Aseem Mangoakar (DJ moniker Candle Weather) and Chris Gavino (Manila Killa) are a couple of worldly wonders who make up DJ duo Hotel Garuda. This Internet success story will be playing EDC Las Vegas for the first time this year. Hailing from different coasts, yet connected through social media, the two began a project that swiftly picked up enough momentum to go from URL to IRL. Following the announcement of their billing on the EDC lineup, Gavino took time to tell us about how Hotel Garuda came to be, and where they hope to go.
Describe your music background prior to forming Hotel Garuda?
We’ve both been really into music throughout our entire lives. I played cello for about five years when I was younger. I sort of stopped, and picked up the guitar and drums for fun. I didn’t take formal lessons for those. I know Aseem played the guitar as well. This was around seventh grade. That’s when we met for the first time, in Indonesia for middle school.
So you guys hung out in Indonesia for a while?
That’s where our friendship started. A year and a half later I left to come back to the States. We reconnected in late 2013 on Facebook and found out that we like the same kind of music. At the time, I was already about five years into producing. [Aseem] was like, “Hey, let’s make music together, because I’m really interested.” I was like, “Definitely, let’s do it.” At the time, I only had my Manila Killa project going. We decided to start an entirely new project that was based around house music, because that was something I was really interested in doing, and something that he really wanted to do as well. Early 2014, we put out our first song. It gained some traction, and basically the rest is history. We just clicked really easily with our ideas, and it’s been really easy to work with him.
Do you work together remotely?
When we reconnected, he was already in the States for college. He was in Los Angeles and I was in Washington, D.C. The way we would work together was through Skype. We would share the project files on Dropbox.
Aseem is from India, and you are from the Philippines. Who or what influences your work?
We really enjoy a lot of different styles of music. Both of us really love Kaytranada and Pomo. I personally love Kygo; Aseem hates Kygo. I find that so funny. I’m more on the melodic side, Aseem’s more the dark groovy techno vibe. It’s really great how we can pull those different influences together to make something really unique. Aside from that, we were really into rock music, back in middle school. I’m sure we definitely pulled influences from those types of bands and stuff.
Who are your favorite bands?
We both really love Taking Back Sunday. I love Senses Fail, Yellowcard, Paramore, Jimmy Eat World—all those guys.
When and where was your first DJ gig?
Our first DJ gig playing together was during Miami Music Week last year.
How did it go?
We had never practiced before, but it turned out really well. It was [a success] because both of us were pretty experienced DJing already, so that really helps.
What goals have you set for yourselves and for your careers?
The next big thing we’re aiming toward is an EP. We already began work on some original [tracks] and stuff. Aside from that, we want to try exploring different markets and scenes around the world. We want to try playing shows outside of the United States. Europe, maybe. Australia. Hopefully, eventually Asia. It would be really cool to play a show in Indonesia.
Aside from making the EDC roster, what have been your biggest accomplishments thus far?
We really look up to Webster Hall in New York City. They’re incredible. It was a dream for us to play there. We were able to do that when we opened for Thomas Jack. That was a big deal for us. That was when we had a realization that this could be something really dope.