Although Punk Party is relatively new to the world of electronic music, they're definitely no strangers to good tunes. Nick John and Keith Varon have been putting out a steady stream of great originals and remixes since their formation as a duo, and when you listen to their work, it's obvious that Punk Party isn't just another aspiring pair of DJs looking to build some hype.
While performing and spinning are integral to their brand, these two are also extremely talented producers who have released some of the best new electronic muisc we've heard in a while. Their sound is an amalgamation of styles, and while this may be unexpected at first, it's not quite so out of left field once you learn a little bit more about the people behind the name.
Nick and Keith have had dipped their toes in just about every musical genre there is to have, and have one of the widest arrays of past experiences as both performers and producers. Their last official remix for Charli XCX's "Boom Clap" received support from the star herself, and was received with open arms by electronic music junkies everywhere, so we decided it would be a good idea to catch up with Punk Party as their latest remix looks to build on that success even more. Be sure to give their take on Jaymes Young's "Habits Of My Heart" a listen below.
Tell us a little bit about your name, "Punk Party". You two have a background in other genres far outside the world of electronic music. Does the name have any connection with your past musical endeavors, or is it just a happy coincidence? The name definitely has a lot to do with our backgrounds in rock. Not only do we love rock music to this day but one of the main reasons we love the name "punk party" is because of what it stands for. To be "punk rock" really just means to do whatever you want and not care what anyone else thinks about it. We love making the music that we make and we don't really care what people say or think about it. This is what we do and we love it.
Since "Punk Party" is a duo, how does the remix and production process work? Are there any benefits to having two people working on the same track versus just one, like the majority of other electronic names? There are definitely benefits to having two people working on the tracks. Having two people with the same vision means that there is a much stronger editing process. We don't rest until every detail is perfect. It can get tedious at certain points but in the end is always worth the final product. The great thing is, we are both into the same types of music and agree on a lot of musical choices so it makes the process pretty easy.
It's pretty obvious that you've really embraced the world of dance music under this new moniker, but are there any sounds or influences that you've retained from your past lives as musicians in the punk rock scene? Absolutely. First off, I think every one of our productions has a guitar. It's like glue. If we're in the studio and we feel like something is missing it's like, "why don't we put some guitar in there?" It's always the missing piece. But our guitar sounds are sneaky. You don't always know it's a guitar as the listener. It might be a guitar that we've drowned in reverb and delay to make it more of an interesting pad. Or maybe there's an automated filter on it that makes it sound like a synth. A lot of our writing process is influenced by our background in punk rock. The melodies and chords we tend to choose not only in our originals but in remixes as well are rooted in our past as punk rock musicians.
What inspired you to take the plunge and start making electronic music? Were you always fans, or is this a new passion of yours? I think we were always fans but just didn't completely fall in love until artists like deadmau5, Wolfgang Gartner, Skrillex, Zedd, and Avicii came into the picture. Up until that point the songwriting just wasn't very interesting. Nothing against the history of dance but there always seemed to be a thick layer of cheese spread on too thick during the 90's and early 00's. Once the songs got stronger and the sounds got really interesting, that's when it hit us. But we've always been big fans of electronic music. Growing up we really dug bands like Nine Inch Nails that had that a really interesting take on electronic music.
This new Jaymes Young remix features a lot of great sounds you've incorporated into your past remixes, but his original material is so unique. Did the production process differ at all from your other remixes? Our approach wasn't any different. Our boy Matt Engelman at Big Beat really gets what we're doing and aligned us well with this remix. The big difference is in what we are influenced by now. Artists like Tchami, Zhu, and Oliver Heldens are really creating this cool new lane that we definitely want to be a part of. Overall, the whole process came really easily. When you have a great song and everything is recorded really well it's very inspiring. The sound from the original we used during the drop was so amazing. It had this really cool jazzy vibe so we sampled it just like we do with our vocals and then played it like a regular keyboard solo against the drums. That's the beauty of music. It's all about those accidents. You spend all this time like a scientist in your studio and you're just waiting for that beautiful accident to happen and then you chase after it until it's gone. It's all experimentation and inspiration.
Both of you are also strong vocalists as well. Does knowing how to sing affect how you approach songs with other artist's vocals when remixing and producing? Absolutely. Being singers we see the vocal as the main focus. To us it's a little more about how can we compliment this vocal rather than how can we make a cool track and fit the vocal in. That doesn't go to say the track should take a backseat but we spend a lot of time crafting certain elements around the vocal in order to complement it. We look at songs as two separate but equally important entities, the track being one and the song being the other. We do our best to make sure they stand on their own independently but also work well together at the same time.
You've already worked with some pretty big names in the electronic and pop music worlds (Charli XCX, Milkman, etc.) what's next for you two? Any names you'd like to get in the studio with? We're already working with some of our dream artists such as Project 46. We have an upcoming collab with them slated for a February release. We've been talking with The Chainsmokers a lot about doing a collab in the future. That would be a lot of fun. I think if someone like Zedd or Avicii approached us to do a collab we'd be pretty excited about that. Even though our taste is starting to veer away from the progressive house sound we really fell in love with dance music because of artists like them.