Steven "Slippe" Lueder and Jesse Hudson aren't lacking for ambition. The duo, who come together to create EDM bangers under the name Drunk Dial -- are quick to tout what makes their EDM different from most of what's out there.
"The way I like to describe it is like, 'If Afrojack had sex with The Weeknd and had a baby, it would be Drunk Dial," Lueder says.
It's not just an advanced sound the duo has locked in their sights: They want to take over the party wonderland that is Scottsdale, Arizona. We dove in to discuss actual drunk dialing, avoiding EDM tropes, and working with unsigned Arizona talent in this installment of DJ Dossier.
Names: Steven "Slippe" Lueder and Jesse Hudson
AKA: Drunk Dial
Genres: Drunk Dial straddles multiple genres, Hudson says. "The heart of everything we do is EDM-based, but it has more of a pop crossover feel," he says. "Most of it is electro-house, but it's all based around the songs in the format of pop."
So what exactly is Drunk Dial?
Lueder: In July of 2012, I was introduced to Jesse in the club, and he's a producer and mad scientist in the studio. I expressed to him that I had a bunch of connections in the music game, that I needed the product to get to these people. So me and him collaborated, and our idea was to create a full 12-track EDM album using all unsigned Arizona talent.
Why is the project called Drunk Dial?
Lueder: So when it came to trying to find a name, we wanted a name that represented our music. And we felt in EDM, a lot of it was so happy and just kinda -- I don't want to say fake -- but it its all about love, love, love, love, love.
How much love is that?
Lueder: A lot. And it was like, we're not loving all the time. We're sad at some times and we're happy at other times, so let's just write some dance music that has some real heart to it. And the name Drunk Dial describes us because we party, and the Drunk Dial part of it shows that we have kind of a soft side or an emotional side. Do you know what I'm saying?
Um, we think so. Do you mean a soft spot for the ladies or do y'all pet kittens while producing tracks?
Lueder: [Laughs] Actually, I do have two cats that are always in the studio with us. No, but we wanted something that said "party" but that also said that we're giving real emotion in our music. We're writing songs with emotional depth, not just "I love the world, I love the sky, I love the sun." We're writing songs about stuff that's relevant, like relationships, relationship games with people, girls saying, "Don't fall in love with me" to a guy in a song, or the guy saying, "I walked through the club and I saw this girl in red and I can't keep her off my mind." It's not just a transactional EDM song, it's a calculated song that's written with emotion, but we still like to get drunk and have a good time.
So going wild out and going wild over some chica? Lueder: Falling in love on a dance floor, that kind of stuff. Just the kind of relationship games that young people play with each other. We kinda doing that kind of style to an EDM beat.
Hudson: Drunk words, sober thoughts. I think it's really honest when it comes to the what we write about. All the way to once you're done with the party, you're at home getting ready to crash in the bed, you're fucked up, and you're on the phone. Who you gonna call?
Hudson: No. [Laughs] You're gonna call your ex-girlfriend, that girl you've been texting or whatever. What's the most fucked-up drunk dial you've perpetrated?
Lueder: Honestly, I drunk-dial so much, like I can't even tell you. I literally just drunk-dialed Thursday night.
Is there an art to drunk-dialing? Or is it just all booze and no brains?
Lueder: All blackout, no brains.
Hudson: At that point, you pretty much either let your balls or heart take over, and it can be a really sad conversation or a really hilarious conversation. And you're not going to have the cleanest mind ever.
Lueder: Either way, you're going to wake up in the morning and regret it.
Is drunk-dialing one of the official pastimes of Scottsdale?
Lueder: Honestly, I think that's why the name is so appealing to everybody, because everybody has drunk-dialed someone at least once, especially in Scottsdale. Yeah, Scottsdale's a mess and I love it, and everybody drunk dials, but I think our music can reach anyone in the world: Europe, Asia, everywhere. As long as the translation's there and they understand what a drunk dial is, then they can identify with it.
Is there a term in Czech or German for "drunk dial"?
Hudson: That's a good idea. We should look that up and start putting it on our music for those countries.
What are your actual tracks like?
