SLANDER know first-hand how invaluable a good co-pilot is.
The duo of Derek Andersen and Scott Land recently released their debut studio album, Thrive. Released on September 22nd, the record is a culmination of a decade of touring in tandem, co-producing songs and putting their creative heads together.
It's a formula that has brought SLANDER no shortage of success. In fact, brief deviations from their shared journey have been uncomfortable and unwelcome.
"When we're performing, we can lean on each other," Andersen tells EDM.com. "I think that's super huge. We've both done a couple of solo shows over the course of this journey. Personally, I remember doing a show. Scott was having surgery and I think it was in Thailand a couple of years ago for 25,000 people. I remember getting up there and starting to play. I was really, really high up away from the crowd and I just felt completely alone. It was not the best feeling. It felt like I was on an island by myself, just DJing for myself."
"After that, I really had a lot of respect for solo artists," Anderson continues. "Playing in a club is one thing where the people are right there so it's like they're interacting with you. You're having that relationship kind of feeling. But I just remember playing on that massive stage where the first person you can see in the front row, their head is tiny. I literally felt completely alone. I really, really appreciate having Scott there and just having that emotional bond with someone. When we do something that we enjoy, we can look at each other. You always experience that moment way deeper when you have that someone to connect with... Because we can lean on each other so much on an emotional level, I think that almost takes the burden off of performing a little bit."
Land is on the same vibrational frequency as his "Gud Vibrations" co-creator.
"The way that Derek and I perform, I feel like that is one of the things that makes us very unique compared to other acts that people have the ability to go and see... There's something about our shows and our fans where I think that the two of us being there onstage, showing vulnerability, also allows our fans to get to be vulnerable and feel comfortable being vulnerable also," Land says. "It's like when you see two men standing on stage singing along to a song that you normally maybe wouldn't see grown men singing to, right? They're seeing that. The spotlight is on us per se, then it's like a reflection that they can also do that with us. I think that connection that we've built over the past decade with our fans is what makes our show special."
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SLANDER's debut album has been a long time coming. Andersen and Land launched their musical project back in 2010 and have been churning out official releases since 2014. It took the duo almost a decade to really settle into what their sound was, describing their trajectory as a combination of learning on the job and working backwards.
"We were just DJs first. Most of our peers were producers for eight to 10 years... When we fell into production, our DJ project kind of got capped itself," Andersen says. "We needed to learn how to produce and learn how to make music to grow and continue this journey. I think we didn't have all of that time to figure out what we wanted to say and what was our musical voice. I think for the past 10 years we were just experimenting and seeing what we liked and trying different things. I think now we've finally landed on something. The vocals and the melodic bass kind of sound. In this album, we also wanted to try something new just because we had so much space. We have two techno songs on there and then there's one kind of progressive house kind of track on there."
"We're really happy with how it turned out. Obviously, we've been working on the album for like over three years or so, but it's been this whole musical journey of all the singles and all the collabs and all of it is rolled into this moment."
SLANDER will blend old and new for their upcoming tour. The DJs will unveil fresh visual components to compliment the cosmic love story at the heart of Thrive. They'll also reopen The Eye at the heart of their previous tour cut short by the pandemic.
"We have a whole new visual package that we made for this tour that's just way more cohesive and tells more bits and pieces of the story," Andersen explains. "We're bringing the Eye for this to a run and we haven't advertised it so much because we kind of wanted people just to come and see what we had in store. The Eye tour got cut short in 2020 and we really only got to do a couple of the makeup dates last year. So we really felt that there were still a lot of people who were asking to see it, who hadn't seen it at all. A lot of major cities that we haven't gone to haven't experienced the show. So we just felt like we really just need to hammer it and get it to the people."
You can stream Thrive below.