10 Questions with ... Tritonal
October 11, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1) Who comprises Tritonal? How did you guys first meet, and how did you come up with the name?
We are Chad Cisneros and Dave Reed and we first met in 2008. It was an online synthesizer sort of deal; we were just making beats and trying to figure out why this thing wasn't working the way it was supposed to. We actually went through a lot of names. We wanted to find something that would define who we were as people ... that would define our personalities. We actually went through a lot of bad names. Tritonal kind of came about and we realized that it also had a chemical and bomb property to it and not only that, but more importantly a musical definition behind it, which is also an augmented bit, a keyboard, and it just kind of had music and explicitly connected into one meaning that defines who we are on stage and in the studio.
2) How long into the formation of Tritonal was it before you started making music on a regular basis?
Right away... we gave ourselves a goal of being able to get the project off the ground in year one and we just worked as hard as we could that first year. Six days a week, writing as much music as we could. It wasn't a situation where after that first year we were touring internationally or anything like that, but what did happen, we did well enough and signed enough records in year one to make year two make a lot of sense ... and the same thing with year two and here we are eight years later. Last year I believe we played 150 shows. It's awesome!
3) What's the biggest difference from being in the studio making music then being in front of crowd performing the music?
Those are definitely two different situations. Actually being in the studio making the music is where all your hard work gets put in it, it's an area where all of your creativity can be explored without any judgment whatsoever -- especially since the two of us are in tune with each other as creative ideas so you know we have permission to fail in front of each other. However, the reward is actually having that music heard in front of a crowd and having them actually feel something and us feeling what they are feeling, having that happen is such a powerful feeling, the reward is really having the honor and privilege to play the crowd and feel the connection from our audience.
4) Speaking of connections with crowds. You guys will play clubs and you'll also play festivals; what's the biggest difference to you, mindset-wise, or style-wise, in the two different settings?
The main difference comes from usually the amount of time you have to perform. If it's your own show and you are at a club or even a big venue like we are tonight, Terminal 5 in New York City, you get a couple of hours to sort of take your fan base through a progression of music and through a progression of your own records; however at a festival sometimes you'll get 40 minutes or 50 minutes, but you usually don't get longer than an hour. The reality is that in order to give your fans as much of your brand as you can, you really need to edit things down in terms of time you need to plan the set to be super-particular in what you are playing and what you are not. There is just not a lot leeway in getting creative on the spot in terms of taking a weird turn here or a weird turn there, just out of pure motivation of what you are feeling at any particular moment.
5) You guys are currently on the 'Painting With Dreams' tour, which is also the name of your album. Is there a favorite tour stop or a particular place in this country or the world you like performing more so than others and what is the most memorable things one of your fans, your Tritonians, have done for you guys?
We have made a lot of great memories so far on the Painting With Dreams tour; we have had to a lot of awesome places to play, but so far the Fox Theater in Oakland has been a really awesome memory that we've had on the tour. All of our Tritonians, who are our fans, were out and that was a crazy night, because after that we went out and played an after party at Ruby Skye's in San Francisco. That whole weekend was crazy; in fact we did four shows in nearly 24 hours, so that had to be one for the books for us ... it will definitely go in the memory books.
I would say the most crazy thing is the tattoos that we are seeing on our fans on multiple arms, on the back of their necks, across their chests. I mean these guys are painting their bodies with our symbolism and that's a pretty big commitment when you start putting ink to skin. The most rewarding thing that they do is every night we throw down the fader and they are just belting from the top of their lungs in full-voice lyrics that we've written and songs that we've produced.
6) You have a single with Adam Lambert "Broken." How did that come about?
We got in the studio with Jenaux. We love his music; we love what he was writing. To be honest we had just a great session with Jenaux; we vibed with him really well and when we finished the single originally, we had someone else on it and we went from there to having Adam reach out. We contacted Adam and he said. "I love this, I have to cut this with you guys," and we just all joined forces and put out this record. It's really done well so far. We are definitely happy about this one.
7) What else from the album that you have out are you really into?
That's a good question. Obviously the fans think that the singles we've put forth are so far some of our favorite records, and to a degree they are. "Blackout," "This Is Love" and "Broken," but on a personal level if I was to cue up any song from the album, just from a pure listening pleasure standpoint, it would probably be the last song, "Only Mortal," because it has an emotional quality that is just tranquil to listen to. And we are playing some songs out on our tour from the album that have not been singles and we are getting amazing feedback, such asd "Escape" and "Waiting For You." It's been great to see the overall response to records that weren't singles being some of the fan favorites to be honest.
