When it comes to talking about meteoric rises, Slander’s definitely comes to mind. Hailing from Orange County, California, the duo’s signature ‘heaven trap’ sound has rapidly established them as the reigning Kings of Trap. Derek Anderson & Scott Land’s nonstop hustle with creating tracks, whether it be sick remixes of Alison Wonderland, Showtek, and Jack U or originals New Monarchy & the Nuclear Bonds EP, have no doubt helped the duo become a mainstage mainstay on the summer festival circuit. One of the most hard working acts in the game and true testament to dedication to your craft and sound will reap rewards if you believe in what you do.
You guys created “heaven trap”, your very own distinctive trap sound. Can you describe it to people who may not be familiar?
Heaven trap is a mixture of trance and trap. Our roots began with trance as our first shows we went to were trance ones and first played trance as well. For us, we’re trying to bring that emotion back into trap music. Right now, the only emotion is to ‘turn up’. Its an emotion but it doesn’t give you the warm feelings inside like the feelings you get when you see artists like Above & Beyond and Armin van Buuren. They can pull shit out of you like no artist can and that’s what we’re aiming to do with trap music. We want to make people cry at the trap show.
You’re slaying it with originals such as your ‘Nuclear Bonds’ EP with NGHTMRE. We want to know how both of your creative flows came to be, and if you have any future plans to keep collaborating with each other.
NGHTMRE was in my class at Icon Collective, which is basically the Harvard of music production schools. We just collaborated simply because we were friends and that’s why we work so well together. Since our musical tastes are so aligned, we can finish tracks in twice the amount of time. The feeling is always right whenever we get together with Tyler (NGHTMRE).
What were you guys doing before Slander? Do you feel as if you’ve ‘made it?’
We met in college. We were in the same fraternity together and bonded over the facts we were both from Orange County and had a love for electronic music. There weren’t any prominent OC DJs at the time so we decided to become a duo and see what we could do just for fun. We knew we were never meant for the 9-5 type of life once we graduated, even though society and our university was telling us elsewise. Derek decided to finetune his skills even more at Icon Collective about 2 years ago, and now here we are today after five years together. I wouldn’t say we “made it” quite yet. We’re definitely on a good path right now and staying humble. When we’ve worked our way up to being #1 in the world, then I think we will feel we’ve finally “made it.”
It seems like everyone is a bedroom producer now. What advice do you have for those trying to break out of a very oversaturated market at the moment?
You have to make what you want to make, and learn how to make it correctly. Choosing to go to music school at Icon Collective is what changed everything for the better for us. NGHTMRE, Jauz, and MAKJ all went there too. We decided to treat it seriously and not as a hobby anymore. If you think you’re that serious about it, consider going to music school or something to that extent. You have to put in 10,000 hours to be good at anything. Its about passion and hard work – you must possess both.
Name an artist or two you’d want to do a sick back-to-back set with.
Skrillex, DJ Snake, and RL Grime!
The recent Zac Efron movie “We Are Your Friends”, where he plays an up-and-coming DJ, has been stirring up controversy in the EDM community. What are your personal thoughts on it? Do you think Hollywood will end up running EDM into the ground?
Here’s the thing – a lot of people are hating on it, but in a weird way its realistic. I feel like we’re a really good example of people who really wanted something and did the hard work it took to get there. And yes, regarding the “All you need is a laptop and one song” line, there are plenty of artists out there who got big off of only one song.We’re not going to name names but its an undeniable fact. If people were to accept this truth instead of hating on the movie and other petty things, the world would be a better place. Hating on it is also not going to stop it from being released. It’s still promoting EDM and promoting our scene, and its going to create more EDM fans. We know what this music can do and how it can change lives. If this movie can get at least one new person to come to a rave, we think that’s awesome.
We watched some live footage from your show… you guys bring it!! I know some DJs have trouble with stage presence and just the overall energy they bring to their live performances… Has it always felt natural for you guys to be on stage?
Scott: It’s safe to say we are always focused on crowd interaction and it was always natural… but time has definitely made it more smooth.
Derek: I’ve been performing on stage since I was young so I’ve never had stage fright and I feel at home in front of the crowd. I try to channel their energy and reflect it right back at them. We play every show like it’s the last show we will ever play.
So what’s it like coming up in OC as a DJ? What are some of the positives and the negatives?
Scott: Well, we actually both got into the OC nightlife scene back in 2010 when Hip Hop/Top 40 was still the main type of music that was being played in clubs. It was interesting to see the shift occur in OC but also made it difficult because there were plenty of other young DJs who we had to compete with for the few EDM shows.
Derek: OC nightlife is a very delicate scene. Parties rarely stick around for long. Coming up in OC helped create our strength in a way because we were forced to be very versatile so we could adapt to the changing environment.
Favorite track to play live?
Derek: “Red lips (Skrillex VIP Mix) because it has good vocals and the craziest drop ever.”
Scott: “I’m going to have to do a little promo for our buddy NGHTMRE because “Street” is a really sick song, coming out on Mad Decent in the middle of July. Skrillex basically premiered that track at Ultra and its finally coming out. It’s getting so much support so we think its gonna be a huge track!”