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lectronic music is bigger than ever. 2016 was yet another huge year for genres such as trap, moombahton and dubstep, with artists such as Dillon Francis, NGHTMRE and Zed’s Dead really taking off. Based around digital tools and electronic instruments, the genre naturally has it’s base digitally - on the internet. Platforms such as Spotify, Soundcloud and HIVE make it easy for artists to upload their music straight from finishing a song and receive instant feedback. What I realized, is that this type of music lacks an analog platform. Yes, music is to be heard, not read, but there’s just something about sitting with actual paper and reading exclusive articles, interviews, and reviews. A kind of nostalgia. Yes, I google my favorite artists and even new artists, but I want to be fed knowledge. Fed insights, behind-the-scenes looks and new music to check out - and I know you do too. That’s why we launched this magazine - so that you, the reader can be kept up to date with electronic music without having to dig for relevant articles and recommendations online. Oh, and the name? We thought DROP Magazine might appeal to all of you interested in this sort of music. You know, because of the drop.

JONAS HAUGER Editor

jonas@hauger.dk


CONTENTS

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Issue 1

diplo

on DJ culture and exposure

page 6

6 DIPLO

- Interview with one of electronic music’s pioneers

12 5 TRAP ARTISTS TO WATCH IN 2017 - Focus on some of the most promising newcomers of the hard-hitting genre

16 NGHTMRE

- What do you get when you cross trap with dubstep?

19 SO YOU WANT TO BECOME A PRODUCER?

- Easy steps to get you started with producing.

Upcoming trap artists to keep an eye on - PAGE 12


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DIPLO “

Labels pay a lot of money for market research. I get it for free. Just give me an afterparty to DJ at.

T

homas Wesley Pentz, the 38-year-old DJ, producer and impresario better known as Diplo. His entire life is set up so he never stops moving. As he sees it, this is his moment, and if he slows down for even a minute, he’ll begin to kiss it goodbye. In 2015, two of his songs dominated radio and streaming-service playlists while sounding like nothing that had ever come before. Both were super-futuristic, vaguely tropical and built around top 40 hooks that would make Max Martin blush. Their common denominator? Diplo’s musical superpowers: a DJ-honed sense of what makes people move and a vast mental catalog of beats and rhythms from all over the world - from the Brazilian baile funk and Bollywood exoticism


DIPLO he mined for his early hits with M.I.A. to the Jamaican dancehall he absorbed as a teenager in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to the apocalyptic Atlanta trap that powers many of Mad Decent’s recent tracks. With partner Skrillex, Jack Ü’s ”Where Are Ü Now”, featuring Justin Bieber, helped Bieber shed his tween-idol baggage thanks to a song so unimpeachably stylish that even Kanye West couldn’t help but adore it. And his band Major Lazer and DJ Snake’s mega-hit ”Lean On” (with vocals by MØ) was even more surprising - an independent release with an unknown Danish vocalist that became an even bigger hit, racking up more than 400 million streams, with 1.7 million copies sold. ”Beyoncé is the only artist I’ve produced for the last year, because it’s more lucrative for us to make our own music now,” says Diplo, the words tumbling out of his mouth in a high-velocity mumble, as if his thoughts are moving just a little faster than his lips. ”When we put out a song with Beyoncé, cool, we’ll get a fee, we’ll get some royalties, but Beyoncé is going to make a billion dollars touring it. If I make a song and it’s my song - like ’Lean On,’ - we’re going to make money off the synchs, Spotify and we get to headline festivals on it. That’s the model I want to explore.” ”Diplo has a businessman’s mind with a creative soul,” says Scooter Braun, Bieber’s manager and a buddy since the two met a decade ago at a music festival in Norway. ”He always has said to me, ’You never really know when your moment is going to end, so you’ve

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got to seize the moment.’ His moment just continues - and it’s because of that mind-set.”

