RAVERMAGAZINE.COM TRAVELER – INTERVIEW By: Michael Beas Contact: EMILY TAN, +1(917) 318-3758, [email protected] Following the success of truly masterful remixes of Queen & David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” and Ashanti’s “Foolish,” DJ duo TRAVELER , consisting of Zander and Peitzke, is making massive moves in the world of dance music. Rocking the airwaves, TRAVELER’s feel-good summer jam, “Do It” (Traveler Music/Stones Throw Records) is yet another testament to musical diversity. Raver Magazine had a chance to catch up with the dynamic duo, and this is what they shared with us. Q1.  The first question that comes to mind is how did Zander and Peitzke meet to form TRAVELER? What’s the backstory on how you both connected? Zander:  Peitzke and I have known each other for a long time and we both grew up in Santa Barbara. I founded TRAVELER while I was in college about seven years ago with my friend Blair. The project was always meant to be a live electronic band but I began performing the TRAVELER shows by myself as DJ sets. Last spring when Peitzke came onboard, we re-launched the project. Peitzke:  When I first started hanging with Zander, he was already an established club DJ and producer, so we eventually decided we wanted to create a new project together. We spent close to a year trying to find a good name and branding for the project but we didn’t find anything that we were set on. Q2. Talk to me about the TRAVELER Remix of Tuxedo’s “Do It” by GRAMMY® nominated artists Mayer Hawthorne (Aquarius) and Jake One (Taurus)? From the outside looking in, it is a seductive throwback that is leaving fans of TRAVELER’s music open mouthed. They wonder… how can such an outstanding track ever be made better? Yet it is breathtaking on many levels and it begs the question, how did it all come about? Zander:  Thank you! Yeah, we love this track. We met Mayer Hawthorne’s manager at some parties in Los Angeles and got the stems for “Do It” through a mutual friend. Ryan was pretty stoked when we got the stems for this and he started working on it right away. Peitzke:  I wanted the remix to be unique while keeping the upbeat funkiness of the original. I immediately loaded the stems into a new Ableton session and started messing around on keys. First I played those melodic chord stabs and that arpeggio that can be heard throughout the intro and breakdowns. Then I built out a rough arrangement and passed the project off to Zander. Zander:  Peitzke did a great job getting this one started. I worked on the sound design and the mix and added the second drop with the 808 bass line and the funky melodic lead. When I brought the track back to Peitzke, he jammed a killer solo over the final build up. From there it was a lot of tweaking and editing. We’re very happy with the way that one came out! Q3. Emotion, emotion, emotion is how best I can describe TRAVELER’s music. Fans love this and the fact that when you play, the level of originality far outweighs everyone who attends expectations. Why are both originality and taking people on an inspirational emotional journey important to your style of music? Zander:  The TRAVELER sound has always been about taking listeners on a journey, we like to write multiple chord progressions in our tracks and rely heavily on melodic elements. This is probably where the emotion comes from. TRAVELER is all about taking a variety of sounds and styles and mixing them together in a unique way. We try to keep our tracks relatable to a broad audience as well as dancefloor appropriate. Peitzke:  Originality is a very important aspect of our sound as well as our general philosophy while writing music. We don’t focus on any specific genre but instead strive to produce music that is constantly evolving and moving in new directions. Music has had a profound impact on both of our lives, so we try to write music that connects with people and affects them in the same positive way that music has affected us. Q4. The musical component of your music is also setting TRAVELER apart from the rest of the pack. It’s not an easy task to understand and bring in instruments like guitars, percussion and keyboards while playing live, especially while blending in the visuals that are spellbinding. What goes on before your set to prepare and be in sync with each other? Zander:  It’s very important for us to deliver a more captivating live experience than the average DJ set. TRAVELER live sets contain all original music and are never pre-planned. Nearly every song is a special edit just for live. We play a lot of unreleased material and are constantly changing our sets. Currently, Ryan plays guitar and drums and I play keys and mix the tracks together. Peitzke:  The live set is a lot of work and we practice constantly. Our catalog contains close to 100 songs spanning across many popular electronic sub-genres and covering the entire tempo spectrum. This gives us a ton of diversity and flexibility allowing us to cater to a wide variety of audiences. Q5. Zander, you have been opening up for the majors like Seven Lions and Flume, and you are playing at mainstream festivals like Burning Man, EDC Vegas and Beyond Wonderland. With all of the newfound popularity, what is it like to be one of the hottest up and coming DJs/producers? Zander:  [laughs] Well, I don’t think I’m one of the hottest DJs/producers yet but I’m very happy with where I’m at. I owe a lot of it to my friends. I’ve been DJing for over 10 years and I’ve been lucky enough to meet some amazing people. Growing up in Santa Barbara was a blessing because it’s a small, tightly-knit community with a great music scene. When the bigger acts come through town I’m often asked to open up because the promoters know that I’m experienced at playing a wide variety of music and I’ve got a lot of friends who will come out to support me. I have to give a huge shout-out to Chase, Bix, Matt, Josh and David for hooking me up with so many incredible shows over the years. Q6. Your new remix of LEV’s “Shadow” just dropped on September 13th. Every track and remix has a story behind it. What’s the story of “Shadow” and what message do you want to resonate the most with that remix? Zander:  We were connected to LEV through a mutual friend. She has an amazing voice and we loved her song, “Shadow,” the moment heard it. As it turned out, LEV already had the stems for “Shadow” printed out and was looking for remixers. I wanted to make the track more dancefloor appropriate while keeping the chorus intact. I started working on the chorus first, adding fat drums and a groovy bassline. Once I had a basic arrangement, I handed it off to Peitzke. Peitzke:  When Zander sent me this track there was already a strong foundation. The chorus in the original has so many strong elements that it didn’t need much more. I added a few percussive elements, jammed some guitar and keys and created some vocal chops before handing it back to Zander. He took all the elements that I added and scattered them throughout the song. Zander:  This song is meaningful to me because I feel it truly represents the original intention of TRAVELER: To create pop-sensible, dance floor friendly music using elements of the underground to take listeners on a journey. Q7. Apart from your remix of LEV, “Shadow,” what’s in store for TRAVELER in 2016? Zander: 2016 has been a big year for TRAVELER. Our next release will be the first TRAVELER original production since the re-launch of the project, a single called “Forget Me,” coming out this month [October] on our new label, Outside In Records. We have releases planned through December and more shows to close out the year. We’ve also got lots planned for 2017….it’s exciting times. For more information, http://www.travelermusic.com]]]]> ]]>