Brad & Victor H are a DJ/Producer duo from Vancouver who recently opened for Hardwell during the big New Year's Eve event held at B.C. Place a little over a month ago. But their history as DJs and producers stretch many years as they both have a long history in the Vancouver scene. They managed to win their very first DJ competition and their first ever remix was featured on ASOT 550 - not bad at all. I had a chance to talk with these two late last year and I found what they had to say to be quite interesting. This interview should be required reading for all up and coming DJs and producers who are trying to find a way to make it within your city. Give this interview a good read and enjoy:
EDM Canada: Give us a bit of history of Brad & Victor H.
Victor: We've been working together for about 3 1/2 years. We both started off as promoters in Vancouver, so I was helping to promote clubs, massives, and raves here. Brad promoted more lounges and smaller shows. We knew of each other but basically didn't talk to each other at the time. Then one day Brad was doing a lounge show, and he hit me up on Facebook to play at that show. I looked at my calendar and saw that it was free so I decided to say yes for sh*t's and giggles. So I played a set before him and when it was his turn to go on he asked me to stick around to play a back to back set. I had a couple of drinks in me so I said sure, let's see what happens. While we were tagging, I discovered we had a lot of chemistry together, and after the first mix I looked at him thinking at how nobody read my mind like that before. We ended up having a pretty fun set and the next day Brad invited me over to see if we could work on some music together. We entered a DJ contest together and won that, so we decided to team up and see where it takes us.
So you won a DJ competition?
Brad: Yeah, 3 1/2 years ago dance music wasn't even that big in Vancouver and so everyone that entered that competition were all top 40, hip hop, DMC DJs. You had 15 minutes to perform your set and so we had all of these hip hop guys doing their DMC routine while we put together a mega mix EDM set. At the time no one really heard that type of style or that type of mega mixing that Myon & Shane 54 like to do so our mix blew everyone away. I would say that we were more technical in DJ'ing then than we are now. We were doing 4 decks, mass edits, skip tracks, and crazy CDJ trickery. I grew up to listening to people like Eddie Halliwell, James Zabiela, so we tried to bring that over and do it with EDM.
Do you see yourselves more as technical DJ guys rather than producers?
Brad: We didn't know a thing about producing before, we just loved DJ'ing.
Victor: We started off as DJ's but we transferred into creating mashups, but then after we were doing a lot of mashups and we thought it was time to start producing originals. We have to make our own sound because that's the way to go. We had a lot of success with that as our very first remix was featured on A State of Trance.
Brad: It was ASOT 550 where we did a remix for tyDi and he played it. Our relationship with him at the time was fairly early but we're pretty good friends now. Our first release was a remix of tyDi's “Half Life” and he debuted it on ASOT 550 and that was huge for us! But it put a lot of pressure for all of the future releases as well.
Victor: After that we just knew that we were meant to be producers. (laughs)
So you won your first DJ competition, and your very first remix was featured on ASOT 550?
Brad: To give you a timeline, after we had won our first DJ competition, we used that money to purchase all sorts of production equipment, like studio speakers and stuff like that.
Victor: We bought logic, new soundcards, new monitors, keyboard, etc.
Brad: tyDi came down for a show and this was the first time I had met him. I told him that we were just getting into producing, and he then asked us to try to remix one of his songs and offered to help us learn. So I just worked on it for 6-7 months, trying to learn how to make what I wanted. That remix was the final product.
That's pretty crazy. So you experienced an early string of successes combined with hard work.
Brad: Yeah. It's about putting in the hard work and noticing the opportunity when it comes because if you don't put in the hard work then you won't be ready for the opportunities that come before you.
Describe the Brad & Victor H style.
Brad: We started making electro-y based type of sounds, but now that I look back, whenever we created the drops back then it was much more dubstep influenced.
Victor: We had a trance synth type of breakdown too.
Brad: It came down to having a melodic breakdown and a dubstep/electro type of drops, not the type of bangers you hear today. Today our style is more melodic as we used to go into more one note drops. Overall I'd say it's a mix between progressive house, trance and dubstep.
