Nathan and Zach aka BLAUS were this year’s Discovery Project winners and opened up the night on New Years Eve for Insomniac’s third annual White Wonderland. We spoke with Nathan and Zach before their big debut, and were really excited to hear their set and to see the audience respond to “booty haus.” The result: deep house and hip hop. What a combination.
Right off the bat their set started with their own track ‘Shi.’ Immediately our feet started moving., and you couldn’t help but want to dance to BLAUS’ take on this new kind of genre. Nathan said in our interview their sound was influenced by “Trentemøller, Booka Shade, Justin Martin and Claude von Stroke…A lot of music and inspiration comes from this feeling from the hyphy movement.” A little bit of background, ‘hyphy’ is a term from San Francisco that means “hyperactive” and it’s used to describe a music and the culture in the Bay Area. This culture really blossomed in the earlier 2000s as a response from rappers in the Bay Area who went against the commercial sounds of hip hop. Notable Hyphy artists include Keak da Sneak, E-40, and Mac Dre just to name a few.
“We really cant remember a time in life where we weren’t playing music… BLAUS started around 2006/2007 when I was a sophomore in High School and Zach wasn’t apart of it in the beginning. When I was younger I was working on some music, and we really made some acoustic-sounding music. Bands like Radiohead and Sigor Ros were what we were listening to. There was this computer software called Fruity Loops which helped me create more ambient music, but as I was looking to create my own music, I used Fruity Loops to make more electronic music…..A lot of the younger generation sticks with trap and the “kandi rave” scene. But our music comes from a background with older people and I think that the deep house influences mixed with our progressive influences and the hyphy movement [which we grew up with in the Bay Area] allow us to connect more with an older audience.”
We definitely felt like BLAUS had a mature sound. It was music you would find in a lounge, but more high tempo and uplifting and euphoric. A great example of this was when BLAUS dropped Amtrac’s Remix of Kaskade’s “Atmosphere.” A track we’re all familiar with but with that groovy, organic sound. The tempo was perfect and it was great choice to play. This was a great example of how BLAUS chooses to mix different genres and sounds along with their own, to almost create a new kind of sound. BLAUS dropped another track by Amtrac called “Scheme” which was much more “booty” and as we looked around, we could see everyone feeling the music. This was a kind of sound we don’t often hear and we were thrilled to hear such a unique sound.
It should go without mentioning that BLAUS’s second to last track was their own tempo drop of Tiesto’s remix of ‘Get Loose’ by Showtek and Noisecontrollers. The temp change was a great stylistic choice, and they even increased the tempo at the end which we think positively caught people off guard resulting in a “wow moment.” BLAUS ended the night with their own track ‘Eustress’ which was a perfect choice. It featured a climatic build up but ended so seamlessly, almost like just getting of a roller coaster. With BLAUS, we weren’t always “waiting for the drop.” In fact, that’s what’s so unique and intriguing about their music. Many tracks today incorporate “the drop” but that gets repetitive, and to hear such a fresh sound not built around the drop is very much refreshing.
“When we won the contest we were so blown away and taken back by it, the fact that this genre that we are trying to put out there was getting noticed, showed that people are wanting something new.”
BLAUS is seeking to introduce this new kind of sound and genre to the masses, and White Wonderland was the perfect place for them to start. We were so delighted to have spoken with BLAUS and were very excited to hear them live. Just like the creators of the hyphy movement, Nathan and Zach are going against the commercial sounds of today. Their unique stylistic choices coupled with their upbeat tunes make them worth checking out and following. As they continue on their journey after White Wonderland, we wish them nothing but the best in their success and look forward to hearing more “booty haus” and more about them as emerging original artists.