Gutter Brothers Entrap Beyond Wonderland
Behind the black bandanas are two self-professed nerds. Colin Overholt (primary DJ) and Valentin Cain (primary producer) met while working as video game testers. In fact, the name Gutter Brothers originated from two characters in a game they were testing. Once they each fell in love with producing music, they quit video game testing and have never looked back since.
For Cain, Beyond Wonderland was unforgettable. It was “probably the best experience of my life so far,” he said. “To do something that you love to do just because you love to do it, and other people appreciate it. It was beautiful.”
Holt was surprised at the turnout for the Discovery Stage. “I wouldn’t expect so many people to come out to see someone they either haven’t heard or don’t know much about. When we started our set, I saw a sea of people back there. I could see people looking at the stage forty meters back. And we’ve never played to an audience that large before, so for us, it was definitely amazing and very fun.”
It wasn’t long ago that Cain and Holt began attending club shows. As soon as they heard dubstep mixed with other genres and had their first taste of trap, they were sold. “The Original Don Flosstradamus remix pretty much changed everything for us,” Holt said. “We were like, ‘We’re all in, this is what we want to do.’ Dubstep was in our rear view mirror from then on out.”
Now, the Gutter Brothers have released an EP, “Kiss Me I’m Gutter,” and are working full-time producing music. Insomniac caught up with Colin and Val minutes after their Beyond Wonderland set. To find out how this duo dropped their video game controllers and picked up turntables, read below.
What did you think of your set? How did everything go?
VC: All I could think about was how it looked. It looked beautiful out there… It was just a total blow my mind experience.
What made you guys apply to the Discovery Project?
CO: I was looking into these guys called The Esseph, who also make trap music. And so when I saw that they won the competition, I was like, if trap music can be at a festival through winning a competition, then that’s probably the only way we’re going to get in a festival now. Honestly, when we found out [we had won], we absolutely couldn’t believe it. We entered thinking it would be something that we would never think about again, other than it was a way for us to work on our craft, for us to practice mixing as well as producing.
So how did you guys meet and become the Gutter Brothers?
CO: We were working at a video game publisher called 2K Games as video game testers, and that job sucked. So we were both testing on Borderlands 2 for the past year, kind of when trap came about…and for us, dubstep was really cool, a new type of music. It was very intense but at the same time slow and it made people move. And that attracted us to it.
VC: And that was all we were going to produce. At first we were going to produce dubstep, but we just couldn’t deny [trap]…We felt like that’s where our brains think, that’s why we related with it so much when we heard it. We sort of made music we liked; it just happens to be built around 808s and a lot of “yeahs” and “heys.”
And what are the bandanas for?
VC: We’re nerds when it comes to it. It’s just a creative way to express [ourselves] a little bit more. At this point, we’re just having fun. And we’re not trying to hide our identities or anything. We’re just like… We’re the Gutter Brothers. So we just go on stage looking as gutter as we possibly can.
CO: Also the bandanas, it’s something where you could become a character. You can put it on and become someone else while you’re on stage. And for that point in time you don’t have to think about anything else in your life other than that who that character is, and it feels good.
Do people ever mistake you for the other Gutter Brothers?
CO: The English skiffle band?
CO: My father, he called me three days ago, and he was asking me “I googled Gutter Brothers, and I found this English band. You guys know about those guys, or are you guys making fun of them? What’s that all about?”
VC: We didn’t even know that they existed.
I just thought it was really funny because it’s so different from your music.
CO: I want to know what skiffle is. I really do.
VC: If we start digging into a lot of their music maybe we’ll pull out some samples.
CO: Long-lost brothers.
Maybe a remix
So what do you guys see for the future? Any goals, plans?
VC: I think this, all the time.
Producing full time?
CO: Yeah that’s what we’ve been doing. Like getting shows and being able to, you know, afford to live in Los Angeles while trying to play trap music. It’s the most ridiculous thing. But it’s to the point where we’re actually really close…it’s been amazing because not only did we win this, but we won the MNDR “Feed Me Diamonds” Remix Contest in the same week as this.
That’s so exciting!
VC: It was like the floodgates opened up.
CO: We’re getting there. We’re getting things done.
VC: We’d love to come back and do this again but then be on an even bigger stage and not have to win a contest. To just be asked to come back.
CO: Maybe trap will be there by then.
VC: This is all we do; this is all we care about. We’re pretty cut-throat to ourselves about getting this done and putting music out. We love it, [and] we have fun, but we also treat it like it’s our profession.
Trap is definitely getting up there.
CO: That’s great. And that’s a great change of pace. We’ve got all this four [on the] floor, full-time music going. It’s nice to be able to chill out for awhile.
VC: It gives people different options. I’ve always loved downtempo. We still listen to all types of EDM. It’s not just strictly trap. We’re just surprised — why didn’t all of us think of this sooner? How did it take so long?
Right time, right place.
VC: Yeah, right time, right place. Exactly. We just kind of caught the wave. We’ve been doing music and doing things in music forever, but this was the first time where we felt like it’s so open, so much to create. You could take samples of people screaming outside your house and cut it up.
CO: Nobody’s expecting anything when it comes to drops. When it comes to dubstep drops, you know, late 2012, early 2012 really, everybody was just expecting the hardest, most aggressive drop every time a drop hit. Not only does it get tiring after forty minutes, [but also] it’s not interesting. It’s the same problem I have with house and drum and bass. Every time it gets to a drop you know exactly what beat to expect. With trap there’s 808s, but I don’t know what pattern they’re going to be in. So there’s more room to create, there’s more room to just do things that feel right, even if it’s not by the book.