With a brand new record label successfully launched, a debut album in the works and a new track out this week, not to mention a massive performance last weekend at Ultra Music Festival, 2016 has been looking pretty good so far for DVBBS.
The duo, which consists of bothers Alex and Chris van den Hoef, had a meteoric rise to fame back in 2013 thanks to huge singles like “Tsunami” and “Stampede,” which capitalized on the boom of hard hitting, big room music that became popular several years ago within the EDM world.
Not content to just rest on their laurels though, Alex and Chris have worked hard ever since to prove themselves as versatile producers, giving us a number of tracks that showcase their talent as both musicians and songwriters.
While down in Florida last week for Miami Music Week and Ultra, we had the chance to catch up with DVBBS to ask them about their upcoming album, the new record label, how to get out of creative slumps and more.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
You’ve got a new track coming out at the end of March, “La La Land,” with Delaney Jane and Shaun Frank. How did that collaboration come about?
DVBBS: Well we’ve known Shaun since our band days. I’ve [Alex] always been friends with him and we always wanted to do a track together. He came to stay with us in LA recently for a few days and we just banged out a song. When you’re just chilling with a friend nonchalantly stuff just happens organically. It’s great to see Shaun doing so well though, he’s been working so hard lately.
And how was it working with Delaney Jane? She’s so talented and has an unbelievable voice.
DVBBS: She’s so good. We did this live video of the song, where we rented out a studio and performed it live, I’ll show you it [Alex takes out his phone]. I’m on guitar, Chris is on drums, Shaun does piano and Delaney just kills it on the vocals.
A lot of your recent music, while suitable for the main stage, has a bit of a softer sound than the stuff you did in your early days, like “Stampede” and “Tsunami.” Is that a conscious effort you’ve been making on your part, to move away from the hard, banging beats?
DVBBS: Well, we can’t say too much, but we’re actually getting involved in the film industry right now and a lot of the stuff we’re writing is for films. Almost all the records on the new album are being written for certain parts of movies. So it’s a different process for us. Instead of starting a song one day because you just want to write something, we’re writing for specific scenes. We also don’t want to keep making the same song, either.
Last year was strictly 128 BPM, now it’s anywhere between 100-150, so our music is getting more diverse, which is cool. This year we’ve been focused on taking more time off too in order to write music. We’ve been doing some cool things as well. Like we went to this massive Sony studio in Thailand in the jungle and just locked ourselves in there and wrote.
Our album was basically all written in Amsterdam, Thailand and a bit in LA.
When’s it coming out?
DVBBS: There’s no date just yet. We keep making songs for it. I’ll [Chris] have like a week off, make a new song and it will turn out to be better than half the songs on the album, so we just keep working away at it. We’ve got 6 tracks mixed and mastered, but we’re hoping to get 10 on the final version.
Who’s going to feature on it?
DVBBS: Not many people, actually. We got Shaun and Delaney on “La La Land,” and another song with MOTi, but it’s mostly just solo tracks. We’ve taken almost a year to just see what we can write, and we’ve come up with a lot of good stuff. Back when we were starting out we were always on the road and people were always sending us stuff, and you’re not going to turn down a good idea, right? But now that we’ve had time to write, we’re doing a lot of the songs ourselves.
Artistically speaking, is it more liberating to be able to write an album?
DVBBS: We were in such a slump for so long man. Nothing was clicking and we were really frustrated. It was tough, because we still had to go on stage and give it our all even though we couldn’t find or make anything brand new anymore. But then 8 months or so ago it all just clicked and we started bringing our music back to our roots. I [Alex] got back on vocals for the album. About 75% of it has my vocals.
Let’s talk about your new label, how’s that been going? Why’d you decide to start one?
DVBBS: Our main thought behind the label was to not push it in anyone’s face. It’s a label and it’s always going to have dope records coming out because the people we fuck with are dope. It’s all sorts of genres, it’s going to have everything and be really diverse. The label has also been planned for 4 or 5 years. We’ve had the name KANARY since we first started. That’s our corporation’s name. We always wanted to start a label.
Being independent and having a few key partners, that are also basically independent, kind of like boutique, but still get things, that’s the way wanted to go. We still have full creative control but we’ve got some help in funding and getting our stuff to a broader audience.
How long do you see yourselves DJ’ing and producing for?
DVBBS: We’ve always been punk ass kids, but we’re maturing every single day. Before when we used to tour we would travel and just go absolutely crazy with our friends, but now it’s different. We’ve got more eyes on us now and we don’t want to fuck anything up. A simple slip up could ruin everything we’ve worked for. So we’re trying our best to do the right thing and keep this going for as long as we can.
That concludes our interview, but we’d like to thank DVBBS very much for their time, and be sure to check out their new track “La La Land” when it drops this Friday!