If you've been lucky enough to find yourself in the sun drenched climate of LA and have a soft spot for rooftop parties and quality house music, chances are you’ll have got down with Droog at one of their many celebrated Culprit parties. Luckily for us, Andrei Osyka, Brett Griffin and Justin Sloe have also been killing it this side of the shore, signing fresh releases from Matt Tolfrey & Inxec, Hot Natured, SECT and more to their Culprit label, as well as giving us a piece of the LA love at their fabric debut last year. For 2011, the boys have turned their hand to production - raising the game, they recently dropped the eerie techno gem, ‘Westbound EP’ on Crosstown Rebels- a track you’re garaunteed to hear played out, currently in boss man Damian Lazarus sets.
This Sunday, the boys will be serving up a piece of the birthday cake, for Kubicle's heady afterhours session in Room Three, joining Richy Ahmed, Three and Antonio De Angelis. Read on to hear all of Droogs latest news and as our final birthday offering to you before we all lose it this weekend, here’s a low-slung super sexy mix from the Droog boys themselves...
For those who don’t know, tell us a little bit each about yourselves?
Droog is three of us – Andrei, Justin, and Brett, though we are known to appear in various permutations. While we are “from” Los Angeles, we come from diverse backgrounds, and none of us were born and raised in that city. Andrei hails from Kiev, Justin is from Boston, and Brett is Texas. Funny habits are probably the most illuminating: Andrei can’t seem to keep from rubbing his face in a “I am slightly worried” manner (red light traffic camera evidence confirms this); Brett has what can only be described as thoroughly unhealthy relationship with Diet Coke, and is rarely ever without a Texas sized bucket of soda (aka “The Bladder Buster”). Justin’s most illuminating funny habit is one from his childhood; for years, he would rise early on Saturday mornings to listen to Casey Kasem’s “Weekly Top 40” keeping journal of the positions. Needless to say, he lives for filling out DJ charts.
What were your thoughts when you got the invite to our 12th birthday party this weekend, having made your debut at the disco a year ago?
We were thrilled, honored, and then slightly nervous, in that order.
Which of the birthday artists are you most looking forward to partying with? Whose dancefloor grooves can you not resist?
The lineup features so many of our favorites, it is hard to pick. We are all very excited to see Space Dimension Controller. His is a sound we have all, almost separately, been into. For pure dancefloor grooves, have to go with our homeboy Lee Foss. A set from him always moves the feet. We are expecting to continue to be well impressed by Richy Ahmed as well, who certainly made a name for himself (and may have stole the show) when he was last at our Standard party in August. Sadly, we will be missing Soul Clap.
2011 has seen you focus more on production work, tell us about how you hooked up with Inxec for the 'Westbound EP' on Crosstown Rebels and what were your inspirations for it?
We have definitely been focused on production, be it EPs or working on a comp. We have been blessed in that many of our favorite DJs and producers, whom we have booked at our Culprit parities at The Standard, often decide to stay on in Los Angeles for spell (it is the one upside to being so far away from everything in Europe). Our relationship with Chris Inxec grew out of a few extended visits to Los Angeles. All of us in Droog were well impressed by the breadth and depth of Inxec’s productions – we felt we just could not miss the opportunity to work with him. It is hard to say what was the particular inspiration for our EP. However, we definitely had the sound and feel of Crosstown Rebels, Damian Lazarus, Get Lost, etc., in mind during our work. We grabbed some vintage kit (another benefit of living in LA) and went to work.
In what ways do your musical tastes differ & compliment each other and how does this unfold when your're together in the studio?
As a trio, it is fair to say that we have an almost overwhelming amount of musical influences when we get into the studio – from Justin Sloe’s prodigious knowledge of old dance music (70s, 80s and 90s), to Brett’s eclectic sample libraries of krautrock and psychedelia, and Andrei’s passion for older groove (be it funk or R&B, just think “Imagination”). With all these influences, for us it makes the most sense for one or two of us to get the rough elements of a track going – an idea, a groove, a sample – and then finish the tracks together, tying in all of our different styles and influences around a relatively cohesive initial idea. It is what seems to work best for us.
