INTERVIEW: Catching Up With NOTD On US Tour With Zedd, & New Single

Swedish duo, Tobias Danielsson and Samuel Brandt better known as NOTD, began their musical journey connecting through Soundcloud, and to their surprise, later realized they were attending the same high-school. Soundcloud became their platform in remixing popular songs such as Ed Sheeran- “Shape of You”, Shawn Mendes- “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”, and Alessia Cara- “Scars to Your Beautiful.” The catchy tunes and melodies they incorporate into each remix created an interest in many Soundcloud users. Aside from being DJ’s and remixing pop songs, Sam and Tobias are instrumentalists, releasing original music, including “I Miss Myself” with HRVY and “Keep You Mine with SHY Martin. B-Sides caught up with the duo before their San Francisco performances to talk about their growth, performing live and the mystery of Twitter.

-You guys performed for the first time in Stockholm, congratulations!  How was that?  How did it feel?

Tobias: It’s kind of a special feeling performing live, because we’re trying to make the best live shows we can since we both play instruments, and not only DJs it’s fun to combine them both, to do our thing, and now on the set tour we’re on right now with the US, it’s fun to play in front of crowds, it’s a really really fun feeling.

-You’re about to embark on a tour with Zedd, what are you planning for this tour that will be different from the last?  Was there anything you learned during that run that you’ll change or take up to the next level?

Sam: We’ve done a few shows, I would say the things we’ve done before was practice for this set tour, it’s a learning process, and now with the tour we’re trying to do the best with what we can.

Photo credit: Elena Strawn

What was the first song from Zedd you guys listened to?  What was your first introduction to Zedd?

Sam- the song Spectrum it was really like 2012

Tobias: For me I think it’s called slammed the door if I’m right, and then spectrum was in 2012 or something like that so we’ve been friends for a really long time.

In the past, you guys mentioned that Avicii was a big musical influence, what in particular about him inspired you to make your own music.  Were there any other genres and bands that you were into?

Tobias: I got introduced to the EDM and house genre at a really young age because my sister was listening to it, and I just got so into it, and I started doing that, and it kind of switched off to pop, and now everything inspires me, every genre, it could be pop-punk, rap, pop, or house, could be anything, could be a good song, and that inspires me.

You’ve been in the industry for a while, worked with lots of artists, and also toured for a while. What’s the best advice you’ve gotten?

Photo credit: Elena Strawn

Tobias: I would say, actually this is one from my manager, that I think is really good. Put in the work, because if you don’t put in the work, someone else will, and this really stuck to us, we just want to put in the work, so stuff gets done, and we just want to look out for ourselves in the future and then just have fun at the same time.

How do you guys work collectively to create music?

Samuel: It works pretty good, usually when we get songs sent to us, we decide who is gonna start on it. If for example if I’m starting on a song and I get a good flow and I can work on it pretty much then send it over to Toby, so he gets to work on it, it’s like that on almost everything, you’re really not thinking of who’s gonna do what.

Congrats on the new single, “Keep You Mine”! –  You’ve mentioned that the song is about knowing when to give space in a relationship. Is this based on personal experience?

Tobias: We got the vocal from SHY Martin, who is one of the writers on it so we actually just did the whole production, but we definitely felt a connection to the song, it was like this is something we feel like a lot of people can relate, sometimes it can get kind of hectic in relationships and you kind of need some space for a little.

The song was written collectively along with other writers as well, how long did it take to complete the lyrics while also creating a melody to the song?

Tobias: I think it went pretty fast, the whole process of getting the song together, it was like, I don’t know how long was it?

Samuel: I mean it always goes pretty fast if you have a flow, I would say it took like a week to have the finalized song, but then we always get feedback from other people and change some small stuff and mixing everything, and that takes time, so it really took like a year overall.

How did you guys meet SHY Martin?

Samuel: She wrote one of the biggest songs today “I Wanna Know” and she’s actually from Sweden, so we got that song out together, and from then we just kept on talking. We thought she was amazing, and wanted to work more with her and then this song opportunity came up, and was like okay we need to do something together, so we did, and it’s nice cause we’re all from Sweden, so it’s fun.

Photo credit: Elena Strawn

There’s been many great remixes you guys worked on, how’s the process in picking and choosing which songs you guys end up remixing?

Tobias: From the beginning we had listened to a bunch of music, and then it was like okay this song is really good, and I just want to remix it, so in the beginning it was more we look for songs and choose what we want to remix, but now we get sent so much remix opportunities, so now it’s more like we choose what gets sent to us while also getting the chance to pick a song we really like to remix.

Any future remixes in the works?  Do you guys plan an album or a mixtape in the future?

Samuel: Not really, no plans, we’re gonna keep on finishing up on some singles and then hopefully maybe an EP in the upcoming year, but nothing really set in stone, we just keep on working day by day.

How can you describe each of your personality through music

Tobias: I’m usually more energetic, making summer vibes, and Sam is more emotional in the production so that combined is what creates the NOTD sound, it’s like happy and sad at the same time, you can put it like that.

So you’ve recently said you’re the worst at twitter, what’s so awful about it, who do you aspire to be like on Twitter?

We’re from Sweden and twitter is not really big thing there, but it’s just been hard to keep track, we’re so much more away from the social media, and we’re really don’t like the twitter scene, I mean it’s fun, it’s just hard to keep up.

NOTD TOUR DATES WITH ZEDD & JAX JONES

9/25 – The Roxy – Los Angeles, CA *NOTD Only
9/26 – Whitewater Amphitheater – New Braunfels, TX
9/27 – Retention Music Center – Houston, TX
9/28 – Toyota Music Factory – Irving, TX
10/1 – Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre – Atlanta, GA
10/5 – Red Hat Amphitheater – Raleigh, NC
10/8 – Express Live! – Columbus, OH
10/9 – Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA
10/11 – The Sylvee – Madison, WI
10/12 – The Armory – Minneapolis, MN
10/17 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY *NOTD Only