Article | Onlythebeat

Behind the Beat: Two Friends

Thursday, February 23, 2017
Alex Blake

Joining Matoma and The Aston Shuffle at New York City's Terminal 5 for their 'Out of Love' Tour, Matt and Eli, better known as the DJ/production/bootleg-maestro duo Two Friends, delivered an energetic set packed full of unreleased projects and brand new tracks. These two have been on an explosive rise in their career since they sat down with Only the Beat about a year ago during Miami Music Week, and it looks like the have no intention of stopping. With their recently released singles Pacific Coast Highway and Out of Love dominating the charts, and DJ's like Tiesto and The Chainsmokers playing out their hit remixes of The Killers' Mr. Brightside and Blink-182's I Miss You, these guys are positioned to take 2017 by storm. Two Friends' catchy bootleg mashups, electronic-influenced pop remixes and their incredible sets drew me in, so we did a follow up interview with the guys below, checking up on where their career has gone since we last spoke and what they have in store for us in the future! OTB: So this is your first time playing Terminal 5? Matt: First time to see it, play it, everything. OTB: And you're playing in NEW YORK right? I'm just giving you a hard time about saying "what's up Chicago!" to the crowd, I thought you were trolling. Matt: Ohhh man [laughs] OTB: Was Chicago where you were coming from or where you're going to? Haha Matt: As soon as I said it I was like, Eli…whoops. Because you can't really hear yourself on the mic behind the decks and then in my brain I was like, I definitely just said Chicago. Our agent eventually came up and said you said Chicago three times...[laughs] OTB: Last time we spoke with you guys was last year at Miami Music Week (MMW). You guys have released a ton of music and have made some pretty huge leaps in your career since then. What are some of the highlights? Matt: It's been a big year, right before MMW we put out our first original for a long time, Forever, which did really well. We did a bunch of remixes, some official, some bootleg, and those started popping more and more and then we hit another single that's doing well. And we signed another single that came out this Friday and another one two weeks ago. OTB: So, you guys have definitely been building. Eli: I actually remember when we were talking to Shendy and telling her that we were sitting on a lot of music and just finding the best way to release it and finish it all up. This year has been a lot of putting out all that music that we had done. OTB: Was this tour the culmination of all that work since that last time we spoke? Matt: Totally, this tour we're playing a lot of new and unreleased stuff which is always fun in some ways because no one knows the vocal yet, but no one can really sign along or anything… [caption id="attachment_39462" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Two Friends and Matoma at NYC'S Terminal 5. Two Friends and Matoma at NYC'S Terminal 5[/caption] OTB: Well, eventually they'll grow on the audience, I'm sure. Do you guys have any plans after tonight? Matt: We have a couple weeks off after today. Eli: Which is VERY, VERY necessary… Matt: [Laughs] Yeah for sure, it'll be great to spend some time in LA. Our first bunch of international stops, like in the Bahamas and Spain, will happen after that and then like a million stops in April throughout the U.S. OTB: You guys have been building and building on your career, do you feel like you've made it? Or was there a moment that struck you as if you'd made it? Matt: We still don't feel like we've made it. We've made progress. OTB: But, you guys are at least living on the dream of making music.

2F Big Bootie Mix, Volume 10 - Two Friends

Matt: Right but when you make the step, you always want to get to the next step and never sit back and think… Eli: This EP has been…it's had a lot of hit songs on this one and it was a nice way to get out a bunch of the music and have it all connected together. Matt: To answer your question, the first time hearing our songs on certain radio stations while driving… Eli: Or certain DJ's playing our tracks... Matt: When we're playing a show and everyone is singing your lyrics… Eli: We had a couple big DJs closing out festivals with our tracks. Tiesto recently did our Mr. Brightside remix... Matt: Yeah, we get like 10 new snaps from his shows. The Chainsmokers are bumpin a lot of our stuff, but mostly the Blink 182 remix. Eli: Even tonight is one of those moments, at Terminal 5, this is one of those places we never thought we'd be playing. OTB: So it dawns on you like "whoa, we're here now" but you guys keep looking forward. Has there been a point where everything wasn't on the rocket upwards, where you've been really frustrated with your career? Matt: I think everyone feels frustrated in this career at some point. Everyone does this so much and puts so many hours into it, you're like "why can't a label just do this?! Why is this promoter such a jerk?!" So there's a lot of stuff, but you just have to get past it. You have to worry about what you can control. Building a good team is what's important, if everything is on you, it can definitely get to be too much. OTB: You're definitely not at the end of your game. Where is Two Friends going in the long run? Matt: There's two ways to go right now, the European DJ type thing or the more radio pop type thing, but you know, there's cross over. We're more on the radio side. We write a lot and we love pop remix stuff. From that angle, wherever pop goes, we'll follow it in our way. Eli: Also, just to be able to keep doing this as long as we can. Keep doing more shows, more new places, more new cities... Matt: Collaborations… Eli: I think we're on a really good path and we just need to keep it going and keep the momentum up and we'll be happy. OTB: We were talking earlier about your new releases. You just released 'Out of Love' and 'Pacific Coast Highway'. Both of the tracks are collaborations and outstanding songs. Do you ever find it difficult working with a collaborator? Eli: The ones that we've had have all been amazing. It's always great working with these people. Max from Pacific Coast Highway is just a homie. It was great working with him and getting to know him better and becoming a friend. Same with Brandon and Molly from 'Out of Love'. That was so organic. They live in L.A., we went over to their apartment, wrote the song in a day, produced it out, and it was just like that. In particular, that track was probably the most natural and pain free collaboration we've done.

