Interview: Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano
On clubbing, collaborations, and more!

Dutch DJ duo Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano recently sat down with Joonbug before taking the stage for their Size in the Park set. Sharing the spotlight with superstars such as Steve Angello, Trent Cantrelle, and Tim Mason, Sunnery and Ryan revealed some exclusive details about future collaborations, clubbing, song inspiration, and much, much more:

You have a new single out with Nicky Romero next week. How did that all come to be?

SUNNERY JAMES: It started two years ago on a plane. We were on the same plane from Amsterdam to Toronto, and started working on a couple things, but nothing happened because we were so busy traveling and touring. Nicky sent me the file and was like “what do you think?” after putting some more beats on it. I told him that I thought it was finished! [laughs] Like, what we started on the plane was finished now! He was like “no!” and I was like, “no, really, this is done! We just need to put on some vocals and that's it!” We ended up sending it to a few guys – Axwell, Steve, Tiesto – and everybody started playing it! We were like, “maybe we should release it.” and that's how it started. Well...that's the short story, at least.

What inspired this new song?

SJ: When we started this new song, we tried to do something different. Different like...back to the basics. The drums, very different melodies, the rhythm and drums. That was the whole idea to start it, and it quite worked out, I think. It's a good DJ track, and everybody plays it.

You've wanted to work with Nicky Romero for a while now. Now that you can check that off your list, who's next? Anybody in particular that you're aspiring to work with?

SJ: Well, we have a lot of things going on already. We have a track with Sander, that we have to finish, Sander van Doorn. We have a track with Steve Angello that we have to finish...we're finally working with Fredde le Grande, which we've been meaning to do for about four or five years now, but we knew it was going to happen. We have a lot of old things coming out first that we didn't sign yet, we'll just have to see. We really want to do another collabo, you know? But, for sure we want to work with a lot of guys, Alesso, Axwell.

RYAN MARCIANO: We know all of the guys and have a good clique, you know? We always have fun together, and that's where it starts.

SJ: The thing about collaborations is that there's so much style and influence that if you put them together, you get bigger tracks. You get more influence from each other, like, “oh, that's nice!” so it's good to work together like that.

Thanks so much for speaking with us! We understand that you two are from NYC, what's it like doing a hometown show?

SJ: Yeah, we're both from the city, I have an apartment and Ryan has...hotel rooms in the city [laughs]

RM: Yeah, I'm always staying somewhere!

SJ: He's actually looking for a place now!

What's the difference between NYC shows and shows elsewhere?

SJ: New York has this...this outgoing vibe. They're educated. They know the music. They aren't just like, “okay, this is a hit from the radio, so we have to jump on it.” If they like the music – if they feel it – then they just go for it, and they have a lot of energy. I mean, it's almost the same as Amsterdam, but New York people are more outgoing, more passionate about the music. I think it's a bit of a culture thing as well.

Do you guys have a favorite place to perform?

SJ: I mean, we've been around the world so much. But club-wise, I'd have to say that New York is a nice place to play.

RM: Although, Brazil is great as well. Amazing, AMAZING clubs.

SJ: We played this big dark club like Pacha, in Brazil, with this gold bar. It was really amazing.

RM: Other than that, we don't really have one spot.

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring artists, what would it be?

SJ: Stay close to yourself. Do what you like, what you feel. Don't copy. Try to be...try to express yourself, who you are, and people will acknowledge you. Because it's like you're not doing someone else, you know? You do yourself, and then you will prove your point.

RM: You can copy someone, but in the end people are always like, “oh wait, that's not real.”

SJ: Exactly. Do your own thing, that's really it. If you have talent, stay true to yourself.

What's your favorite part about performing?

SJ: Wow. I think...annoying Ryan! [laughs]

RM: When we go out there, people are like...they look at you, and they really feel what you're doing. They're really having a good time. That's the best part: to make them feel good.

SJ: Technically, my favorite part is when you mix a record and it just fits so perfectly, and it keeps going for a couple of minutes. It's a really nice thing. I feel like it's foreign to me!

Is there a certain message that you are trying to get across to your fans with your music?

SJ: Always. We connect without talking, we just feel the same beats, the same vibe, and I think that's the most important thing. To bring a good vibe to a big crowd.

What should people expect when they come to your shows?

SJ: Everything! Expect a lot of drums, melodies, big songs – we're not afraid to play hits, but ours are a different style. And take your dance shoes, because we love to not only rage, but dance.

RM: Epic fun, you know? No aggressive music, just fun.