Two Friends Explain Their Unique Friendship In An Exclusive iEDM Interview
Two Friends recently placed in our top 5 sets from Billboard's Hot 100 festival. The duo put on a show that drew a massive crowd, and it's no surprise why: they know how to give the fans what they want.
Eli Sones and Matt Halper are as cool as they come. It's very clear why everyone wants to be chummy with them. iEDM had the opportunity to chat with Two Friends in an exclusive interview after their standout performance. They discussed their long history as real-life friends, putting in the work to be successful in the EDM industry, and playing a particular Nintendo system when they find the time to chill out. Gather around your friends, and find out why Two Friends are the DJs to look out for.
iEDM: I saw you guys play at Billboard's Hot 100 festival. It was a really great crowd, and everyone was super pumped to see you two. What was your experience like playing the festival this year?
Eli Sones: It really was a lot of fun. We've heard great things about Billboard's Hot 100. We were stoked to come out on the stage and play. We were a little worried because it was drizzling earlier in the day, but the fans really came out and showed us a lot of love.
Matt Halper: It started off with a couple of hundred people, and by the end of the set, it turned into thousands of fans swarming the stage! Epic. Just epic.
iEDM: I was standing in the back, watching ravers run to the stage yelling "Two Friends! Two Friends!"
Matt Halper: Sick!
iEDM: It really was wild. Giving a little background to our readers, can you explain to them how this project got started, and how you developed your sound?
Matt Halper: Totally. So the project started because we were really just two friends from middle school and high school. When we were graduating high school, we were basically like, "Yo! Let's make music." We didn't know how, whatever. We were two friends, so we named ourselves Two Friends. Throughout the whole process, we were in college. Four years later, we went at it full-time. We learned how to produce, and make our own music. Our sound developed, and it continues to. It's based off what we like. We used to be a little more house in the EDM world. We even started making rap beats originally. Now, we make whatever we like, and whatever sounds good, ya know? With a foot in electronic music, as well.
iEDM: A lot of our readers want to break into the industry. They start out as bedroom producers. I know you guys have made a successful transition, really living the dream. It's a cliche question, but what's the best advice that you can give to younger kids who want to make a name for themselves on the scene?
Eli Sones: There are two things that we always tell people. They go hand in hand. You gotta put in the hours, and you gotta make it fun! The reason they go hand in hand is that you don't want to have an uphill battle, where you try producing and you wind up hating it while thinking you're never going to go anywhere. You gotta make it fun and enjoyable. You're going to spend almost all of your free time trying new things. You're going to try to make a song, from start to finish. Each song that you work on is going to get better and better. There's obviously technical things that you learn as you go, but that's really what it comes down to.
Matt Halper: When Eli says putting in the hours...If you're not having fun, you are not going to put in the hours. You gotta keep it light, and work hard. Do your thing. The first song, I promise, it's not going to sound great. Go to the second song. The third. None of them are going to sound great, but by the 100th time, it might take off. Who knows?
iEDM: For you guys, where was that point when you realized, "Yo. There's something going on here?"
Matt Halper: Melody wise, I think we always knew that we had it. We just had to figure out scales and stuff. I would say there's a learning curve. Three years in, I thought the production wasn't great, but it's passable. And then, five years in, you go, "Okay. It's actually pretty good." Seven years in, where we are at now, I can say that it's getting really good. You can make pretty much what you want, and if not, you can get close.
iEDM: That leads to my next question. I know in the music industry, friendships are tested on a daily basis. Guys enter the game being the best of buds, and before you know it, stuff happens and they don't talk to each other any more. To be making a name for yourselves in the biz over seven years later--it says a lot about your passion and real connection that you have with each other. I'd imagine that you guys are tighter than most blood brothers, for real.
Matt Halper: That's pretty insightful!
Eli Sones: Honestly, I think a big part of that is that we were best friends five or six years before the music was really a part of our life. To us, this whole music thing is really just a very, extensive hang out session.
Matt Halper: I think it's a hang out session, but now [music] is our lives. It is our everything. Why duos do or do not stay together depends on if they share the same goals, and working hard. If one person isn't working hard, the other person is going to have resentment. If you are not focused on the same goals, you are going to have issues.
Eli Sones: It's not like we met in a professional setting where we were co-workers. We were friends, so we could call each other out so easily. We just know that it's coming from a place of love.
Matt Halper: I think it's coming from a place where we both want the same thing. Whenever someone has a piece of criticism, it's because we just want to get to the next step.
iEDM: I can see that the mutual respect is there. Let's not talk criticism because you guys get a lot of praise from some of the biggest names in the business today. The Chainsmokers, Tiesto, and Martin Garrix come to mind. For you two to hear that coming from guys who are just crushing it, what does that mean to you as artists who are just starting to get the recognition that you have been working toward?
Matt Halper: For all of these guys, and us, it's not a one day process. It's years in the making. It's really cool to hear that. You look back, two years from where you are, and go, "Wow. I've come this far." Four years, you came miles further. Each day, it's little things. When you put it all together, you shake your head and go, "Damn. These people know who I am?" It's weird.
Eli Sones: I think that's something that happens a lot. Sometimes, it's hard to set very specific goals--but you can't let that make you become upset. You can't think, "Why are no DJs playing our songs?" We always had the mindset that it is good to set those goals for yourself, but if you just focus on the music and doing what you gotta do, you don't even think about it. One day, you wake up, and you see that one of your favorite DJs said something about you in an interview; saying that they love your stuff. It wasn't like there was a way to manufacture that. You just gotta do what you gotta do, and those things happen.
iEDM: You guys talked about professional goals, but as summer wraps up, everyone is enjoying all the festivals and crazy clothes you get to wear. What are some things that you want to do for fun before the sun goes down for a bit?
Matt Halper: Yeah, we have a pretty intense tour schedule. We are going to be on the road a lot for the rest of summer, and going into fall. During the week, we will be in the studio. When we do have free time--I'm going to Montana with my family; that will be fun. We hang out with our friends, girlfriends, family. Be normal! Be friends! I'll go over to [Eli's] house, and play some GameCube.
iEDM: I still have my system!
Matt Halper: What's your favorite game?
iEDM: I have a soft spot for Super Mario Sunshine because it came with the system.
Matt Halper: That's great! It's our turn to interview you now.
iEDM: Haha, maybe next time guys. Before I let you go, I know we are here in New York City. You guys are based out in Cali, and it's a different vibe. Are there any spots you like to hit up while you're in NYC?
Eli Sones: Oh yeah, we work here all of the time.
Matt Halper: I love New York City in terms of the people. I think it's a little too crowded for me. I was actually born here, too. I was here for five years, I was a little too young to really remember it.
Eli Sones: I'm going to give a wildcard answer. There's a brand new park in Brooklyn called Domino park. Do you know Domino park?
iEDM: I never heard of it!
Eli Sones: You gotta go check it out. I'm giving it a plug.
iEDM: Let's goooooo. Thank you guys for being legends, and have a great rest of your summer!
The next time you hang out with your friends, make sure you are showing off your best festival outfit with our rave wear. Take a look at iEDM's Festival Collection HERE.