from here. We have a couple of other ones too. A lot of club music a lot of Latin music. We have been working with a lot of Latin artists. We've had some writing camps last year and this year in Mexico and playing in Brazil and stuff. We’re working with a lot of up and coming people and it’s really exciting especially now that we’re about to launch the label. All of that was for the label and now it’s about being able to put it out and being able to show everyone.
AM: What are 3 restaurants that you guys love eating at in Miami?
GTA: In Miami? Crab Man 305 that’s our number 1! Shout out to Crab Man 305. We’ll also say that there are many many Cuban restaurants, but Sergio’s is a very good restaurant - it’s classic Miami. And then I’d say that obviously Joe’s Stone Crab is a good one – it’s a fancy one but one to go to!
This past Electric Zoo not only included DJ/producer NGHTMRE performing, but he had a stage for the artists on his label Gud Vibrations which he cofounded with SLANDER. We talked with him about his sound, the responsibilities of running his labels, his current tour and of course being at this year's EZoo.
ATHLEISURE MAG: How do you define the NGHTMRE sound?
NGHTMRE: I like to just call it bass music. I try to incorporate and tempos and various styles of electronic music in my records and live shows. It’s a mixture of melodic and heavy. I focus on keeping everything high-energy!
AM: In addition to working on your music, you’re also the Co-Founder of your own label along with SLANDER. How is it juggling those responsibilities and needs?
N: It’s great actually. We have a great team helping us and it really allows us to focus on the music rather than having to worry about small details and infrastructure building. It’s only just getting started in our eyes.
AM: You’re back at EZoo and not only are you performing but you have an entire stage with Gud Vibrations artists – how did this come about and how exciting is it to have this going on this going on this year?
N: I think the Gud Vibrations label and brand in general works so well because it came about organically. Me and the Slander boys are great friends and our tastes align so well that we eventually started our own events and parties. We’re extremely grateful for Electric Zoo for inviting us to bring the Gud Vibrations energy to New York.
AM: Gud Vibrations also has its own clothing line – the Bomber Jackets are definitely something cool that we would include in a future shoot – how do you go about deciding what goes into the line and how it feeds the ethos of your label?
N: Gud Vibrations in general is an outlet for us to put out what we think is cool into the world. We don’t have any specific method to deciding what goes out, but if there’s something we particularly love or feel is cool we take our time developing it to make sure it’s exactly how we like it, then share it!
AM: Tell us about The Alchemy Tour.
N: For this tour I’m doing a b2b set with Slander for each show and this is the first time we’ve been able to bring our stage “The Atom” on the road with us! To top it off we’ve been looking up to Seven Lions and The Glitch Mob for years so to be performing alongside them is amazing!
AM: Tell us about collabs and projects that you have dropping within your music as well as things that we should know about regarding the label.
N: Earlier this year I released a record with ASAP Ferg called Redlight! He’s another person I’ve looked up to for a long time so being able to work together and create a full music video together was a special experience. I have a new track with “Zhu” called Man’s First Inhibition that just dropped and is a bit different from my other stuff. I am always collaborating on new music!
AM: You’re constantly on the road going from one gig to the next. Do you have 3 things that you do prior to a gig to get in the right mindset to perform in front of your fans?
N: Nothing usually actually. I spend time in Rekordbox on my computer before each show. Its a software that allows me to plan out and organize my music a bit better so when I’m in stage it’s easier to switch things up.
AM: In addition to traveling, I’m sure you workout, what are 3 workouts that you feel are the core of your fitness routine?
N: I actually only just started doing this recently but I got a personal trailer to help me while I was home for a bit and this is my “on the road” routine.
STRETCHES | Samson Lunge, Worlds Greatest Stretch, Downdog, Frog Stretch and Pigeon | CORE WORK @ 3 Rounds | (Rotation) Russian Twist x30, (Flexion) Leg Raise x30, (Static hold) Plank 30 sec | @ 4 Rounds | Squats x40, SIT UPS x30, Push Up x20 |
PHOTO CREDITS | PG 26, 52 + 54 aLIVE Coverage for ElectricZoo.com | This editorial contains elements of images, courtesy Dreamstime.com: PG 16 Richochet69, PG 19 Rolffimages, PG 29 Nadezda Mikusova, PG 30 Philip Openshaw, PG 34 Golfxx, PG 36 Steve Ford, PG 41 Alisbab, PG 42 Tatiana Kuklina, PG 46 Alphonse99 + Back Cover Santi Ri |