Last Saturday we sat down with Space Race who recently released a track on Buygore records with KTRL and now they are touring together from Chicago to LA, stopping in seven states along the way. You guys may remember Space Race from our ‘Akira’ remix competition we hosted a few months back. You definitely know them from their first big release ‘Riot,’ which hit 100k on SoundCloud very quickly. These guys open up to our crew about their background, their production tools and some tips on how they got started in the music industry.
First, I wanted to ask you guys where do you come from and when did you realize you wanted a career in the music industry?
Matt: I started back in 2008. I used to live in LA and I went to EDC, bought an $80 ticket, three hours before the show. I was there, saw it all, and I was like, “damn I want to DJ.” Just being able to control the crowd with good vibes was something I wanted to do.
Dennis: We got into EDM different ways. Now Matt is our DJ, and social marketing coordinator, and I on the other hand produce all of the music we make. Its a different dynamic, but its worked out for us really well. I got started playing in little bars and clubs around Moscow. I lived in Russia for awhile and graduated high school there. I was making little trap beats and trap remixes around the time that RL Grime released his ‘Mercy’ remix. I started around 2012, listening to all the OG trap artists like RL Grime, Carnage, UZI, were my inspirations. Then later on I moved to Brooklyn, met Matt there and we started Space Race. The name Space Race comes from Matt being American, and me being Russian, so its a play on the cold war antics of the 50’s.
So you’re in Chicago for two weeks – that’s pretty dope. Why did you decide to drop three shows in Chi-Town?
Matt: So Adam from KTRL was like, “yo we’re going to book this show in Chicago, you should come out and play with us. Then we are headed out west to LA in a few weeks after this show.” So I was like, “Lets set up some other tour dates between the Chicago show and the LA show.” See I’m from LA and they have never been there so I was like, “Let’s just book shows and road trip it out there.” So Adam and I just busted our asses and booked a seven show tour with just us two, in states we have never even been to. KTRL is the group we just did the Buygore release with. It’s called ‘Mischief’. It was just us booking the tour. We didn’t use a booking agent.
What was the moment when you realized you were starting to progress in the music industry?
Matt: My first moment was when our song ‘Riot’ was picked up by the Trap channel at EDM.com. It got about 100k plays on Soundcloud, and it was crazy to see that cause I was just an 18 year old kid making trap, and it was great to see that return on a track that you just put a ton of time into.
Dennis: Then about a year ago Caked Up stole one of our tracks. Our ‘Some Chords’ remix. That was another huge thing. That’s always something that you joke about with your friends. “Caked Up stole another track…”
Matt: So basically they stole the arrangement (the idea) of the song. I believe, I truly believe the song that we did, that was ripped, was very unique. Nobody had thought of a sound like that before. Then to hear Caked Up upload a track that was almost identical was a crazy feeling because I had previously looked up to those guys. We didn’t want to be remembered as the guys that got their song stolen from Caked Up so we continued to innovate and come up with more original tracks. However, even though they stole our song we got mad publicity which was good. Then we got our Buygore release and that was huge. We would love to meet Borgore one day.
Dennis: Also, we have been getting big producers playing out our stuff. Brillz, Oliver Heldens, Dr. Fresch, they all have been playing out our stuff. Its pretty great.
The bass in ‘Akira’ is super cool. How did you make it? What was your inspiration for that track?
Dennis: I actually made ‘Akira’ in Logic 9 back when I was using logic. There was about 160 instruments on that track but the 808 was the main attraction. People asked, “how the fuck did you do that?” It wasn’t really hard to make but it’s something I wanted to do for awhile. It’s basically a pitch envelope on a sample. I used the ESX 24 which is the shitty stock Logic sampler. So I imported this Lex Luger 808 sample, distorted it and saturated it with Camel Crusher, I believe. But the main thing was the pitch envelope, that’s what makes that nasty sound. I added about 7 or 8 different plug-ins on that sample alone.
