Locked in key
Love and Light
Ryan Anderson sits at a desk in his home studio, tinkering away on his laptop and occasionally twisting a knob on the nearby mixer. He’s playing a remix of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” a track his partner in musical endeavors, Matt Madonna, created about seven months earlier when the two best friends first formed their DJ collaboration Love and Light.
It was this particular remix that gained the local performers some fame. “There’re people playing this track all over the world right now—63 countries we found out—it’s number six on the best songs of all time on Sound Cloud,” says Anderson.
While tonight he’s previewing the songs in the quiet and comfort of the home he shares with Madonna, relaxed in the glow of the windowsill lava lamp and company of his Siamese cat, a couple of weeks prior the scene was drastically different. While awaiting their 2 a.m. show closing set at Würk, a club which regularly hosts the duo, the walls shook with bass while patrons swirled in hula hoops, waving glow sticks above their heads and dancing their sweaty hearts out. Fifteen minutes before taking over the DJ stand, the club abruptly was shut down due to a rumored shooting nearby.
The night’s unusual turn of events may have been the culprit for hindering that particular Love and Lights performance, but the duo plan to put a bit of a cap on their local shows themselves in an attempt to keep things fresh, despite being relatively new to the scene.
“We’re trying to not really play in Reno so often, maybe like once every two months,” says Anderson. “With our production level right now, we’re collaboratively making a track and a half a week, so by playing almost every weekend here it’s almost pointless. You don’t want it to be repetitive for fans, and it’s really important to us that our hometown crowd gets new music every time we play.”
The production turned out by Love and Light is the result of not only hard work, but also of having two songwriters. “Together we’ll pick a key that the song is gonna be in and [Madonna] will take the drum loop, and he’ll make a bar or two with it,” says Anderson. “Then I’ll make one in the same key, and then we’ll take those and fuse them together—we’ll craft a little breakdown and ease that together for a complete track.”
Working together isn’t a new development for the two friends. Prior to fusing as Love and Light, each had individual DJ projects, Anderson under the moniker Probiotik and Madonna as 4centers, where they were first able to feed off each other’s creativity.
Both DJs originally learned the art of mixing beats after high school in Madonna’s dad’s home studio, a precursor to the one they now own together.
“It’s a mutual learning [experience] from each other,” Madonna says.
Things are just beginning to move fast for the duo. They’ve played approximately a dozen shows since forming. In October, they plan to release an all original, four-track EP on Simplify, as well as having five tracks featured on five different record labels. A national and Canadian tour is also in the works.
While it was a remix that initially got its name on the map, Love and Light plan to move in a direction of all innovative work, potentially with the addition of some hip-hop vocal parts.
“Fully original, that’s really where our heart is,” says Madonna.