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An intergalactic epic finds an astronaut on the ultimate search as he simultaneously longs for love back on Earth. It could be the plot of another NETFLIX multi-part blockbuster or next-gen videogame. However, it serves as the story at the core of SLANDER’s 2022 full-length debut LP, THRIVE [SLANDER MUSIC/SoundCloud].
The critically acclaimed gold-certified Los Angeles duo—Derek Anderson and Scott Land—present electronic music in widescreen set against a soundtrack of forward-thinking melodic bass, pulsating techno, airy alternative, and off-kilter pop. Amassing over one billion streams and counting, selling out arenas, and earning acclaim from Billboard, LA Weekly, SPIN and more, the pair progress once again on this long-awaited body of work.
“We’re telling a cosmic love story,” notes Derek. “In the future, this astronaut is searching for a place to start life again, but he has a love back on earth in the past. The name THRIVE sets the tone as it reflects the spaceman’s journey to make the human race thrive again. During the journey, he experiences relationship flashbacks of his memories on earth as he gets farther and farther away from the home. You’re essentially hearing all of this.”
SLANDER has actively grinded to manifest a vision of this scale. As the story goes, they met at University of California Irvine before attending the prestigious music production school Icon Collective together. Following popular remixes for Showtek and Above & Beyond, they joined forces with fellow Icon Collective alum NGHTMRE for the acclaimed Nuclear Bonds EP in 2015. Derek and Scott only maintained this momentum at full speed, building a dynamic, diverse, and deep catalog highlighted by the gold-certified “All You Need To Know” [feat. Calle Lehmann] with Gryffin and gold-certified “Love Is Gone” [with Dylan Matthew] as well as popular tracks “Superhuman”, “First Time”, “GUD VIBRATIONS” and “FEELING GUD.” Beyond official remixes for everyone from Adele to Halsey, they joined forces with Illenium on “Lay It Down” [with Krewella] from the former’s Fallen Embers, which garnered a 2022 GRAMMY® Award nod in the category of “Best Dance/Electronic Music Album.” Meanwhile, they sold out legendary venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheater and ignited the bills at the likes of Coachella, EDC, and Ultra Music Festival, to name a few.
Piercing through the pressure of the global pandemic, they carefully assembled what would become THRIVE over the course of 2021 and 2022.
“An album has been a long time coming for us,” notes Scott. “We were never stuck in one place long enough to make ten songs with a singular vibe though. It got to the point where the pandemic happened, and it was almost the perfect timing. We didn’t have any shows. We had the space for a full body work. We’ve known eachother for twelve years, always DJ’ed together, and shared similar tastes in music. We got to have a bit of fun now.”
“In the last year, I felt the inspiration coming back again,” adds Derek. “The album started as a few songs with Dylan Matthew, and it ultimately evolved into a collection with a bunch of different varieties.”
SLANDER set the stage for the record with not only “Love Is Gone,” but also “Halfway Down” [with Ashley Drake], “Walk On Water” [feat. RØRY & Dylan Matthew], and “Replay” [with Dylan Matthew]. The latter layers Dylan’s emotionally charged vocals above an ebb and flow between a delicate synth hum, effervescent piano, and a distortion-boosted drop.
“For me, it personally hit on past experiences of longing,” Derek goes on. “You’re trying to get back something you had before.”
On its heels, the single “Before Dawn” storms out of the gate on a rush of bass, head-nodding percussion, and anxious keys. It nods to timeless analog dance music with a scorching cybernetic stomp.
“We wanted to show our techno side,” Derek reveals. “We hadn’t done an instrumental with no feature in seven years, so it was important for us to make a pure dance track.”
Then, there’s “Nothing Hurts Like Goodbye.” Punctuated by a glossy galactic sheen, the shimmering soundscape underlines an instantly irresistible refrain, “Nothing hurts like goodbye. Let’s pretend like we’re in love tonight.”
“It’s about letting go, living in the moment, and feeling this emotion one last time,” he goes on. “You pretend everything’s okay to get over the hump. It shows you things could be okay, or it shows you they’re not okay.”
Elsewhere, the finale “Watch Over Me” sees their techno heart beat louder than ever “as an angel still watches over you while you go on with your life.”
Providing another piece of the puzzle, visual artist and longtime collaborator ROBOTO brought the artwork and animated videos to life in vivid fashion.
“He wants you to plant your own story into the visuals,” Scott adds. “It’s about what you think is happening to the spaceman. There’s a general arc of the astronaut’s search, but Roboto still won’t explain it to us fully either,” he laughs.
In the end, SLANDER project their vision like never before on THRIVE.
“This is a pretty introspective piece,” the guys agree. “The songs were made for us to play at our shows and festival gigs with the full experience of a massive subwoofer annihilating you, but it’s also an inner journey. Maybe you can identify memories from your past or present in the songs and create your own meanings in the music yourself. It’s what we’re doing; we’re implanting our memories into this. If we can help you revisit past pain in a less painful way and get through it, there would be nothing better. It’s therapeutic.”