Interview with Swedish Dance duo Drop Out Orchestra
On the 5th of April, the Swedish Dance duo Drop Out Orchestra will be playing at the Queen of Hoxton, in London Shoreditch. We caught up with one half of the set, Gary, and asked him a few questions about his music, influences and advice for up and coming DJs.
Could you tell me a bit about the background of Drop Out Orchestra? When did the two of you start working together?
I started out sampling stuff, making the track Gibbon around summer 2008. It didn’t occur to me until much later that my wife’s cousin’s husband not only was a great guitar player, but that he also could play the bass, and that he could do it live. I guess we decided to put some energy into the project and start gigging some time during the second half of 2010.
Drop Out Orchestra’s sound is pretty unique as you’ve used samples from a wide variety of Pop acts, including Duran Duran, Roxy Music and even Rick Astley, but your music is always fresh, innovative and experimental. How would you describe your sound?
I’d say we sound like classic Disco on top of a House kick drum. I’ve produced Dance music for years, while Inko is more of a Soul/Jazz kind of player. Put that together with my fondness for dub and Inko’s obsession with Nile Rodgers… and that’s it.
I’m really intrigued by the abundance of successful Swedish acts that have emerged on the international music scene over the last few years: Swedish House Mafia, Robyn, Royksopp, Lykke Li and First Aid Kit, to name a few. Do you think there’s something in the water? Do you think Abba has anything to do with it?
To be honest I don’t really follow what’s going on in Sweden. I listen to classic Soul music, Jazz and stuff made by our colleagues. Abba had a couple of nice tunes but I doubt their impact on today’s scene is very big. Saying that, we’ve just copied the bass solo from Gimme Gimme Gimme for a new remix!
Are there any music acts that you’ve been particularly impressed or inspired by?
There are too many to mention! Gamble & Huff of course, but also people like Brian Wilson and Ralf Hutter. On the current scene I like Lou Teti’s music a lot, the Discotexas guys and Moullinex, who are playing with us at the Queen of Hoxton on Thursday 5th April.
How do you think the changes in music technology over the last twenty years have affected the sound produced by Drop Out Orchestra?
Maybe not so much the sound, as we tend to use a lot of real instruments like guitar, bass, brass and percussion. The workflow and the way we get there, the whole technology bit, is of course totally different to what our heroes had to work with back in the days. Today’s computer-based studios are a wet dream for someone like me who never thought I would ever be able to afford to record proper music.
Do you think the Internet has made it easier to get your music out there?
Yes of course. We have the Internet to thank for everything, we wouldn’t be able to do this without it.
You’ve played in some pretty major venues. Do you have any favourites?
We’ve been lucky enough to get booked to a number of places all over the world, and there are SO many good clubs… but yes, there are a few favourites: Solomun’s club Ego in Hamburg was great, and I really enjoyed the gigs I did earlier this year in Mexico, and the Bowler Bar in Brisbane, which was insane!
What kind of things do you get up to when you’re not working on your music?
Not much, I do this all the time. I sometimes get into TV series, most recently the second series of Portlandia. And I can’t wait for Treme to start again.
What advice would you give to an aspiring DJ just starting out in the music industry?
Don’t let promoters tell you what to play. Stick to your guns.
So what are Drop Out Orchestra’s plans for the next few months?
We are in the process of finishing a few originals tunes and a couple of remixes – and then we’re off touring again; UK, Mexico, Europe. We’ll be in London at the Queen of Hoxton on Thursday 5th April to kick start the Easter holidays!
Photo: Courtesy of Drop Out Orchestra
You can buy tickets to see Drop Out Orchestra here, and listen to Gibbon here