With a provocative name like Designer Drugs, you don’t need to know who they are beforehand to expect a wild ass party. To quote the duo themselves; “It’s next level dance club sh!t that almost morphs into that ’90s hardcore/punk vibe.” Comprising Michael Vincent Patrick and Theodore Paul Nelson, Designer Drugs’ claim of a hardcore-punk club experience isn’t without merit — the two of them have produced tracks that sound as much like an amalgam of electro, punk, and industrial as they are club bangers. All of which can be found on their debut – and only album to date – the appropriately named Hardcore/Softcore. Playing for the first time in Malaysia as a complete duo some months ago, JUICE snuck in backstage during a particularly rowdy party for a lengthy non-PG13 convo that spanned everything from the quintessential party drug and their label woes.
Considering the scene that you’re in, Designer Drugs is a very suggestive name. How did you get it?
Theodore He actually suggested the name, he heard about it in the library right?
Michael Yeah, when I was a kid
T I thought it sounded cool and went with it, that’s pretty much it, but yeah the name is suggestive and there might have been a little bit of that in our history.
M Yeah, you know that’s kinda like our vibe, it’s like f**k it y’know. We’re not trying to be PG13, we’re pretty open and transparent about everything.
What’s the quintessential party drug for you?
M Special K
T Special K, yeah…
M Actually now, we’re kinda old so I think whiskey is our favourite but it’s probably the worst
T Yeah, it’s probably the worst one for you
M … but it’s legal.
T We are getting a little older, we kinda had to tone it down a little bit otherwise we’d probably be dead by now (laughs).
You guys used to perform at underground parties where the environment was almost punk rock-ish. Does that still happen for you guys or is it more to stadiums now?
T it’s definitely gotten more towards stadiums, fortunately. We do miss the old, rough club type New York venues. There’s still an occasional small indie club thing and we really like doing those but…
M We played one recently in London. We played a party for our friends who run a clothing label called Long Clothing and there was maybe 50 people there but it was f*cking raging! It was out of control, super cool. It was underground as f*ck, then we played one secret party with Skrillex in LA and he didn’t play his normal stuff, he played underground stuff and we played underground stuff and it was just like a cool underground party. So occasionally we get to do stuff like that but usually now it’s pretty mainstream in America especially since the EDM scene has blown up.
Have you ever tried to play underground sh!t when playing at stadium-type venues?
T It’s a mix of both – a little more underground stuff and stuff that maybe people are more familiar with.
M I feel like we try to play venue-appropriate stuff. We don’t try to… it’s just that that’s what works best when we’re trying to perform and entertain the crowd. I feel like if it’s a small venue, you could play different music, if it’s a big venue you can’t play the same music, it doesn’t translate the same way, so we kinda play to the venue a little bit. Definitely.
T You have to, you know. That’s what you’re there for.
If you’re playing a mix that doesn’t cater to anyone, what would you play?
M ‘Careless Whisper’ by George Michaels. Over and over and over again, yes. I think that’s what it would be. You should go to karaoke with us, you’ll find out what’s my set during karaoke. F*cking George Michaels, Drake, Whitney Houston, Taylor Swift, Miley, then I just rap over them, I don’t even sing, just freestyle. It’s horrible – embarrassing. We were in Singapore and after we DJed at Zouk, we went to a karaoke bar and I passed out, like I was sleeping on the couch and there were a bunch of people there and the next thing you know, everything was broken, the whole room was a mess and we were a mess and luckily we went back the next day and they were happy to have us again. We put on quite a performance when it comes to the karaoke. We really do…
There should be a recording of that.
T Oh, there is a lot of it.
M We actually do have some private videos. It was really embarrassing.
T I made one. It went public two days ago on my personal Facebook page. It’s just for like 5 seconds but you could get a little taste of it.
M I’m pretty sure I have a shirt on my head and I’m rapping and there’s no music playing. It was just between songs too. The music stopped and I kept going, that’s how hard we are with karaoke. F*ckin’ shut it down. Man, one time we were doing karaoke in Spain and the people in the room next to us, there was like a window but they could hear us. We were screaming at the top of our lungs. They knocked on the window and they gave us the thumbs like, “F*ck yeah! You guys are killing it!” We got them excited, working the crowd. Was it in Spain?
T That was in Germany… Berlin.
M F*ckin’ karaoke in every country.