Two Friends ft. MAX - Pacific Coast Highway

Matt: At the same time though, you do so many sessions and stuff and at first, it's so weird. You don't even know the person a lot of times and you're doing these emotional lyrics with them. It's like you're both naked for the first time meeting you. [LAUGHS] Eli: We like to good cop, bad cop it too [laughs]. If someone says an idea we know we don't want to do, we don't want to be mean, so one person says "That could be great…BUT…" Matt: Hahaha yeah, but once you get to know them it's a lot easier. Like when you're writing with someone that you know well, you can be like "yo that's an awful idea." OTB: How did you guys come to find Max and Cosmos & Creature (a.k.a Brandon and Molly)? Eli: So, Max on Pacific Coast Highway…that one has been in the pipeline for like three years; a long, long ass time. It was originally with a friend of ours, but we started reworking it a couple of times, making it fresh and Max…he reached out to us to do a remix of one of his songs called Lights Down Low which is killin it right now. We did a remix for him and he did the vocal for PCH. And Brandon and Molly, they were on a song we did a remix of but we didn't really know them, and then we kinda just reached out like "Hey, we love what you're doing, wanna work on something together?" We sent them a guitar line and some chords and they told us to come over.

Two Friends ft. Cosmos & Creature - Out Of Love

OTB: Beyond collaborators outside of each of the Two Friends, do you guys feel like working together as a duo has benefits? Matt: First of all, there is physically the benefit of having two people to do the stuff. Music, logistics, social media, all that crap. There's so much of this kind of stuff, you have to put on a pretty face, but a lot of times you're like "…is this good? I have no clue. Is it good Eli?" We like having that leaning on someone [LAUGHS]. Eli: On a very basic level, it just makes it all a lot more fun. Matt: Also touring, if we didn't have a tour manager and it was only one of us, it'd be miserable. Eli: We've had a couple times where we have done solo shows and it's just not as fun. It's just awesome to travel everywhere together and have a friend to do all this with. OTB: How did you guys learn the ropes, blowing up from local gigs to now? Did you have a mentor or was it just trial and error with one another? Matt: Friends and managers have definitely been helpful, but there is so much trial and error. Eli: Yeah, you're never going to learn by just having someone do it. For production stuff, you're in a basement studio. There have been so many mistakes and learning that no one gets to see. For DJing, we're still learning. Matt: Like the Chicago thing today, I will NEVER do that again [laughs] Eli: There's a lot of guys we owe a lot to. I wouldn't say there is one person in particular though. Matt: I think we like to lean on each other too. And mistakes are how you learn cool new things, in production especially. You leave an effect on or some plug in and you make a cool new sound through your mistake. Eli: You click weird stuff or a random button that plays in half time and it sounds awesome. You just never know. OTB: What are the next short term goals Two Friends? Where will you guys be in a couple of months? Matt: A bunch more original music for sure. Two more unreleased tracks that are already signed. One's a third track to this EP and then we have some new mixes and remixes coming... OTB: With all these new tracks and EP, is an album on the horizon? Matt: I don't know, if we do an album we want to do it right. All the stuff we're doing right now we really love, but it doesn't necessarily relate to each other. Eli: An album needs to make sense and feel like an album, not just like a bunch of songs. Down the line it's definitely something we would consider, but for now, the songs we have are meant to be individual tracks.
Only the Beat would like to thank Matt and Eli, along wit their management team, for arranging this interview! Also, be sure to be on the look out for Two Friends' newly released tracks and if you haven't already, grab their Big Bootie Mixes. Two Friends are poised to make 2017 their biggest year yet!

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