Life's quite different now for Designer Drugs.
The New York duo of Michael Vincent Patrick and Theodore Paul Nelson have come a long way since dropping their 2011 Ultra Records debut full-length, Hardcore/Softcore. In that time period, they played countless shows all over the world, did numerous remixes, carved out a rabid following that stretched from Asia to Europe, and Theo even graduated with a Doctorate from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine-"number one in the country for student debt," as he fondly puts it. Most people never get the chance to even set foot in six of the seven continents, but these boys performed to fervent audiences everywhere except Antarctica, which is too cold anyway for EDM. However, something didn't feel right.
"It was a weird, dark time," sighs Michael. "When Theo wasn't in school, we were doing shows. We got caught up in touring and partying all the time. It was a little out of control and the album reflected that. I feel like now we finally got to focus on the music 100 percent for the first time in our career."
That brings us to the group's second full-length offering, Graduation. The title proves a propos for a myriad of reasons. The boys have grown up personally and creatively, and the music has evolved immensely.
"Our last album was more esoteric and leftfield," says Theo, more properly "Dr. Nelson". "The new songs have our signature sound, but they're dance floor-friendly. We're covering a larger spectrum. Of course, it's electronic, but there's an infusion of punk and indie rock too. There's a little dubstep. There are a lot of big choruses too."
Michael adds, "Since Theo's graduated from school, we actually had the chance to sit down in the studio together and flesh out ideas. This is what we've always wanted to achieve. We took everything farther in terms of songwriting and production."
That progression comes through loud and clear on the first single "Space Based". With a massive build up and shimmering hook, it's a club epic that only Designer Drugs could cook up. It's as intoxicating as it is inimitable.
"We just made a fucking banger," smiles Michael. "This is a pivotal point in our career. We didn't nerd out too hard and get overly weird. We kept everything simple. The music is used to be more aggressive and dissonant. We got that out of our system, and now we're doing more musical compositions."
On the album, "The Drugs Are In Control" and "The Elephant" embody the boundlessness inherent in their sound. Elsewhere, Designer Drugs team up with Alvin Risk for an explosive collaboration entitled "Empty Hearted" that teeters between pop bliss and grimy dubstep excess.
"We've known Alvin Risk for a long time," Michael goes on. "It was written like an electro pop song, but I thought this nasty, dirty dubstep would complement the upbeat peppiness. Alvin showed us some things, and we showed him some things. We got to take everything to the next level."
That's par for the course with Designer Drugs though. They've become veritable staples in the scene, racking up nearly 100 official remixes for everyone from Mariah Carey and Little Boots to Annie and Thieves Like Us. In addition, they've performed over 500 shows at this point. Making a strong digital imprint, they also garnered over 144k Facebook fans and over 2.3 million YouTube views. Plus, they've got their sights on crisscrossing the planet yet again on another massive tour cycle.
Ultimately, Graduation is all about the music. "We're removed from the industry," explains Michael. "We do our own thing in our own way. We want to give people music that has vibe. It's something they can hopefully feel."
"If the music's good enough to get them naked, that works too," laughs Theo
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