Life has been good for Justin Anderson and Felipe Pereira, the floor-smashing dubstep and electro duo known as City 17. After their 11th hour track submission won them a spot playing at the Lights All Night Festival with industry greats like Tiesto, Zedd and Avicii, City 17 have exploded, making the rounds throughout the West Coast dance music scene between their home towns of Seattle and Los Angeles. To hear Justin and Felipe tell it, their breakout EP “Ignite It” (available on Beatport here) could have been much different, or never even happened at all. “At the end of 2009 we started tinkering around [with music] and trying to emulate the artists in the scene that we like. We started off making joke music and our production quality wasn’t great at the time, but we had a knack for making catchy, melody driven songs.” From there, “DJing seemed like a good platform to get our music out there and get a quick response.”
..we are writing music we ourselves love.. – City 17
To say it’s gotten a response is an understatement. Tens of thousands of Soundcloud plays, ravenous Facebook fans (affectionately called “Citizens”) and opening spots for in-the-moment stars like LA Riots and Savant are all proof that the City 17 formula works. “I think the main thing that sets our music apart from the others in the scene is that all of our music is very melody-driven. We made it a point for all of our tracks to have memorable vocal hooks as well as catchy synth runs and riffs. As far as our live sets, because we are writing music we ourselves love, it is hard for us not to get excited when playing in front of a receptive crowd.”
In between their busy (and getting busier) schedule, we got the chance to ask Justin and Felipe a few questions about that winning formula:
DMNW: Who is one artist that you find to be inspiring or influential to you?
City 17: Besides having a lot of influence come from 80’s music and metal, Pendulum has always seemed to be one of the biggest driving inspirations when it comes to producing.
DMNW: What does the dance music scene in the Northwest have to offer the world that you are proud of?
City 17: Seattle has and always will have a very supportive community when it comes to music. Whenever we had a new track we were quickly given support and feedback from a number of different DJ’s, promoters, radio personalities, and producers in the area. In fact, if it weren’t for DJ BassCraze and Ricardo from USC, we probably wouldn’t have been able to play any of the shows we played in Seattle.
I wish everyone could experience how tightly knit the [Northwest] EDM scene is. People just seem a lot less jaded and more receptive to new artists. People are much more willing to just have a good time and listen to the music.
DMNW: Where do you see music taking you in your lives?
City 17: We are really pushing to making City 17 our full-time career. We know it’s competitive out there but we are working tirelessly and giving it our best shot.
DMNW: If you could meet and greet with any artist in the world, who would it be? What would you ask them?
City 17: If we could meet and greet any artist it would honestly be Rob Swire. Where do you get your Rockin Sauce?! In all seriousness, where do you start with someone as talented as him? We would love to just watch him work.
City 17 are living proof that, while talent is necessary, dedication and personality are just as mandatory. Asked what advice they would give to aspiring producers and DJs, “Focus on sounding like yourself instead of like others. Don’t cut your productions short, meaning, make sure you’re well-rounded as an engineer and a musician before you put yourself out there.”
Judging by the quality coming out of their studio, and their unrelenting rise, we’d say their money is where their mouth is. Take a listen below to City 17’s ‘Ignite It’ EP and make sure to follow these rising stars as they progress on their journey to EDM domination.