Hudson: It's all original tracks written by Steve and I about our own experiences out there and what we feel hasn't been put in a song in our own words. We don't do many remixes, we did one remix for our friend [Oren J. from Silver Medallion] because he was from Arizona originally, and the rest of it is original productions.
You've worked with Silver Medallion?
Lueder: We reached out to Oren before we started, and we were like, throw us the a capellas and let us remix the song. Oren loved it and wanted to get in the studio with us. So he actually came back here, stayed with me for a couple days, came into the studio and we actually wrote the follow up to "Stay Young," which is gonna drop in the next few days. It's a big deal for us.
So you guys trashed a hotel room during a music video shoot?
Lueder: Yeah, it was cool. Oren was involved. The concept of the video for "Live for the Weekend" involved a girl meeting Oren, them hanging at the club, and then coming back to the hotel, and partying and trashing it. He got a room at an undisclosed location and we got an ASU film team out there, and they helped us make the video in this teeny, ghetto-ass hotel room and got some pretty cool shots.
When does that video drop?
Lueder: We're still working on it. The single is gonna be coming out on Get Right records, which is Benzi's label. The footage reminds us of Silver Medallion's video "Scottsdale," which begs the question, have y'all inherited Silver Medallion's role as the party kings of Scottsdale?
Lueder: I can't speak to that, someone else would have to speak to that. But I think that's cool that you said that, because Carnegie was a part of that and Carnegie was a big part of our lives, and losing him affected a lot of us and changed our lives. It's really cool to be doing something with Oren and keeping the fire going. But if we can take on that title and take on that baton and then we can run with it, then I'm a 100 percent all about that. Yeah, we want to be the party kings of Scottsdale, but we'd rather be the party kings of the world, too, and not just Scottsdale. We're investing locally, but planning on a global level.
What are your roles in Drunk Dial? Like, is he the DJ and you're the rapper?
Lueder: To get the whole album with unsigned artists and without a budget, we've had to rely on a lot of people to accomplish our goals. So, it's a team. Just because me and Jesse are the faces, we're not the only one's involved. We've got a mixer who just graduated from the Conservatory of Music; we have a graphics dude. So, as far as our roles, we're both DJs, we're both producers, but its kind of a team effort. Jesse is the whiz kid in the studio -- there's no doubt that he's a better producer than me. I'm not afraid to admit that. He's also not afraid to admit that I'm a way better DJ than him. The result is that we both feed off each other and learn off each other every day.
Are you also doing mixing and remixing?
Hudson: Yes, I'm the nerd in front of the computer.
Lueder: It's kind of a dual process. And every time we're in the studio, I'm learning how to be a better producer. And when I'm out in the club DJing, Jesse is to the right of me and he's learning what it takes to format a night and how the crowds react.
Do you have a specific mantra when it comes to your mixes?
Lueder: Everything that we're doing is song-based. We want everyone to identify with our songs and tracks and attach themselves to these records. What sucks sometimes about dance music is that it lacks elements you can latch onto. Say you're going through a breakup and five years from now, you're not gonna remember how you identified with the "wikki-wikki-wikki-wikki" on a certain record. But if you've got a song-based record with lyrics that you can identify with, then five years from now when you hear it again, you'll remember going through that breakup and how you latched on it.
What's the response been like to your tracks?
Lueder: It's been awesome, we've had plays in 86 countries from our SoundCloud. We've put music out there and it's taken off.
So you opened for Manufactured Superstars a few weeks back?
Hudson: That's correct. Steve was DJing the whole time, and when it came time for our original songs, I ended up singing on them because I am a singer for a lot of our music.
So was there was mixing involved, and not just simply playing your songs? Lueder: Yeah. It was me DJing and it was an opening set, so I just started at 11:30, warming things up with regular club jams that people knew. And then when 12 o'clock came on, we said, "Hey, we're Drunk Dial, we represent Scottsdale and we're gonna play a couple songs for you." People really attached themselves to what was playing, which was cool. Some told us later that our energy was really getting people going. That's what we want to do; when we step into a club, we want to create a scene.