New York-based duo The Disco Fries, made of members Nick Ditri and Danny Boselovic, are producers to have on your radar for 2015. They co-produced two tracks for Tiësto’s album A Town Called Paradise — RIAA certified Gold “Wasted” by Tiësto featuring Matthew Koma and “Shimmer” featuring Christian Burns. As owners of Liftoff Recordings, they released their latest track “Ramuh” in December (and you can get your copy of the track here). With support from some of EDM’s biggest producers such as Tiësto, Hradwell, Kaskade, Steve Aoki and David Guetta, the breakout duo keep their productions sounding fresh and unique. Nick and Danny took a few moments to talk about their Final Fantasy-inspired track “Ramuh,” working with Tiësto and how they manage to balance their time among production, touring, their radio show and managing their label.
Your latest release “Ramuh” off your Liftoff Recordings label has a distinct video game music influence. Are you fans of Final Fantasy? How did you get the idea to combine video game music into the track?
D: I’m a huge fan of the series and have been since FFVII. Nick isn’t so much but I figure I’ve logged enough hours for the both of us haha…we didn’t set out to make the track sound like a video game but a lot of our go-to sounds are definitely VG-inspired. As the track started coming together we both realized the influence and pushed it even further in that direction. The working title for the track had always been “Thunder,” but we didn’t want it to be titled something that generic (and there’s already plenty of records with that name). “Ramuh” is a sweet ass lightning God in the FF series so we decided that would be a better name.
You both grew up listening to different music such as hiphop and rock. How did the two of you meet and what led you to produce electronic music together?
D: We met freshman year in the dorms at Berklee College of Music. Even though our main influences were fairly diverse we actually found a lot of common ground musically. Nick had been exposed to electronic music early on growing up in Jersey and being a DJ. I had listened to a lot of electronic indie rock like Radiohead and Air as well as earlier stuff like Kraftwerk. So we were both into synth driven stuff and dance music in general. Probably the only artist we both were into early on was Tiësto actually. I picked up his album Just Be in high school and was blown away by tracks like “Adagio for Strings” and “Traffic”. Put all of that together and we kind of just started without really knowing what we were doing. We remixed 80s song, made mashups, and it all just started from there.
As a duo, how do you work with each other throughout the creative and production process?
N: We both know each others’ strengths and weaknesses inside and out at this point so it’s not too complicated for us to create together. I like to think of it like a relay race where one of us takes it a certain distance, the other one tags in and runs further, and back and forth we go. We just play off of each other that way creatively to get the best results possible. Danny is the sound designer so he’s typically coming up with the synth design and I’ll jump in on melody and chord ideas. We’re both involved on the arrangement and fine tuning the mix.
Prior to “Ramuh,” you co-produced two albums off of Tiësto’s A Town Called Paradise Album: RIAA Gold Certified “Wasted” featuring Matthew Koma and “Shimmer” featuring Christian Burns. How did the opportunity to produce for Tiesto’s album come about, and what was it like to work with him and the vocalists?
N: It was pretty amazing how the opportunity with Tiësto came up…sometimes labels usually make up something to try and sell a story, but it was very real for us. Tiësto was supporting a bunch of our records at his live shows. We had caught a few YouTube videos of him dropping our remix of Avicii’s “Silhouettes” and our single “Open Your Eyes (Revelation)” at events like EDC, Ultra, and Creamfields, and a few months later around June of 2013, we got a direct message on twitter with him asking if we’d be down to work together. After a major freakout in the studio when that happened, we got together with him at Hakkasan in Vegas for lunch and discussed the direction of the album, where he wanted to take it sonically, and what we could do to help him achieve what he was looking for. From there, we got in the studio together and we worked on stems that he had sent to him remotely of vocals, riffs and such. As being fans of his work, we knew a bit about what he was into melodically but working together in the studio definitely taught us a lot about how he is where he is in the industry. Tijs is a true PRODUCER in every sense of the word. Not only does he know the technical, but he knows how to get the best out of every writer, producer, and engineer who are involved in a project, so it was really a learning experience for us.
How do you find time to produce music while also touring, hosting your radio show Liftoff Radio and managing your record label Liftoff Recordings?
D: It helps that there’s two of us! And we have a good team that we’ve built over the years to help make sure we can accomplish everything we set out to. We like to keep our production the main focus because that’s what we’re most passionate about and it drives everything else we do. Similar to our production process, we just split up tasks and rely on each other’s strengths. Nick is great about keeping the business side of things in order and we both try to utilize our time as best as possible so we’re always getting something done.
Regarding your label, what kind of sound or artists do you look for? What do you want your label to stand for?
N: Our label is all about music that we’d play. If its something Danny and I would play out live or in our car, we’ll be down to release it. It’s no more complicated than that. We’ve been able to cultivate this community in New York City and New Jersey that is comprised of some amazing talent, and it’s slowly growing outside of the area which is amazing to be a part of. Collaborating, developing, and promoting artists that are going on to do major things is such a rewarding feeling. At the end of the day, we want people to look at the Liftoff name and logo and feel comfortable that they are going to be pushed sonically. We like to challenge everyone’s ears with the music we release, while still remaining familiar in nature. That’s where we’ve always landed as the Disco Fries, so it only makes sense for us to do that on the label side.
What can fans expect from you in 2015?
D: New music! Lots of it! No official announcements yet but we have a project we’re really excited about that we’ll be able to share with everyone leading up to MMW/Ultra.
Finally, how did you come up with the name “The Disco Fries”?
N: When we first started and were nameless, Danny came up to New Jersey to work on a remix with me at my parent’s place, and we grabbed food at a local diner. Disco Fries were on the menu and we came to realize it was a New York/New Jersey staple diner food. French fries with cheese and gravy. It’s very comparable to poutine in Canada. Super gross looking but tasting amazing. Like most of our major life decisions, we decided over food that we’d run with the name.