DirtyBoy: Dirtyphonics & Zomboy at Mysteryland USA [Interview]
This past Saturday, Dirtyphonics & Zomboy played on the bass-heavy Boat stage (pictured above) at Mysteryland USA. French-based Dirtyphonics are known for their refusal to be pinned down to one specific genre, though their style is always hard and full of bass and womp. The energy and diversity of their sound can be heard throughout Irrerverance, their album that was released in 2013. To produce the ten track album, Dirtyphonics collaborated with artists including Steve Aoki, Modstep, and Foreign Beggers. You can check out the full album on YouTube here:
During Dirtyphonic’s set at the Boat stage at Mysteryland, they held down clean transitions between a variety of genres– even between rock and hardstyle. Fans were definitely getting dirty in the crowd and enjoyed everything from drum and bass, dubstep, progressive house, and more.
Complementary but by no means the same, UK-based Zomboy‘s set had really strong dubstep throughout, playing new tracks off his forthcoming, breakout, cleverly-titled album, Outbreak. Fans of Zomboy who were at Mysteryland adored his heavy, heavy basslines that went full throttle and had them raging so hard heads may have exploded. The best part of Zomboy’s set was that it kept getting better– it started off hard and ended harder. Zomboy’s album won’t be out until August, but fans who just can’t wait should definitely check him out while he’s on his Outbreak Tour. You’ll see in the interview that fans will get to hear the tracks before they have been released. The day after this interview was conducted, Zomboy released a track with Must Die! that you can download for free:
It’s no surprise then that Dirtyphonics and Zomboy are actually good friends. Maybe too good. The artists arrived together to Mysteryland, just hours before they hit the stage. Sensible Reason was able to catch up with Charly and Pitchen of Dirtyphonics and UK native Zomboy as they arrived on site at the festival. Amidst joking about what their combo name would be (DirtyBoy or ZomPhonics???), I was able to get in a few questions and (semi)serious answers from these bass buddies– though mostly they just hijacked the conversation and asked each other questions:
Sensible Reason: Where did you guys just fly in from?
Charly, Dirtyphonics: We just flew in from Calgary. It was a pretty fun journey. We played the show and right after the last track we jumped in a car and drove 3 hours to Edmonton, took a flight here, and drove another 3 hours to get here. And now we’re ready to go!
Pitchen, Dirtyphonics: Yeah, showers are optional [when on tour].
Zomboy: You’ve got to live up to your name!… I still haven’t slept, I flew in from Atlanta. My flight was at 8am, and my set had finished at 4am, so I had just enough time to get back to the hotel. I was lucky enough to have a shower though.
Charly & Pitchen: You smell great!
Charly [to Zomboy, jokingly]: Tell us about your new album [Outbreak]. Do you have some sort of political message to send to the younger generation?
Zomboy [joking]: Yeah, it’s all about George W. Bush and his “outbreak.”
Charly: Ahhh, I see…
Sensible Reason: [New article title:] “ZomPhonics: The time Dirtyphonics interviewed Zomboy for Sensible Reason”
Pitchen [joking]: Seriously, there are 8 of you on stage, how do you do that??
Zomboy: Well, I’m a shapeshifter. No one knew this, I’m coming out now: I’m a shapeshifter.
Charly: So you wrote your album in a week in a half, how did that happen?
Zomboy: Shut up! Let her ask the questions!
Charly: Why don’t you [Zomboy] answer our questions and we answer yours?
Zomboy [sarcastically]: I don’t want to do that… I’m uncomfortable with that.
Sensible Reason: Okay, is there anything we should look forward to specifically for tonight?
Zomboy: I’m playing out pretty much my entire new album. It’s pretty exclusive– it’s going to be heard for the first time on this tour I’m on right now.
Pitchen: As far as we’re concerned, we were going to be playing Zomboy’s new album, but we never got it, so we’re going to have to play some tracks from Dirtyphonics. It’s a French act, they’re pretty cool you should check them out…
Zomboy: … I’ve had four shows on my tour so far.
Charly: So these tracks aren’t new new– they’re four shows old! I don’t know if I’m going to stick through your set…
Zomboy: … Well, I’m on tour for my new album, I’m just about to go on a 2 month bus tour ’round ‘Merica!
Sensible Reason: What is it about Mysteryland that you’re most excited about?
Dirtyphonics: We’re very fucking excited to be here today because it’s Woodstock, obviously you know, it’s ancient territory, and it’s great to be part of this piece of music history. Obviously when we grew up we listened to what our parents were listening to, like old rock and all of that. So, to be able to play here today we’re pursuing this thing but for a new generation, new generation of kids, new generation of musicians, a new kind of music; and it’s great to see that [45 years later] we’re still able to pull out those big ass festivals for everyone, whether you’re from America or Europe, which ever religion or color you are, we can all relate under the same umbrella of music and have this great positive energy.
