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EDM.com Spotlight

Willy Joy & Buku Get Meaner & Leaner With Their New Single [Giveaway + Interview]

Check out their new collab "Punani" & enter to win 2 AA passes to their tour!

Drummers-turned-DJs Willy JoyBuku have just begun their second tour together, the "Meaner & Leaner" tour, and to celebrate their new expedition they have collaborated to release a brand new dancefloor-anthem called "Punani." The trap-meets-dubstep hybrid track is the perfect synthesis of their dynamic and bounce-filled styles, and it harnesses just a snippet of the monstrous energy they are currently bringing on tour. 

EDM.com is hosting an exclusive giveaway for two All Access passes to any show on the "Meaner & Leaner" after November 21st, along with a Meet & Greet for the tour as well. You can check out our exclusive interview with Willy Joy & Buku below, where we also discussed their history together and some of the most important aspects of their career. 

EDM: So hows the tour been so far?

Willy Joy: It’s been great man, we’re only 3 days in so we’ve got a long ways to go, but I’m excited to see how the tour plays out.

This is your second tour together, what inspired this second run?

Buku: Well with the first tour, once we finished travelling and we went back to doing shows by ourselves, we just felt like we didn’t have to stop playing together just because the tour stopped. We were looking at booking shows together here and there, and decided that we should just do another tour together.

WJ: I think it’s just a great combination too, we work off of each other’s sounds super well. I think our sounds are similar enough that it makes sense on a bill together, but different enough that it draws unique crowds, and makes it a really interesting show. It’s just fun man, we always have a good time performing together.

Meet & Greet Willy Joy & Buku! in Giveaways on LockerDome

Was your complimentary sound what brought you two together in the first place?

WJ: It was mostly a result from the internet, because we didn’t really know each other before we started doing our first run together.

BU: I think the first time we met was at our show in D.C., which happened to have Chief Keef performing on the other side at the same time. It was great, we had AA passes and we’re just bouncing back and forth between shows.

WJ: I don’t know about Rob, but at least for me, I just wanted to get my set out of the way and instantly go see Chief Keef (laughs).

Have the hip-hop/EDM scenes in Chicago & Pittsburgh always influenced your productions?

WJ: Oh yeah, definitely. At the time I was coming up, djing and dance music wasn’t nearly as big as it is now, so everyone was just talking together and collaborating. I used to dj for a bunch of rappers, so it definitely has had an influence on me. When I’m not making music, I’m listening to pretty much all hip-hop - cats like Beatking, Gangsta Boo, etc.

BU: I’d been making electronic music and djing for a while, going to illegal venues and stuff,  I so once I got to high school and college out here, I had a crew of my friends that all entered the scene together, and it’s been a big support group for me since. Pittsburgh has some crazy underground scenes that you wouldn’t find in the daily paper, and it stays underground so it really develops a following.

You guys recently worked together on “Sting,” how did the track come to fruition?

WJ: When we knew we wanted to do more dates together, we decided we’d have some tracks together to help push the tour. It was something we wanted to happen for a while, so it was only a matter of time. Sting was originally Rob’s idea, when he was living in NY. He sent me the initial idea, and I think we only went back and forth a few times before finishing. It was super fluid.

Where did you draw your influences for the track?

BU: It just kind of happens for me. I just sit down and my brain starts vomiting out ideas, it gets hard to pinpoint one specific place. For me, it has a lot to do with what I’m listening to at the time.

WJ: Other producers definitely play a role, but more in an indirect way, like here’s something that someone else made, and I’ll just get mad because it’s so good, and in my head I’ll set out to make a beat or tune that tops it. But it never comes out how I originally planned, so I think other producers definitely help push you and make you work harder, but it’s not as direct as I heard this, so I’ll make that.

BU: Yeah when I hear those tunes that just strike me like ‘how did they make that’ it, then the song will inspire me because even the smallest aspect that I try to duplicate will end up sounding entirely different, and might even become the center of the new track.

Do genres ever play a part in what you’re making?

BU: I hate having to label stuff, but it’s definitely worth having genres around. I’ve been listening to a lot of crazy alien techno music lately, and I’d be happy if someone would be able to recognize it and say it’s very influenced by ‘blank.’

