Sons of the Crown, Marc and Allister Blackham have helped cultivate the American house music scene. Their rise to fame is a true rags-to-riches story. The EC Twins gave Vegas Seven a truly no-holds-barred interview, discussing everything from their time living on Edinburgh’s streets to making it big in L.A. and landing their Tao Group residency. Check them out June 1 at Marquee, and May 25, June 5 and 7 at Tao Beach.
So, I’ve heard you guys are afraid of babies?
Marc: I’ve had a lot of unprotected sex, and am not looking to get tied down. I’ve lost two sets of car keys, my phone and passport. What would I do with a baby? Probably lose it! We lost all our money when we came over to America and were homeless, living on our best friend’s couch. He has a kid, and you’d think we’d form some type of connection with it; but every time I’d come near it, it would start crying. It could sense my dark aura. It’s not rock ’n’ roll enough.
How did you guys get started?
Allister: We left home in Manchester, went to Scotland at 16 and worked at Burger King, but got fired. We were living in the projects. [We then] worked at Top Shop and started going out. We wore snakeskin shoes and furs trying to be glam, but we looked retarded.
Marc: We came to America at 17 and, after two months, spent all our money [that we had saved], and went back to the U.K. six months later and the clubs [there] were over. We were living on the streets and were hired to [bring the clubs back to life]. We put two 45-year-old drag queens at the door. Edinburgh is beautiful, and not as rough as the rest of U.K. It’s fairly conservative in the way people dressed, and we wanted to shake it up and scare off soccer hooligans. Girls came, gays and forward-looking straight guys. Our party became known as Eye Candy and that resulted in us taking over the lease of the club.
Then you came back to L.A.?
Allister: When we came to America, it was a shitty scene. Hot clubs in L.A. were ones with fucking B- and C-list celebrities walking in the door, and there was no party going on.
So how did you get your first American gig?
Marc: We got a gig off Craig’s List at a fucking strip club! We didn’t know, and had invited fashion stylists, journalists, cleaners and gardeners—anyone we could get. It wasn’t even a good strip club. It wasn’t “so wrong it was right,” it was just wrong.
Allister: We texted everyone, but it was too late. We were in a cage with the worst sound system you have ever heard. It was grim, but put a line outside at 4 a.m. So if we could do that on a Sunday morning at a strip club we thought, “What could we do if we got a real gig?” We approached SBE [Entertainment] and asked, “What have you got?” They gave us a night at Hyde.
Marc: We broke the record for Fridays with a party that Lindsay Lohan threw with Robert De Niro with a bunch of misfits. A 70-year-old guy was outside reading a book—he was a work of art. Something fucking poetic about that! We had 1,500 people outside a club that holds 80. I told my mates to bring everyone they know. They were emptying churches in South Central. All these chic Europeans and Brazilians, like Alessandra Ambrosio, with these misfits and me in the corner.
How did you get these people to listen to house?
Allister: We put an image to the music that helps people understand it. I was talking to a douchebag once in a club and he said, “Nobody cool listens to house.” I said, “Do you give a fuck if someone thinks the music is cool?” We had to rebrand it and make it cool.
Marc: We needed to transfer energy to the crowd and get our point across. We would climb out of the booth and swing from the rafters to get the point across that you are supposed to party, so people would loosen up.
The clubs let you do your thing?
Allister: [Someone from SBE’s L.A. restaurant] XIV sent us a text one night that said, “60 percent hip-hop,” and Marc sent one back that said, “Fuck off.” Then they said, “LOL, just be prepared to play hip-hop.” We said, “Get any dickhead with iTunes to play hip-hop shuffle. I’ll play what I want to play, and don’t care if it’s a BET party with Reggie Bush. They can fuck off!” Turns out Reggie Bush is a big house fan.
How did you break onto the Las Vegas scene?
Marc: We made videos to call Vegas out on holiday weekends because our parties were making half a million dollars. So we called Vegas out, and Vegas took notice. We signed with clubs that would be [into] electronic. We could have gotten a lot more money elsewhere, but Marquee was exclusively electronic.
Las Vegas seems to offer a house-hungry crowd.
Marc: What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. (Believe me, chlamydia comes home with you.) Arkansas people who haven’t ever heard [house] go home fans.
Allister: Vegas is touristy. Everywhere you play you need to be sympathetic to the crowd, not stubborn, aloof or a snob. We play appropriately to what the crowd wants.
What sets you apart from other DJs?
Allister: We are square peg in a round hole. You can’t compare us to Tiësto and Van Buuren. We don’t fit that mold; we are doing ourselves.
Marc: I am a clubber—that’s what I do. The wilder fans get the better. I want to see naughty shit. I don’t drink or do drugs. I want it to get wrong in the right way, so passion. I never trust a DJ that doesn’t dance.
What have you seen that’s shocked you?
Marc: A girl walked up to me and grabbed my cock. She got it between her finger and thumb. I’m not even joking. The reality is we are up there to perform but we are probably two of the most boring people there. I go home and watch Man v. Food Nation or the Food Network while everyone is doing rock-star shit.