UP AND COMING: THEY.
How did the two of you meet and form THEY.?
Drew: My manager at the time was Dante’s childhood friend… he introduced me to him and was like, “Yo, you gotta work with this producer.” We got in the studio and he showed me some of his secret beats, I hopped on them and it just worked. After a few songs we decided to make it a thing.
How did you come up with the name THEY and what does it represent?
Dante: I always name my sessions random things. I named one of our sessions “THEY” and we were like, why don’t we just call ourselves THEY.? and it stuck.
What we’re you both doing prior to forming THEY?
Drew: We were both making music for other artists. Dante was producing for acts like Kelly Clarkson, Cee Lo, Chris Brown and some others., was new to LA but already writing for artists like K. Michelle and Jeremih.
Who are some of your musical inspirations and how do they influence you’re unique sound?
Dante: I’m really influenced by indie rock, 90s pop, 80’s R&B and soul, Kurt Cobain, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Vampire Weekend, the 1975s, Timbaland, Max Martin... Its all over the place really. I’m always trying to offer an alternative take on whats going on, and I try to channel the spirit of my influences rather than try to emulate or copy them.
What are some of the highlights and challenges of working together and how would you describe you’re musical chemistry?
Dante: It’s different with every song, but its always pretty organic. We don’t knock out a song a day or anything, we like to tinker with songs over time. We might build up a song over the course of weeks or even months. Sometimes we’ll just tweak and tweak and tweak. We like to analyse and make sure everything is right and switch out melodies and switch out verses.
So I read that you’re new album Nu Religion: HYENA, is set for release this month. What can people expect from you’re debut album?
Drew: Nu Religion: HYENA will be familiar but take people on a lot unexpected turns. Nu Religion was our first release but we always felt that there was a lot of ground that we didn’t get to cover on that project. It was more of a stepping stone towards a larger body of work. This is that body of work. We’re excited to display the diversity an artist can have in one project and I think there will be a lot of surprises.
THEY. - ALL
You’ve received a lot of critical acclaim from other publications. What is it about you’re music that you feel sets you a part from other R&B artists right now?
Drew: We honestly don't care what anyone thinks. Whether it's music or the way we dress, it's all about being true to ourselves. We want to encourage our generation to do the same; make sure everything you do is about meeting your own standards.
Have you travelled to London before? And if not, what is the one thing – other than performing – that’d you’d look forward to doing or visiting?
Drew: We have been to London a couple of times, once on the Bryson tour, and once on our own accord. We did our first ever headline show there, so it'll always be special to us. They have a great music scene and embraced us with open arms. The girls aren't too bad either.
I read that prior to going on tour with Bryson Tiller, neither of you had ever performed live before. How do you feel you’ve both grown as performers and what can we expect from any upcoming shows?
Dante: We’ve really worked on our chemistry. As time has gone on we've grown closer and the trust has grown. Movements are becoming second nature, and the stage is becoming our playground. We're having fun and learning new ways to engage the crowd every day. Practice makes perfect.
In this political climate, we are seeing a lot more entertainers speaking out. Do you feel it’s important that for people – like yourselves – in a position of power and influence, to speak up on different injustices and issues going on in the world?
Dante: Thats part of what the Nu Religion is all about. Nu Religion Principle 4 states : "Know Your Power, Speak Your Mind. " Everyone's voice is important and powerful. I think we all learned that by the results of this last election. This isn't a time to be silent. We aren't outright political activists but we're definitely not afraid to be different or to let our opinion be known.
What would you say is you’re number one career highlight thus far?
Drew: I think our biggest career highlight will be dropping our first ever full length album. The season is now. Its time to empower people to take chances again with their craft.
Download THEY. album here
Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.