Clubplanet Interviews Manufactured Superstars

by Emily Tan
11.22.2011


The Manufactured Superstars are the hit-making DJs/producers, Bradley Roulier and Shawn Sabo. In addition to being “the funnest DJs” out there, the duo also has the distinguishing trait of being involved with Beatport from the ground-up as co-founder and founding member (Roulier), and as an original employee and current member (Sabo). DJ Times journalist, Emily Tan, spoke with Shawn Sabo exclusively for Clubplanet on the eve of Manufactured Superstars’ big E.P. release, Freak On You (Magik Muzik). Here’s what went down!

Clubplanet.com: Tell us about your latest single featuring Lea Luna, “Drunk Text” (Magik Muzik)?

Shawn Sabo of Manufactured Superstars:
It was inspired by some underground anthems we like, like “Bilingual.” “Drunk Text” is a spoken word piece about a girl sending drunk text messages while out at a club. It’s a cool, underground track. We have some great remixes coming out this week by Sultan & Ned Shepard, Trent Cantrelle who re-arranged the vocals.

You and Bradley are from Denver, which seems to have a really cool local culture in terms of the music scene, lifestyle and such. Looking at the Global Dance festival that takes place at Red Rocks, the creation of Beatport.com, of Beta Nightclub, and then the creation of Manufactured Superstars…how do you feel the local culture of Denver has contributed to these creative endeavors?

Sabo:
Denver’s a great city in general, from sports to music! It really does support creativity. People are here to have fun, have a good attitude. It’s in the middle of the country, so for DJs, art exhibits and such, it’s a routing thing. So even for Lady Gaga or Manufactured Superstars, it’s had a good following. For Beatport, it’s also an Internet hub being in the middle of the country; the talent for programming, graphic design and IP design, it’s all here! Denver is a great city for EDM. A lot of DJs say Denver is their favorite city in North America to play. Crowds are really into it. They’re young and excited, whether it’s for Skrillex, ATB, or [David] Guetta, they’re here to party.

Can you speak to the evolution of your sound through your recent singles? From “Take Me Over” to “Serious” to “Drunk Text,” you seem to cover a lot of stylistic ground really well.

Sabo:
As artists, we don’t want to be beholden to anything. We want our original productions to represent that. We don’t want to be pigeon-holed. We’ve closed our sets lately with the [J Flash & Tyler Blue] dubstep remix of “Take Me Over,” which is included on our new EP, Freak On You (Magik Muzik) for release November 28th! We want our music to be fun, catchy, well-produced songs that people want to listen to. Then after “Drunk Text,” our next single goes back to a prog-house sound. The tracks we’re working on now are back to prog-house.

On your upcoming single for release this Christmas, “Silver Splits The Blue” featuring Christian Burns, why did you decide to go with a male vocalist? What’s the story behind the making of that tune?

Sabo:
Christian’s an extremely talented singer-songwriter who’s worked with Tijs [Tïesto] and Armin [van Buuren]. He’s been somebody we sought out working with in the beginning of the year, but he was busy. We tried a couple of different top lines, and he came back with what we thought was a slam-dunk! He’s a talented vocalist, a great songwriter, and we’re really excited about the song. We have remixes from Nicky Romero and others. Everyone who’s heard the vocal loves it! It’s my wife’s favorite song and that’s always a good sign.

Tell us more about your Freak On You E.P. from Magik Muzik?

Sabo:
We’re really excited! It’s got five new tracks and new remixes, like the dubstep remix of “Take Me Over” that have never before been released. We’re super excited…

What distinguishes the Manufactured Superstars sound from the rest? “Take Me Over” is a real sing-along kind of track. Have you considered releasing a non-vocal, instrumental-only single?

Sabo:
We try to be the funnest DJs there are. We’re not trying to be the most serious. We do edits of every single song we play, like we’ll take a song that’s seven minutes and edit it down to two or three minutes for our live sets. We’re really diverse in our sound when we play live. We might play a Nicky Romero track into a Calvin Harris track into an obscure house track from 10 years ago into a bootleg of a pop song into…you never know! [laughs] We actually have two tracks on the Freak On You E.P. that have small vocal samples but not full-on vocals. We’ve worked on a few…we’re really trying to build a hit, and people like to sing along to our songs with vocals when we play live.

Do you consider these other open-format, pop DJs to be contemporaries: Steve Aoki, LMFAO, Afrojack, David Guetta? I know you are friends with each of them. Do you influence each other creatively, even if it’s subconsciously?

Sabo:
Yeah, all these guys are influences. Afrojack’s one of the best producers on the planet right now. Aoki brings the party to the next level, for sure. We’re inspired by all these guys. I think a lot of people think being a DJ is just pure fun all the time, and people don’t realize how hard people like this work. How hard their team around them works! Our team is growing with full-time PR, full-time management, full-time agency…it’s hard work.

What are some of your favorite U.S. cities to play?

Sabo:
All of the top markets! In Vegas, at XS at the Wynn. They’ve been extremely supporting with an amazing 5,000-person venue with the prettiest people, the best production, the best service. In L.A. for all the Insomniac events and for our residency at Playhouse in Los Angeles. For festivals, besides EDC in Vegas, L.A. is the best city in the world right now. Their Halloween Insomniac party was 45,000 people, sold-out. New York is awesome, Miami…we just did the Identity Festival [tour] and hit a lot of the smaller markets, as well, like Pittsburg, Atlanta, and many others. There were great shows everywhere on that tour, and all the fans are incredible.

What’s next for the Manufactured Superstars?

Sabo:
We’ve some really exciting partnerships with cool brands with EDM stakes. We’re working on a full mix compilation coming out next year and a full-length studio album, our radio shows, we’ll continue heavy touring and touring to support the album which will come in 2012.


Photos Courtesy of Jordan Loyd



Check out Manufactured Superstars latest EP, Freak On You, on iTunes.





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