The first time I truly experienced LA-established duo, um.., wasn’t on SoundCloud at 3 AM or through fancy car speakers. It was during their opening set at NYC’s notorious BASSment Saturdays where even a crowd who is used to face-melting bass couldn’t help but be impressed by the duo’s peculiar tracklist. Though, with a set that took its listeners through the narrowest depths of a mysterious deep sea filled with arcane farm animals, you can’t really blame them.
Since then, the two embarked on a Midwest U.S. headline tour, had a chance to spin at LA’s Space Yacht, and premiered their song “Mad Recent” here at NEST HQ. With a year for the books, it only makes sense that they continue to spread their addictively strange music with a NEST HQ MiniMix.
Check out the interview with um.. along with their mix below.
How did you two meet?
Ben: Dylan and I met at Icon Collective in the fall of 2013. We had class together.
Dylan: We met while going to Icon Collective. We sat next to each other and became friends over the course of classes.
Tell us a little about your respective musical backgrounds and how you got started with production.
Ben: I’ve been playing instruments since elementary school. I picked up production in early high school while I was listening to screamo bands and Owl City. After high school, I attended Berklee College of Music for a few years and then moved to LA for Icon (because Kid Ranger told me to).
Dylan: I was just DJing when I moved away from home to go to college. I liked dubstep and wanted to learn to make it so my friend recommended me to Icon. I knew nothing about production or the music industry but I knew it was something that I wanted to be involved in.
How would you describe your music?
Ben: Our music is like shitty spaghetti.. If shitty noodles were like high energy music and shitty sauce was weird sounds and shitty meatballs were low sub bass and shitty cheese was integrity and a normal fork was fat hiphop influenced drum beats.
Dylan: Our music is like a painter doing some piece where they just throw paint at the board and they mix the colors up a bunch and they just keep going and eventually it looks pretty cool, but you can’t tell why. It’s a culmination of flow and randomness that keeps you listening because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. That’s where most other music fails because you hear the first 10 seconds and you know pretty much exactly what’s going to happen next, at least in electronic music right now.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
Ben: sauce and meatballs.. and cheese
Dylan: I think we’re pretty good at keeping ourselves inspired. We want to progress and we want to get to that next level where we can play good shows regularly & make a living. We’ve turned away a lot of “good” opportunities with bigger brands that we don’t resonate with because we’re unwilling to compromise our vision or our intentions for quick money. We’re inspired by the chance that something we believe in might turn up and tell us that they’ve been watching and they just want us to keep doing what we’re doing and that they can show it to a bigger audience. Right now from what we’re hearing, a lot of people are watching us, but they’re afraid to be the ones that take a chance on something so different. This whole project started with doubt from all angles, but we’ve done what we planned on doing without conceding to anyone’s fears and we’ve convinced a lot of those doubters already.
How would each of you describe the other’s creative process?
Ben: Dylan is like “turn knobs until it sounds cool.”
Dylan: Ben’s creative process: I think there’s something cool in this idea —> I don’t know if this is going to work, actually —> I guess I’ll keep trying —> okay now this sounds like the drop, the other part sucks —> okay I guess this is cool now.
What can we expect from um.. in 2016?
Ben: Hope you like spaghetti, cause we’re making a lot of new music. also, we’ve got a few VIPs coming out soon in honor of our one-year anniversary. They’re pretty lit.
Dylan: It’s hard to say what’s going to happen when we try and take each day as it’s own thing, but I know that we have a lot of really cool tracks to release. I feel like we’ve been making our best music lately and I’m excited to start putting those tracks out. We’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing which is making music whenever we can. If we can sustain ourselves off of that, we’re just going to make more music.
If animals could collaborate, who would you choose for the project? If you could ghost produce for one animal, which would it be and what would it sound like?
Ben: Definitely no house pets. thats for sure. house pet music isn’t really my thing. maybe mixing speeds like sloth and cheetah. feel like that could create a really awesome fusion. If I had to ghost produce for an animal it would probably be a shark and it would probably sound like wub wubwubwubwubwubwubwub.
Dylan: I’d love to see an alien collaborate with a dinosaur, but the alien would probably be disappointed in the result and just start making pop music. I’d ghost produce for the dinosaur after that but it’d probably be terrible.
What are you most and least excited for in 2016?
Ben: I’m pretty excited just to see what happens with all of this. I think this next year will determine a lot for us. hopefully we catch a couple breaks along the way. not excited for the new Game of Thrones because I’ve never watched that show.
Dylan: I’m most excited for the things I don’t know about yet. That’s what excites me – the idea that a great opportunity that could change our lives could come any day and all we have to do is keep making tracks.. Kind of. I’m least excited for paying medical bills right now, but there’s probably something worse that I’m forgetting.
Check um..’s NEST HQ MiniMix below:
NEST HQ MiniMix: um.. Tracklist
Juelz - Cocaine
Yoshinobu - Lucid
Lege Kale & SubtomiK - Cobra
Kaaris - Charge (Mr. Carmack Remix)
Dr. Derg & Gangus - Old Chub
um.. - skrillex
Hunt For The Breeze - Sky Cathedral
um.. - ID
QUIX & Dimes - Stacked
Skrude & Holly - Only Thing
HeRobust - Smother Shit
Frank - Reefer Madness
Fabian Mazur - Juice
um.. - mad recent
Sober Rob - Bliss (Woods Remix)
um.. - ID
um.. - dotes
um.. - i don’t know
Penthouse Penthouse - Friend Zone feat. Marvel Alexander
um.. - yeah word cool tight
TDY - Sorry
Big Sean - Sanctified (Mr. Carmack Remix)
Luminate - Nuance
Losco - Charge
um.. - that’s horrible
um.. - don’t copy us
um.. - we copied us