PLAYING THE DJ GAME

A little more than 10 years ago, Diplo began gaining attention as a Philadelphia-based, DJ-producer - mostly through his work with then-girlfriend Maya Arulpragasam, aka M.I.A., and the underground parties he threw with a friend under the name Hollertronix. He had moved to Philly for college, where he began DJ’ing and running a side gig selling rare vinyl to producers like DJ Premier and a young Kanye West. But his roots are in South Florida, where his dad ran a bait shop and his mom worked in a supermarket. ”The three things I’d hear were Miami bass, reggae and heavy metal,” he told Billboard in 2014. ”I still wonder why anyone would listen to any other music.” Diplo’s own take on the EDM scene is even harsher. ”The DJ world is the corniest fucking group of people,” he says, shaking his head. ”We’re not celebrities, we’re not famous for any good reason. We’re just... really lame. Besides people like Dillon Francis, who makes fun of the whole thing, or Calvin Harris, it’s a sinking ship. It’s a really lame culture. I’m sad that I’m part of it, but I play the game.”

>>


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MUTUAL ENDORSEMENT

In the nine years since his first major hit, M.I.A.’s ”Paper Planes,” Diplo has gone on to produce for an entire MTV Video Music Awards’ worth of artists - from Usher and Chris Brown to Madonna and, especially, Beyoncé. Working with her remains a big deal to Diplo, who is credited on two Lemonade tracks: ”Hold Up” and ”All Night.” ”She’s one of the only artists who can culminate a body of work so concisely,” says Diplo. ”Nobody does that anymore.” Like everyone else, Diplo heard his tracks in context for the first time on the HBO special. ”I was like, ’Oh fuck, this all makes sense.’ ” (There’s one other surprising artist he’s dying to work with: ”I’ve been stalking [country singer] Sam Hunt. I think he can go multiformat in the Taylor Swift way.”) With the Bieber collaboration, Diplo demonstrated just how valuable his endorsement can be. ”Justin came to Vegas one night when I played ’Where Are Ü Now. He had just turned 21, and he

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was like, ’Yo, man, I want to thank you, because this is the first time I’ve ever had adults clap for me. This is like a big deal.’ You think about that, and yeah, he was kind of like a clown on a pedestal. People just like picked on him.” ”The value goes both ways,” says Braun. ”Justin brought a massive amplification of what Diplo does. And Diplo brought Justin a level of credibility that we needed at the time.” ”I think it’s hard because Justin wants to be cool,” adds Diplo. ”And he’s a music fan. He loves pop music just like he loves rap music. We did like five rap songs you’ll never hear. And if you were 18 or 19, can have any girl you want, have all the money you want? Fuck, I would be a lot fucking crazier than him. I mean, I’m 38, and I’m just finally maturing now.”


DIPLO

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Of course, you would know a lot of this if you followed Diplo on Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat, where he was an early adopter and a master of the form. His relationship to Snapchat, especially, is a perfect illustration of the holistic, swirling, everything-feeds-everything-else nature of the ever-expanding Diplo Inc. Two years ago, Diplo and his team invested in a round of Snapchat funding - and Diplo’s and Snapchat’s stars have risen together ever since. ”Snapchat’s the place where people are hearing and learning about culture,” he says. ”This hat I’m wearing?” - he points to his head - ”It’s not even real, it’s just a demo. But I put a picture with this hat on Snapchat, and kids are asking, ’Where can I get that?’ And if, like, Kendall Jenner puts our music on there? Sales go up immediately. It’s crazy.” Partly because of his kids, whom he’s raising with his ex-girlfriend Kathryn Lockhart, Diplo insists that he’s growing up. But that doesn’t mean he’s done stirring things up on Twitter, like when he accused David Guetta of ripping off DJ Snake on a recent single. ”Guetta’s always been so fucking nice to me, to be honest. But I’m just into the anarchy of it all” says Diplo. by JONAS HAUGER

DIPLO FACTS

FAMILY: Thomas Wesley Pentz

on November 10, 1978 (age 38) in Tupelo, Mississippi to parents Barbara Jean and Thomas Pentz. He has two sons; Lockett Major Wesley Pentz from 2010 and Lazer Lee Louis Pentz from 2014.

