Contrary to popular belief, it’s not easy to make it as a DJ“”just ask Jon Ney and Phil Chang, better known as breakout EDM act BL3R. The two have come a long way since their closet recording sessions, winning two back-to-back Beatport remix competitions, scoring a collab with EDM superstar Gareth Emery and landing the Beatport charts all within the last couple of years. As the Seattle duo gets ready for their massive NYE performance at The Palace Pool Club, we caught up with the boys to talk about how they got their name, their upcoming clothing line and whether they’re down to try some Filipino food.

What’s the music scene like in Seattle?

People really love dance music out here. To be specific, the scene is really bass oriented. A lot of trap and dubstep. The dance culture has exploded over the past 4 years in Seattle.

You two met at a house party. How did you end up becoming DJs and pursuing music full-time?

We both produced hip hop beats for fun at the time. After we met, we started writing raps to our beats for fun and recording other people in Phil’s closet. From that point, I just followed Phil around to his gigs and would take over DJing for him on his breaks. Fast forward two years, dance music was getting big and we decided, why not try it?

What’s the story behind your stage name “BL3R”?

The first time we DJed as a duo was at a huge college house party together. We didn’t have a name and people kept asking us who we were. That next morning we were hungover and Phil said “Dude, last night was a blur”. We kinda looked at each other and knew.

BL3R is also associated with superstar DJ Gareth Emery. What’s it like working with such a big name for a track?

Gareth is one of the most humble people we’ve met in the industry, him and his sister Roxanne. We’ve worked with them in many ways over the past three years and couldn’t be more thankful for their help and guidance. Our collab with Gareth has been in the works for a few months as we’ve both been busy lately, but we’ve confirmed to be finishing it up next month.

Favorite track you’ve done so far?

It’s hard to choose from so many. I’d say we both agree as well as our fans that Jumpoff was our best song, but our single Heat is a timeless song for us as well. We’ve taken a lot of time the past year to rebrand ourselves and finally have some new label releases coming (we’ll be premiering them on NYE) and I think these new tracks will top all our past ones!

Trap or Big Room?

How about Trap and Big Room together? Jumpoff style!

What’s the most annoying question you could ask a DJ mid-set?

Honestly, nothing really annoys us because we’re there for the people. If they want to hear a song, we try our best to suit their needs!

When you guys aren’t playing gigs, what do you usually do?

We’re usually just hanging out with our families and friends or producing music! As producers, we keep ourselves pretty busy, keeping up with new styles and genres of EDM.

Festivals or clubs?

Festivals, but we LOVE packing clubs out and throwing more intimate sets as well. They both have their perks.

What would you consider to be your dream gig?

Paradiso 2017! We’ve always wanted to play in front of our home state crowd in the summer and this will hopefully be the year for it. That or playing a back to back with Carnage!

We heard that you’re also working on launching your own clothing line soon. Care to share any more deets?

We are waiting to fully launch it after our second label release this year which I can’t give the details of yet! You can check out the designs at the BL3R Clothing Facebook page. Like the page for updates and pre-order details. We made some trial black long sleeves and everyone loves them!

BL3R Clothing Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BL3RClothing

What else can we expect from you in 2017?

BIG THINGS. We’ve had some major administrative reform and took our production to the next level. Our new manager Arjun is killing it and has some huge events in the works. We have two major label releases already in the way. It’ll be our first release on a major in over a year. Following those, we have a collab with Gareth Emery finishing up, and a song with vocalist Angel Taylor which we hope to finish near the end of winter.

You guys know how hard it is to get people to listen to your material and get noticed when you’re starting out. What’s the best advice you can give to amateurs?

Get the emails of every single EDM blog and repost network you can and even set aside a small budget to get your tracks reposted. EDM.com, EDM Tunes, This Song Is Sick, those are just a few we have used. We’ve gotten a lot of major DJ support from EDM.com releases. It’s all about one sharing to another. Also use download gates on your music so people have to follow your social media to get your music. I’d say that’s a fair trade for free music!

What are you most excited about with regards to your gig in Manila? Would you be down to try some of the local food?

We’ve never played a show with fireworks during our set! We’re sure that’s going to be so sick! We would want to try local food for sure! We need suggestions on places to go. Apparently we are going to an awesome steakhouse near the venue before the show.

Any words for your fans in the Philippines?

Ever since we’ve announced the shows, we’ve been getting a lot of messages from fans all across the Philippines. It’s really cool how our music has such far reach! We first started BL3R to share our love for music with the world and it’s paying off. We look forward to seeing everyone in Cebu, Manila and Boracay!

Photography by Karlo Torio (@karlotorio)

Styling by Kaye Pernia (@kayepernia)

Clothing and accessories by The Nines PH in Uptown Mall, BGC (www.thenines.ph)

 

Produced and edited by Dan Buenaventura (@danbuenav)

Words by Kimberly Lynch (@kimberlynch)

Assisted by Inna Adia (@innaadia)

Follow BL3R’s journey as upcoming DJs on Instagram via @bl3r and on Twitter via @BL3RMusic and @BL3RPhil.