The Manufactured Superstars are the Denver-based open-format DJ/producers comprising Bradley Roulier and Shawn Sabo. The DJs are well known for wearing spacesuits in their performances and despite these wacky outfits, they’re actually pretty down to earth. I had a chance to interview the guys recently at the Gansevoort Park Hotel’s Sunday pool party.
Following their recent performance at EDC NY, the duo garnered a lot of attention from their feel-good set. The first track they dropped was “Young Wild & Free” by Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, and Bruno Mars, a hip-hop song. From there, they transitioned into house music including their single, “Born To Rock,” a collaboration with L.A. Riots ft Selina Albright, a really smooth track.
The duo plays together live and spins a set for a wide audience. You can bet that anytime you catch these two you’ll hear a great old song you hadn’t heard for a few years. At EDC they even played the original version of Oasis’s “Wonderwall”. How do they transition between such eclectic genres/BPMs? In some cases you’ll hear them looping a note and getting creative, and other times, like a hip-hop DJ, they’ll use effects and drops.
Together, the NASA spacesuit-clad duo have had a string of radio and music video hits including for the single, “Take Me Over” ft Scarlett Quinn which charted in the “top 3” on SiriusXM Radio and on BPM-TV. As a co-founder (Roulier) and original employee (Sabo) of music retailer, Beatport.com, as well as co-owning the award-winning Beta Nightclub in Denver, it’s safe to say that the Manufactured Superstars have their fingers on the pulse of the dance music scene. Manufactured Superstars has played major festivals and superclubs (i.e. New York’s LAVO, Las Vegas’ XS Club and Encore Beach Club, and Miami’s LIV) and opened for Tiësto on the Balearic island of Ibiza.
My conversation was beyond entertaining and gives you a glimpse into their personal lives, the life on road, production, and what’s up with those spacesuits. Check it out:
FromDJs4DJs: You guys are well known for wearing your spacesuits and even this modified version with cut sleeves and shorts. Are the outfits hot?
Shawn Sabo: Vegas killed us! It’s like living in a blow-dryer. [laughs]
Bradley Roulier: Actually, Coachella’s private party was the end. It was 115 degrees and in the desert, so we decided, no more [full] space suits! We had to make it sexy.
FromDJs4DJs: Have you gotten any funny reactions while wearing the spacesuits outside of a venue? I hear you wear them from the minute you leave your hotel room, during dinner, through the gig, and back ‘til your room. Basically until you pass out for the night.
Sabo: People think that we’re silly, sometimes. We’ve been called the “Ghostbusters” a few times. One time in Washington DC, we got called “criminals.” [laughs] We were wearing the orange space suits and people thought we had just gotten out of jail! [laughs] We just like to make it fun. We think a lot of DJs take themselves too seriously so we make it like a theme party with the go-go dancers dressed up and the blow-up astronauts.
FromDJs4DJs: Have your parents ever come to see any of your shows?
Sabo: My parents came and saw us in Atlantic City one time. We were opening for David Guetta and there were, like, 3,800 people there. It was a sold-out crowd in the ballroom. My dad was literally looking around, going, “Really? So this is what you guys do on a Saturday?” [laughs]
FromDJs4DJs: How did you get involved with Jeziel Quintela and Jquintel? How have they been able to contribute to your production?
Sabo: Before we started the Manufactured Superstars, I was a drum-and-bass producer. One of our guys, who works with us at Beatport, Matt Carmichael, played me a few of their tracks and it sounded sick. So I hit them up. We started working in the studio. These guys have really been able to come in, educate us and help us learn all the new technologies, the new techniques to compress and make basslines. We all feed off of each other. We talk about how people are editing vocals, and…
Roulier: …and Jeziel will be like, “Oh, I can make that kickdrum!”
Sabo: We all work together on maybe 95% of the songs.
Roulier: We always say it takes about 40 hours to make a remix and 80 hours to make an original track.
FromDJs4DJs: What have been some of the highlights you’ve had as DJs?
Sabo: Playing EDC [Electric Daisy Carnival] both in New Jersey and Vegas were amazing. The Insomniac Events are just next level sh*t. We’re blessed with having a lot of good friends in the industry. Pacha in New York, XS Club in Las Vegas, Beta in Denver, LIV in Miami, it’s been amazing. There are so many incredible clubs, it’s impossible to pick just one.
FromDJs4DJs: What are some of the drawbacks to being DJs?
Sabo: The crazy sleep schedule, for one. Steve Aoki told us a while ago, “Eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired. It doesn’t matter what time it is.” That’s valuable because you’re forever jet-lagged from flying from time-zone to different time-zone, plus a DJs work hours are almost the complete opposite from normal office workers. We’re up all night and sleeping on airplanes.
Roulier: Yeah, and Tiësto said, “Do not miss a show, ever, for being hung-over. Ever.” So, no matter how much fun we have, we make it to all of our shows!
Sabo: We might not take ourselves too seriously, but we take what we do very seriously.
FromDJs4DJs: Tell us a little bit about your club, Beta, in Denver?
Roulier: It has a custom-designed soundsystem thanks to Funktion One. We made a club that was designed for DJs; that’s why we get everyone to play there. We made a club that was rated one of the top nightclubs in the world, which happens to be in Denver, the middle of the country, in the mountains, that has a great vibe.
FromDJs4DJs: What are three tracks we should be checking out right now?
Roulier: The Tommy Trash “Veldt” remix is sick! The “Born To Rock” remix that Jquintel & Jeziel Quinta did is sick. And naturally, every song from the Manufactured Superstars.
FromDJs4DJs: What are the benefits of performing together, as opposed to working as solo DJs?
Sabo: One of us can get really drunk and do all the work. [laughs]
Roulier: Four hands and two brains are faster than two hands and one brain. We just want to have fun, wear our spacesuits and our neon-green shoes and have fun.
For information, visit www.manufacturedsuperstars.com and follow the Manufactured Superstars on Twitter @mf_superstars.
(Photo credit Jordan Lloyd – 1, 3, 4, 5)