Interview: Manufactured Superstars
Salacious Sound caught up with Brad Roulier and Shawn Sabo of the Manufactured Superstars following their performance at the Escapade Music Festival in Ottawa on June 30th.
The path Manufactured Superstars took towards headlining festivals and touring the globe isn’t uncommon.
“I was a drum and bass DJ and Brad was a promoter. We became friends when we started Beatport together and I use to play a lot of his house parties,” explains Sabo.
In 2004, they co-founded one of the world’s largest online music stores, Beatport, which has over 1.1 million tracks from over 90,000 artists. It’s quite the story for two guys living in Denver who worked on the idea of a website that sells high quality digital tracks for DJs.
“We wanted to be the DJ AM of house music and eventually our production and remixing became well known,” explains Roulier.
Three years after co-founding Beatport they decided to tour and create their own songs together when they realized being less involved with the company would help it in the long-run.
“We put our heart and soul into Beatport and we took it as high as we could take it,” says Roulier. “There is a difference between building a company and running a company.”
The goal of the site was provide top quality mp3 and wav files for remixers. A consequence of this business is that less DJs are using vinyl or CDs when mixing live.
“I think digital files let DJs be free and do things they could never do with vinyl,” explains Sabo. “You can take two songs and chop out breakdowns and put something completely new together.”
They both agreed that technology is moving forward and there is no point looking back.
“We live in a digital world,” said Roulier. “We respect all DJs that want to use vinyl, but Beatport was never about that.”
In terms of their summer tour the duo will be playing at their residency at XS in Las Vegas and Pacha Ibiza, Spain with Tiesto. When they are not on a plane to their next show, they are running Beta Nightclub in Denver, Colorado.
This summer they plan on releasing a single each month. Their single ‘Born to Rock’ with the LA Riots features Selina Albright, the daughter of famous American saxophonist Gerald Albright, was released in May. The Albrights live in Denver so it was a natural local music connection .
One of their upcoming singles will be with Ultimate Fighting Championship ring girl Arianny Celeste.
“When we walked into the studio we were a bit skeptical and all of a sudden we gave her the key and she started belting it out like she was a pro,” says Sabo. They plan on shooting a video for it an alien/space theme with girls in leather outfits.
Another outcome from the digital sale of music via Beatport is that albums have become less important as consumers gravitate towards singles.
“Albums aren’t as important as they used to be,” explains Sabo. “It doesn’t matter who puts out the album. If Drake puts something out, people cherry pick the singles.” It’s probably a driving factor in terms of why they are concentrating on releasing a series of singles.
Manufactured Superstars spend an average of 80 hours producing each song and are supporters of copyright and the purchasing of songs from online retailers.
“If you download something off a blog, go buy the original later,” he advises. “We still buy all of our stuff off of Beatport.”
With a combined knowledge of over 20 years in the industry, Roulier and Sabo said being involved with all aspects of electronic music have helped them gain exposure and take their DJing to the next level.
“I think we have done every job in the industry from promoter to picking up the trash at the end of the night,” says Sabo.
Even though they co-own Beta Nightclub, one of the world’s top clubs, Roulier says when he walks home from the club he hands out flyers to the local store owners.
“If I’m too proud to drop off flyers for my club, I am going to fricken sell my club,” he says.
According to Sabo being humble is a common trait among successful DJs.
“To live this lifestyle and get along you have to be appreciative of everything that is going on around you,” he says. “Nobody wants to hang around an arrogant prick. If you are going to last in this industry you have to be a nice guy.”
Roulier sums it up nicely.
“They pay us to travel; we DJ for free,” he jokes.
“We have the time of our lives.”