rom the rise of PLUR culture to the genre’s integration into the mainstream musical consciousness, modern electronic dance music has made its name on friendliness and inclusion. So it only seems natural that LA-based production duo Two Friends is on the fast track to success. Comprising inseparable besties Eli Sones and Matt Halper, the independent act has gained a reputation for infectious remixes and outstanding engagement with their fans—and 2016 is the first year they’ll spend making music full-time.
Two Friends started learning how to produce electronic music. “We didn’t have much vision at all,” recalls Sones, “besides ‘we’re second semester seniors, we have free time, let’s just fuck around and maybe we’ll come up with some cool stuff.’”
Sones and Halper met in middle school through a group of mutual friends who quickly became a tight-knit crew that endures to this day. “They called us ‘the Boyfriends,’” admits Halper. It probably wasn’t the best name for an EDM production duo--that aspect of Sones’ and Halper’s friendship only started towards the end of their high school career in 2011. Sones, who had delved into mashup culture but had little knowledge of music theory and still doesn’t play an instrument, asked Halper, a lifelong guitarist with extensive theoretical training, if he was interested in teaming up. “I never really had the inkling to produce, but [Eli] probably got restless with mashups,” Halper says. He agreed that joining forces would be fun, and a few months before they graduated high school, these
“It’s kinda nice that preferences of listeners all over the world have changed. They’re much more open to people trying different styles…”
“We started with just no expectations, which is actually probably a great thing, I think,” says Halper. “If we started with any expectations at all, we probably would’ve been frustrated in the
first two months, like we suck.” Adds Sones: “We had little expectations and little time pressure… we had four years ahead of us.” Those four years were their college experience; though Sones shipped off to Vanderbilt and Halper went up the coast to Stanford, they kept working regularly on their project. What started as a cool hobby slowly morphed into a legit music production operation
that began to pick up traction online and, eventually, on the radio. Their first breakthrough, with the accompanying realization that Two Friends had the potential to be a full-time venture, came when SiriusXM EDM station BPM decided to put their remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die” into regular rotation during the duo’s junior year. “We had kind of started developing a relationship with some of the guys who worked
at that channel because we knew it was an important one, and we had finished that remix, we sent it,” says Sones. “I think it was a matter of hours, we were just not prepared for it, he emails us back and he’s like, ‘We’re gonna play it at the top of the hour.’ I remember we were kind of freaking out because neither of us was home to listen to it, so I had to call my little brother and say get the video camera, sit in the car, make sure you get it, record the whole thing.” PERFORMER MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2016 15
Featuring Dressy Bessy, G. Love, Two Friends, Lake Street Dive and more.