Los Angeles natives Danl Goodman and Ian Johnson, known together as gLAdiator, return to San Francisco for a show at DNA Lounge on August 30. Their complementary eclectic tastes are essentially a twist of trap, electro and house.
We spoke with the duo about the trap music, what they have planned for their San Francisco show and the history of Danl’s beard.
What memory sticks out most from your last visit to San Francisco?
Danl: The Ciopino, for sure.
Ian: Last time we came was back in March. We went up with our buddy who is from San Francisco and before the show we had a really nice Italian dinner at a his grandma’s house. The show was pretty crazy at 1192 Folsom. The green room was really trippy with all the mirrors and stuff.
Danl: It was pretty chill.
How long have you had your beard, Danl?
Danl: I’ve had it on my face since the beginning of college. This iteration started growing September 22, 2011, the date of my last cool, clean-shaven face. Since then it’s been consistently growing for gLAdiator as part of the brand. Knowing the beard’s birthday is good for social media.
Is trap music here to stay or just a passing fad?
Danl: I think trap is a jumping off point. First of all, I don’t think there’s really anything that’s a passing fad—just points of evolution. Trap was a good jumping off point for hip-hop based electronic music. There’s so many iterations of trap now, you can’t call it trap anymore but it all happened because of trap.
Ian: I agree with everything Danl said. As long as people keep integrating and pushing the scene forward—you know, do something different and don’t get stagnant—I don’t think it will go anywhere. There will always be a core audience who wants that kind of music.
Do you agree that trap music is moving to ‘twerk’ (from 140 bpm down to 100 bpm) to make it more club friendly and easier to mix top 40 tracks?
Ian: I think it’s a little bit of both. Things are trending in that way, but I feel likes its just an offshoot or happened because of the trap explosion. I think it’s great—it’s just more good music to play. There are a lot of people like DJ Snake, for example, who can get their shine because of it.
Danl: In all the evolutions, the person evolves the sound, they become the face of that movement. It’s important that new faces sprout up because of the movement. For twerk in general, there’s a lot of moombah[ton] influence as well because of the speed. It’s a good combination.
Is there a new genre you’ve discovered recently or other genres that you’re interested in producing other than what you’re already currently doing?
Danl: I would definitely be down to do some juke shit, no lie.
Ian: We’re open to other stuff and all kinds of music. On our our upcoming EP, we have one uptempo house track that is different from anything we’re making right now. Also, a lot more chill uptempo stuff, like Dada or Philly club. Their shit is fun.
Danl: We have stuff like that in the works…
Ian: The big thing with something like that is to not get pigeon-holed into making that one kind of specific sound all the time. Especially if you want to have longevity in your career.
Danl: There’s a reason that Dillon Francis is still popular. Diplo is undoubtedly the greatest pacemaker in the game.
Ian: 100 percent true. Honestly, he sets the trend for sure.
What’s your ideal performance environment or venue (indoor vs. outdoor, large or small, festival or one-off)?
Danl: What a question!
Ian: Festival and club shows are very different for many reasons. For me, the dream house festival is most ideal.
Danl: …that or the main stage of Tomorrowland, the biggest festival in the world.
Ian: Playing outside, you have that huge open air thing where you can see the whole crowd. Being up on the stage is the reason you want to be a musician. In terms of an indoor club venue, it depends—playing a huge one can be fun, but sometimes smaller ones can be more fun.
Danl: If they’re there to have fun and you are there to have fun, you just have a clear understanding that it’s a good time in this bitch. There could be less than 100 people in the room, but 100 percent of people freaking out at every track, feedback from the crowd. I’d much rather play in that small room of people going ape-shit.
What live on-stage elements and/or special guests do you plan to bring to DNA Lounge?
Danl: Well, I will say this—Ian is gonna bring infinite amounts of swag. I’ll definitely bring the beard. It’s just going to be our boys and a shit-ton of energy.