Mysto & Pizzi: A Billboard Q&A with the Production Duo Making Waves on YouTube
The upstart DJ/producer duo share the secrets to their growing success.
Native New Yorkers Mysto & Pizzi are making a name for themselves by sharing their studio secrets and making some key remixes for stars like Justin Timberlake, Tiësto and Kanye West.
The prolific pair has produced a load of new music in recent months, including an unofficial rerub of Daft Punk’s summer anthem “Get Lucky,” a Beatport-hit take on EDX’s “Give It Up For Love,” and an original single under their own name, “Surrender” (out now via Ultra Music). But their YouTube series, "Beatmaking Wednesday," has expanded their profile beyond production credits, racking up more than 53 million views by giving fans insight into how music is produced. It’s even helped them snag remix opportunities. CODE caught up with the duo to talk about their career and how it’s developed. The convo revealed a number of good tips for other upstart DJs.
Mysto & Pizzi opted to answer questions as one.
You've produced tracks for Kelly Rowland and R. Kelly, and remixed tracks for Justin Timberlake, Tiesto, Kanye West and others. Tell us about the process of working with some of these artists.
In the case of Tiësto, we did the remix as part of a Beatport competition, but what really brought attention to the track was our in studio “Beat-making Video” for it. That video helped us win the competition, get a deal with Ultra and get Tiësto’s attention that, in turn, released it on his "Kaleidoscope" remix album.
Your remix for EDX’s "Give It Up for Love" reached No. 2 on the Beatport Top 100. Did you expect it to do so well?
The EDX remix was a really big surprise for us. EDX was definitely one of our inspirations when we were transitioning away from pop and into progressive. We were actually in a kind of low point around that time, and EDX’s label reached out to do the remix because EDX liked the remix we did for Kaskade, “Room for Happiness”. We took a bunch of stabs at “Give It Up For Love” and still were a bit unsure of it when we sent it over to EDX, but he heard it and loved it! It soon hit No. 2 on Beatport and gave us a boost to keep going.
You have produced everything from house and electro to pop, R&B and reggae. With such a broad background, what advice would you give aspiring producers and DJs?
For us, it’s just been the journey we took, which began with hip-hop. As our tastes matured, we got into R&B, pop and then naturally moved into the electronic realm. Electronic music allows the producer to be an artist and that really appealed to us - being able to DJ, perform, play live and tour. We always felt we were a tad bit more than just beat-makers. We can't just strictly make build-ups and hard drops all day, every day. We needed to create music with feeling and lyrics.
The indie-pop EP we collaborated on with our good friend [singer] Wynter Gordon last year was all about creating songs like "Giving In," which was a different and new experience. [We were] working with real instruments, doing string arrangements and just vibing out with other great talented musicians in the studio. As for advice, we would recommend you never stick to just one thing and experiment with everything you enjoy musically. Who knows what kind of hybrids you will create.
How does your approach to producing a remix differ from creating an original track like “Surrender?”
Well for starters, we put a lot more emphasis and pressure on an original record. We still try to experiment and try something new with each original track while still staying in the confines of a familiar territory. We think our next few originals will have a bit more depth in them melodically, lyrically and arrangement wise. With remixes, we tend to hardily keep anything from the record other than the original vocals -- like our recent Daft Punk "Get Lucky" remix. The only thing that stayed was the original groove of the vocals. Everything else is completely our own take on the record. Pizzi even laid down the vocoder vocals you hear in the break.
As producers who have worked in a variety of genres you have a unique perspective on the current state of EDM. Where do you see dance music heading in the future?
[We think] electronic music and its elements will start to be used in all genres and in more interesting ways across the board. I think we are going into an era where music in general is going to be very well produced and slightly more complex than now, blending genres and creating hybrids of acoustic and electronic elements. You can already hear more complex chord progressions being used in electronic records and some crossing over into Top 40 like Zedd's "Spectrum." With the electronic festivals getting bigger and bigger, we feel this is about to be an amazing time for electronic music.
What are your plans for the rest of 2013?
We are finishing up our next single called "Prism" now. It’s a great vocal record with some nostalgic synth work that we are sure everyone will enjoy. We also have a huge collab coming with our good friend and label mate Adrian Lux. We also just started working on a collaboration with another one of our good friends and fellow New Yorker, dBerrie. As far as shows go, we are going to be headlining Marquee NYC August 3 for the first time and are really excited to take our sound onto a bigger scale and introduce it to a larger audience here in New York.