Fresh off a show at Van Nelle Fabriek in Rotterdam Friday night, Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano flew into Los Angeles yesterday to play with Axwell for Insomniac’s show at the Palladium. The house music super-duo was kind enough to take some time from their busy schedule to sit down for a quick Q + A before heading to the show.
Also, here is a write up of their set, complete with some tracks.
First off, welcome back to Los Angeles.
Ryan Marciano & Sunnery James: Thank you, it’s always good to be back in the city of angels.
You guys were just in California not too long ago playing in San Diego and San Francisco as part of your North American tour, and now you are ready for a stop in LA. How excited are you to be playing with Axwell tonight?
SJ: Really, really excited. The whole thing with the Swedes started two years ago when we had a gig in Amsterdam. We had met Steve Angello in Miami a few months before, but we weren’t able to hook-up until he stopped by our gig that night. He said, “Wow, you guys are killing it, I want you guys for Pacha Ibiza.” We kind of said, Ya right… keep talking, but then we shared some tracks, he picked up some tracks on Size (Size Matters) and that’s when things really started for us, internationally. He (Steve) really picked us up. Then Axwell heard us that summer, and was really excited – called us the Dutch division of Swedish House Mafia, and since then all the guys have been picking us up. And he called and asked us to play with him in LA, so we laughingly said ya, why not? Tonight is going to be big, big, big.
How did you guys first meet and start DJ’ing together?
RM: We’ve been friends for a long, long time. And when I was younger I needed an internship, and he was working in a store and it was my last moment, if he didn’t let me work and do what he did for me – I was kicked out of school and everything.
SJ: Before that we had known each other, but only as guys in the neighborhood and what not, but when I hired him we were instantly friends. The first day we worked together it was friendship, and everyday we would talk about music and everything, just like today. That was about 13-14 years ago.
Being from Amsterdam, you guys grew up around EDM and recently in Los Angeles and the US it has become huge. Do you think EDM will ever peak or just keep growing over here?
SJ: It is going to keep growing for sure. It’s just started, the first thing is always the more commercial stuff and mainstream songs, but in the last year you can see all the people – all the party people – really coming out and enjoying the music. American crowds are now coming out and studying the music, and that’s good for us. We like big-room sounds and parties.
RM: When we do a long set, we play everything. Groovy, dance music and big room and that’s what we love, it’s what we love to do.
SJ: And I think the American crowd is getting ready for it more and more. In Europe it’s always been big, but I think America is going to take over.
Do you notice a difference between European festivals and American festivals from the DJ booth?
SJ: The Dutch dance-scene is where and what we come from. I am real proud of our dance music, it brought us everything because when started we were just playing the clubs in Holland. And it’s different because there we always play for a crowd that is really into it, and knows everything. It’s almost like they are saying show me your stuff; it’s the European culture in a way.
RM: They always like to play a little hard-to-get in Europe in regards to the music.
SJ: We are very outgoing people and we love dancing. In Holland they love the music, but they also love to test us and see what we are made of – kind of like an evaluation. Compared to here in America, there is just so much emotion and chaos in the crowds and for the DJ it’s great. We feel it and we respond.
Describe your perfect event… Who are you playing with? Which venue? All the details are up to you.
SJ: Sweet question. I am going to say San Bernardino at the NOS Event Center. With the Swedes (SHM) and us of course. And it will be a 12-hour party, 6pm-6am with everyone Max (Vangeli), An21, literally everyone will be there.
RM: And also some deep, heavy underground too. Guys like Dennis Ferrer, Luciano, etc.
SJ: Really long build ups to drops. Just all about the party. It’d be epic.
RM: And the after-party would be on a Caribbean Island somewhere and we get to pick the people who we want to bring with us.
SJ: And then the reunion would have to be at Pacha Ibiza. That’s it. The perfect party.
With the new year coming and Lethal Industry being released on December 12th you guys have to be excited about what the future holds… do you have any major goals you’d like to accomplish? Maybe certain shows or artists you really want to work with?
SJ: Of course, we have a track with Steve Angello that still needs to be finished. We’d love to do something with Axwell, because the guy is one of the greatest producers in the world.
RM: Not just because we are playing here tonight though, promise.
SJ: No, we really are big fans. I think the remix he did with Dirty South is the best thing I have ever heard, just crazy. It’s the best track ever I think. I’d love to work with some of the deeper guys too, like Luciano and just create this groovy, big track.
RM: What we do for our shows back home, like in Holland, we will play tracks by some guys that may not be as known here, not really commercial house music. To play and produce those kind of songs are great, and we will this year.
SJ: And thinking out of the box, maybe Kanye West or Jay-Z. You never know, right? But it’s wishful thinking.
Do you guys think you’ll make it to some of the larger festivals next year, EDC maybe?
SJ: We would obviously love to. I hope we do a good job and they bring us back.
If you could give one piece of advice for aspiring DJ’s or producers what would it be?
SJ: I think the most important thing, and what we did, is just do your own thing. It works for us, you never want to try to follow anyone else. It’s good to get inspiration from somebody, but you never want to copy that person because you won’t feel the same thing. You have to feel it from yourself. And people will genuinely recognize it and believe it, you can do mash-ups and everything but just make them original and your own. That’s the main tip, if you want to become a DJ – do your own thing.
RM: And work really, really hard – because it is not easy.
Last question, if you guys were stranded on an island and could only have one meal the rest of your life, what would it be?
SJ: Wow, good question… I’ll have to think.
RM: Maybe, chow mein. Or something with rice, it’d have to have rice. What’re you thinking?
SJ: I don’t know, everything. So you’re going chow mein, with chicken?
RM: Or In-N-Out. Animal style.
SJ: Yes, so good. We’ll go chow mein, too.
Thank you guys, that was a lot of fun – cannot wait until next time, good luck tonight.
Special thanks to Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano for the interview, as well as Sara Cooper Management & PR, Insomniac Events, and Kevin Gross.