“WE DON’T FOLLOW RULES,” Dirtyphonics collectively admit. “WE CREATE THEM.”
On “Irreverence”, their forthcoming debut full-length for Dim Mak Records, the French electronic dance music quartet pens a new playbook for the genre. Merging heavy bass music, drum n’ bass, dubstep, and electro with grimy club energy, the group—Charly, Thomas, Pho, and Pitchin—can’t be pinned down. In fact, the album traverses the entire landscape of bass music, touching on each sub-genre while fusing it into one undeniably “dirty” amalgam. However, these pioneers wouldn’t have it any other way.
They’re just as quick to name-check Metallica and Korn as influences as they are to mention Daft Punk and Pendulum, and their beginnings were undeniably “rock ‘n’ roll”. Charly and Thomas met in 2000, while attending the same design school. They immediately began making music together. In 2004 they met Pho and jumped in the studio the next day with a boundless perspective that transmuted electro heaviness to the dance floor – Dirtyphonics was born. At the jump of 2008, they added PitchIn to the fold and expanded their collective aural palette even further.
“Most of us started by playing in metal bands,” recalls Charly. “Our sound was always meant to be powerful, high-impact, and precise. From the day we’ve started, we’ve challenged ourselves to create something new – we love to push boundaries.”
Dirtyphonics unleashed their debut single “French Fuck” on AudioPorn Records, which topped the Beatport chart reaching #1, and they instantly infiltrated the scene. Follow-up tracks “Quarks” and “Vandals” solidified the provocative outfit as a consistent game-changing entity with hyper-charged, unpredictable tempo shifts and the veritable genesis of “drumstep”.
“We’re French, we like to shake the establishment, and be provocative,” says Pho.” That was the point since we started. ‘Quarks’ and ‘Vandals’ were a new approach to blending genres. It was a magical moment and those tempo switches became a musical signature.”
From day one, heads turned rapidly, and they were tapped for high-profile remixes such as “WARP” from The Bloody Beetroots and Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”. Other sought them out as well including Marilyn Manson, Linkin Park, Benny Benassi, Excision, Datsik, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, The Crytstal Method, Nero, and more. Their remix work has appeared on labels including Atlantic Records, Mau5trap, Ultra, MTA, Virgin Records, Ram Records…
Nevertheless, “DIRTY”, the first single from the album, allows the perfect introduction to Dirtyphonics and their inimitable mystique. It’s a sexy, slithering dance epic that’s bound to get any crowd anywhere moving.
“The message is pretty clear here, and it gives us shivers to hear the crowd chant, “DIRTY”, along to the song,” Thomas reveals. “Being “DIRTY” is more than dirt or sex for us. It’s a way to be yourself—whatever that means to you. Feel free and feel good. When you come to our show or listen to our music, it’s all about freeing yourself and having the time of your life. Be geeky, be sexy, be extravagant! Be “DIRTY”!”
Then, there’s “Walk in the Fire”. Nodding to the individual members’ respective metallic fixation, the track blows open the walls between traditional heavy music and modern EDM. It’s a hyper energetic and explosive hybrid that illuminates how technically tight the group remains. You might just get burned the second you hear it.
Charly elaborates, “We used to play in metal bands when we were teens and we wanted to explore this vibe in a drum n’ bass environment. It’s definitely one for the mosh pits, and it’s going to smash through some barriers. Each song tells a story and you can definitely hear our signature sound and tempo switches.”
They’ve made being “DIRTY” a lifestyle. In 2009, they snagged the “Best Newcomer Producer” honor at the Drum & Bass Arena Awards. They headlined stages with everyone from Steve Aoki and Knife Party to Rusko and Skrillex at sold out shows worldwide. Over the past three years, they’ve become an international powerhouse playing the hottest festivals and clubs in every corner of the world. They proved to be standouts at festivals including Electric Daisy Carnival, Glastonbury, SXSW, Sziget, Pukkelpop and countless others. Their live show is a full-on sensory experience more akin to seeing your favorite band than a typical EDM act. They bring a level of energy that’s rare in modern music.
In 2013, they will launch their biggest North American headline tour to date with full blown production and an immersive set. It comes down to getting the crowd off. “It’s about what they feel,” PitchIn agrees. “We make music that we like. It has a lot of energy, and we like to tell stories. Each track has its vibe and theme. At a show, it blows your face off, and at home, you can geek out on details and things you might not hear on an oversized sound system. There are two ways to listen to our music. We want people to feel motivated for whatever it is they do.”
They undoubtedly will from the moment they decide to get “DIRTY”.