Styles&Complete burst onto the scene a few years back with their impressive remixes of Jason DeRulo’s “Don’t Wanna Go Home” and Outkast’s “Bombs Over Baghdad.” Since then, the duo have seen a massive rise in popularity and have consistently put out some of the most hyphy tracks to-date. We had a chance to sit down with the North Carolinians and ask them about how they met, their influences, and what their favorite tracks are to play.
Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us at The Dankles! Could you start off by telling us a little about yourselves?
Austin (Complete) – I’m born & raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’ve been DJing for 8 years and producing for about 6 years.
Alex (Styles) – I was born in New Jersey, but moved to NC when I was 8. I started writing lyrics at 11, played guitar at age 12, and got in a band from 7th grade through the 10th. I started making beats and rapping from the ages of 14 through 19, then I quit rapping and just produced hip hop music until I got up with Complete at age 22.
What were some of your early musical influences? Who did you listen to growing up? And what were the first albums that you purchased?
C – I grew up listening to absolutely everything. I used to sit by the stereo and DJ parties my parents would have with their CD collection. I started off on rock music w/ groups like Green Day and Weezer, but started getting into hip hop after hearing Tupac and Outkast. I’m not sure what the first album I ever bought was, though I used to do the BMG thing where you could get 12 CD’s for a penny. First album I played on repeat though was ATLiens by Outkast.
S – I grew up listening to literally everything too. I meshed with a lot of music from hardcore rock, to punk, to 70’s shit, to hip hop. I liked stuff like System of a Down, Nirvana, NOFX, The Beatles, Sublime, Three 6 Mafia, Lil Jon, Ying Yang Twins, and the list goes on. The first CD I bought was either Busta Rhymes’ “When Disaster Strikes” or Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic 2001” in like 3rd grade. I might have even stole that CD, I was a bad kid.
What was the music scene like growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina? What were some of your favorite local shows/parties that you went to?
S&C – Growing up here, there were always a lot of dope concerts and festivals like Center City Fest & the Weenie Roast. Now in electronic music there are some really cool parties like Drop It!, Gets Fuckin Weird, and Basschurch.
How did you two meet each other? What made you decide to get into the studio together?
S – We met online when Complete, who was already a pretty big club DJ in the local scene, did a big YouTube parody track about Charlotte that got a lot of radio and internet attention. I wanted to be famous, so I commented on the video saying that we should work on music together. We got up and initially I was working on Complete’s new rap single (lol), but Complete also had a great ear for music and we were producing tracks together too. Finally, we realized that neither of us were gonna be the next Eminem and just buckled down hard with production. I already had connections and was producing tracks for the Ying Yang Twins when I realized with Complete that we might really be able to make a hit. After working together for 2 years, I went to a Steve Aoki show in 2010 and texted complete like 300 times saying stuff like “HOLYYYY FUCKINNN SHIIIITTTT” and “WE SHOULD BE DOING THIS,” and we’ve been working as Styles&Complete ever since.
Individually, you guy started out producing for high-profile hip-hop artists, and DJing for sports teams, could you tell us a little about those ventures?
C – Styles was sending his production everywhere, mainly producing for the Ying Yang Twins and the group Da Musicianz. That also led to working with other artists like Fabo of D4L and Bonecrusher. I was a bigger DJ name in NC, holding down residencies at some of the top clubs in Charlotte, and winning some high profile DJ battles. In 2009, I became the official DJ of the Charlotte Bobcats (soon to be Hornets) and also was a mix DJ on kiss 95.1.
You had meteoric success after your remixes of Jason DeRulo’s “Don’t Wanna Go Home” and Outkast’s “Bombs Over Baghdad” were released, what was going through your heads as you saw the play counts continue to climb? What do you think were the keys to the early success of the Styles&Complete project?
S – Wow, I can’t believe you brought up that Derulo remix. That was our very first release as Styles&Complete. We somehow got that acapella through one of Complete’s connects before we really had a direction. It was kinda crazy when we posted that on youtube as our first release, and in a week it had been reposted a ton and had half a million plays. We were just trippin’. Especially when it showed up in record pools. We actually deleted that track off our soundcloud because it’s so irrelevant to our style now. “Bombs over Baghdad” was our first real Styles&Complete sounding release. We were fortunate enough to get major blog placements right out the gate for that one. We sent the “Bombs Over Baghdad” remix to Nick from Thissongissick.com (which was like the only blog we knew at the time), who liked it and was nice enough to show support and premiere it, even though it was literally our first track. It was awesome to just be starting out and seeing your first track get 50k+ plays before you had ever even done a single show together. I think the key to our early success was patience, hard work, focusing on the quality of our music, and working with good people. We were blessed to have our manager, Jack Gallagher, who worked with us from the beginning, and we had an awesome graphic designer/videographer, Jamie Williams, who did virtually all of our graphics and videos.
