Los Angeles native Andrew Sierra and Florida transplant Scotty Dro had a very similar vision. However, each individual brought a different vibe to the table that complemented the other. These electronic, talented artists became a pair known as NIGHTOWLS who recently rebranded to TWO OWLS. I had the pleasure of getting to know this dynamic duo via Insomniac’s Escape: Psycho Circus. They’re a hoot with fire beats. Read their relatable, inspiring story below.
Exclusive Artist Interview: TWO OWLS
Listen to Insomniac’s “Night Owl Radio 111 ft. Escape: Psycho Circus 2017 Mega-Mix” as you read on:
Family and friends know you as Andrew and Scotty, but fans know you as TWO OWLS. Can you give insight as to how the TWO OWLS project was born?
A: We met each other in 2014. We both worked for a music blog. Scotty had recently moved to L.A. from Florida to attend Icon Collective. I’ve been here my whole life. We both launched projects around the same time with similar concepts, rolled the dice on working together, and it seemed to stick.
S: Yup, we met about 3-4 years ago. I was working at a Law School in Florida. After I got accepted into Icon Collective, I dropped everything, quit my job, and moved across the country to L.A. I was running the social media for a music blog at the time. Andrew was running the Soundcloud. We both were launching our own projects around that time with a similar style.
Would you mind telling us the story behind your stage name?
S: Andrew’s project was called The NightOwl geared towards that old school, UK house. My project was named Night Owl geared towards the future house vibes that Oliver Heldens and Tchami were pushing at the time. We decided to join forces and name the project NIGHTOWLS after we both realized we were using the same name.
A: We released most of our music there, got some recognition, and toured for awhile before coming to a big halt towards the end of 2016. We decided to come to an agreement with Insomniac for a rebrand to TWO OWLS.
Talk to me about your musical background. How did both of your passions for music begin?
A: My passion started with metal/screamo music although I come from big, hip-hop roots. I taught myself guitar and drums as a teenager. Although, I was not very good. I made the move to dubstep around 2007. I haven’t looked back since.
S: I started writing raps at 11 years old. I visited my parents in Florida the other day. I stumbled upon some of my old, rap journals. They’re filled from page to page with lyrics… pretty hardcore for an 11 year old. *laughs* At 11-12 years old, I was making hiphop beats with my neighborhood friends in Boca Raton. We messed around with a program called Fruity Loops at the time. I focused on the rap hype until I started DJing around 2007.
Rabbit In The Moon and Bad Boy Bill headlined the first rave I went to. Classic Breakbeats and Drum n Bass were my main genres until I moved on to Tiesto (trance) and Benny Benassi (electro house). I DJ’d that style of music for a good 3 years, in my bedroom, throwing mini-raves with my friends. I picked up producing again in 2009. That’s when I cracked Ableton Live. The rest is history.
What is it like working together whether it be creating tracks or playing out?
A: We’re usually never in the same room while working on tracks believe it or not. We usually We Transfer project files back and forth weekly and chip away at them. I see it as having a permanent, collaborative partner.
S: Working together is a big collaboration. I like to think of it as cross-breeding. Andrew lived about an hour away from my place in Burbank when we first launched. We were forced to work on our music separate from each other since he didn’t have a vehicle. We developed the habit of sharing project files for songs that we were working on back and forth. It’s good to be able to work on something then send it over to Andrew. It’s nice to be in my own head sometimes but also really good to have Andrew crack it open.
How did you grow your following base? Has it been challenging? Rewarding?
S: There will always be obstacles when you have goals. When I quit my job to move to L.A., friends and family would say, “Scotty you’re crazy! You’re going to just quit your job and move to L.A. to become a DJ?”
It didn’t phase me. I didn’t value my job as much as I valued pursuing my dreams. Being an artist, musician, DJ, and/or songwriter is a high-risk, yet a high-reward, strategy. The truth is… there is REAL joy and REAL pleasure that comes with this lifestyle.
What is your favorite venue you have played, Andrew?
A: So far, mine is definitely Nocturnal. Global Dance Festival was amazing as well at Mile High Stadium.
What about you, Scotty?
S: I love Glen Hellen Amphitheater where Nocturnal Wonderland was held this year. That venue was magical. The stage layout was on point as well. One of the stages was setup at the top of a hill. From the bottom of the hill, you could see all of the stage lighting blasting into the night sky. It looked like an EDM Volcano.
As you walked your way up to the top of the hill, the stage finally came into view and you could see a sea of people dancing and grooving. The music at that stage was proper house music. If you turned around at the top of the hill, you could see the entire venue and had a bird’s eye view of all the other stages. I cannot wait to go back and play next year.
Personally, I love your remix of Adventure Club’s “Dreams”. I included the track in one of my personal mixtapes. What inspired you to remix Adventure Club and collaborate with Fransis Derelle?
A: First off, thank you so much! Secondly, Adventure Club has always been one of our biggest supporters and one of my biggest influences coming up. I really look up to what both Leighton and Christian have accomplished over the years. Also, collaborating with Fransis Derelle is one of my favorite things to do. We have big plans moving forward with this guy.
S: Fransis Derelle is the homie. We’ve made a bunch of songs with him including some that we only play out and may never see the light of day. Our “Dreams” remix has amassed over a million plays. Adventure Club was one of the first people to support our project.
