Photo Credit: Jasmine Safaeian
"The bottom line is that we just really have to like the song for us to remix it," Chris Gavino told me firmly. Aseem Mangaokar jumped in and finished Gavino's thought. "That is our number one. If we don't like the song we are not going to remix it," he said. Gavino goes by the name Manila Killa while Mangaokar is known as Candleweather. Together, the DJ/production duo known as Hotel Garuda have been blowing up the EDM scene releasing official remixes for Lana Del Rey, Galantis, BANKS, and Anna Lunoe. Today marks the debut of Hotel Garuda's "Fixed On You" featuring Swedish vocalist Violet Days. The duo proudly established themselves as the blueprint for DIY artists in the digital music age.
Hotel Garuda's friendship with one another is a truly unique story. Aseem Mangaokar told me in a Huffington Post exclusive how they became good friends and business partners over the years. "We met when we were really young--when we were 12 or 13 in middle school in Indonesia. Both of our families used to live there. We were sort of friends in middle school but then we drifted apart after we both moved away. Then we reconnected again over Facebook in college. We started sending music back and forth. And then eventually when I wanted to be a DJ he was the first person I wanted to talk to about it. It just kind of happened naturally. It was born out of nowhere," he said. Now in the limelight, the guys are killing it on all levels. It's quite an accomplishment as they have overcome many challenges as multi-racial artists on the US scene. Chris Gavino is Filipino while Aseem Mangaokar is Indian. Both coasts have embraced the guys with open arms. From San Francisco to New York City, Hotel Garuda leave an impression everywhere they go.
When talking about the different vibes in California and New York, Hotel Garuda spoke candidly about the music hotbeds. Mangaokar said, "This was the fourth or fifth time we've done the show out there in in Cali. They kept bringing us back time and time again because they see something in us. Eventually we developed enough of a fanbase in San Francisco where we could sell it out. It's always a great time playing there. The fans are there to hear what the DJs want to play. It's really tight." Gavino followed up by saying, "We play similar sets wherever we go. There is a difference in the crowd. I would say the New York crowd is a little more conservative. They don't go as crazy but you can still tell if they are having a great time. In California, the crowds are a lot more animated. It doesn't change the fact that everyone is having a good time." Hotel Garuda have created a lot of good times and memories for music lovers over the course of their careers.
Hotel Garuda have established themselves at festivals like Coachella, Shambhala, EDC Las Vegas, the BPM Festival and the Snow Globe Music Festival. When recalling special moments that standout from the rest, Chris Gavino told me, "We just recently played EDC Las Vegas this past year. You know what was really cool about that show? When we started to play there were a bunch of fireworks that went off. I thought that was awesome because a bunch of people sent us videos after our set and you could just see a beautiful display of fireworks while we were playing our set." Hotel Garuda also created fireworks when they dropped their debut single "Smoke Signals" earlier this year. When describing what they felt when they released the song to the world, Gavino told me, "It was our debut single. I wasn't that nervous for it to do well because for the past two years we were putting out consistent remixes and now we finally had our chance to put out something new and original. There was a little pressure but I would say we were more excited than we were nervous to put it out." Now with the release of "Fixed On You," the guys are building serious momentum in taking over the electric dance music scene.
Chris Gavino explained how "Fixed On You" became a reality. He said, "That song came about really randomly. One day I sketched out an idea on a bus ride on the way to New York. That same day we were sent a vocal by our label, PRMD. Aseem put my sketch and the vocals together. They were in the same key and it worked really well." Aseem Mangaokar elaborated, "From there it was just details." Gavino then went into detail about tacking on the finishing touch. He said, "So within the next week we had the song structure and we had the song fleshed out. From there we worked out the details. The song came about really randomly and it worked really well too." "Fixed On You" is sure to become an anthem that will heat up the dance floors during the fall season.
The best is yet to come from Hotel Garuda. The guys were very excited about the future. Gavino told me, "We have a bunch of tour dates over the next year so we are going to hit up a lot of cities. We are going to put out a lot of new music." Mangaokar nodded his head, "We are going to explore our music more in-depth. It really is going to be a natural progression. It is not going to be forced."