Dutch DJ duo The Partysquad were one of the best electronic acts to play Mad Decent Block Party last weekend in LA. I had a quick chat with Jerry Leembruggen and Ruben Fernhout, the two guys behind The Partysquad, during the event to learn about how they first got started in the house music scene in Holland, what it's been like touring with Mad Decent this summer, and how photobombing led to their new single. —Maddie
How has touring with Mad Decent Block Party so far?
Ruben: We did two, the first one was in Detroit, and that was pretty crazy. It was the first time ever. We've been releasing tunes on Mad Decent for a while now, but this is the first year we have gotten to be able to do the block parties. First we did Detroit, then we did New Braunfels, TX. Both of them were pretty crazy, and everybody was hyping about the L.A. one.
The Partysquad has been popular in your home country of the Netherlands for some time, but a few years ago you decided to go worldwide. How did you become interested in the DJ scene and making music in general, and then expanding?
Jerry: We've been doing Holland for like five or six years, really big things, then after that you need a new challenge, you know?
Ruben: We started off playing mostly hip hop and R&B in clubs there, then a lot of Dutch DJs started crossing over because that new invasion of house music came. At first we didn't really like that regular house music, but then there's a certain style that has more of an edge, more street, grimier. We loved that. We started getting into that, and after a while we decided, okay, the Netherlands is a tiny country, all the clubs we've seen for years. We decided let's try to see if people overseas, if we do our tunes in England, if they would understand, and see what happens. And now we're here!
You have worked with other artists like Afrojack and Major Lazer, and so many other cool people. What has been your favorite all time collaboration?
Jerry: For me, personally, Afrojack.
Ruben: He's a wonderful, kind guy. The whole attitude he has, he had that before, before he was known. He's like, "yo, Ruben, Jerry, I want to be on television." We were known in Holland already, so we sat down with him, on like the MTV of the Netherlands, Team F, he wanted that. He was so easy. The rest is history for him.
The Partysquad also has its own record label, Rebel Yard. Can you tell me a little bit about that? What do you like about being able to put out your own releases?
Ruben: It's a sub-label to Spinnin' Records, and Spinnin' Records is mostly known for more straight EDM kind of stuff, and we want to do more of the Mad Decent stuff, style wise. Mad Decent, Dim Mak, Fool's Gold kind of stuff, and then we will be able to do that in Europe. We just talked to a couple of guys from the states that want to release tunes on our label, so it's cool to be able to do that.
Caught Ruben with his #PANTSDOWN during their set at MDBP LA.
Any new projects or tracks that you're coming out with that you're super excited about? How about your "Pants Down" track?
Ruben: That one, and also we have the "Oh My" tune that blew up underground-wise. We're planning to release that with a bigger label. At the same time, the "Pants Down" track is the first single coming up, and for us it was kind of a joke. We have this What's App Dutch DJ group, and we started that group to talk about hotels while you're on tour, and then at night everybody is drunk, they start sending pictures. We started sending pictures. Vato Gonzales, a Dutch DJ, was taking a picture with friends, and I was there in the back like "Ahhh," and that was the first picture we ever took. After that all the DJs, with huge crowds, they take a picture from backstage and you see the DJ playing with no pants, and nobody knew. It became a funny thing amongst us, so we did just a song for fun. Later we got people sending in pictures, posting pictures with #PANTSDOWN.