What’s the chemistry like in the studio and on the decks? Is there a specific way that you approach producing/DJing, or do you mix it up?
C – In the studio I am usually not as stoned as Styles, but I will start a beat/idea and give it to Styles, who then sobers up and gets super OCD and technical with the shit. Then some magic happens and after a couple days we usually got something done. Onstage, I mix on the CDJ’s or turntables, and Styles runs FX like looping, samples, and filters through Serato using a midi-mapped APC40. We both have a hand in song selection, and both get on the mic a lot to hype the crowd.
What do you use to produce/DJ? What are your favorite VST’s and analogue hardware?
S – We produce with Reason 7 and DJ with Serato Scratch Live. Reason used to be closed to outside VSTs, but just recently released an open format to allow outside VST programmers to make Reason rack extensions. So, we just started messing with the Predator synthesizer and Ozone Compressor. I am a third degree black belt with Reason’s Thor synth.
Your new remix of Drake’s “We Made It” is simply vicious! Could you tell us a little about the creative process behind the track? Why did you decide to remix this song specifically?
C – We were really big fans of the song to begin with, from the first time we heard it. Also, we were kickin it with the Smog crew in Charlotte and saw that 12th Planet was playing it at the end of his sets, and realized that a lot of people really dug the song. We noticed that nobody else had remixed the track, and that it could use some beefing up. It started with a simple loop idea I made on an plane and then Styles kinda took it to the next level trying to break peoples eardrums.
What’re Styles&Complete shows like? What vibe are you trying to set for the listeners?
C – Energetic….We like to bring the energy and feel of a hip hop show to an electronic music set. We play a lot of different styles and genres, and always try to interact with the crowd and get them involved in the show from the jump.
You’re going to be one of the many amazing acts performing at this year’s SXSW. Word is that the Empire Control Room is the place to be! Who are you most excited to see play there? What makes Empire such an awesome venue?
S&C – Yeah, Empire is super dope! The fact that they turned an old auto garage into a venue with three stages is pretty unique. We can’t say everyone who’s on the bill yet, but it’s dropping this week and it happens to be some of our favorite producers. Needless to say, Empire is definitely going to be the place to be at SXSW.
What’s your fondest memory about your journey as Styles and Complete thus far?
S – Getting the chance to travel all over the country, meet fans, and get to play music for them is awesome. We used to all pile into Complete’s 4 door Chevy Impala and hit the road for like 12-16 hr drives, barely making gas $$ at the shows. It’s pretty cool to see all that finally starting to pay off, we wouldn’t change it for the world.
Anything you guys have planned for us in the future?
S&C- We’re sitting on about 14 unreleased originals right now, so there’s that. We got an official Adventure Club remix coming out next month, and got a couple dope collabs that will be announced soon. We’re planning on dropping a three song free EP called “Legalize It” before SXSW as well. We have the Hour of Power 5 coming out soon, and Smoked Out Vol. 2 will be coming out on 4/20. And a partridge in a pear tree.
Any advice to budding DJ’s looking to break onto the scene?
S&C – Try something else, there are to many aspiring DJs. I would recommend painting or playing guitar or something 😉 For real though, WORK FUCKIN HARD and bring something new to the table. There’s so much competition out there right now, trying to be like other artists won’t get you very far.
S&C – Shout out to everybody who has ever supported our music, booked us for a show, came to a show, or told their friends about us. We’ve been doing this on our own for a while, and the support of the fans is the only thing that has made that possible and kept us steadily growing.
Dankles rapid-fire questions:
Best track to open up a DJ set:
“War Paint” by Syrup or our track “OMG”
Go-to track to revive the dance floor:
“I Cant Stop”- Flux Pavilion or any fuckin 2 chainz
Favorite Style&Complete original or remix:
C-“Move Bitch”- Ludacris (Styles&Complete Remix)
S- FVCK SCHOOL (Avicii- I could be the one remix)
Three things that you can’t go on the road without:
Weed, iphone cords, clean underwear and socks
Dream venue to play at:
S- Madison Square Garden
Two artists that you would love to collaborate with:
C- Flume, Skrillex
S- Rhianna, Kanye
Most underrated artist:
Rell the Soundbender
Track that’s been getting the most repeats for you recently:
S- Mayer Hawthorne ft Snoop Dogg- Can’t Stop
C- Future X Pharrell X Pusha T- Move That Doh