Designer Drugs are Michael Vincent Patrick and Theodore Nelson. Well known for their insane remixes of artists as varied as Mariah Carey and Fischerspooner, the New York duo’s debut album just dropped via Ultra Records. Their new album titled, Hardcore/Softcore, is darker than what many fans might expect but doesn’t sacrifice the rich melodic vocals from their earlier work. “Through the Prism” is the first single, complete with the outrageous video seen here.
We caught up with Designer Drugs minutes before their sold-out show at Avalon in Hollywood on Friday, Feb. 25. Check out the Q& A below and some behind-the-scenes photos as well as some live shots from their wild set!
Interview: Tessa Leon
Photography: Matt Fisher
Grimy Goods (GG): What can you tell me about your name?
Michael Vincent Patrick (MVP): I remember when I was in like middle school I was reading an anti-drug book and it had a chapter on designer drugs and it just stuck in my head. Then when the whole new rave thing came out in London I thought it would be a good name for our new project we were doing so we just kind of went with it. Didn’t think about it much.
GG: When did you get interested in music?
Both (simultaneously) Day one!
Theodore Nelson (TN): For me it was piano lessons when I was about eight years old. That’s when I really started getting into music. And then, I think, I was telling somebody the other day my first CD was by Snoop Dogg. Then before that it was tapes – I had Phil Collins and everything. I just bumped it.
MVP: I’ve just always been interested in music. First time I started playing music was when I was like 12. I really liked Guns N Roses. I fucking love Guns N Roses.
GG: Your album Hardcore/Softcore came out this week. Can you talk about what went into making the album?
MVP: We really didn’t have much of an approach. We just had a lot of songs that we wrote. We had over a hundred songs. And we like picked the ones that seemed like they worked together and represented us most artistically. We finished them and made it into an album and tried to make it as
cohesive as possible.
GG: How do the two of you work together?
TN: We either work together side by side or we send stuff over the internet. We use the same program; we have the same setup so work flow is not too bad.
GG: What are your fans going to like about the new album?
TN: I think there’s something in it for everybody.
MVP: It’s pretty dynamic. That’s why we gave it the title.
GG: Any favorite tracks?
MVP: I think mine is “Funeral March,” the piano thing. Theo wrote that one.
TN: Really? Mine is “For All We Know.”
MVP: And I wrote that one.
GG: You’ve been on tour for a while – how’s it been?
TN: It’s good.
MVP: It’s great. It gets better every time.
GG: Favorite city?
GG: What tracks really get the crowd going?
MVP: From the album? “The Terror” and “Face Melter.” Those two are definitely getting a great response.
GG: What about tracks from other artists? Any real bangers in heavy rotation?
TN: One of my favorites is Bart B More’s “Brap.” It’s an old one but it’s a good one. I can’t really think of any others.
MVP: We’re really bad with names. We can’t even remember the names of our own songs.
GG: Where do you go for musical inspiration?
TN: We get promo emails. We check out Beatport’s Top 100…
MVP: I don’t think we go anywhere particular for inspiration. Maybe Nine Inch Nails, actually… we look up to the production and the song writing. We usually don’t like to sit down and try to do anything too particular. We don’t say, “Oh, let’s make a song that sounds like this or like that. We just sit down and do whatever we want.
TN: It’s very spontaneous.
GG: What’s in heavy rotation on your iPods?
MVP: Crystal Castles.
TN: I actually don’t have any music on my iPhone. I usually just beatbox everywhere I go.
GG: How has your music style evolved over the last couple of years?
MVP: It’s gotten more minimal because we’re getting lazier. I think it’s got a little bit better. We’ve been adding more vocals and guitars. It adds a tiny bit more integrity.
TN: It’s better. Better synths are coming and new technology.
GG: If you had to classify your music to a single genre what would it be?
TN: That’s a tough one.
MVP: Grindhouse. Gutterhouse.
GG: What are your thoughts on the current rise of the dance scene in America?
TN: Keep it coming!
GG: If you could pick any producer to remix your tracks, who would you ask?
MVP: Crystal Castles!
GG: If you could remix any song from any artist, dead or alive, what would it be?
TN: Didn’t we come up with a good one recently…?
MVP: R Kelly!
TN: Yeah, this freakin’ weekend!
GG: What are the best and worst things about your jobs?
TN: The best part is the opportunity to do what you love and make money doing it. Worst part: the alcohol withdrawal.
GG: What’s the best show you’ve done?
TN: I don’t think really I have a favorite. There have been so many good ones it’s really hard to say.
MVP: Yeah, that’s really hard. I think when we played Singapore…
TN: Singapore was a lot of fun.
MVP: I stage dived off something that was dangerously high.
TN: I staged dived into a crowd of tiny girls but I couldn’t see anything – I had my sunglasses on.
GG: What’s the rest of 2011 looking like for you? What do you see yourselves moving towards?
TN: The Apocalypse!
MVP: Yeah, we’re moving towards the Apocalypse but we’re working on our second, too.
TN: We’ve already got maybe four or five ideas for it. We’re just going to keep grinding away.
Grind away they did. With a bottle of Jack balanced next to their gear they didn’t disappoint. The energy at Avalon kicked up several notches as they started, and by the second track Designer Drugs owned the room. Check out the live photos below!