The Newest Group To Catch Our Eye: The Party Pupils Interview
Sorry Ms. Jackson, these guys are for real.
The Party Pupils have exploded onto the dance music scene this year, seemingly out of nowhere. The group, formed by American pop artist MAX and California based producer Ryan EXOE back in September 2016, have begun to make serious waves due to their signature funk house style. The songs these guys make just make you feel good, and are extremely easy to dance to. This may be part of the reason why their first release, “Ms. Jackson”, has accumulated over 13 million plays on Spotify and Soundcloud.
We got a chance to ask the guys some questions about their meteoric rise, stories behind some of their greatest hits, and what the future holds for the Party Pupils. Enjoy!
Let’s start at the beginning, how did the Party Pupils project come to be?
Ryan: Max and I had been playing together since 2014, me as his guitar player for him as a solo act. After a couple years we finally decided to start writing and recording together while we had some time off. We both shared a love for funky electronic music, so we just followed our creative intuition. “Ms Jackson” was our first release as sort of a test to see how the style would react, and we were blown away at how well people responded.
Max: Bam baby
You both had separate musical projects beforehand, what initially led you into music and what were the first couple years like?
Ryan: My musical history goes back a really long time. I’ve been in different bands and projects since I was 12. I still have other musical projects that I’m involved with, but there’s only so many hours in the day to focus on more than one thing without sacrificing creative integrity.
Max: Music is for sure our heart and soul always.
Do you find it difficult to balance time between Party Pupils and your other musical projects?
Ryan: Definitely. I’m admittedly not a very good creative multitasker when it comes to multiple projects. My whole mindset changes from project to project, so mentally it’s very challenging to feel like I’m giving my best to something if I’m constantly thinking about something else.
Max: Absolutely it’s hard AF
You started things off with a huge hit, Ms Jackson. While you were making the track did you have a feeling it was going to be the major hit that it turned out to be?
Ryan: We always say the stuff that you just do for fun, with no pressure, often times becomes the biggest thing you do. Obviously being a classic song, half the battle was already won, but I think because of how we covered it really made people react. We had literally no expectations, so the fact that we basically have the beginnings of a potentially long-term career from that track is really special and we’re very grateful.
Max: Yaaaaaassss so awesome
The Ms Jackson video was fantastic, what was the story behind coming up with the talking horse and all the other crazy things that happen during the video?
Ryan: The talking horse was actually a continuation from the previous video we put out for our cover of “Pony” by Ginuwine. Our good friend Alexander Ferzan, who directed the video along with an incredibly animator named Dan Streit, had this idea of having a fully animated acid trip style concept using our animated images. Alex has a wild sense of humor, as do we, so we basically just let him fire off ideas and concepts and loved all of it.
Max: Talking funky horse is our spirit animal
You both have had a slew of other successful remixes, what inspires you to pick these tracks for remixing?
Ryan: Often times with remixes we’re contacted by the artist or their management when they’re putting together remix packages for a single. We only work on tracks we really love and we know we can apply our style to, otherwise it isn’t worth doing. We always love remixing tracks for artists we’re close with as well, which we have with artists like Sweater Beats and Jai Wolf.
Max: Remixes are tight
How did the Jai Wolf remix come about?
Ryan: Actually a really funny story. We had this one negative comment from someone on SoundCloud for “Ms Jackson,” someone who probably said something like “This is an insult to the original, no one should ever cover such a classic blah blah blah” and Jai Wolf, of all people, whom we were already BIG fans of, responds to the comment saying “I bet you’re a lot of fun at parties.” Just roasted the dude. We were dying. So we messaged him saying thanks and how big of fans we were, so he asked if we were interested in remixing his next single and we immediately said yes. I think we finished that remix about 5 hours after he sent us the stems. Still our favorite remix to date.
Max: Jai Wolf slays
You recently put out Vol. 1 of the Future Funk Mixtapes, planning to just use them as a place to show some of your new music or are you thinking of turning it into a series?
Ryan: We definitely plan on doing more mixes like these, they just take a while to put together since they’re all originals. Also, that mixtape contains a lot of “bootleg” remixes we did, so we take a risk in uploading them since SoundCloud gets on people for that sort of thing. But yes, there will be more mixes coming for sure.
Max: Taking those risks babyyyyy
Speaking of the Future Funk Mixtapes, when are we gonna get that Touch The Sky remix?
Ryan: Hah! That remix is the ultimate bootleg and is the reason why the mix got taken down within a few days. Kanye is definitely NOT supportive of bootleg remixes so I doubt that one will ever see an official release. But who knows!
Max: ASAP BABYYYY
When thinking of songs that inspire you or that you just absolutely love, what comes to mind?
Ryan: Man, there’s so many right now. I still reference a lot of Pomo’s catalogue when talking about influence on this project. Any track off of Kaytranada’s “99.9%” is pure gold. Disclosure’s “Help Me Lose My Mind” is also a go-to for all the colorful vibes and great songwriting alike.
Finally, what is the big goal you are hoping to achieve as Party Pupils in the future?
Ryan: The ultimate goal is to continue making music we want to hear ourselves, and playing them out live as much as possible. Every set we do is a party, whether there’s 10 people or 10,000, we always have fun. And that’s the most important thing. If this stops being fun, it stops completely. Specific short term goals? We wanna play Red Rocks in Colorado, and of course Coachella. Big time goals for us.
The Party Pupils & Win + Woo will be bringing the party to Māyā Day & Nightclub December 15th! Limited Free with RSVP spots are available now, click here to grab yours!