The term “dynamic duo” is usually attributed to a team of individuals who have displayed the ability to entertain and impress an audience without fail or dullness time and time again. Duo’s like Kobe and Shaq, Keenan and Kel, Starsky and Hutch, Mario and Luigi, and the pair that started it all, Batman and Robin have captivated audiences and defined generations. As of late it is difficult to think of a pairing worthy of inclusion in the history books of duo greatness but there is one that can be considered well on their way to making a legitimate case for membership in the club.
Michael Vincent Patrick and Theodore Paul Nelson are two creative, inventive, explorative, dynamic DJ’s and music producers who comprise the Grindhouse/Electronic styling of Designer Drugs. The duo is known far and wide for their “poppier” club ready remixes of songs by artists from Flo Rida to Mariah Carey and the development of their own darker, deeper, original tracks.
Currently residing on the Lower East Side of New York City, the two have become a household name in the city’s club scene. Designer Drugs is also no stranger to touring the globe from North America to Europe to Asia spreading their genius to massive crowds of eagerly awaiting fans. Although many in the mainstream have considered the name taboo, the duo’s popularity has sky rocketed amongst club heads and electro enthusiasts as well as those near and dear to the underground and indie music scene worldwide.
On the verge of releasing a brand new album packed with originals and intriguing collaborations, Designer Drugs continues to nurture their creative juices and willingness to travel as they will be performing across North America for the next few weeks before returning to Asia, a favored region of the world.
On a day between shows, I had the opportunity to talk with Michael Vincent Patrick of Designer Drugs about past, present, and future.
Interview with Michael Vincent Patrick of Designer Drugs:
(DaS) A team of DJ’s isn’t like the classic band; it’s not like everyone has their own instrument, tell me what it’s like to work in a partnership like that.
(Designer Drugs) “Its good, the best thing, well, the most beneficial thing we get out of our partnership is because were record producers/DJ’s, one can get a bit bored making music by yourself, its nice to have someone there to pick up the slack and bounce ideas off of, it keeps you focused and keeps you working. It’s nice to have someone else input and ideas, generally what we do when one of us doesn’t like something, we delete it, and when both of us like something we go for it and it seems to work really well.”
(DaS) Does it ever get difficult to collaborate; is there ever a power struggle?
(Designer Drugs) “Not really, we have been friends for a long time; it really isn’t a big problem. Occasionally its tough because of Theo’s in medical school and he has to devote time there, but ill pick up the slack and do what needs to be done.”
(DaS) How did you and Theo meet and how did Designer Drugs come to be?
(Designer Drugs) “I met Theo when we were 15. He was a friend of a friend and I had something he was in the market for so one day I gave him a call and talked about the project. We had the same taste in music and same ambition and aspirations for the future and it just worked out.”
(DaS) You have a new album coming out in February, should we expect some fresh originals, remixes, a mix of both, tell us a bit about it.
(Designer Drugs) “The album will be all original material. There will be a few collaborations with people like Justin Pearson from All Leather and that will be the next single. Others will be with Cerebral Vortex called Through the Prismthat is out now, another with Annie, and we will be doing some personal vocals. The album is pretty varied and will have a darker vibe than a lot of the remixes, its gonna be good.”
(DaS) Designer Drugs is well known for killer remixes, how do you feel about people remixing your tracks?
(Designer Drugs) “At first I kinda didn’t want to have remixes but then a lot of the songs, you know they are album songs, they aren’t necessarily club songs, the remixes that come in are more for the DJ side of things. if people want to listen to the songs then they’ll listen to ours and if people want it in the clubs, then they’ll choose the remixes.”
(DaS) So you would consider yourself music producers before you would DJ’s?
(Designer Drugs) “Yeah, absolutely.”
(DaS) It seems like your life of late consists of touring the world, do you personally have any regrets?
(Designer Drugs) “No, I don’t really have any regrets, I mean, its not as glamorous as some people may think, living out of a suit case isn’t the best life to lead. I’m definitely not complaining, like you said, I’ve pretty much seen the world and feel very privileged to have had the opportunities I’ve had.”
