Spawning from the most desolate regions of the desert, the Phoenix duo only recognized as “?” and “!” bring the energy and vibe closely comparable to an 80’s punk band backed by a massive orchestra of impending darkness. Forging elements from multiple genres of electronic dance music, their sound provides an unmatched journey through ominous breaks and brutal drops. Whether it’s moombah, house, electro, or rock, they dig up the heavy and euphoric, the grimy and the symphonic. They are Spiders Down Yonder.
How did the two of you meet?
Shout: We had both been producing for a while on our own, and heard about each other several times from a couple mutual friends, but never actually met until almost a year later. One of those friends was having a birthday shindig at his place so I went over there with my girl. As soon as I walked in I see this dude spinning on CDJ’s and a DJM in an apartment living room. He was dropping some gnarly electro/complextro and I was immediately drawn in. We started talking about music and producing and he told me a couple of those tracks were his own. I think the only thing that intrigued me more was the gallon bottle of wine he was consuming by himself in between mixes.
Question: Yep that’s pretty much how it happened, it wasn’t until almost a year later that we realized that each of us was the other that our friends had been trying to get together for almost a year. At the party we agreed to get together and work on a track together. The first session was a complete loss because we were both intimidated by each other, so for the second we decided to just attempt a moombahton track (because ironically, at the time, we both despised that genre). Venom was born, and came out surprisingly well. At that point we knew we had something going and rolled with it.
Tell our readers a little about yourselves.
Question: Well music has always been a huge part of my life. I come from a background of metal and punk. When I started listening to electronic music I was naturally drawn to the heavier darker side, such as dubstep, drum n bass, complextro, etc. As soon as I decided I wanted to be a DJ/Producer, everything else has pretty much come second. I saved everything I could to get a computer and the software I needed. Day jobs suck but they’re a necessary evil if you’re pursuing expensive hobbies.
Shout: As he said, music has always been a huge part of my life as well. I was forced into concert band in the 4th grade and started playing the saxophone. I played all the way through high school and picked up the ability to play just about everything else in the process. So I had a lot of background with classical music etc. I listened to more up beat mainstream stuff, so when I discovered electronic music I was drawn to the more melodic and musical stuff, specifically trance. I started getting into production at school. It wasn’t until I teamed up with Question that I really got into it intensively though.
What gave you the idea to use ? And ! As your signifying markers when you perform?
At first the whole project started as a joke. Everything from our name, to our first song was never meant to be taken seriously. Once we finished Venom and realized it was actually a pretty decent track, we decided we needed to get it out. Which then started the “we need a Facebook page, which means we need a name, which means we need pictures…. Gaaah!” We both thought it would be cool if no one knew who we were. Like just started this massive project with no real people behind it. So like any real musicians would, we stumbled into Walmart at 3 in the morning looking for suitable masks. We found nothing but lamp shades so we grabbed a couple and a tube of black paint. Started out as just the black vs white theme but we wanted icons, so we came up with ? and !, aka Question and Shout. We’ve abandoned the idea of hidden identity as time progressed but we still plan to use the icon and some kind of masked facade when we perform.
When producing you come up with some very interesting Dubstep / Moombahton hybrids. Can you describe to our readers how you make this possible?
We both love bass music of all types. When we started out moombahcore was kind a fresh thing. Moombahton had more of a dirty dutch based sound. Fortunately we were right in the heart of a city that had massive influence on the moombahton scene. With acts like Mendez, Pickster One, DJ Melo, and many others, a lot of the legends of the genre are right here in AZ. Mendez was really our first exposure to that harder moombah style/sound. Naturally we were more attracted to the heavier side of it, so we’ve always been focused on making our sound rival the brutality of dubstep while maintaining the groove and flow of moombahton.
Describe your overall production style to us?
Shout: As we touched on earlier, we both come from different backgrounds and we certainly both bring something different to the table. Growing up playing music and learning music theory, I will typically be the one to do melody work, chord progressions, etc. Question is the bass head and sound designer. When I met him I barely knew what a synth was and he seemed like an expert. When SDY started, it was almost formulaic, I would write a break/builup, and he would write a drop. Now it’s a lot more mutual on all fronts but we certainly both still have our strengths and weaknesses. That’s a lot of why we make a great team. We each bring our own flavor to the table and as a result, we create art that neither of us could do on our own.
Can you explain to us how you made the leap from IMASS Music to Ultragore recordings?
Question: We were producing for nearly 2 years before we finally got a label to take us on. The crazy part was that as soon as we got our first release out, other offers came in almost immediately. Mendez, the owner of El Cuco Recordings, came to us about a label compilation he was doing and asked if we’d like to put a track on it. We had been working with him ever since we had him master our Collapse of Society (Imass) EP. So we went to the lab and drew up our most brutal and heavy song yet. He liked it enough to offer us a release instead, and told us to make another track for a 2-track single. When that came out, his label partner Sluggo reached out requesting a release for his main label, Ultragore Recordings. We owe a lot of the success of our releases to everyone that has been there helping us along the way. Mendez pushed us for our best work and as we said earlier, he’d always been a huge inspiration for us. We had been trying to get on UG for as long as we’ve been together but until the El Cuco release, we weren’t quite there yet. It all happened crazy fast!
Tell us about your two most recent releases on UltraGore.
Shout: Our most recent release “Tremor” is a two track single featuring some pretty experimental stuff. Tremor is a 140 bpm dubstep track that dabbles with the 4×4 dubstep vibes as well as the traditional half time style, but we also threw in a bit of hardstyle type elements in the break and some other random elements. Arachnophobia is a 110 moombahcore/glitch track that shows a more symphonic and technical side. To date, this has been our most successful release. Each track broke into the Beatport Top 100 for their respective genre. That was a huge deal for us. A year ago, the Top 100 charts seemed very far out of reach.
Are there plans for any more releases this summer?
The summer has been somewhat chaotic as we ready ourselves to move to Denver. We have a few tunes in the works but nothing is likely to be released until the end of the summer or early fall.
You both recently moved to Denver, Colorado from Glendale ,Arizona. Is there any particular reason why you both made the leap?
We both hate the desert and the heat mostly. We’ve always talked about moving to another state but it wasn’t the right time. We have met a ton of great friends and talented DJ’s and producers out here in Phoenix. We’ve been very fortunate to have established such a great family and network out here. But we need to get out of the desert. We’ve also heard great things about the scene in Denver, bass music in particular, and it seems like a great fit. It’s certainly a huge decision but we’re very optimistic about it!
Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
We love you all and we are forever grateful for the support! You inspire us every day to keep up the grind. It gets hard sometimes to find that motivation to pull those all niter’s and fight the constant battle between a day job and a night life. But the support we have received is unreal. We have huge plans in store and we can’t wait to see what the future brings!