Behind the Success of Two Friends
By Jessie Garten
From meeting one another at Brentwood School in seventh grade, to establishing their name in Senior Seminar, Eli Sones and Matthew Halper have always had a strong passion and background of music. Now known as the successful DJ and producer group Two Friends, the duo have gained popularity in the music industry. From every girl's favorite hour-long mix of Big Booty to their notable remixes of "I Miss You" and "Mr. Brightside", Halper and Sones' fame stems from their creativity and curating never-been-heard mashups. Creative Director, Jessie Garten took a behind-the-scenes interview to learn more about the Los-Angelas based duo, their success in the music industry and seek advice to provide UMD students yearning to do the same.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to students to help succeed in the music industry?
We like to keep it super simple: put in the hours, and make it fun. If you can find that balance, there's nothing stopping you-- when it's fun, it doesn't feel like "work" and you'll naturally want to put in more hours. When you put in the hours, good things happen, and when good things happen, it stays fun. What a great cycle.
What is some advice you wish you’d given your college-self while reaching your goals in music?
Break more rules. When someone says "oh, we always do things THIS way", it's okay to question them and try creative new approaches. There's no one-size-fits-all roadmap for reaching your goals in music. What inspired you to become a DJ and producing duo?
We'd been best friends growing up in LA together, and we both had a love for music. We started getting more immersed in the world of electronic dance music just from going to a bunch of music festivals together, and it felt like such an exciting thing to be part of. I'd say back then, the biggest inspiration for us music-wise was definitely Avicii. So we decided to buy some music production software and dive in. What is your favorite mix or song you’ve ever created?
Big Bootie Mix 20, the new one that just came out. We always try to make it a goal to improve with each mix, and Volume 20 felt like a good step forward for us. Favorite song: some of the unreleased stuff we are finishing up excites us so much. But some of our favorites that are already released are "Out Of Love", "Emily", "Take It Off", and of course our most recent single "Love Love."
Can you tell us a little about your creative process?
It's a little different every time! When we're starting a new song, sometimes we'll have a title or a phrase and build off of that lyrically. Or sometimes Matt will be playing something on guitar and it'll inspire a melody that we build around, and so we approach the song more instrumentally at first. Sometimes it's just the two of us writing, sometimes we'll have other writers and singers come over to the studio. The moral of the story--- when inspiration hits, we run with it. What was your favorite performance you’ve ever done? Where was it?
One of our all-time favorite venues is Echostage - not too far from you guys - in DC. Every time we play there it's an absolute party. And we'll be back there for a BIG one in early February- hopefully we'll see a big UMD crew!
What are your goals for steps moving forward in the music industry?
We've seen that certain things can happen super fast and cause snowball reactions, so honestly sometimes it's hard to set specific goals. Our overall goal is to just keep grinding-- bigger and better music, bigger and better shows, bigger and better collabs, bigger and better everything. So much exciting stuff in the works right now that is keeping us extremely motivated and eager.
If you could team up and collaborate with any artist who would it be? Why?
We're gonna go with The Killers. Our remix of "Mr. Brightside" is always a favorite of ours to play at shows, and to do something original with them would be legendary. So many good times listening to them growing up, hopefully it eventually comes full circle.