ALIASES: Wes Gully,

Diplodocus.

GRAMMY AWARDS:

- Best Dance Recording for ”Where Are Ü Now” with Jack Ü and Justin Bieber. - Best Dance/Electronic Album for ”Skrillex and Diplo present Jack Ü”


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FIVE

ARTISTS

Some say trap is on retreat, and even if the aggressive, bass-heavy and hard-hitting genre is not as popular as it was when first introduced by names such as Keys N Krates, Diplo and RL Grime, some artists do their part in reviving and refreshing the genre. The following artists made themselves noticed in 2016, and will likely make it even bigger in the year to come. by JONAS HAUGER

• KRANE

The artist formerly known as KRNE, recently altered his name to include all vowels to help clarify the pronunciation. Either way, this dude was one of 2016’s highlights. He kicked off 2016 by releasing the critically acclaimed ’Debris EP’ for free with instant bangers such as ’Ascension (feat. Exyle)’ and ’Daylight’. This guy will for sure get even bigger in the coming year. KRANE

• BOOMBOX CARTEL

These guys were one of 2016’s biggest experiences with their smash-hit ’Supernatural’ (feat. QUIX & Anjulie) being the absolute highlight. ’Aftershock’, their collaboration with NGHTMRE, was another, which they later released a VIP remix of. They celebrated Halloween by releasing the much anticipated monstermix entitled Dia De Los Muertos Mix. Huge name to follow next year. BOOMBOXCARTEL

BOOMBOXCARTEL

KRANE


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TO WATCH IN 2017 • EKALI

Though Ekali can’t really be considered a prospect, as he’s already been in the game for nearly a decade, his emerging into trap has really been taking off lately. Last year actually kicked off with dubstep superstar Flux Pavilion releasing a tribute track to Ekali and culminated with him playing the main stage at Coachella. I especially recommend checking out his remix of Flume’s ’Smoke & Retribution’. EKALIMUSIC

EKALIMUSIC

• ANDREW LUCE

An artist to be considered a prospect though, is teenager Andrew Luce. Just 18 years old, Luce already has several years of producing behind him. He is most known for his huge hit remix of Kid Cudi’s ’Day ’N Nite’ from 2014, but last year saw him releasing a huge collab with MYRNE entitled ’Rebound’ - even through his own newly-founded label, DARUMA. ANDREWLUCEMUSIC

• BRO SAFARI

Nicholas Weiller aka Bro Safari is one of the most prominent names to reinvent trap as we know it. His famous spooky, haunting style became extremely popular last year with hits such as ’Spooky’ feat. DJ Craze being his biggest hit. He also collaborated with Boombox Cartel on 2015’s smash-hit ’Flip’. Don’t miss out on this Bro, bro. BROSAFARI

BROSAFARI

ANDREWLUCEMUSIC


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Ever since the young producer’s “Street” single was debuted by Skrillex at Ultra 2015, Tyler Marenyi stole the spotlight and never looked back. From melodic future bass anthems to bass-heavy trap bangers, his diverse catalogue has landed him cosigns from just about every big name artist in the scene: Diplo, Skrillex, Bassnectar, Porter Robinson, RL Grime… this list goes on. Fusing dirty south hip-hop & dubstep influences with a refined, organic, hard hitting trap and future sound Tyler has his own unique style. We spoke with the man himself. Congrats on releasing your debut NGHTMRE EP! What was the inspiration behind this project? ”When I started producing as NGHTMRE I was writing a lot of original music but wasn’t really releasing much of it. I wanted to make sure that when I did put out an EP, it would be a cohesive project that made sense altogether. “Hold Me Close” and “Burn Out” I actually wrote two years ago. The other tracks slowly developed as I started playing shows and touring. They all sounded great, but at the time I knew they weren’t completely finished yet. Finally I ended up narrowing the project down to the six tracks that, I felt, complimented each other the best. I wanted the EP to have a lot of different styles on it but, at the same time wasn’t too out there and detached.” How would you describe the NGHTMRE sound? ”I try to keep things super high energy, while still maintaining musical integrity. In other words, if you broke down the song into just piano keys it would still sound good. I grew up playing instruments, so I always try to keep things very musical which is why the future bass side of things is so awesome and exciting to me. Of course I grew up in the south, so there was also a lot of hip hop beats I listened to all the time. That’s how I ended up getting involved in the trap world.” NGHTMRE