They have played our remix at all the biggest festivals and basically play our remix in almost all of their sets to this day. Adventure Club is incredibly cool because of the fact that they are willing to bring us up on stage, shout us out, and play out this remix. Respect!
Listen to their remix of “Dreams” as you read on:
How has your sound changed since releasing that remix 11 months ago?
A: “Dreams” was one of my first stabs at making melodic music. It seemed to be a pretty good first try. *laughs*
S: This song was kind of an ode to what our music will evolve into throughout the following 11 months. Our sound has matured a bit and caters more towards melodic music that we can perform live since then. This is ultimately the goal of our live performances.
What other sub genres or styles are you interested in testing out?
A: Personally, I really want to make some 170-180 BPM, maybe some melodic drum and bass. Old Netsky stuff has a big influence on me.
S: It’s EXTREMELY important to be able to produce multiple genres of music. I want to make pop music and sing on our tracks too. If you think about musical genres, you can imagine that there are people who work really well within a tight, musical genre. They’re dope but only within the confines of that genre.
So many genres are out there. You can always step outside of the box you’re in and think outside of it. That’s what creative people do. For example, the dubstep scene used to be notorious for pigeon hole-ing artists to a specific genre. Back in 2013, if a dubstep producer, who was known for making dubstep, produced a bigroom song, they would be condemned and ostracized. Now, it’s a lot more laid-back.
“Daylight” is amazing. I am personally infatuated with lyrics, and I love how you included them on your Soundcloud post. It saved me a Google search! Who wrote them? What/who inspired them?
K: My favorite lines are,
“Made the detour for your atmosphere…
Now, you’ve got me here wondering if I’ll ever make it…”
A: Blake wrote them. He’s awesome and has a bright future ahead of him. I loved working on “Daylight” with him.
S: Blake is an impeccable songwriter. He has a great voice too. Blake actually messaged us and asked if we could add the lyrics to the description on the SoundCloud upload. So thank him for saving you a Google search!
K: Thank you, Blake! More artists should adopt this.
Press play on “Daylight” for all the feels:
What was it like collaborating with Aussie Blake Rose?
S: Working with Blake was lots of fun. He has a high work ethic. For example, in Australia, that’s where he lives, he makes his money through what is known as “busking”. Busking is like street performing. After saving up enough money from busking, he’ll come to L.A. and lock in as many studio sessions as possible.
He came over to my house recently while he was in town. We were able to write lyrics for an entire song, almost two songs actually, and track his vocals, all within one day’s work. Impressive!
You just released “Sacrifice” featuring AWAL through Circus Records label. This track goes hard. Can you give insight to the lyrics and tell us what inspired you to create this track?
A: Thank you. The lyrics are just a chopped up vocal turned into a melody. We were inspired to make something heavy and melodic at the same time. Some NGHTMRE vibes were definitely a big influence here.
S: We started this song with AWAL back in January of 2017. Fast-forward to July, when Andrew and I were performing at Trapfest in Arizona, and we decided to re-open that project file and finish the song off. We made some adjustments to the bass leads and arrangements and sent it back to AWAL to add some finishing touches.
Support and get down to “Sacrifice”:
Flux Pavllion and Doctor P’s label, Circus Records, vibed hard with the track and wanted to sign it. We have a lot more records coming out on Circus. Our song titled, “Dying Young” featuring Micah Martin just came out on December 8th.
Listen to “Dying Young” now out on Circus Records:
How do you both silence negative self talk?
A: I disregard it, no room for it in my life. Too focused on trying to be happy and successful.
S: Negative self-talk can be crippling. The most important thing I’ve realized over the years is that one of the only things an artist truly has any control over is how they feel about their music. For example, whether or not I like my music myself is key. Maybe I don’t love it 1000% but at least I’m happy with what I’m doing.
If you fall into the vortex of negative self-talk, then you’re just screwing yourself over. A couple techniques to get out of the vicious cycle of this is getting out of your comfort zone as in learn to be comfortable outside of it. One can achieve this by repeatedly exposing yourself to what makes you nervous until it’s no longer a big deal.
You’ve collaborated with a range of different artists. Who has been your favorite to collaborate with? Why? Who would you love to join forces with in the future?
A: I definitely feel as if each collaboration has been great in their own way, and I love working with all of these artists. Looking forward to some bigger collaborations in the future!
S: I enjoy collaborating with all of my friends. Collaborating is huge in EDM. Kompany and I punched out our collab in a six hour session at his house one day. It was brutal but we grinded through it and kept each other motivated until we finished the track. Kompany is a mother fuckin work horse. Expect to see him takeover 2018.
Also, I enjoy working with Jameston Thieves. He’s my BFF and a savant. My favorite tunes are our collabs with him. Do not be afraid to see what happens when you let other people participate in your ideas. They always make it better.
What was the vibe you felt at Escape: Psycho Circus? Were you frightened?
A: I get really nervous and anxious before every set but was feeling very blessed to open up the Main Stage for Escape this year.
S: Escape was lit! A bunch of my friends flew in from Florida to catch our set on the mainstage. Thanks to Insomniac and Pasquale for allowing us to play mainstage at Escape this year.
Any final words for our readers?
A: I just want to thank anyone who reads this and is listening to our music. It means the world and keeps me going.
S: Stay woke, fam.
Click here for a chilling photo tour of Insomniac’s Escape: Psycho Circus.