Whether they’re in the club throwing down a dance floor anthem (think “Call My Name” featuring Nadia Ali) or working on a remix for, say, Madonna, Sultan and Ned Shepard have proven their prowess both in the in the DJ booth and in the studio. Following the recent release of their hit progressive track “Walls” on Tiesto’s Clublife: Volume Two, the duo is currently hard at work on collaborations with artists like Nervo, Funkagenda, Fedde le Grand, and DJ Vice.
mybeatFix got the scoop on their upcoming projects, musical preferences, and why they love Miami before going into the DJ booth to see them perform at LIV.
First off, since we’re in Miami, what’s your favorite thing about performing here in one of America’s capitals of EDM?
Sultan: We have a lot of friends and fans in Miami, so we feel a lot of love when we come down here. We know that we’re going to have a good time.
Ned: Miami has been an important part of dance music in the US for a really long time, and you can feel it when you play here–there’s just a level of understanding that you don’t find in other places where the scene is more new.
Ned, you said you got into electronic music during your years in France. What drew you to the world of EDM?
Ned: Being in Europe in the mid- to late-nineties was like a revolution for an American teenager because dance music was so underground and relatively unknown. Going to France and seeing massive street parties and huge raves and the way the DJs were just rocking the party was a huge influence on getting me excited to make electronic music.
What is it like having two creative minds in the studio at the same time?
Sultan: It’s always better working as a team because you can bounce ideas off each other. Sometimes when you work alone, you lose track of things and get stuck in a zone. With two people, it’s always easier to stay on track.
How do your individual musical tastes differ?
Sultan: My roots are in alternative rock. I grew up in the ‘80s with a major influence in the early ‘90s alt-rock scene.
Ned: I grew up in NYC, so hip-hop was a big part of my early musical vocabulary. But I fell in love with new wave, rock and house music when I was a teenager.
You guys said you enjoy making remixes but you’re focusing more on production right now. What direction do you want your sound to take?
Ned: We love indie music and a lot of our new stuff has a big indie-rock influence, but it is still pretty clubby.
If you could remix any tracks out there right now, which would they be?
Ned: m83- “Steve McQueen”
Sultan: Goo Goo Dolls- “Iris”
How is the feeling you get when you complete a track in the studio versus the feeling you get after a great show at the club?
Sultan: No record is done until you’ve played it out and you see the reactions, so in a way the real feeling of completing the song comes out when you see the smiles on the peoples’ faces in front of you.
Ned: The studio is a very personal space so when you finish something that you’re happy with, you get a big high.
Any upcoming releases we should keep an ear out for?
Sultan: Our track “Walls”, which was featured on Tiesto’s Club Life Vol 2: Miami, is going to be released soon with remixes on Musical Freedom. We’ve got a collaboration with a great young Norwegian producer, Thomas Sagstad, coming out on our label. It’s called “Somebody to Love” and the vocal is by Steve Smith of Dirty Vegas.
As EDM continues to expand, we’re seeing a huge surge of new talent emerge. What advice would you give to up-and-coming DJs and producers who are trying to make a name for themselves?
Sultan: Put out a lot of music- make connections with people in the industry and most importantly pay attention to your fans!
Ned: Be original. Don’t worry what other people are doing; just believe in what you are doing.