NGHTMRE


17 You’re all about pushing boundaries with your music. Where’s the NGHTMRE sound going next? I don’t exactly know where I’m trying to innovate towards. There are still a lot of depths of the music world to be explored, just keeping that in mind while writing music is important. Most of the time I’ll go in with one idea and come out with something completely different. That’s how I produced “Street” – purely through experimentation. Just by going through samples you can find an infinite amount of inspiration, it’s crazy. Being at the forefront of the trap scene, how do you feel about the current state of the genre? ”Trap music is rooted in hip-hop – and while rap has obviously changed and developed over the years it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere soon. That’s why trap has a little more staying power than a lot of the other genres that have come and gone. So I think the scene is doing super well. I’ve traveled internationally a few times now and people go just as crazy overseas as they do here.” You’ve got a ton of collaborations lined up. Why is collaboration important to you as an artist? ”I like to write a lot of different types of music and collaboration really gives you the opportunity to step away from your comfort zone and do something weird and new. Anytime I collaborate with another producer I always learn something from them. Even if the music doesn’t come out in the end it’s worth it every time.” Who are some artists that you’d love to collaborate with, that you haven’t yet? ”Either Skrillex or Diplo would be amazing. I’ve talked to both of them about it but we just haven’t had the chance to do it yet. They’re obviously both incredibly busy so it’s hard. RL Grime is another one, that would be the dopest. I’d also love to collab with a good vocalist like Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers or someone like that.” What’s the quintessential banger right now? ”That Yookie edit of Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites goes off every time. Bottle Swervice by HeroBust is hard as fuck. I have an edit of Gangster’s Paradise & Febreze that goes pretty hard too.” And finally - what’s the best thing about what you do? ”I just love making music. It’s my favorite thing to do. Also being able travel is amazing. I’m super grateful to have the opportunity to meet interesting people all the time and share my music with the world.” by JONAS HAUGER


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SO YOU WANT TO BECOME A PRODUCER?

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5 STEPS TO ACHIEVING YOUR DREAM

STEP 1: CHOOSE THE RIGHT DAW

A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is your platform of choice for making music. Some of the more popular ones are Logic Pro, Ableton Live and FL Studio. They’re all great and do pretty much the same, but if you wish to work on both a Mac and a PC, choose Ableton, as it’s the only DAW that’s native on both platforms. Watch (a lot) of tutorials to get familiar with the software.

STEP 2: GET A MIDI KEYBOARD!

Whether you play piano or not, MIDI keyboards are the perfect way for translating melodies from your head to actual music and for fiddling with different sounds. MIDI keyboards come in many sizes and price ranges. If your budget is limited, I recommend the AKAI LPK25 which can be purchased for less than €60.

STEP 3: LEARN MUSIC THEORY

Basic music theory is essential in composing music. Learn about chords, the circle of fifths, phrasing, different keys and harmonics. The internet is your friend.

STEP 4: MAKE YOURSELF NOTICED

Major key in becoming a respected producer is being noticed and, more importantly, heard. Get your tracks out there. ’Out there’ being the internet. Soundcloud is a great platform for uploading your tracks and connecting with other producers. Other forums such as reddit are also amazing for networking and sharing your work.

STEP 5: LAY DOWN SOME TASTY BEATS, FAM! Full guide available at www.dropmagazine.com/producer-guide


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