DJDS ON HOW THEY PUT THE WORK IN

by flaunt

“You have to play in some empty rooms in the middle of the country and fly home depressed. Then you’re a real artist.”

 

Down a lonely side street, away from the traffic, mountains, ocean, and the sprawl of Los Angeles, is a humble recording studio hiding a pair of DJs dreaming up inventive new beats, every single day. DJs Samo Sound Boy and Jerome LOL have been making music, eating, sleeping and then making more music since meeting five years ago. Their first album, Friend of Mine, was released in 2014 under their former name, DJ Dodger Stadium, and set the tone for their fresh and original voice slamming the L.A. house and techno scene. But ‘making the scene’ is not what motivates this diligent duo. “Our goal is just to make music that we want to put out regardless of what affects the DJ world,” says Samo. “We just make music the way we know how to, and if it’s perceived as electronic, that’s what it is.“

Maintaining artistic control over every aspect of their music is paramount for DJDS. On their second album, Stand Up And Speak, they created their own songs to sample from, hiring vocalists off Craigslist to mix voices into the tracks, and the fact that the vocalists were not necessarily professional lent a raw, authentic quality to the album. It’s perhaps unsurprising that DJDS drew early inspiration from dance music producers like Robin Hood, Omar, and Daft Punk, but they keep their style evolving. When they’re not making music, which is rare, they’re listening to it.

It’s precisely this hard work ethic that pays dividends. “Nothing magically happened, I think we put in a lot of hours,” Jerome says when quizzed on the secret to their success. “We worked really hard. I think that is the key to making anything work.” Even now, as they collaborate with big names like Kanye West, their focus and vision remain grounded in the fundamentals: blood, sweat and tears. “You have to play in some empty rooms in the middle of the country and fly home depressed. Then you’re a real artist,” says Samo as he leads me out to the street after our interview. As my car arrives he invites me back to visit the studio again with a mischievous glint in his eye: “We’re always here.”


Photographer: Emman Montalvan for Tack Artist Group.

Stylist: Lwany for Jed Root.

Hair: Whitney Schield.

Makeup: Miho Suzuki for Opus Beauty using hourglass cosmetics.

Photographer Assistant: Ryan Kevin.

Written by Bonnie Foster