What was once dubbed “gay people’s music,” house/dance music is the signature sound for mainstream America as top artists and performers incorporate its high, synth tempos, deep bass, heavy drums, syncopated melodies and funky rhythms into hits that are driving pop-culture. From hip-hop to pop and R&B, dance music is raking in millions for artists and DJ’s. Everybody is getting paid, and the fans are only getting bigger as many are crossing over to experience the hype. No one would know that more than the EC Twins who not only have been credited “for the boom in Electronic Music in the U.S.A.,” but they have had many successes including a remix for super-duo LMFAO (“Champagne Showers”) and the resurgence of 90s Dance star CeCe Peniston, who was at the top of her game with smash hits like “Finally,” “We Got A Love Thang” and Keep On Walkin.”
When you experience an EC Twins set, their deejaying skills and selections are rivaled only by their own personas. And to top it off, “you don’t often see doubles in the DJ booth. Not just DJ’s and producers, they are trendsetters with an attitude and style many would interpret as bitchie. But when you get to know them, you would realize that the attitude comes from self-determination and years of struggles. They’ve had to prove themselves over and over again. Life didn’t come easy, they were poor and finally crawled their way to success. So why should anyone else get off lightly?!
Now that they’ve reached a pinnacle of success, the Twins know that keeping that success takes constant practice, re-inventing themselves and staying way ahead of the “trolls,” as they would put it. So, “I chose to give them a cover feature because they were two good-looking twins who were not only talented, but they know what struggling means and have talent to back-up the B.S. that constantly try to rival true artistry.”
Most people can explain explicitly what their love or passion is for why they do what they do. For example, a dancer could say “when I dance, I transcend into my own state of euphoria.” What experience do you feel when you’re at the height of your game (artistry)?
Honestly, we’re just relieved that we don’t live in the projects anymore and are finally doing what we love for a living instead of the dead end jobs that have been our only alternative. Our 2 most identifiable emotions are infinite gratitude to the fans for making everything we do possible and fear that we could end up back where we came from.
How would you describe your style of deejaying?
High Energy, Emotional, improvisational and interactive.
So how’s the love life? What’s your type? What peaks your interest?
It’s hard to decipher a real connection from a potential DJ groupie or a gold digger nowadays, so it’s safest to love the music first and the personal stuff is way down on the list of priorities for us. House music is our bitch. We do like exotic brunettes though… Different races are interesting to us!
If you weren’t getting paid to DJ or create music, would you still do it?
Yes of course, we’ve done this our whole lives and only recently made a career out of it. Music has a very cathartic effect on us, it helps to heal old wounds or find reason in them. Everyone loves music, but we love it with a passion that is reserved for only the true obsessives. After Eye Candy (our club night) we had a period of time out of the scene, trying to get legal immigration status in the USA, we lost everything in the process and became homeless. We still managed to produce a track thanks to friends and practiced in one way or another every single day.
We know that sometimes entertainers create a persona that’s not their true self… What are the elements that make up who you are and is the persona and you as a person one within the same?
It’s a good question. The truth is The EC Twins and Marc & Allister Blackham are the same people, but in private Marc & Allister are very low key. The EC Twins are like our evil quadruplets, they just come to life the minute the music starts. It’s not a conscious decision, once the beat starts, something inside shifts gear and those two lunatics take over. It’s not a choice; it’s not a created persona. It’s probably a symptom of schizophrenia.
Were there ever a time when you doubted who you are or what you wanted before your current successes?
Everyone doubts themselves; every single person has their own Demons. Because of our personal journey and our humble beginnings, our insecurities are probably exaggerated a million times more than other artists. But that’s why we work so hard and why we connect so personally with our fans and appreciate our careers and what house music has given us. It’s the reason why we approach every performance as if it is our last. Our whole lives we’ve dreamed of being involved in the music industry, we never decided to be DJ’s; that part was organic, but now it’s here and we don’t ever want to do anything else. This is everything to us.
What is your most memorable experience while deejaying at nightclubs and events?
For us the memories all began whilst running our first ever club nights Eye Candy in Edinburgh. They shaped our understanding of the entire industry from an artistic perspective and from a business perspective, so they’ll always be cherished. Other than that, the connections with the crowd that can’t be tracked down to one moment or even one night are all fond memories. It’s like a universal connection between us and all these beautiful strangers, some of whom don’t even speak the same language, yet somehow through the music you connect on a deeper level. That’s the memory that we fall asleep to every night, which wakes us up every morning. It’s much more fundamental than one particular superficial moment, it can happen whilst playing to 100 people or 100,000. It’s the same feeling that leads to the same memory; a feeling of unity. We live and die for that sh*t.
