Not long ago, Brad Roulier and Shawn Sabo could be credited as being part of the small team that created Beatport.com, the startup that was the first and largest online site to buy, download and distribute electronic music. Fast-forward about a year to 2005, when they created Manufactured Superstars and added DJing and producing to their résumés. Since then, they’ve landed headlining spots at music festivals, toured around the world and now hold a 25-date residency at Vegas mega-clubs Tryst and XS. The strategic and business-minded DJs have branded themselves to be all about the party, which they will prove when they next take over XS on Nov. 20.
When you both rock your custom spacesuits, you guys are very recognizable DJs. What’s the story behind them?
Sabo: We did this event in Denver for 13 years called Skylab, and we wore them to that. We wore them for Halloween that same year, then in 2009 we toured with Paul Oakenfold for Perfecto and we started wearing them for that. Then we were like, “Forget it! Let’s just wear them all the time.”
You have orange spacesuits and white spacesuits. … How do you choose which to wear?
Roulier: White is for more formal occasions.
What counts as a formal occasion?
Roulier: If we’re headlining or if it’s a holiday, we usually wear white. If we’re opening up for someone like Tiësto or David Guetta, we’ll wear orange. White looks better onstage, and we don’t get called Ghostbusters as much.
Manufactured Superstars is definitely better than Ghostbusters. How did you come up with that catchy name?
Roulier: I had been a promoter forever and was a little annoyed with some of the DJs who were working for us in Denver. There were so many resources [for the DJs], with street teams, e-mail blasts and printed fliers, and I felt like they should make a good image and come up with a fun concept. Manufactured Superstars kind of came from Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, N’Sync and all those types of people. There was never a DJ that came from that kind of background where you [also] use all of your resources and make it more about the party.
Speaking of actual manufactured superstars, rumor has it you did a track titled “Drunk Text” with media superstar Paris Hilton.
Roulier: There are some issues with the track; I don’t know if it will come out. It’s a pretty controversial track, and it’s kind of stuck right now. The lyrics are not radio-friendly.
So it’s a song to be played at the point in the night when people are ripe for drunk texting?
Roulier: Yeah, we tried to make it go along with the idea of what happens at 3 a.m. We wanted it to be authentic and real; we didn’t water it down. It’s just like spoken word. There’s an old track called “Bilingual” and an old track by Peace Division called “Black Light Sleaze.” Those were kind of our inspirations for the track. There’s no singing going on, it’s talking over tech-house. It’s not a very traditional song.
How did you end up working with Paris?
Sabo: Our good friend Cy Waits was dating her, and she was really getting into electronic music and wanted us to work with her. It was very risky, as commercial as we are, to do a track with Paris Hilton. So we wanted to make it as underground and cool as possible. We didn’t want her singing, “Take me over, take me over.”
Your track “Take Me Over” and its remixes are being released on your EP. What else can we expect?
Sabo: We have a full release of singles. We have a track with a U.K. singer, Christian Burns—he’s done a lot of tracks with Tiësto and Armin Van Buuren. Then we’ll have four or five new tracks, two or three remixes of our existing songs. We just did a remix for Blake Jarrell, one for ATB and we’re working on a remix right now for Steve Aoki and Afrojack. We have a lot of good music coming out.