Gladiator Commits Total Savagery on Club Up! / Bonk for Insomniac Records
It’s not a trade secret that we’ve been down for L.A. homegrown duo Gladiator long before the entire internet started claiming they were all about it. Daniel Goodman and Ian Johnson—the ones pulling the strings of the versatile bass project—had us sold the second we heard what these two multi-genre warriors were up to in the beat-making department. They’ve been coloring way outside the lines with their futuristic productions since day one, which is why A-Trak was quick to swoop them up for his Fool’s Gold squad. Insomniac Records is now taking a turn in the arena with Gladiator, as they make their label debut with a rave-ready two-tracker.
Two seasoned vocalists come through to anchor the double-sided single, their contributions adding an entirely new dimension to Gladiator’s already chameleonic reputation. B-more boss TT the Artist appears on “Club Up!,” where she throws down savage rhymes over the sharp, stuttering hits pounding underneath. On the B-side, “Bonk” brings on Trinidad’s Metric Man for a thudding and thrashing slice of reggae-laced house. As an act that has carved out a name for itself by making new headway in the beat scene, Gladiator shows with this release that they’re living up to that notoriety more than ever before.
We hit up Ian and Dan to shed some light on their Insomniac label debut, so catch a few words from them after smashing that play button below.
Gladiator’s Club Up! / Bonk available here.
The new two-tracker you turned in to Insomniac Records knocks. What’s your secret?
You’ve worked with a different vocalist on each of the cuts. What do you admire most about what TT the Artist and Metric Man brought to the table here?
Easily their energy—they make the tracks absolute stompers with their crowd-controlling vocal presence. TT’s the queen of the club, and Metric is a rave legend. Their features were sure to enlarge the tunes.
What was it like working with the two of them?
We hit up TT over Twitter, and she was very easy to work with. A couple emails later, and we had the dopest feature. Metric was a hookup from Insomniac; [he] surprised us with a huge, title-solidifying drop vocal.
Can you give us the cliffs notes on how each of the instrumentals came together?
We love clubby, bouncy tunes. Our inspirations range from AC Slater to Wolfgang to Boys Noize and more. Both of these songs are love letters to different genres that ignited our love of house music.
As for the track titles, what made these names stick?
A further nod to the song’s purpose and what inspired it—“Club Up” being a tune for the club, and “Bonk” for the large bass womps and donks that had us raving in years past.
Tell us about the biggest reaction either of these tracks has gotten. Describe the scene of the crime for us.
“Club Up” went absolutely huge at EDC Las Vegas on the cosmicMEADOW—truly a dream come true to drop it on a crowd of that size. The giant flaming “Gladiator” on the LEDs really helped, as well.
Your sound is extremely versatile, and this comes from having a pair of very open minds/ears. Which influences do you two share, and which ones are yours alone? What would a Venn diagram look like?
We do have a pretty diverse palette; Ian and Dan are two different compadres. Ian has a hip-hop/R&B lean that informs our songs’ smoother moments. Dan has a leaning for the more obscure and heavy; any weird, out-of-place scratches or twinkles are probably his doing. The Venn diagram looks like a dabbed-out Kobe Bryant.
Los Angeles is your home, and it’s a city you rep on the reg. What would you tell it now if it could hear you?
Never change—more tacos, less poke, all yoga, stay turnt. “It’s not about what you know; it’s DEFINITELY about who you know.” Shout-out green juice!
After traveling across the globe, what’s one thing you’ve learned that only L.A. can give you?
Fire Mexican food at any point of the day within arm’s reach of a platinum record producer.
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