Of all the acts you’ve worked with… who can you say was or is the most enlightening as far as artistry is concerned?
It wouldn’t be fair to pick one, because we’re surrounded by so many talented artists right now, with diverse and inspiring personalities. Paul Oakenfold and Dirty Vegas were the first big boys to reach out to us and it’s nice to have friends like Dimitry Vegas and Like Mike too, because we’re in a similar peer group. Other than that, look to the answer to your next question for all the great artists we’re currently collaborating with.
Tell us about your upcoming projects?
Our next release is an EC Twins remix on Ultra Music for Black Boots “Sex Cult” and we’ve been through a huge period of collaborations recently. A few things are coming up with some of our personal favorite, underrated producers that we managed to stalk down to work with us. Projects with Bass Kleph, Dmitry KO, Plastik Funk, Reece Low, Darrigo and so many more are in the works. We’re in the zone right now! It used to take us a month to finish a track, whereas right now we can bang one out every day. We’re really excited for our 2014 releases.
What is your perception of the progression of dance and electronic music in North America? Where do you see it in the next 5 or 10 years?
It has become the biggest cultural shift in modern times. The current electronic music scene is “Flower Power” for the ‘Millennials’ and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. The kids are all in to it and will carry it in to their adulthood, so it’s a long, fun ride ahead. We’ve been credited with playing a big part in the US growth that has led to the global phenomenon and we intend to play a pivotal role in shaping the next chapter. In terms of the sound, we see a shift in to real songs right now, but it really won’t matter. Good music is good music and we’ll be at the forefront until our last breath.
Remixes and nightclub appearances are the bread and butter for any DJ. And successful remixes help build a DJ’s status, provide more work and opportunities. Which of your projects would you say was the most successful (in overhaul experience), and what was the most important lesson learned from that project?
There are three different projects and three different lessons: One, “Little White Doves” – Dirty Vegas (EC Twins & Remy Le Duc Remix) – The Success: It’s still the cult classic for die hard EC Twins fans. Lesson Learned: A big room progressive track won’t get relevant exposure on a deep house label. Two, “You’ve Never Seen” – EC Twins & CeCe Peniston – The Success: It introduced us to a global audience and garnered respect from Hardwell, Tiesto, Chuckie, Snader Van Doorn and more. Lesson learned: Have a follow up ready to go! And three, “Set The World On Fire” (Groove Cruise Anthem) – EC Twins & Kalendr Feat. Koko Laroo – The Success: This record is still growing and finding an audience and is being added to radio station playlists every day. Lesson learned: It’s great to put stuff out on your own label, but the exposure from a big label is always helpful if you can get a chance.
What are your top 7 party venues and why?
We like the Marquee in Las Vegas because it started the “Electronic Music Only” policy in Vegas clubs. Create in LA is our current favorite venue in our hometown. Of course Eye Candy in Scotland because it was our baby and saved us from a life spent living in the projects and working in a dead end job. We like Tommorrowland in Belgium because it represented hard in Europe. We like Osheaga Festival in Montreal because of the fact that it’s a fresh indie festival with room for huge growth, Hard Rock in San Diego because we’ve spent so many pivotal dates playing there (including Halloween and New Year Eve) and anywhere we play in the future because we’ve only just begun our journey.
If you could mentor any young man or woman out there wanting to get into the music business, what are five things you would tell him/her to look out for?
If we’ve noticed one mistake from a lot of our colleagues whose careers had not lasted as long as ours, it’s trying too hard to please the critics. One minute they’re smashing big rooms with their sounds, the next they’re in a back room playing “Afro Latin Tech” or some sh*t because the trolls got into their heads and turned them into snobs. Not that there’s anything up with “Afro Latin Tech” if it’s in your heart, there’s something up with changing what’s in your heart to please a bunch of tossers. F#ck the critics and f#ck the experts. Go out there, work really hard, don’t feel entitled to anything, be unarguably great at what you do, hold your head high and please yourself. Don’t apologize for doing what you love. The crowd will speak with their attendance and the trolls will hop on board when you’re a big success because they’re f#cking sheep’s beneath it all. Beware the trolls!
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Copyright 2014 USL Magazine