Birthdayy Partyy is comprised of twin brothers, Jon & Bryan, out of Chicago. They joined forces at the beginning of 2018, having worked on their own solo alias for a few years up till then. We caught up with Jon to talk about the formation of the joint project, setting themselves up for success outside of the local scene, and the creative process behind their incredible remixes and original tracks.
What sort of music experiences did you have growing up together which led you into EDM, DJing, and music production?
We've been involved in music since we were really little. We started playing the guitar when we were around eight years old and the interest in DJing came after we started getting into dance music around 2009 and 2010. We didn't actually start DJing until a few years after that though, and didn't take our production very seriously until maybe 2013 or so.
Before Birthdayy Partyy, you each had your own projects: High Five and Who Cares? What led you both back together to work on a collaborative project and how has that effected your solo ventures?
How has your relationship as brothers changed as a result of working together on this new project?
I'd say it hasn't changed much. We yell at each other a little more now because we're both very passionate that our way is the right way. We've been really close since college and we have the same friends, interests, hobbies, and so on, so this has just become another facet of that. As for who does what, it's a even split from each of us and we focus on our strong suits. I handle almost all the graphic design, merch, and branding stuff because I've done that professionally, while Bryan handles all the mastering and a lot of the mixdown type stuff. While I'm not too proud to admit it, he's stronger than me in that arena.
What were some of the most important decisions you made which has made Birthdayy Partyy an internationally recognized name rather than just another local DJ duo?
We decided that we wanted to make sure we did things right from the get-go with this project. That meant making sure our brand was as strong as our music. To do that, we locked down our visual style as much as our musical style so we could keep everything consistent. We also hired someone for PR and that has made a huge difference for two reasons: First, the actual PR he does for us gets us in front of more eyes and ears, and second, it makes you put your money where your mouth is and take yourself seriously. If you had spent thousands of dollars to get a project off the ground, wouldn't you want to put all your effort into seeing it through? That has really helped us stay focused and motivated to continue growing.
What have been some of your most memorable moments while playing out around Chicago and the country?
I won't speak for Bryan here, but the most memorable thing for me was looking up from the decks toward the end of our set at Spring Awakening Music Festival in Chicago and seeing just a MASSIVE amount of people. We'd never played in front of so many people in our lives and we were really happy with how the set went. It will never not be crazy to me to have someone recognize me when I'm out in the crowd, especially at shows we didn't play at. I went on The Friendship Cruise Festival, and a few people recognized me there from shows we'd played other places. They said they saw our set at SAMF, EDC, or even the time we played in Virginia Beach with our homies, RaceCarBed. It's such a weird and cool feeling that someone not only recognized us but wanted to come up and meet us. If you ever see us out and about, don't ever hesitate about coming to introduce yourself! We usually have patches and stickers and stuff to give out for those that do.
Try and put in eight hours a day. If you can't do that, try six, or four, or however many as you can. We are firm believers in the "10,000 Hour Rule" which says that to become a master of something, you have to be actively engaged in doing it for 10,000 hours, which is equivalent to just over a year of nonstop work. These are the hours where you're actually DOING THE WORK, and NOT when you're scrolling through Reddit with Ableton open in the background.
When you're starting out, don't wait to be inspired to create something. Just start creating and doing the work. Make some terrible music. Accept that it can be terrible, and finish it anyway, even if you don't plan on releasing it. Then, make a slightly less terrible song because you learned something from the first terrible song you made. Keep doing that over and over until your terrible songs aren't so terrible. Then, stack up a bunch of tunes, like five or six is a good number, so you can release them in a regular schedule. Once a month is great, but we got really aggressive and did one every two weeks for a year. It worked great for us, but it was also exhausting since both of us work full-time. I guess the moral of the story is to just start producing, even if you think you're terrible because in all likelihood, you probably are terrible. But you'll learn fast if you put the hours in, and then you won't be terrible. Some days I still think we're pretty terrible, and that's ok. Even though we've been doing this for years and put in tons of hours, we're still learning too.
Chris W. Lao
Writer, DJ, and Student.
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