You guys have produced quite a bunch of styles of EDM. Do you think a producer should diversify and produce in a lot of genres, or dominate in one genre first?
Dennis: That’s a good question. We have experimented in many genres. I’ve made dubstep, deep house, bass house, trap, and future bass as well. EDM is weird man. People think you need to stick with a tightly wound brand to some extent I agree with that, cause it does make sense to have a recognizable sound. Making songs in these other genres has drastically improved my production skill level. Making house music has changed a lot for me, cause back when I started producing I was just making hip-hop instrumentals in Garage Band like every other fucking kid. Then I progressed into Logic, making trap instrumentals. So I always knew this Kick-Snare pattern, but then I tried making house music and it was very hard at first because you know, its a different tempo, different swing, different instruments you have to use. But being in that uncomfortable position has really made me comfortable with my programs. So back to the original question, I think a producer should diversify and make other tunes, but not necessarily release them. Maybe even ever release them, but you know, for me it has drastically helped me so I would recommend it but it might not be for everybody.
Would you call yourself EDM trap or a hybrid mix of EDM and hip hop?
Matt: I would just call us Bass Music. You’ll hear in tonight’s set that we play everything. MY set’s going to deep house, to tech house, to breaks, to trap, to dubstep.
Dennis: Our sets are super lively. We hate going to shows where they just play one style of music. It’s super boring.
Who is your favorite artist in the trap scene and who’s not getting a lot of attention?
Both: Um.. is playing a show at Webster Hall right now. It’s u-m-dot-dot. I don’t even know where they are from but they make really strange trap music. It’s sort of EDM trap, like Mr. Carmack. This kid Synymata, who we released on our label Basscvlt. His sounds and production are really innovative. He’s mixing bass house sounds into trap and it really cool to hear. Miramasa is also another dope artist. He’s one of the guys that got me into trap as well.
Tell us more about Basscvlt. Who made the decision to start the label and why?
Matt: Basscvlt is primarily my project. We started off as a collective with our friends. No one was really releasing the tracks so we just decided to make it a label. Madly, just released two tracks on our label. We also take open submissions, (firstname.lastname@example.org). We had Destructo, Martin Garrix, Dyro, and Joyride play out our artists tracks. This is basically a friends circle right now. Everyone is cool, and the guy we are staying with in Chicago, Madly is friends with our friends in NY and they run a label called Garage Vibes, which is very good as well.
All this just makes me happy. It seems like EDM is all about supporting each other unless you’re Caked Up.
Both: Yeah we agree. There will always be haters but that’s how it is.
I saw you guys played with Lil’ Jon…How crazy was that night?
Dennis: That was actually a pretty bad night. We were supposed to be the direct closers for after Lil’ Jon but in NYC some clubs allow other DJ’s to buy out spots to get “noticed”. So basically this other group paid $3,000 to play our spots and we didn’t get to play til really late, which sucked. However, these other guys played house music at a hip hop show and completely cleared the place out in 15 minutes. So we had to play for an empty club. So that sucked but we have played shows in NYC that are amazing.
Matt: We played the BangOnNYC! Parties and those are always great. We played on Halloween main stage with Louis The Child, and Salva. Then The Trap House out here in Chicago. Whew! That was probably one of the best shows, if not the best show we have played.
If you had the licensing rights to any song right now what song would you remix?
Dennis: that’s a hard question, but I would like to remix a song off Drake’s new album. Pop Style probably.
Matt: There are too many to choose from but if I had to go with a song, it would be Bohemian Rhapsody, however it would have to be a fucking amazing remix. Like you couldn’t release that if it sucked, people would burn you alive for it. Maybe Blink 182’s ‘What’s My Age Again?’
We want to thank Matt and Dennis from Space Race for sitting down with us and Sam aka Madly for letting us use his place as a mini venue to record this interview in. If you want to check out more from Space Race, check out their links below.