Who are Guns and Sons? Well, besides being the two things that men can never have enough of, Guns and Sons are the winners of this year’s Battle of the DJs and the next student opening act for Dillo Day. But before they take the stage on May 28, North by Northwestern sat down with the duo, composed of Medill sophomore Brendan Klinkenberg and Weinberg sophomore Killian Coate, to talk about their practice schedule, luvstep and Lil B.
Where are you both from?
Brendan Klinkenberg: I am from around here. I grew up in London, but Barrington, Ill. is where my family resides.
Killian Coate: I am from Minneapolis in the state just voted No. 1 hipster state in the country.
BK: Killian has been a large contributor to that.
KC: It’s true. I left. I don’t know what that means; I was working really hard on that.
Did you guys celebrate your victory after Battle of the DJs?
BK: No, we went straight to the library.
KC: I stayed up all night; I had a midterm at 9:30 the next morning.
BK: I had a journalism article due at 9 a.m.
KC: I slept right here [in the WNUR General Manager’s office] for a little while after they kicked me out of the library. I came to the radio station. There was nobody here, so I played some music for a while. I took a nap on three chairs without the handrails. I slept for like an hour.
What is your practice schedule like?
BK: We both have shows on Streetbeat, so if we do it together that’s three hours a week.
KC: That ends up being good motivation to make sure we are staying on top of it, because you can’t really avoid your show. If anything, I am getting at least an hour and a half of DJing in. If I get free time — we both have computers, we both have controllers that we can set it up — I will try to squeeze in practice as much as I can.
Does it get tough balancing DJing with your schoolwork?
BK: No, not really. The show is not too bad. They are at night if you are on Streetbeat, so you don’t have to fit it into a schedule. At worst, it’s a break from studying. I keep up with music a lot and that’s only the outside your show stuff that I really have to work on. It’s never really been a problem to keep up my show.
KC: I go through bursts of downloading new music. I don’t like it, and I always complain about it. I’ll go for like two weeks without downloading anything, then I will be like ‘Oh my god, I need new music because I am tired of everything I had before.’ So I have to sequester myself in the library and download music for three, four hours. It’s a great feeling. I go through phases like that.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
BK:Kingdom. He is a DJ from New York, signed to Night Slugs. He’s dope.
KC: I like all these guys that want to go as hard as possible. I think that music is really fun. I like metal but you can’t really dance to metal. I think hard-electro is the closest you can get with that.
BK: Yeah or dubstep. But dubstep gets boring.
KC: We can only take so much of dubstep, personally. But some of this new stuff they are coming out with, the really melodic stuff — the last song of our set is by this guy Dillon Francis, he is one of those guys.
BK: Luvstep, I think is what he calls it.
KC: Yeah, we are leaning more towards that.
How would you guys define your own style, and how does that fit into the music you listen to?
BK: It is unclassifiable.
KC: That’s true. We are in a genre all of our own. With electronic music, genres are coming out like every two days
BK: I try to listen to everything, as long as it sounds good. There is no sound that I try and go for.
KC: I can go through disco-ey kind of stuff but it usually ends up devolving back into electro for me. I have this interest to keep going heavier and nastier.
What are the sets like? Do you improvise everything or is it planned?
KC: Normally, we kind of improvise and go with whatever we feel like going with.
BK: I’d say we are the Lil B of DJing.
KC: We are all about positivity too.
You guys like Lil B?
BK: We were just at his show a couple weeks ago. It was amazing. It was a positive experience.
KC: He’s great. Lil B is our hero. We want to be to DJing what Lil B is to rap.
What’s the story of Guns and Sons?
BK: Last quarter, we had shows back-to-back . So we would just go to both of the shows and DJ for three hours. We knew we would apply as a duo and you came up with the name the day before.
So the name has no significance?
KC: Nah man. Guns and sons: it’s the two things a man cannot have enough of.
BK: That’s such a bullshit answer. I mean it’s true; you can never have too many guns, you can never have too many sons.
KC: I can’t claim ownership of it, but there is no other band with that name.
BK: We Googled it just to make sure.
What’s the best advice you guys have ever been told?
BK: Stay Based.
KC: Stay golden, Ponyboy.
BK: Yeah, we will go with that for both of us. Advice? Nobody fucking advises me. I do my own thing.
KC: If someone told me to do my own thing, I’d say ‘Fuck you, I was gonna do it anyway.’
What’s in store for the future of Guns and Sons?
KC: Next up, probably Ultra or Coachella. We have been getting a bunch of offers since Battle of the DJs.
BK: We have been signing contracts left and right. Hopefully, our production career will take off, that’s what we really want to do. Or maybe we will start making movies.
Now that you guys are going to be at the mainstage of Dillo Day, what do you have to say to the Northwestern community?
KC: Dance like no one is watching.
BK: That is the stupidest line I have ever heard. That is the kind of thing you find on girl’s Tumblrs. I hate you. I am going solo.
Full Disclosure: Brendan Klinkenberg was a former assistant entertainment editor for North by Northwestern.