Up-and-coming kings of the underground Bixel Boys make their Dim Mak Records debut with an innovative rework of Botnek and 3LAU’s collaboration “Vikings.” The Los Angeles-bred duo has been making major waves on their ascension to the top, touting their flavorful style of classical 90’s elements-meets-deep house vibes across the country with appearances at Electric Daisy Carnival, Splash House, SnowGlobe and HARD Summer. We caught up with Ian and Rob ahead of their Dim Mak release to chat about their history, productions and big plans for the future.
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Tell me about how you two met and began collaborating as Bixel Boys.
Ian) We met through a mutual friend and with our powers combined we became CAPTAIN PLAN — I mean Bixel Boys.
You guys are a product of the Los Angeles scene and continue to act as influential tastemakers throughout the city. How has Los Angeles influenced and inspired your music?
Ian) It’s an awesome collection of creatives all congregated in one place, it’s a great incubator for all of us and we love all the support that we get from those around us pursuing similar endeavors
Your musical styles range greatly from deep house and ghetto-tech to hip-hop and underground. How would you categorize your sound?
Rob) I don’t think that there’s just one way to pin-point our sound. It’s a bit of a musical exploration. We made it clear early on that we weren’t necessarily going to decide on a genre before starting any song. I think this keeps our minds fresh and makes producing a little more fun.
After less than two years producing and DJing as the Bixel Boys, you’ve grown from spinning at house parties to performing at festivals like HARD and EDC. What do you make of your meteoric rise to fame?
Ian) “Meteoric rise to fame ” is a WEEEEEEE bit of an overstatement haha we’re not popping bottles with Diddy, eating caviar on yachts in San Tropez or anything. Whatever small steps towards personal success we have made have come from hard work, everything from prepping different sets to every show, late nights in the studio, and hours of designing all play a part to what we do.
Rob) We also have a great team around us which can equate to some of that overnight success, but we still have a long way to go to achieve what we’re actually trying to do.
How do your sets differ when performing at smaller intimate venues versus on festival stages?
Ian) Festivals we like to make as much of a ‘ performance ‘ as we can and really take people on a musical journey, example this year at EDC we played everything from show tunes, disney theme songs, ACDC and tons of other surprises. I think more intimate settings allow us to read the crowd more and play more moody stuff to get people dancing instead of raving
You’ve been commissioned for official remixes of artists such as The Crystal Method, Architecture In Helsinki, Eliza Doolittle, Thomas Newson, Kayper and Kiesza. How do these remixes come together? What do you aim to bring to the table when reworking such well-known talent?
Ian) Sometimes we like a song, sometimes they approach us, its always different. We just want to be able to take the core of those songs and re-vision them thru our creative lens.
Rob) It’s about making sure that the essence of the original work is still apparent while putting the song in a different world. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. We go through a lot of different versions of things we remix before deciding on a direction.
Just this month you remixed Golden Features’ Tell Me featuring Nicole Miller and now you’ve put your spin on Botnek and 3LAU’s “Vikings.” Do you go into the studio with an idea of where you want to take the original tune, or do you let the ideas flow organically?
Ian) For remixes we tend to let the original dictate the direction we’re going to go.
Rob) For sure organically. We are blank slate producers i.e. no previous project copy/pasting. We tend to just start listening to the parts over and over again and solo’ing sections over random loops and samples until something jumps out at us.
Not only are you music makers, but you’ve also entered the world of fashion with your FREELIFE brand. Tell me about how this idea came together and how the unmistakable black jerseys caught fire so quickly.
Ian) We had a concept about viewing our peers and fans and ourselves as a team, and we wanted to create something that you couldn’t just purchase but you had to earn, so we designed the jersey ourselves and began to give it to people we respected, people really liked the design, the message, the fit and it took on a life of it’s own from there.
I’ve heard you’re launching a charitable arm of the FREELIFE brand soon, can you tell us a bit about that?
Ian) All of the pieces are still coming together but we can confirm that we’ll be linking up the Freelife brand with a charity very soon to start to give back, which is something thats always been very important to us.
What’s next for Bixel Boys?
Ian) more original tunes, gear, and ideas for everybody.