With a busy touring schedule and an upcoming release on Fool’s Gold Records, LA’s gLAdiator are certainly making all the right moves. Fortunately for us, they were kind enough to take a minute to answer some questions in anticipation of their upcoming show at IHC Sundays! Check out this interview with gLAdiator’s Danl Goodman and Ian Johnson as they discuss their origins, recount Nintendo memories, and talk about sampling Cantonese pop songs.
O S A K A: Where does the name gLAdiator originate? If it’s a movie reference, how did you decide who gets to be Russell Crowe?
gLAdiator: It did indeed come from the movie and bearded Danl gets to be Russell, Ian chose Proximo.
Describe the LA beat scene from the gLAdiator perspective. How does is vary from other cities like New York, Chicago, Miami, and London, all home to their own distinct electronic sounds?
LA’s electronic sound is still developing, in our opinion. Los Angeles is establishing itself as a hub for electronic music in America, a place every DJ wants to play and its sound will be born out of the producers who live here. Producers who grew up seeing every type of performance and wanting to fit in multiple different places.
You guys started out primarily as DJs. At what point did you start producing? How did you come about your technical production knowledge? What programs or tools contributed to the creation of the gLAdiator sound?
We started producing music in any fashion around eight or nine years ago when Garageband was just starting to happen. We spent a lot of time messing around with different loops til we got an ear for how songs should sound and be structured. All the time in between was spent learning a thing or two about actual music so we could start producing our own.
What role do mashups have within the production history of gLAdiator? How have they shaped your approach to producing original works and remixes?
Mashups were our first production experiments. After Night Ripper came out we started thinking of all the songs that could go together and albums were made. We probably had about three full albums worth of A to B mashups. Good times, shout out DLowe!
How do you guys go about finding your samples or do they find you?
Both? Sometimes in a “Magnum” situation it happens because you’re talking about the possibilities of sampling, “You ever sampled a Mars Volta song?” Sometimes your friends send you random Cantonese pop songs and you make “Kambuja,” it’s all relative.
Favorite source to sample from? (could be music decade, genre, movies, etc…)
Everything, we’re not partial. Always looking for cool sounds everywhere.
You guys are very engaging with your fans. You’ve given away two free albums around huge social milestones. Tell me a little about the Squad and how they help fuel the gLAdiator machine.
Our Squad IS the gLAdiator machine, they represent everything we are. Every person yelling “Squad!” at the show is contributing to gLAdiator as an experience. We want people to feel like they’re part of a family, like they’re in on a secret when they’re at our shows.
Do you guys feel performing live has more or less of an impact on how an artist develops their sound?
More of an impact, definitely. What you give your crowd is what they’ll expect of you in the future in every regard. If your sets are primarily house, they’re going to expect you to make some of your own shit to play!
How does an artist evolve? Is it more a matter of experience or experimentation?
Definitely both. The goal is constant transformation to engage new fans and open yourself up to larger markets. That way you have more room for experimentation.
Where does gLAdiator go from here? New music? Collaborations? Tours?
All of the above! Putting out a 5 track EP with Fools Gold, just finished a collab with some Brazilian friends and kind of in the middle of a big one-off tour around the country! It’s been pretty fun as of late.
Do you guys play a lot of video games? If so, what’s your current obsession.
Hell yeah, Ian is a fierce NBA 2k fan and Danl can’t get Dynasty Warriors 8 out of the Xbox.
Tell me about your fondest Nintendo memory.
Probably beating Ocarina of Time the first go. That was an accomplishment back in the day.
Any last words or stories you’d like to share with us before you takeover Drai’s for IHC Sundays this week?
Shout out to the whole Squad and thanks for doing this interview, players!
O S A K A