SLANDER Finds Range & Diversity on 'The Headbangers Ball': Exclusive EP Breakdown

Koury Angelo


Who among you remembers the MTV show Headbangers Ball? It ruled the rock and metal landscape of the late '80s and early '90s with a healthy mix of shredding guitars, double bass and melodic ballads. Now, DJs are the rock stars, and Los Angeles-based duo SLANDER brings all those elements into a fresh and frenzied sound all its own.

We're not sure if SLANDER watched the old program, but its latest EP takes its namesake and rides that lightning. The Headbangers Ball concept first came to SLANDER during its Las Vegas residency. The duo thinks of it as "a mansion party set in the Great Gatsby era but with undead skeletons as our attendees." The Vegas club turned it down, but SLANDER kept the vibe alive and retooled the concept for its 2018 tour, which then inspired a new EP.

"This would be the second EP we have ever released, so we wanted to make sure the concept was complete and the music matched the vibe of the upcoming events," SLANDER tells Billboard Dance. "We aimed to create three solid vocal dubstep songs, essentially mimicking the vibe we conceptualized for the tour. The emotional vocals represent the more upscale elements of the Ball, and the dubstep drops represent the more dark, grungy appearance of the attendees. To us, The Headbangers Ball also represents a new evolution of the SLANDER sound into a more heavy bass arena that still sends back traces to our original melodic sound via the vocals we chose. We hope you guys enjoy this new world we have created for you."

We caught up with SLANDER to dive even deeper into the Headbangers Ball concept with a track-by-track experience of the EP. Check it out below.

"You Don’t Even Know Me" with RIOT
"You Don’t Even Me" is one of our favorite tracks that we have ever worked on. Finally getting some time to sit down and work with RIOT was incredible. They are some of the best producers we have ever had the privilege of working with, and this track came together seamlessly over just a few days. We love the dynamics of the emotions in this song. The two drops contrast each other very well, and the vocal also just fits perfectly. 

"Running To You" With Spag Heddy feat. Elle Vee
Running To You is finally here. We've wanted to work with Spag Heddy for a while now, and finally getting this one done with him was a truly amazing experience. For this song, we tried to blend our sounds together as seamlessly as possible by taking the listener from a deeply emotional moment straight into a heavy one. We thought this duality of emotion really made the track feel special since. It's very two-faced and doesn't sit in any traditional genre category. 

"Hate Being Alone" feat. Dylan Matthew
This song started as a drop we made last February. Since then, we shelved the project for a bit to finish a few more urgent works in progress, but finishing the song was always on our mind. Then, this fall, we finally got the missing piece: Dylan Matthew’s incredible vocal line. This vocal took the track into a completely different place, and we were thrilled that it was given this new life. We went in and re-arranged and re-structured the entire song to fit his vocal, and we couldn't be happier with the result. This is our first solo original dubstep song, and we are so excited to finally give to you guys.

The Headbangers Ball is out now on Monstercat. Listen to it in full below.


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