(DaS) Ok, you are just back from Europe, spent some time in Asia, touring North America a bit, and then back out overseas. Who brings the best crowd and where is your favorite place to play?
(Designer Drugs) “I like Asia a lot. I feel like everyone is positive and future thinking and the fashion is great. I like everything about it, the kids are cool, the people are nice, and it’s just great.”
(DaS) So, where in Asia specifically?
(Designer Drugs) “I like Taiwan, I have a lot of friends there and I feel really comfortable there. Playing in Singapore is great but it’s so tough to say because each place has something unique and special to offer. In Singapore the clubs are huge and the people go crazy. In Taiwan the clubs are a bit smaller but the people are awesome. Hong Kong has more of an intimate club scene that’s fun to play, they are the kind of places where next to stage there is a VIP/bottle service table area for the DJ’s and all these models get comp’d to the club to go hang out, it’s pretty awesome. Places like Thailand and Bali though, are such a different experience than anywhere else in the world, walking down the street, its totally different.”
(DaS) So what’s the “celebrity factor” like in Asia, do you have people running up to you on the streets or in the clubs asking for autographs and asking questions?
(Designer Drugs) “The people there are pretty cool about not running up to you on the street, they are very mannerly people. They will want to take pictures with you out in the club, but they aren’t really running up to you on the street, I mean they’ll wave and take pictures, but not as crazy as other places.”
(DaS) To the fans at the shows you guys put on it’s rare and amazing night yet for you, the musician, it is business as usual. Why do you do it, what keeps you writing music, what keeps you motivated?
(Designer Drugs) “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do; I have always only wanted to make records. Now that I have the opportunity I want to do it the best I can. A good crowd keeps me coming back, there’s nothing like a really good show. If its an off night or week night it might be different, occasionally you get a weird show for a town that didn’t promote, and it’s not as great, but the average show is just a great experience. Sometimes it’s crazy on the road and I just want to get to the club, do the show, have some drinks, and get the f**k back in bed, but you gotta love that too.”
(DaS) Your partner in crime and other half is currently in medical school, what’s going to happen to Designer Drugs when Theo becomes Dr. Theodore Paul Nelson?
(Designer Drugs) “We’re not sure yet. He always says we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. I’m hoping he has an option to take a year off and we can decide our fate then. I’ve been running the project for a while just because he’s been in school so we can go on doing this. When he becomes a doctor, he might be able to do more shows on the weekends but right now its hard because he has to study and has exams and is on call but if he gets a nine to five kind of thing, it would mean more time for music too.”
(DaS) Any final thoughts, words of wisdom, hints at secret projects, etc.?
(Designer Drugs) “Actually were working on a establishing a record label called Sex Cult Records. It is an indie, underground record label that has been releasing remixes and friends’ work and combines the underground music scene with good stuff that people have never heard. We did one release of our song Zombiesremixed by Richie Panic and UFO and another, Back Up In This remixed by Alvin Risk. The next release is in January and after that we’re looking to do at least one a month. The music isn’t all going to be electro/club but its also ambient electronic, and some other sounds too; some real good music.”
Although the question went unasked in the interview, the answer for all that wonder where the name Designer Drugs came from was best answered by Patrick in an interview with KnightNews.com. Patrick explained “back in middle school I was flipping through a ‘drug-free’ pamphlet and came across the word ‘Designer Drugs’, the name stuck in my head for a while and so when Theo and I were trying to brand ourselves we came up with this”.
It is hard to say whether or not the two will go down in history as a permanent addition to the list of famed “dynamic duo’s” but as they continue to release killer remixes and innovative, genre splitting originals while spending every last minute they have touring the globe to put on live shows for their exploding fan base one thing can be certain; the two might not yet be legendary, but they are super heroes to their now and future fans.
Annie – Antonio (Designer Drugs Remix)
Treasure Fingers – Cross the Dance Floor (Designer Drugs Remix)
Designer Drugs Feat. Kiddy Smile – Zombies