Based out of Los Angeles, Bixel Boys is quickly defining itself as one of the more promising and exciting duos to emerge out of California’s electronic music scene. Founded by Rob May & Ian Macpherson, the young but dexterous producers have quickly amassed a following and garnered support from some of the biggest players in the industry with their drive and proficiency for making what they call “underground tunes for big rooms”. Drawing inspiration from various areas across the music spectrum like R&B, trap, and deep house, May and Macpherson exploded onto everyone’s radar in 2013 and have since been marked as one of the many acts to keep a close eye on in 2014. Shortly after their debut SnowGlobe performance in December, Rob and Ian took the the time to answer a few questions about their upbringings, recent performances, how to maximize production productivity, and testify on the hype over the west coast’s In-N-Out Burger.
HT: As the name continues to gain speed, can you guys tell us a bit about how Bixel boys was created and where the name comes from?
Ian: ‘Bixel’ comes from a street I used to work on . . . when I started DJing my boss said it in passing; I liked it, I thought it sounded funny and kinda chintzy; but it stuck.
HT: What was both of your musical upbringings like in Venice Beach? Was there ever any reason to venture to Manhattan or Hermosa Beach for musical interests, or was Venice Beach just what you two needed?
Ian: So I think you’re getting that from our bio. The “raised in Venice” is actually a reference to where we got out DJ chops up. I was born in La Jolla, CA, and grew up in San Francisco. Venice is special to us because that’s where we really earned our stripes with our good friends Guns in the Sun DJs and Steffi Graf…I went to college at LMU so there were plenty of questionable decisions made in both Manfratty and Hermosa.
HT: You guys recently had a performance with Gent and Jaws at Yost Theatre. How was that performance? Are you two steadily getting good turnouts for every Cali show?
Ian: Yost was a good time. We played alongside so many different acts from Nu Disco like Plastic Plates to Trap guys like Gent and Jawns, that it’s always fun to kind go morph and shift sets to the vibe; but there were a good amount of hands in the air, bouncing moments at Yost.
Rob: The Yost was great because it pretty much had the atmosphere of a festival right from the start. We definitely played one of the more higher energy sets we’ve ever done.
HT: Production wise, are both of you pretty much on the same playing field?
Rob: I think I come from a more ‘technical’ train of thought when it comes to producing. Ian has more of an ear for what’s dance-floor practical. We sort of end up meeting somewhere in the middle of that.
HT: What has been the biggest influence or learned technique that has really helped polish your productions?
Rob: Turning off the Wi-Fi when I’m working…but seriously, probably the most important technique, if it could even be called one is just knowing when to stop tinkering. I think it took me almost a full year or so to realize that I could just sit on one track for months and months on end and never be happy with it. Moral of the story, make full songs and finish them. If they don’t turn out exactly the way you were hoping, then move on and start a new one.
HT: Big room, garage, deep house… just a fews of the descriptions that we’ve seen floating around when categorizing the Bixel Boys sound. What do you guys strive for when producing? Is there really a particular genre or style in mind, or is it just what comes to mind spontaneously?
Ian: Big room underground is a moniker we’ve kind of identified with, but when we go into the studio it really is about making sounds that resonate with us rather than gearing our sound to a particular genre.
Rob: I don’t really approach anything with a genre in mind. I sort of let the genre present itself during the ideas phase. I think you tend to limit your own creativity ability when you decide a genre before starting a project.
HT: Can you guys tell us a little bit about how your SnowGlobe debut turned out, from the crowd presence to the way you guys laid down your set? Would you be happy to return in ’14 if they’d have you back?
Ian: SnowGlobe was really a time where we got to take all the brakes off for a set. We knew we had Kaskade and Claude VonStroke playing at the same time so it was important to really go in, from start to finish. We definitely got to play everything we wanted from the 95 Chicago Bulls intro song, to ‘Black December’, to Rihanna’s ‘Stay’, to ‘Look at Me Now’ by Djemba Djemba. Crowd was so rad too. At one point I got to stand on the guard railing while they all held up my legs. Def a ton of fun. Would LOVE to do it again.
Rob: SnowGlobe was a blast. I was so happy to see that we even had a crowd due to who we were playing up against. I think we had a little bit of help from our super warm tent, but the crowd who was with us stayed the whole time. I most definitely would want to play it again.
HT: A ton of festival line-ups are dropping. Are there any big upcoming spring or summer performances that you guys could give us some info on?
Ian: Haha, I guess you’ll just have to wait and see 🙂
HT: With an entire new year ahead of you guys, what are your plans to grow as producers and push the Bixel Boys name further under that spotlight?
Ian: We want to work WITH a lot of producers and see the work flow of our peers and those that are crushing it. Also working with more vocalist (which we already are). I’d love to bring some of our tracks to life with some emotion on there.
Rob: We’ve already started brainstorming on how to incorporate live performance aspects into our shows. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do. I can see our productions down the line catering to a more performance based style rather than straight up DJ tracks.
HT: In-N-Out Burger. Best burger on the West Coast or is it over hyped?
Ian: In-N-Out Burger is the single greatest fast food franchise on the face of the planet…
Rob: I’m a mid-west guy so I was a bit skeptical moving out here on the In-N-Out thing. I’ve gotta say west-coasters…very, very impressive.