Sensible Reason: Mysteryland is a festival that has been transported from Europe to the US. Are American and European festivals different and do you think Mysteryland had to blend the features of festivals for both countries in order to be able to bring it here?
Dirtyphnoics: Well, obviously it’s different because the crowd is different. The musical culture in the US is different from the culture in Europe because of the roots and where we come from. The reaction level is different also. We just got here so we can’t really tell so far, but we played at Tomorrowland and TomorrowWorld last year, so it’s a similar concept of a European festival being brought to the US market, and it’s great to see because every festival has a very specific personality and it’s great to see how it translates from a European environment and culture to the American one, so this will be the Americanized version of [Mysteryland.] Yeah, we can’t wait to be out there and play our music and see how the kids react to it and see what the production has for us. Unfortunately, there are a few clouds out there that are not looking too, too good but we’ll see how that goes… American grounds, European skies.
Sensible Reason: What was the muddiest festival you guys have ever played at?
Charly [to Zomboy]: [It’s] in England. Have you heard of this country, England?
Zomboy: Nope, never heard of it.
Charly: It’s like this weird island…
Zomboy: …With only some of the most influential musicians in the world.
Sensible Reason: Where did you guys meet?
Zomboy: Always on the road… When artists meet each other, it’s always on the road. They meet along the way and they become life buddies. And then they talk and make sweet love and music together.
On that very powerful note, Dirtyphonics had to get ready for their set, but I pulled Zomboy aside to ask him a few more quick questions about his new album and tour:
Sensible Reason: You’re just starting out your Outbreak tour, how is that going so far?
Zomboy: This tour is different than any other for me because it’s my first bus tour and it’s my own headline which is an incredible thing because, yeah, it’s mine. All my other artist friends started out by co-headlining and as supporting acts, and mine went straight in as a headline tour which is pretty amazing. We’ve gone really over the top with the visuals and production of this tour. Right now I’m not quite at the excitement level just yet, I’m at the nervous level because the actual production bus tour starts this Monday. I got here a week early to do 6 flying shows and then next week we start in Baltimore. And then we have one dress rehearsal day to nail it and then 2 months on the road, 5 shows a week.
Sensible Reason: How do you decide who you tour with?
Zomboy: I wanted to choose someone who would make the night a bit eclectic, a bit of everything so it’s not like a couple of people doing the same thing or doing the same thing as me. And also someone who was going to bring as much energy to the table as myself. My biggest grip with most artists and DJ is their stage presence: most people are so boring to watch. That alone can kill the buzz of an entire show. To have someone on stage for an hour, just standing there, mixing– it sabotages the whole show. So I chose my 3 supporting acts: Cookie Monsta, who is the main supporter, and TC and Eptic. TC is in the first half and Eptic is in the second half [of the tour].
Sensible Reason: Who is someone you really look to who has amazing stage presence?
Zomboy: This sounds so bad, but every single part of my influence normally comes from Sonny, Skrillex– in terms of music, stage presence. He was the sole reason I started writing music. I look to him, he’s a huge inspiration for me. I just watched him and was like, yeah this is what I need to be doing. He was kind of like my reference point.
Sensible Reason: What is your relationship with him? Are you guys tight?
Zomboy: Yeah, after our whole recent escapade… Did you hear about it? I released a song on my last EP which was apparently very similar sounding to one of his songs that he was just about to release. It was the first track of his album. Because we’re really good friends, so on the surface it’s like 2Pac and Biggie again. Deep down me and him are good friends. And, it was a great bit of publicity for me so I can’t complain!
Sensible Reason: How is it being friends with someone who is such a mentor for you?
Zomboy: It’s ridiculous. It’s surreal. The first time I met him I was like a little school girl. But as a DJ you have to play it cool. So you can’t act like you’re overly impressed, so I was like, “Yeah, hey, what’s up. [Giggles like a little school girl.]”
Dirtyphonics and Zomboy are as fun in person as their music. Totally unpretentious, goofy, and energetic, the three together are not only at ease, but can also totally take off with a slew of hilarious and sarcastic remarks. After getting a taste of Zomboy’s new album, if you’re into dubstep and a wild time, you definitely need to check him out on his upcoming tour dates. Likewise, Dirtyphonics throw down hard and will be hitting up a variety of festivals this summer, which you can check out here. Having Dirtyphonics and Zomboy play back-to-back sets at Mysteryland was a genius idea as these artists have a likeness in character yet difference in sound that is perfectly complimentary and it is definitely reflected in this quirky interview. I hope that maybe these guys will do a collaboration together in the future– it would either be totally unsuccessful because they’d be cracking too many jokes the whole time, or wildly awesome, bass-tastic, and rager-friendly. I’m going to say it’ll be the latter.
You can check out both Dirtyphonics and Zomboy at Electric Zoo this Labor Day weekend in NYC at the Hilltop Arena! More info here!