Artists asking for artists: Ardalan and Walker & Royce
Recently, Rules Don’t Apply unveiled its new series, SPLITTING, which features two tracks and at least two artists each coming out. CUP 001 is led by Walker & Royce and Ardalan’s collaborative project, Escapade, and features a meeting between VNSSA and Lenny Kiser.
Rules Don’t Apply is a fitting progression in Walker & Royce’s artistic journey. With an emphasis on quality and innovation, regardless of genre or style, they can now focus their more than ten years of underground influence on training the next generation of trend-setters.
W&R in Ardalan
Walker and Royce: First of all, how are you? Heard you injured your knee while running the show at the Dirtybird Glow in the Dark Soccer Game?
Ardalan: I do fantastic. Other than tearing my ACL that night. But I’m in a good mood. I will not give up ! I am not a coward. It always goes fast.
Walker and Royce: Can you take us back to growing up in Iran? How was your exposure to electronic music at the time? or did it happen when you moved to the United States?
Ardalan: I was exposed to so many different styles of music growing up in Iran. From western music like jazz, old house and trance to Iranian music. It was interesting to me because the way people consumed music in Iran was very different. There was no record store or place to buy official CDs. Everything was hacked. I remember when I wanted music. I was going to that store where there was nothing but a guy with a computer and a CD burner and he was like, “I have the latest Global Underground mix” and he would burn it for you on a CD for $ 1. I have also been exposed to a lot
Electronic music mainly in Iran due to watching many European music channels that we had access to via satellite dishes. I finally got really interested in underground electronic music when I moved to San Francisco.
Walker and Royce: What do you think of when you hear our label / brand, the rules don’t apply? How does ethos fit into your project?
Ardalan: When I hear the name RDA, I think of something unfiltered. I think it’s fun. Music is meant to be stimulating and fun. Even though it’s a sad song. I really maintain it because I like exploring new sounds and not caring about how I’m supposed to sound or do something. Whether it’s house music or Mongolian psychedelic trance, I don’t think there are any rules for enjoying music. It’s a universal language for me and personal, so I think it’s very appropriate to have a label where you can do whatever you want.
Walker and Royce: Why do you think fans are so excited about “Animals”? what was the production process like for you?
Ardalan: I think the fans are excited about this because the track is literally wild. It turns the dance floor into an episode of planet Earth in my own experience. Production started with me sampling the movie “Taxi Driver”. I had seen him again recently and am still so fascinated with New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We used the cue when Robert Di Nero said “All the animals come out at night” , then we ended up making our own version of it. It’s also appropriate because Escapade was created when I first visited New York and Gavin took me on my first jaunt around New York.
ARDY ASKS W&R
Ardalan: What was it like coming to New York? How do you think this impacted your love of house music and your career?
Walker and Royce: NYC is such a powerful place to live. It will influence you in all kinds of ways. Coming as a DJ there is interesting and also difficult. There is so much house music history there and there will be several top DJs in the city almost every night. Local talent is still as good as ever, but also very competitive. As things progressed for us, we started to feel really confined. Things seemed so serious after a while. It actually influenced us to start doing things our own way. This is how we developed the concept of non-applicable rules.
Ardalan: I feel like every time we play together as Escapade, it’s on bigger and bigger festival stages. Just a few years ago, it seemed like house was some kind of side dish at more traditional festivals. Why do you think we’ve seen the styles of house we play explored so much in America over the past 5 years?
Walker and Royce: We have the feeling that for a long time America looked to Europe for what was popular in house music, even though the music originated in the United States. Whatever DJs were popular there, they would come here for a few weeks at a time and play in all the clubs. House music at the time was not popular at festivals. Now everything has changed. American has its own house scene and its own DJs. He has grown so much over the past few years and doesn’t seem to want to stop. It really is a good thing and we are proud to be a part of it.
Ardalan: When did you first consider creating a label? What is your goal with your own imprint?
Walker and Royce: It has always been on our minds. We started making music together because Gavin was doing A&R for the Nervous Records sub-label Nurvous, and Sam was mastering for them, so there is already a natural feeling. What delayed us getting started was just the timing. It took us a while to feel that we had the energy and the right vision. Our goal is to create a place to support the artists and the music we love. It’s not about a genre or creating a niche, we don’t want artists to follow a format that restricts them. We want them to feel comfortable like there are no rules. We just want people to have fun!
Ardalan: What, if any, in our Escapade project looks like a departure from our respective sounds? Why is this exciting for you?
Walker and Royce: We love working with you (Ardalan) because you encourage us to access this quirk that we have but can usually ignore. We have always been fans of the music you make. You always have a way to make things work that we never would have thought of but in the best possible way. You don’t follow any rules and that’s what we love.
Ardalan: Why was “Animals” a good fit for the first in this series of SPLITS releases? How did you react when you saw this track come out live?
Walker and Royce: We have been sitting on this trail for quite some time. We never really shared it with anyone. It kind of got that cult following and we thought it was time to release it. RDA is about the music we believe in and this track fits right in the middle of that. He’s a club banger and it always happens at concerts, so it’s nice to finally be able to put him in the hands of other DJs.
Ardalan: What is the purpose of the SPLITS series?
Walker and Royce: The SPLITS series is a nod to the days when we bought vinyl records that had a track on each side. It would usually be two club tracks that would complement each other and could have large samples that could not be erased. We will continue the series and the tracks will be for the club. We hope people dig into the concept.
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