April 17, 2014

Droog: Main Culprits

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Los Angeles—If the hype is to be believed, there appears to be something in the once stagnant water of L.A.’s underground scene.

In its four years of existence, production trio Droog—Andrei Osyka, Brett Griffin and Justin Sloe—has played a big part of that city’s growing notoriety. In its relatively short time, the trio’s L.A. history is deep, as it includes a residency at Hollywood’s Avalon, playing alongside acts like Richie Hawtin, Tiefschwarz and Matthew Dear. But more notoriously, the three DJ/producers were also behind Hollywood Hills after-hours venue “The Bunker,” where DJs would play to intimate crowds for days on end.

Since 2009, they have been gaining momentum with the Culprit label sessions, a monthly soiree that takes place on the rooftop of downtown L.A.’s Standard Hotel. The night has brought to L.A. the very best of the global underground—Steve Bug, Magda, Wolf + Lamb, Martin Buttrich, Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler and more.

Accordingly, the Culprit label maintains its strong focus on L.A. and has supported emerging local acts like Kenneth James Gibson and Lee Foss. To date, Culprit has released over 20 tracks and EPs by acts such as Shonky, Inxec and Matt Tolfrey and Lee Curtiss of Visionquest.

As the trio recently released a triple-CD mix—Rebel Rave 2: Droog—on Crosstown Rebels and began work on a new recording studio, we decided it was time to connect with Droog’s Andrei Osyka and take a sneak-peek inside the group’s work process.

DJ Times: So, how do you three guys work together?

Osyka: I used to have a studio in my house for years, which is where we started making music. Then, in April I moved. It also doubled as a mental afterparty space, probably the best in its kind outside of Wolf + Lamb’s Marcy Hotel. So it was time to leave it behind. Now, I’m building a proper studio space in downtown L.A., which will be a professional recording environment with four recording rooms, vocal booth, etc. It’s a vast project and a bit strenuous, but I think it will be worth it.

DJ Times: Sounds like a long-term project.

Osyka: There will be some amazing music coming out of L.A. for years to come, if this studio works out the way we plan it. I’m doing this with my housemate and partner Martin Buttrich, who is Loco Dice’s sound engineer and co-producer. The other Droogs will use the space with me occasionally. Martin’s a great producer under his own name and a super easy-going dude. We’ve only spent four hours in the studio together where we almost knocked out a track, but all around it’s a bromance.

DJ Times: Are there no other recording studios in L.A. with a focus on electronic or just a limited amount?

Osyka: I’m not aware of any recording studios outside of people’s homes. Of course, L.A. has vast recording facilities, but they are not for dance-music producers. These are full-on professional spaces for rent for pop, hip-hop, etc. We are on the margins here, so I think ours will become the first of its kind.

DJ Times: Is electronic music not on the margins everywhere?

Osyka: Not as much as it is in this country. I think in the U.K. and Germany dance is a bit more evolved and has an industry.

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