Dance music's next powerhouse duo comes in the form of Dutch DJs Jim and Ray, otherwise known as Sick Individuals, whose 'sick' music comprised of well-mastered beats and vocal pairings has garnered attention from the likes of Hardwell, Axwell, and Nicky Romero. No doubt by next year these two will be dominating the music charts and demanding the decks in the world's hottest clubs, which is why VIBE sat down with the pair to get their secrets to success along with personal thoughts on DJ Mag's Top 100. Read on to get the in-depth scoop on what it's like to work with Axwell, why USBs can be the worse and the true rivalry between Swedish and Dutch DJs.
VIBE: What are the qualifications are necessary for a track to be considered ‘Sick’ music?
Sick Individuals: It has to grab you from the start; good break with nice vocals and melancholic harmonies. Fresh, groovy and well-mixed/mastered.
Now how did you guys come together in the first place? I understand there was a musical chemistry you guys saw in each other - did you guys find this out by just talking to each other or was it established in a studio in Holland?
We’ve met each other during our study Music Composition & Production. On the first day you had to play your music you’ve created in front of the class and everyone was listening. We both loved each other's music, became buddies and that’s how it started! Love this story.
What are your thoughts on this year’s DJ Mag Top 100 results? Think they were spot on or is there anything you would change about it?
There are some weird people in the list that we’ve never heard of and that’s kind of fishy when you try to Google and look them up but there isn’t that much going on... Also, don’t understand why Dirty South isn’t in the list. Hardwell is definitely a well-deserved winner of the DJ Mag Top 100, but the list is so far away from what's actually important and fun about our scene. For us it’s all about the music and having a good time with the crowd.
You’re dropping a single with Dannic on Hardwell’s record label Revealed Records. What was it like to work with him?
Working with Dannic was really fun and enjoyable. We have such a good chemistry, and within a couple of days “Blueprint” was born. It’s such a great club track that we love to play it every time. It has funky beats and a hard drop, but also enough emotion to give that special vibe when your playing. "Blueprint" is currently conquering the Beatport Top 10!
You also did a single with Axwell. How was his production styles different from Hardwell’s?
We’ve haven’t worked with Hardwell yet, but he is a awesome producer from what we have learned from listening to his songs. In the beginning of 2010, his productions always stood out from everyone else. His kick popped out of our speakers and we’ve been slicing right away through his synths. We always wanted that to accomplish that then. Axwell is a legendary producer, he has proven his production skills big time when we did the collaboration 'I AM' - he is truly a perfectionist and is great in finishing details.
You’ll also be taking part in this new contest for the single’s official music video where you’ll be one of the judges. What sort of things will you guys be looking when choosing a winner?
We are looking for a fresh approach to the video, something that wouldn't necessarily come up directly with when you listen to the lyrics, but a more deeper thought when you dive in the emotion and feeling. Can’t wait to see them all !
Being from Holland, have you noticed a sort of secret rivalry in the EDM world between the Swedish and Dutch DJs? Who do you think comes out on top and why?
I think it’s always good to have a bit of rivalry between DJ’s, but not more than what is natural. It would be a nice story but there isn’t much going on between our countries other then the soccer match during WMC and Ultra between Sweden and Holland. FYI: Holland won.
What has been the craziest thing you have witnessed in your career, either on the road or in the studio, by another producer or fan?
Well there are a lot of things we’ve witnessed, but a recent one is this: We were headlining on a German Festival and having a good time, then all of a sudden the USB stick that was formatted twice before because of problems decided to just stop and fucked up the CDJ. The music stopped and we couldn’t get it running - fatal error on all linked decks. Our camera guy has it on video, and the look on Ray’s face is priceless. We were happy to have a backup USB with a good track to get the party going again, but we're never gonna use that USB again!
So far it’s been a really productive year for you guys. What else to have planned for the rest of the year?
The next record that will be released after "Blueprint" will be “Lights of Neon,” which was already supported by Nicky Romero and Hardwell the last few months. We’ve now finished the record and it’s about to be released on OneLove Records (the same label where we released our club-banger “Pepper!”) Expect another original this year and an awesome remix soon! Besides that, we are touring a lot, and currently on the road in North America. We also have a new website so make sure you check sickindividuals.com for all our latest 'Sick' stuff!!