WJ: I feel like people who complain about genres kind of miss the point, because regardless how you feel about it, the music we make is going to get categorized. For us, it’s about not getting bogged-down by it and not feeling tied to anything. As long as it doesn’t hinder our creativity and start creating a box for my sound, then I couldn’t care less what they say.

How has the trap and bounce scene you’re both so involved in changed in the last few years?

WJ: There’s just so many people doing it, which wasn’t the case in 2008 or 2009, so it’s good and its bad. It’s evolving much faster now, and people are innovating much faster, but of course that also leads to artists developing that you wished you never heard before. For me I’ve just been really whittling away at my own sonic identity, coming from a hip-hop and metal background, I’m just trying to find a middle place between.

BU: The progression of the whole scene is really awesome. When trap started popping off, it was really just a crew of guys like Lunice, HudMo, Flosstradamus, but now it’s gone everywhere from relaxed and downtempo to in-your-face, EDC-type sh*t. For me, I always tend to have this wonkiness in my sound, and the fact that there are discussions describing and promoting these sounds has allowed for more risk-taking for me. It’s thrilling to know there are people making stuff in a similar vein and I can just fill up my crates with all this wild music.

Did you always want to create that bouncy/club sound?

BU: I’ve always been a fan of the bouncier, wonky stuff, ever since my days producing dubstep. I’ve been drumming for nearly my whole life, so I’ve always and this percussive background that gives my music more of a head-nodding kind of vibe.

Did you produce or DJ first?

BU: I learned to drum and produce before I began DJng.

WJ: I’m the total opposite, I began DJing around 15 years ago, before producing was such a big thing in the dance music world. Before, if you wanted to get into it, you had to be a dj. I grew up playing jazz trumpet and then Guenian drums, and I think that might’ve been my favorite learning experience yet.

Would you go back and learn to produce before DJing or vice versa?

WJ: I guess it’s easy to say ‘yes’ because if I had been the first dude to do it I could’ve invented EDM (laughs). I wish I had come into it earlier because I enjoy it and it could’ve furthered my career. I’ve DJ’ed everything from hip-hop to house to garage to happy hardcore, and that really opened my ears to all this variety in the scene.

How have your instrument backgrounds played a part in your sound?

BU: I have a degree in music, so it blows my mind how people with no real classical background can make such incredible chord progressions and harmonies. People like Deadmau5 come to mind, because he can create incredible soundscapes solely based on the fact that they sound good to him. Learning instruments can create these rules that sometimes I wish I never knew, just so I could go outside of the box and create some really wild stuff, solely by ‘breaking’ the rules.

WJ: I have a degree in music as well, but it’s more in the live recording/engineering aspect. But it’s the same thing, you can’t un-know what you already know, so you wish you can be blissfully ignorant of these rules and just create. There’s songs that I hear and I just say ‘you can’t do that!’ but it’s those elements that really make the tracks awesome.

What do you think is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

BU: If you think you’re right, you’re probably right. As far as making music goes, if you think you’re taking a risk, but you really believe in it, go ahead and do it. Don’t be scared to release if its outside the box. I don’t have a ‘Plan B’ so this is what I do, and I want to be good at it, so you might as well just grind and do you.

WJ: For me, it’s that you can always be working harder. There’s been plenty of points in my career where I felt great about what I was doing, but then you look at that feeling 6 months later, and you think ‘well if I put that 10% extra in there, I could be a lot further now.’ You can always, always take it up another level, because you have the capacity in yourself to keep pushing it forward. If time is money, you get what you pay for.

So what do you guys have planned after the tour?

WJ: We’re both working on a ton of stuff, I’ve got a remix of Flosstradamus coming out on Ultra really soon, and I’m also kind of sitting on an EP that I’m trying to coordinate. I’ve got a ton of new music I’m really to drop in 2015.

BU: Yeah definitely, I’ve got a remix for Catchdubs coming out on Fool’s Gold soon, and I just remixed a Minnesota track, but I’ve got a bunch of tracks that I’m also working into an EP.

Look out for Willy Joy & Buku coming to a city near you!

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