M.O.B is a Chicago native, bass-driven duo comprised of Jill Brown and Andrew Pascale. Following their attention-grabbing opening set at The Abbey, I had the opportunity to sit down with the emerging artists as they recapped their big 2014, and look toward their 2015 endeavors.

Special thanks to Notion Presents for help in making this interview possible.

EDM Chicago: How long have you guys been DJing and producing?

Andrew: Well I have been DJing and producing since I was a kid, at fourteen years old, and then Jill and I actually met through a mutual friend. I was doing production and wasn’t really at the level I wanted to be and then Jill came along and said ‘I want to form this group, M.O.B.’ and I was thinking with her Djing and my production we could come together. Jill knows even more about the scene than I do, not just politics, but also track wise, so every set we do is different.

Jill: With DJing I feel like its hard for us to define ourselves within one genre, and even producing wise we have a lot of trap, dubstep, and deep house. We originally were producing trap because that’s what got us booked, and we came together to start that about a year ago.

A: Party-rocking is our genre (laughs)

EDMC: Being from Chicago you guys have played a lot here, but you’ve also dabbled in the festival circuit in the last year; how did those experiences influence you guys as a group?

J: I would say the biggest thing in terms of playing festivals is that you’re getting national exposure outside of just the Chicago scene. One of my good friends back in the day was [local artist] who said ‘you either make it big in Chicago or you make it big everywhere else, its either one or the other.’

A: In terms of influence too it’s all an experience to play for different crowds and bigger crowds. It’s always something different feeding into our inspiration for making new tracks and seeing what people move to.

J: And I feel like as a group we’re going through a period of trying to find a unique, lasting sound and then create an image behind it.

A: And we’re close too, we never set out to make something like something else, it’s all just whatever comes to mind which leads to our open format style of play.

EDMC: You guys recently released a 5 track EP a couple months ago with several remixes including songs from the Beatles to B.O.B. What was your creative process behind choosing the songs you did?

A: Well with the song ‘Eleanor Rigby’, I was listening to it in my car, and I was just like ‘this song is so amazing, I really want to remix this’ so we got in the studio and chopped up some vocal samples and put a dubsteppy beat to it. In terms of the rap tracks those were just some of our favorite tunes at the time and also there was the thing of whether we had the acapella. There were a lot of tracks we wanted to remix but sometimes it was like ‘oh I don’t have the accapella to do that.’

J: At the time I think those rap tracks were really popular. And so when people were going on YouTube and SoundCloud looking for remixes of those tracks, we had them. And the Beatles remix went a long way. That was what got us into Wakarusa and Werkout Festival. We submitted it to ReverbNation alone because it was really different. It wasn’t a rap remix, which everyone is doing now. I think a lot of it was us trying to find a unique niche in the market. Everyone wants to be a DJ, everyone can DJ, all these people are producing tracks, but what sets us apart? The Beatles remix was a good example of that, because how many people are doing Beatles remixes you know? We took something classic and modernized it.

EDMC: Who has been an artist or group that you guys have met on tour who has really made an impression on you?

A: I’ve learned a lot of production tips and tricks from Nathan Scott, Trentino, and Orchard Lounge. I think what it’s been is more influence on my production quality. I’ve always been able to make beats, but now I’m kind of moving more into mixing and mastering my stuff on my own. So it’s not so much of a creative influence as much as a technical influence, but that’s just as important for me.

J: For us moving forward we’re focusing more on creating our own unique sound. I really like Griz, Pretty Lights and Bassnectar, people who have their own sound and at the same time you really cant define it within one genre. We also want something that comes from our roots; we both come from hip-hop roots so we want to incorporate that.

EDMC: You guys have talked a lot about making yourselves unique, have you had the opportunity/do you plan to bring new ideas into your live performances?

J: We haven’t really messed around a lot with that. But we’re already booked on some festivals for next summer like Cosmic Ascension, and since a lot of festivals like that and Summer Camp are very instrument heavy, they don’t like just Djing. They’re more about jam bands, they’re not big fans of just DJs, and they want to see some other musical talent with it. He (Andrew) does vocals on our tracks, so I think that will be worked into our festival performances next summer.

A: If you’ve heard our tune ‘Darkside’ off our SoundCloud, that’s me singing. We’ll do some live vocals, and some live finger drumming which I do a lot of.

J: The future of electronic music is moving towards live instruments, when you look at Pretty Lights he toured with an entire band. People are going to care more about live vocals, which luckily, he can sing really well…

A: Thanks (laughs)


J: We’ve also all seen people talking shit about people pressing play, so people want more live instruments, not just people DJing. There’s the really young crowd that go to raves, and then there’s the older crowd which wants to see more talent other than Djing. We’re in the phase of trying to figure out where we fit. For a while now we’ve been riding the trap coattail. It’s easy to make trap, its fun to play trap shows, but even though we both love it we want to go further in incorporating more live aspects into our performance.

EDMC: What kind of musical background did you guys have prior to producing?

A: I’ve played drums ever since, well, there’s a young picture of me playing with drumsticks sitting on my dad’s lap. I remember when I was in fourth grade I came home and picked up the sticks and started playing to Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” My dad would sit playing drums with his headphones and so I started doing the same thing. Then I started recording songs with a 4-track and I had an acting background too where I was in an opera in sixth grade. I also went to the Chicago Academy for Arts in high school, and studied theatre there. I took piano lessons, and vocal lessons, so I had a fortunately rich music background having people to enrich and nurture it. My father always nurtured our musical gifts as kids. It was funny because my dad only played drums when we had guitars, basses, keyboards…my friends and I came together and my dad put up the money for two Technic 1200s and a mixer and even then I used to make beats with a Dr. Sampler and a 4-track. Then my friend told me about the MPC, and when I got that it changed my life. I rocked that until about 3-4 years ago when I switched to Ableton.

J: My dad is in a pretty big jam band so I obviously grew up around music. Guitar has always been my thing, and I can play piano and drums as well. I would say I’m least skilled with drums, but I wish it were the opposite because I’d like to be able to play drums for M.O.B.

EDMC: What’s an electronic track you guys are really digging right now?

J: I’m really starting to get into Flume. He’s doing something different. I really admire artists who can take a song you would normally never listen to and make it into something you think is better than the original. I’m not a huge fan of Lorde, but I really like what he did with his Tennis Court remix of her track.

A: There’s so many, so going along with my open format style deep house wise I really like what Tchami is doing. And Trap-ish wise I’m really into Diplo. Even down tempo shit like Bonobo, I just really like all of it.

EDMC: What does 2015 have in store for M.O.B?

A: A lot of shows and a lot of new releases of original tunes. We’ve been able to do a lot in the last year, and I think we’re going to continue to progress as we have. We’ll be playing a ton more Chicago shows and some more festivals.

J: This past year has been about getting exposure, but 2015 will be about defining our sound and branding ourselves in such a way that is marketable and in a way that represents us. In the past year, I’ve also had to deal with people talking smack mostly claiming I’ve been fake Djing and because I’m a female I have to rely on the guy in the group. Granted, he (Andrew) has taught me a ton, of course, in terms of producing and DJing. But its hard as a woman trying to make a name for herself without it being perceived as relying on the men in order to be successful. With Andy and I, we both have our different things that we’re strong at to bring the group together and make it successful, and that’s the reason we joined together.

Thanks again to M.O.B for taking the time to chat with us. Keep an eye out for them around the Chicago land area and on the festival circuit. Additionally, check out their unique remix of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” shown below.