Drop The Lime is the slick-haired, black-clad leader of New York's Trouble & Bass crew, though you might mistake him for a vampire if you saw him on the street.
He's been DJing for about a decade. But he's recently hit his stride, creating his own unique sound by incorporating rockabilly and soul with a deep love for the gritty club scene. His new album Enter the Night drops July 3. But first, he's coming to rock Grand Central this Saturday, alongside Chicago trap-masters Flosstradamus.
We caught up with Drop the Lime over Skype to talk about important things.
Crossfade: Do you use Skype often?
Drop The Lime: Yeah.
Do you think it was invented to enhance the cyber-sex experience, or do you think that's just what we've degenerated it into?
I'm going assume that culture has perverted it, and we took it and turned it into that. I think about it, phone sex for example? Phones were invented before.
You've got an interesting name. It always makes me think of long, rough nights filled with tequila.
Let's just say, do not try to give me a shot of tequila anymore. Everybody in the world has that same connotation. But ... It's just a name. And people think it's a Johnny Cash reference, like a misinterpretation of "Walk the Line." People have asked me if it's a reference to the INXS lead singer killing himself. I guess when you self-asphyxiate, you put a lime in your mouth so you wake up when you choke yourself, you don't die. The weirdest guesses as to where my name comes from, and that's why I have the name that I have. 'Cause I like that mystery.
Your music itself features a lot of different elements. Obviously a lot of rockabilly, but you even hear some doowap and some soul. You clearly have a varied taste palette. Do you produce under any aliases?
I have another project called Curses which is more kind of deep house and techno, very '90s house influenced... And then I have a straight up rockabilly band called Bad Lupo...
Well it seems that even with your Drop the Lime stuff you're incorporating a lot more of a band feel. I know you're singing, and don't you even have some live instrumentation?
Yeah, I'm doing a live set where I play with a live drummer and I add a little bit of guitar. And I have back-up singers, back-up dancers. True to the more theatrical kind of show. Like a rock and roll show that's mixed with the club atmosphere. (But in Miami) I'm going to be doing a DJ set. I'm doing a whole DJ tour right now. My album comes out in July. So August and September we're going to kick off with the live tour.
They sent me over a little preview. It sounds like Texas in on fire a little bit. Are you stoked for it to come out?
I'm really excited. It's changed and evolved so many times, I had it finished three years ago. We were going put it out on my label trouble & bass, and it had elements of rockabilly but it also had elements of my Curses house stuff. Then it evolved more and I started to incorporate more rockabilly, just rock n roll in general in my sets ... and then I was like, no. I've got to make a new album.
Dance music right now is in such a crazy state. It's massive, it's top 40, so it's also influencing and causing the underground people to be harder and make crazier stuff. Because what was to underground is now pop. It's really exciting in that way that all these producers have to do innovative stuff and I was drawn more to the sound approach and didn't want to put an album out that was more a DJ record but more a sound oriented album.
I got the impression while I was listening to it that you didn't make it so much for other DJs so much as you made it to be listened to.
Exactly. We're going to be putting out a nite versions, which is the album but kinda remixed, like Soulwax or Duran Duran, a bunch of people have done this in the past. And to still cater to, cause I love DJing and I love dance music ... but the album that comes out in July, it's more for people who love to listen to music, it's music for music's sake.
I heard you went to a fancy pants performing arts school with people like Alicia Keys and Britney Spears.
It was the same school they shot Fame the tv show at. It was a public school, so it sounds more glamorous than it was. There were three public schools in one. I wanted to play guitar and the school band was really full, so we went and tried out for choir which my friends, just because it was the only musical major available. And I wasn't happy about it but I was like, well, I'll do choir and then six months in when there's an opening I'll leave. But it was heavily, heavily inspirational on me.
You must be glad that you went through that, because look now you're putting all that stuff to use.
Exactly. It inspired me to do that now. And I'm very influenced by gospel and blues and I feel like being in that choir did that to me.
It's funny you say you're inspired by gospel because you look like a greaser vampire.
I mean, I'm not religious. I'm very intrigued by sins, by the faith in a god. I'm intrigued by all of that in terms of its passion and in terms of its devotion, and in terms of the danger of the devil.
Do you think style is important for a DJ?
Well, I don't want to call anybody out but some DJs need a lesson in style. I was always attracted to fashion and style ... It's always been important to me, it's always been something that I guess my father and my mother have always carried and appreciated. I feel like sometimes a lot of the younger generation aren't even aware of that. They're starting to now, which is cool, like combing your hair, or adding a shirt, or getting a suit tailored, and little details kind of make you happier about your day.
Well, we here in Miami, we're definitely concerned with looking good.
Miami might be most aware of style and looks.
I heard that you were working with Busy P and that you got him to go into the studio.
It's amazing. It sounds like old John Carpenter, Escape from New York ... The single is "Darkness." But the remix that he did, I mean I shouldn't even call it a remix. It's a brand new version of our song basically. The next single, I just keep going darker and darker.
Is there anything else you'd like to say to the good people of Miami before you get here?
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I love Miami, I love coming there. I'm excited to come back out. What's the weather like?
Drop The Lime with Flosstradamus. Saturday, June 23. Grand Central, 697 N Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 11 p.m. and tickets cost $15 plus fees via fla.vor.us. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.