What are some of your favorite stories from your Culprit Sessions on the rooftop and how will you be bringing a slice of the fun to Room Threes floor on Sunday?
Our fondest stories are about those unexpected moments at our parties. In one back in 2009 (memorialized on in Youtube video with some 50,000 views), Jamie Jones and Clive Henry were properly rocking the party. The wind (always a factor at our rooftop jam) blows the needle off of Jamie’s record, stopping the music. Surely the coolest cat around, Jamie smiles, quickly but calmly gets the music back up, and the crowd is back without seeming ever to have missed a beat.
The first party we ever played in London was for Kubicle back when the parties were at T-Bar. About a year ago, we had our first slot at Fabric. So now to be part of Kubicle and Fabric at once; it all seems to make sense. We are excited and quite honored.
What are your thoughts on the extended after hour sessions? What’s the longest you’ve gone for?
Yes, please. Since we are stateside, our longest benders are likely amateur status for Europe, as we cannot roll from club to club; there just isn’t any place to go but home! I am sure we all have some 36 to 48 hour sessions under our belt, but nothing like we have heard rumors of in London or Berlin.
How have you seen Culprit develop as a label since its 2009 launch, with big releases already from Matt Tolfrey & Inxec, Hot Natured, SECT (Soul Clap, Tanner Ross & Sergio Santos) and what’s your vision for it for it over the next five years?
We continue to be pleasantly surprised by the label, and would love to say it has all been planned … While we had a vision for Culprit - to get a nice blend of artists both local to California and abroad, with music that was different than what might be done by those artist elsewhere – the label has exceeded are expectations (for which we owe all of our artists many thanks). We would like to believe that our most recent release, “Above the City,” (which is thematically arranged from the beginning to end of a Culprit Sessions Party) is a sketch of the next five years for us: a unique sound (both overall and from particular artists), a blend of local artists and international friends, with music that pushes the vibe from afternoon to evening, and beyond.
You make an appearance on the brand new Rebel Rave CD out next month and will be touring with the rebels throughout November and December. Tell us about what it’s really like to be a part of the rebel roster and how are you looking forward to the tour?
Being part of the label and the roster feels like home, or like that year in high school when you finally fell in with a group of friends that are both as nerdy and as cool as you are. While the roster is full of many of favorite producers and DJs, it is also home to many of our closest friends (some of them are the same people) and many of our own label artists, so it honestly is a family atmosphere. To be included in Crosstown events as a part of the label and the agency is an honor, nothing less, and we hope to live up to the opportunity. For us, we see it as a chance for exposure in new cities and towns, as part of well-known brand with a reputation for sick parties. Oh yeah, we also get to party with some of the other people on the roster, which is a bonus.
We’re big on the fancy dress theme for fabric’s birthday this year. Are you be game for getting involved and what would you dress as?
“Fancy dress” really confuses us as Americans. We usually think ball gowns and powdered wigs. Having looked it up on the internet, we now realize fancy dress is a “costume party.” We have been working on a Los Angeles specific “Ed Hardy + fake tan” fancy dress, though it may be too subtle. In the end, we will probably all end up dressed as the police officer from “The Village People.” It just feels right.
What future projects do you have coming up for the rest of 2011 and beyond?
For us, the end of 2011 is production and touring. We are taking a short break from curating events in Los Angeles until our Culprit Sessions NYE at the Standard. In the meantime, Rebel Rave 2 (mixed by Droog) comes out in November on Crosstown Rebels. We have two remixes coming that will be coming out over the next few months (on Ken Gibson’s Adjunct label and on Noice!). We kick off 2012 with an Inxec and Droog EP on Audiofly’s Supernature label.