Victor: (laughs) with a Diplo electro.
Your discography spans multiple genres, from trance ranging to more big room remixes. Is this type of versatility in your sound been on purpose, or are you still trying to search for that Brad & Victor H sound?
Brad: I think we're always searching as we took different elements from different genres and see if we can put them together and create something special and unique.
Have you found your sound yet?
Brad: Not really. Not really at all. (laughs)
You have been involved in the Vancouver for a little while now, what is the state of the EDM scene in Vancouver at the moment?
Victor: I would say 2 years ago when the scene was first blowing up, everyone was into everything. But now you're starting to see groups kind of diversify into different sub-genres and people are getting a little more educated in music as well.
Brad: Back then we would just say it's a “DJ Show” and a bunch of people would show up. Now we'll say its a “DJ Show” and then they would ask who's playing, what style he plays...
Victor: Or they would want to know more about the headliner, or they already know a lot about the headliner coming in. The scene is definitely maturing but at the same time it's a new generation of party-goers. 5-6 years ago it was more trance oriented but now its geared more towards commercial, house, and bass music. Not so much on the trance scene here anymore.
Brad: People know about the sub-genres today, maybe not the more crazy sub-genres. But they know what trance, dubstep, and house is.
I'm noticing a lot of interest in Vancouver to organizing big stadium/massives shows – is that something new in the Vancouver scene?
Victor: It's quite the opposite. Up to a decade ago electronica music was only heard at big festivals in our city. It was only 2-3 years ago when electronica started blowing up within the clubs. 4-5 years ago if you went to one of the clubs on Granville street and if a DJ played electronica music, the owner would immediately come to them and tell them to get out of the DJ booth. As opposed to now, if you're not playing electronica music at a club, the owner would come to you asking why aren't you playing it.
Brad: It comes in cycles. There was a time where the music was underground for a while, and now all of a sudden it blows up and it's in the clubs. But now the club bubble is starting to blow up, and I think it's coming back to the festivals. I think there will be cycles where the music will be played only in clubs, to festivals, and back again. It's a big cycle that always revolves.
You are not only producers and DJs, but you are also promoters, and even retain full time jobs. How do you manage to balance it all?
Brad: Don't sleep. Lots of coffee. And occasionally you burn out every few months, turn off your phone for a few days and then go back at it. That's just my cycle of things.
Victor: And lots of coffee. We go for a couple cups a day. (laughs)
Brad: The way I see it is... Right now I'm 24 right now, and Victor is 27.....
So you guys were in the scene ever since you two were of legal age.
Victor and Brad: Before that.
Victor: For myself I was fortunate enough because my brother is one of the big promoters here in our city so I was sucked into the electronica scene when I started high school when I was pretty young.
Brad: The way I see is that these are the early years where we have to put a lot of the hard work and lay out the foundation for the future. So if you look at people like Hardwell, Arty... Those guys who have been producing since 16, and even younger, now look where they are now. So that means we have to keep on going...
Victor: Just to catch up.
Brad: Because we just f***ed off when we were younger. (laughs).
It's pretty insane what these kids are doing at 16 years old while other normal kids usually do at 16. It's pretty intense.
What does 2014 hold for Brad & Victor H? Any exciting projects?
Brad: We have a few remixes that we are working on. Can't really say too much about those yet.
Victor: We also have a couple of releases coming out early in the year (January – March).
Brad: We have our follow-up track single that will be out on Lange Recordings. We also have another tyDi remix we did that's going to be out on Universal, and one more tyDi remix that will be released on his new label that he formed called Global Soundsystem. We also have another remix coming out on Black Hole.
My thanks to Brad & Victor for this extensive conversation!
If you want to follow what Brad & Victor H is up to, then I'd highly suggest that you subscribe to their Soundcloud page as they regularly update it with fresh tunes. While you're at it, go and grab their latest free download called "Follow Me" as it featured some beautiful piano and guitar work: