The DJ careers of Derek Andersen and Scott Land, who met as fraternity brothers at UC Irvine, started as half joke, half destiny. Spinning at frat parties in the mid- to late '00s, Andersen became passionate about bringing house music to OC at a time when Top 40 hip-hop oversaturated the dance floor. Forming the all-house duo with Land that is Slander was just a way to entertain their friends. But while deejaying at a massive beach party in the broasis of Lake Havasu for their fraternity pals, the two realized they had found their calling. The EDM scene was just about to blossom in Orange County, and what they had created was an innovative brand of house music that eventually, with connections from their fraternity, banged in every major OC club opening for world-renowned DJs such as Dillon Francis and Madeon.
Little did they know that two years later, they'd be helping to pioneer TrapStyle, a DJ movement that incorporates hip-hop with dance music. We caught up with Anderson and Land in their Newport Beach home base to talk about their transition from househeads to TrapStyle advocates.
“It's funny because before, every club wanted us to play hip-hop, and we wanted to play house music,” Andersen says. “Now, every club plays EDM, and we're trying to re-introduce a new style of hip-hop with EDM and dubstep elements.” After playing the NiteGuide Magazine one-year anniversary party at the then-Galaxy Concert Theater (now the Observatory) in 2010, Slander were quickly recognized by local promoters. From there, they got to open for everyone from house kingpin Benny Benassi on New Year's Eve to trance legends Cosmic Gate.
“What helped us to accelerate faster was that since we came from a fraternity, we always had a good amount of friends come out to support us,” Anderson adds. Friends who at the time didn't necessarily know house music came out anyway and were gradually exposed to EDM.
Things seem to be coming full-circle, as Andersen and Land, who used to love hip-hop, are being exposed to a new kind of sound with Slander. “For me, it just grew organically because of the tastes of the people we were around,” Andersen explains. “When the Flosstradamus remix of Major Lazer's 'Original Don' came out, it was the first time that everyone in my life agreed on the epicness of this track.”
For the time being, Slander are focusing on honing their sound. And they've been picked up by massive European radio conglomerate Radio FG USA as resident DJs. They now have two hours a week of air time in Europe on 18 stations and the only TrapStyle-dedicated radio show on FM in Europe.
After releasing the Internet-only Summer Traplist in July, they realized there was a high demand for their style of music. “When [we] released that mix, there were only four other releases like it on the Internet,” Andersen says. Their remix collaboration with Omeguh of Clockwork's “Titan” has been well-received and charted at No. 44 overall on SoundCloud.
That's only the beginning for Slander, as they are working on collaborations with such trap artists as Ace Future, who's known for his Dada Life remix. When it comes to owning their slice of this EDM craze, they are committed to keeping their name smudge-free. “We don't want to produce songs like a trial and error,” Land says. “We want to put out a song we are really proud of, and our fans can say, 'Holy fuck, this is really good.'”
This article appeared in print as “Giving Good Beats a Bad Name: DJ duo Slander are former UC Irvine frat boys taking TrapStyle worldwide.”