8) What's it like collaborating with the likes of Cash Cash, who you had a huge record with in "Untouchable," and The Chainsmokers who you did "Until You Were Gone" with?
It's really fun and rewarding, because we get to collab with them, explore their ideas and see how they produce and vice versa. Not only that, we are friends and it makes the whole vibe even better. We feel like we are writing a cool record. We connect as human beings and to be able to write and sit in the studio with Cash Cash, The Chainsmokers or whomever, is a privilege. We enjoy working with other artists and those are two definitely great bands.
9) Speaking of working with great artists, you guys have done some amazing remixes over the years, some that come to mind are Gareth Emery "We Were Young," Ellie Goulding "Army," Adam Lambert "Ghost Town" and Cash Cash "Surrender." Is there a remix that you have done that stands out to you above all the others?
That's another really good question. Some of the ones that you just named are some of our favorites. The "Surrender" remix we banged in our sets I want to say for a solid year. The Ellie Goulding remix was at a tempo that we never worked at before; it's at 87 BPM and it's more like a radio pop tempo than a club tempo, so it was challenging in that regard, to give the sort of energy an essence that we like to take in our sets at a tempo that speed. We did a good job, so I guess we would lean towards that one as being fresh and new. That's what's fun about it to me, the fact that you can always try and do something that you've never done before, and that was one of those records that felt like a new experience for us, I feel it turned out good.
10) You host a radio show called Tritonia on SiriusXM, what's the biggest difference in putting together a radio show versus putting together a set at a club or a festival?
That's a good question because the radio show, and putting a set, actually go hand in hand because the cool thing about having our radio show Tritonia is not only does it reach out to our fans and we are able to facilitate great music from there for our records and in the clubs, but we are also able to use it as a filter. So we'll play records and find some cool promos online; we'll do a lot of digging and it takes a while for us to put together the show. We put a lot of work into the show for each and every one of our episodes. We appreciate all the support that we are given for the show, so being able to have Tritonia as a filter, we are able to pick out selects that we really feel will stick and are able to repeat them in the next episode, which is a great tool to have. It also allows us to give some exposure to our own records.
You have a radio show and you guys are also one of the biggest touring artists out there, you also have a label, Enhanced. What do you look for when signing music to the label?
Leading back into the question before this one, we look for something that we feel will fit on our radio show, something that we can either see fitting into our live sets and or having a remix of that song fitting into our live sets. But we approach A&R-ing our label much like we approach our own records. We are just looking for good songs. There isn't any one style, there is no one tempo; we are just looking for stuff that is fresh, that connects, that has an uplifting vibe, that has sex appeal or something emotional and that you can connect with lyrically. As Tritonal has matured and grown in terms of our own songwriting and production, so has our label hat, and it's been great to see Enhanced grow from a streaming perspective like it has over the past couple of years to be able to sign some of the acts that are now going out on the Painting With Dreams tour with us. As U.S. guys, we are looking to build up guys who are in our own country that we feel are awesome producers and continue to build the Tritonal family.
For an up-and-coming artist, producer or DJ, what one piece of advice you guys would give to someone wanting to break into the music business or to be that next big producer/DJ?
Definitely put production first before DJ-ing, first and foremost, because that's where everything boils to and not only that, but frustration can be a beautiful thing if you just let it flow through you. Just put the project down and come back to it and have patience with yourself, let the creativity come and don't force anything don't try and put a square peg through a round hole, it's not going to work like that. I can speak for Chad on that as he and I have had the same issues and those issues flipped around can help you. So that I believe is one piece of important advice that can be good for an up and coming producer.
Austin, Texas is home for you...
We had an amazing home town show on the Painting With Dreams tour; we got to play the legendary iconic Stubb's, it was rammed to the T and we got to play outside under the stars and some of our friends and family, our wives, were there and homies who had watched us come up playing freaking 150 cap rooms and now we're in a 2,000 cap theater that guys like Black Eyed Peas, The Roots, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash had played, so it was awesome.
We're back home in Austin; what are your fans going to be surprised to hear you listening to in your car?
Chill Out, definitely Chill Out. Sometimes dance music doesn't even happen in the car. To be honest it's what we do, but sometimes to have Chill Out, or Coldplay play, or something like that, is a good avenue to get some other creativity happening.
We are we going to get something good to eat in Austin?
I mean everyone is going to say BBQ, because that's what everyone wants when they come to Texas, but the reality is that you need to get into some Mexican food, I'm talking about Pappasito's, I'm talking about getting into that fajita platter with tortillas, get that hot sauce working...