Get ready to rage, because PartySquad is in the house! Just in from Amsterdam, Jerry Leembruggen and Ruben Fernhout of the PartySquad are smokin‘ and blowing out tracks like #PANTSDOWN, and The Lion. They’ve recently shared the stage with greats, Skrillex and Major Lazer, and then to top that, they signed with the legendary Mad Decent record label. Joonbug sat down with the duo before they opened for M.I.A. at NYC's Terminal 5 this past Monday. They talked about current and future projects, breaking into the US market, and more:
Can you tell us a bit about your current projects?
RUBEN: Yeah, we've been releasing a lot of tracks through Mad Decent, Diplo's label, and have done two songs with Major Lazer. We've produced two songs on M.I.A.'s album, and we also have a track that's out now, it's called #PANTSDOWN, which is #8 on the BeatPort Top 10 right now, yeah. We're from Holland – Amsterdam, and we've been trying to get overseas to have a good time here, basically. Have fun, you know?
How did you guys get hooked up with Mad Decent?
R: Diplo reached out to us, almost...eight years ago, I guess. He saw a little video of ours playing back in Amsterdam, and we played an hour set. We played dance, house music, hip-hop, everything was very eclectic. And he said, “yo, this is exactly what I've been trying to do here overseas, we've got to stay in touch!” We met up when he came to Amsterdam and played him some music, and he was like, “yo, would you feel like doing an EP on Mad Decent?” So that's what we did, it was the latest of his electronic series, #10. All of our songs are reggae-influenced songs, and he was really into that. The idea came from Major Lazer, who's also into reggae, and we've stayed in touch.
What's been the biggest challenge in breaking the US market?
R: I think it's probably been the hardest to avoid that huge stamp that Dutch's have now. Like, a lot of guys are from Holland and really do well as DJs, but at the same time, that could be just a stamp, because we’re not in the same lane as Chuckie and Afrojack, so maybe that’s it. Other than that, we’re just having fun, and it seems to be going pretty nicely right now.
JERRY: I think it’s also because we really don’t stick to one style, like trance music or hip-hop music. We do everything. We’ll go and mix up everything for like, two hours, so that’s probably the biggest challenge. Bringing in new things, because people don’t really know about it.
How has your US tour been going?
R: Well, we’ve done 11 shows in the past month throughout the US, and four of the Mad Decent Block Parties, which was a huge experience for us. Sharing the stage with Flosstradamus, Dillon Francis, Skrillex, Diplo, and Major Lazer was so crazy! Hopefully, we can come back a bunch of times.
Do you guys prefer the bigger festival crowds or the smaller, more intimate ones?
R: Both, really. The intimate stages are really nice to connect more with the crowd, but the big festivals are somewhat easier as a DJ. A huge crowd is also really impressive, you know? But I like both.
J: I like the big festivals better. [laughs] Like, massive. When you see like, 10,000 people in front of you, you know you’re making it. They’re there because they love your music, and that’s really cool.
What’s been your craziest concert experience?
R: The huge festivals close to home as a whole are it [laughs] Even in such a small country, we have huge festivals, and the production is always so crazy. Every summer we do some festivals and I think those are the best experiences for us, you know? Just to see what it’s like being on the huge stage in front of what sometimes is 30,000 people. Like, you guys have Ultra, things like that.
You guys have remixed and collaborated with so many different people, is there anyone in particular that you want to check off your bucket list?
R: I don’t know…maybe just a genuine hip-hop artist? To persuade him or her to cross over on a tune with us? It’s such different music that we bring in this era, it’s possible to collaborate with these types of artists.
What’s next for you both?
R: We have a couple of new tunes coming up, and have our own label called Rebel Yard so we have new tunes coming out through there. We have a new EP coming out on Mad Decent with three new songs, so we’re excited for everything that’s going to happen in 2014!