SIDEPIECE are definitely one of the fastest growing projects in the entire dance/electronic music scene, counting over 500M total streams on club pearls like “Acrobatic”, “Temptation” and “1, 2 Step” just to name a few and Grammy nominated for Best Dance Recording 2021 “On My Mind” with Diplo.
A couple of friends, Dylan Ragland and Ricky Mears, already famous for their solo projects Party Favor and Nitti Gritti.
During the pandemic they decided to start a new chapter together with a different sound from the ones they had as solo artists. We had the opportunity to meet them at Tomorrowland Belgium 2022 during the first weekend of the 16th edition, right before their performance at Crystal Garden stage hosted by Diplo’s Higher Ground record label.
We talked about a bit of background, a bit of sensations and some spoilers about the close future.
- You both reached a huge success with your solo projects, Ricky as Nitti Gritti and Dylan as Party Favor. It’s undeniable that in just 3 years also SIDEPIECE project reached an important position in the dance/electronic scene. And now? Which are the next steps and which goals do you SIDEPIECE have in terms of collaborations?
Dylan: We’re super happy because, when we started, we have been able to have quickly fans around the world. And like you said, we both have our own projects. And when we came together, I think we were able to kind of say: “Hey, we have a very strong focus on the sound and things.” And I think that fans saw and heard that and were able to like it and gravitate toward it. So we’re so grateful to be here in Tomorrowland, like it was one of the goals we set when we started and, and here we are.
Ricky: I think one cool thing is we just finished a tour a couple months ago where we had our “Kiss and Tell” tour, which is like four or five big productions. We actually had like our own full team and stuff like that. And we’re about to do a couple more next fall. So that was a big, I guess, step up for us because we had our intros, we had songs that got to be performed with the lights and the visuals and everything. So that was kind of a new take for us. And you know, we don’t get that everywhere we go. But that’s the most exciting thing I think looking forward, besides new music is getting, the production life lasers, getting stuff to match the music. It’s been really fun.
- Since we dedicated you a “All You Need To Know About” article, we would ask you more, like best/funny frames and memories from your first sessions and live performances together and the difficulties/facilities you met instead of working alone.
Ricky: I mean, we didn’t even start, I guess the funny part is we started on the internet on Twitter DMs and we didn’t have a real session for probably a few months actually.
Dylan: We started and it was all online. So, you know, even though we both live in the United States, he lives in Florida and I live in Los Angeles. So we would go back and forth, send ideas. I think when we got in the studio we made like two or three records and we hit it off very quickly. You know, we are part of what makes this project work so well. It’s that. We’re also friends so when we work, it feels like you’re making music with your friends, so it doesn’t feel like a job.
Ricky: I think the easiest part is that, because you have two people, you can rely on another person to like, “Hey! I don’t know if this is shit or if it’s good, so you tell me” and then it’s like And then we finish it. So it’s really nice to kind of have a partner coming from solo projects, because you’re always like you have to do everything yourself pretty much. So I think the best part is that we’ve learned to make it easy on ourselves and we don’t overthink it. We’re like “Hey! If I’m stuck, you take a crack at it. If you’re stuck, I’ll take a crack.” So we’ve pretty much made it easy on ourselves. We haven’t had too many difficulties with that, because every single time one of us is stuck, the other person can step in.
- Your signature sound is noteworthy even if not so evident to the less trained ears. After three years, how are you going to consolidate it? Will it be tainted by Afro-Latin influences that are quickly expanding in the market or blended by your solo projects styles?
Dylan: I think that if we listen to our music and a lot of the stuff we have coming out, that hasn’t come out yet or unreleased, we’ve always been inspired by a lot of different stuff, stuff from all around the world. Ricky has produced in Latin music before and I produced other things. And so I think that what’s cool is because we both come from outside of House a little bit, at first, for our solo projects.When we come together, we’re able to kind of have a unique take on the music, and kind of have different world experiences. Ricky lived in Haiti for a while. And so he has a lot of really cool experiences from that. So I think for us, we don’t necessarily focus on what trends are happening, but we definitely get inspired by other producers, other artists, and try to make, you know, stuff that sounds like SIDEPIECE and not like anything else.
Ricky: I think that’s the key too. It’s like for SIDEPIECE, we’ve gotten to the point where we can do what we like. And it can be molded in a sense from what we like first, to then go into stuff. Because it’s okay to follow certain trends if they’re cool, if they’re good trends and you want to try it out. Like you said, I love Latin music and we have a couple of house records that are like Hispanic vocals,Brazilian, like Portuguese, because it’s fun. But as long as we like it first, then, then it’s okay. But if you’re just doing it to do it, then it doesn’t make sense.
Ricky: Exactly. It’s genuine. When we make something, we only make things we like. So if you hear it and it sounds like whatever, it sounds like, just know we enjoyed it or else we wouldn’t put it out.
- You both have already played here and this year you will be on Diplo’s Higher Ground Stage. But what makes Tomorrowland one of the most iconic festivals ever?
Ricky: I think it’s truly the most diverse place ever. Because you get more countries than any other festival to me. And we’ve played a lot of festivals and I think truly this is the most diverse crowd of every country. I came from Miami and a bunch of kids recognizing like “Yo, are you going to Tomorrowland?” I was like, yeah. And they’re all from Florida like where I live and then obviously all the European countries. People from South Africa, people from Brazil, people from everywhere. So tome, that’s what I think is a big deciding factor on why it’s so unique, it’s like, it is truly the biggest melting pot of the festival, I think.
Dylan: And I think for us, it’s special too, because this is technically SIDEPIECE very first show ever in Europe.Ricky: Yeah! And not even just Tomorrowland but Europe, we’ve never played here. This is our first show. So it’s very, very special.
- And we hope to see you also in Italy!
Yeah, definitely need to go to Italy. Yeah, we’ll be back. We’ll be back, definitely down for that. Cool.Cool. The book of South put in a good word for sure 😉
Thanks Tomorrowland for the opportunity and Sidepiece for the availability!