Whether they’re touring around the world or dropping some of the dopest releases dance music has to offer, Derek Andersen and Scott Land – aka Slander – continue to push the envelope and impress us here at RTT. With their self-proclaimed ‘Duality’ sound fusing various genres into something new, the LA duo has (in a short amount of time) established themselves as a powerful and influential force in the music scene.
Fresh off of their co-headlining tour with NGHTMRE, Derek and Scott are ready to take things to the next level in 2017. We had the chance to sit down the guys themselves to talk touring, upcoming projects, and what it means to be a part of the #SlanderFam. Stream Slander’s new Diplo & Friends mix below and keep reading for our exclusive RTT interview with these talented artists.
Slander – Diplo & Friends Mix
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RTT: What’s the experience like touring internationally and does it influence your musical outlook and creativity at all?
Derek: Playing in different countries definitely makes you step out of your comfort zone. You take more risks just because there’s always a completely new crowd in each city – you have to test things out on the fly. Creatively speaking, absorbing these experiences overseas really helped give us a new perspective. As an artist you’re just a reflection of your experiences, so stepping back into the studio after touring is always different and incredibly rewarding.
How was the ‘Gud Vibrations’ tour with NGHTMRE? What made the experience special for you guys?
Derek: Scott and I have been DJing together for a long time so performing with Tyler was something completely new for us. We’re always trying to create a new live experience for our fans so it was the perfect opportunity. Not only that but I think our music fits really well together. He brings the heavier shit and we bring the emotional stuff; just that combination is really cool.
My relationship with Tyler came out of nowhere when we were put in the same classroom at Icon Collective together. At the time he was a better producer and I was a better DJ so we basically helped each other fill in the gaps. Scott and I were touring a year before him so he would come to all of our shows and watch us play. Watching him grow from not knowing how to DJ to where he is now was like watching my little brother grow up and fucking kick ass. It’s an amazing feeling and that’s why it’s so great that we can come back together and do this Gud Vibrations tour.
You guys are known for both your melodic tunes and your heavy stuff. What’s it like balancing these different sides of Slander?
Derek: Since the beginning we wanted to show people that we could produce melodic music, heavy bangers, and everything in-between. That’s what we tried to show with “Love Again” and “Dead.” “Love Again” is super emotional, trance/trap type stuff while with “Dead” we just wanted to produce the heaviest track we could. That’s why it’s called the Duality EP; there’s two sides to it. Our music will always have this sonic duality where you just have to see what happens. It gives people a sense of surprise, a “woah, I didn’t see that coming” type of feeling.
What’s are some throwback, OG Slander stories you guys like to reminisce about?
Scott: Most electronic artists nowadays come up as producers, but for Derek and I – when we were in college – our release was DJing. Producing wasn’t as important to us at the time. We loved putting together fun sets and playing for crowds that had no idea who the fuck we were, then leaving them speechless. We always reminisce about those times. It was a window into seeing how weird the music industry could be and also prepared us for what was to come when we our production started coming through.
The best moment for me though was at this show called “Trance Around the World 350.” We had been DJing for less than a year together and it was the first time we looked at each other and said: “Yo, I promise we’ll make it up there some day.” Going from that moment in 2010 to actually standing up on that stage in 2016 was literally a dream come true for us in a lot of ways. That’s why the Gud Vibrations shows were so near and dear to us. Life is crazy.
What’s your best piece of advice for up & coming producers?
Scott: If you asked us this question 3-4 years ago, we’d probably say ‘finding your unique sound’ is crucial… but the game’s changed since then. Now, Derek and I would argue that dedicating time for branding and marketing is equally as important – that’s what will really separate you from the pack. The scene has evolved to the point where you need more than just your music to succeed and stand out now.
Derek: At the same time, you obviously need to have a unique sound and the best way to do that is to do what I did: combine different genres that you like. I liked trance and trap so I merged those two together. That would be my advice; take something you liked from high school and combine it with the shit you like now. Fuck what other people are gonna think. Just try to create a weird new genre.
You guys do a ton of b2bs. Which one was the most memorable and if you could b2b with anyone right now, who would it be?
Scott: My most memorable experience was after this festival called Contact. It was Jauz’s show but he asked us – along with Snails, NGHTMRE and Tchami – to go b2b. The vibes were amazing and we had a lot of fun that night. But if I could go b2b with any two artists it would be RL Grime and Skrillex. Derek got to go b2b with Skrill for a little bit.
Derek: Yeah that definitely my most memorable b2b. I had met Sonny at shows before but DJing with him is a whole different thing. When you look up to someone for so long it’s crazy actually getting to work with them, everytime he handed me the headphones I got the weirdest feeling. It’s like god handing you headphones it was insane. Also to be with Tyler (NGHTMRE) for that b2b made it a really special moment.
Any upcoming projects or collaborations you can tell us about?
Scott: We’ve got these two vocal originals we’re really excited to put out. We’ve been waiting for the right tracks to release as Slander originals since “Love Again” and “Dead,” and we feel like these are the two. Right now that’s our main focus for 2017. We also have a track we’ve been working on with San Holo since May, so that’ll definitely be finished soon.
What does it mean to be a part of the #SlanderFam?
Derek: Slander fans want to have an emotional experience with the music. That’s the main difference that separates us from other acts. We want people to walk away from our shows with that warm feeling inside like when you go to a trance show. That, “holy shit I just had a spiritual moment” type of feeling. Those were always the best moments we had being in the crowd so we’re constantly trying to give that back to people. If you want to go to a show and walk away with a unique feeling, come see us.
Any last words for Slander / RTT fans?
Derek: Shoutout to Run the Trap… goddamn you guys have been around for a long time and I’m very fucking impressed. I remember the day the blog went up. I’m glad you guys have grown so much since then, it’s great and we’re really thankful for your support. But shoutout to every EDM fan too. We love you. We are Slander. Peace!