THEY. (Drew Love & Dante) – Nü Religion
THEY. – Bad Habits (Esta Remix)
THEY. – Back It Up (J-Louis Remix)
ZHU x Skrillex x THEY. – Working for It
L.A.-Based Duo THEY. Are So Much More Than Their ZHU and Skrillex Collaboration
2015 was a year that welcomed experimentation with open arms. Artists, both underground and mainstream, pushed against genre boundaries more than ever before, and their innovation expanded the palettes of even casual listeners. Los Angeles-based duo THEY. were newcomers this year, but they embodied this approach. Their music was forward-thinking but still accessible, masterfully blending aspects of rock, hip-hop, pop, and R&B.
Let’s start by getting into your background. How did you guys get into music? Were you long-time friends and if not, how did you meet?
Dante: I grew up in Denver but I moved out to L.A. a few years ago to start doing production. I initially came out to do a lot of pop stuff like Kelly Clarkson, Chris Brown, and even some random Nickelodeon stuff. When I was doing all that it was cool and I had some success with it, but eventually I got to a point where I didn’t really want to do that anymore. I had different aspirations for my career. So I kind of checked out of the industry a little bit.
Then one of my best friends who I grew up with in Denver introduced me to Drew, he had just moved out to L.A. from D.C. We were both still working on separate stuff and then eventually I showed him some of my more out-there lyrics. He heard them and instantly thought they were dope. He switched some things around and then it kind of organically turned into a project. The connection and energy were there. That was about a year ago, and from there we just kept grinding and working, to eventually drop the EP last month.
Drew: I started off songwriting too, with artists like Jeremih. I was more R&B and he was doing his pop stuff. Then when we were introduced, he started showing me some of his weirder ideas telling me like, “This is probably not that good but listen to it.” I listened to it and thought it was insane. So we made it a project.
You recently signed to Mind Of A Genius, home to artists like Gallant and ZHU. Can you tell us about how that deal came about?
Dante: I had been friends with ZHU for a minute. He was one of the first people I met out in L.A. because we were both just two dudes getting started. We started working on our own things but we still remained friends. I played him the project for probably the first seven or eight months we had been working on it.
One day, I randomly asked him if I could come by and play some new things for him. He said he was busy but was with David Dann—head of Mind Of A Genius label—so I rushed over just off some random shit. I played him like three songs and I think he was feeling it but he was kind of distracted, he was off to watch the Warriors game or something. Then 10 days later all of a sudden I started getting hit up by David and everyone telling me they wanted to be a part of it. Once we met everyone and we got connected, and the fact that I already had that relationship with ZHU, it just seemed like a really good fit. We connected on a really creative level....