Interview with rising New York music producers MEMBA and vocalist Giia
video courtesy of deep root records used with permission

The dance music scene has long since been over saturated, making it difficult to find something that stands out amongst the myriad of cookie-cutter DJs. With a simple mantra of “making music that is creative and innovative”, New York electronic music producing duo, MEMBA is quickly becoming a rising star. Their performances at the Deep Root Records Summer Yacht Party and other shows around NYC have not gone unnoticed, and their latest single “One,” featuring the singing debut of GIIA, is a perfect example of “making music that is creative and innovative.”

Read the AXS review of MEMBA’s “One” featuring GIIA and download the track for free here.

AXS: MEMBA, Your new song with GIIA, “One,” is pretty great. This is just one example of the unique hybrid of dance music you make. What do you listen to today that influences your style of production most?

MEMBA: We really listen to a bit of everything - from AR Rahman to Graves. We think it's important to listen to a lot of music outside your genre in order to keep a fresh perspective on music and keep the ideas flowing.

AXS: How have fans reacted when you play “One” live?

MEMBA: Oh man, we dropped it at Glastonbury two days ago. It was mad! It's honestly the best feeling in the world to see people vibing to something you created.

AXS: You’ve also performed with the likes of Lil Jon, Mimosa, Schlohmo, Thriftworks, and many more eclectic artists. How would you describe your shows to someone who has never been to one?

MEMBA: After a show, this one girl told us that our set made her “want to sweep the floor with her booty.” I'd say that's a decent description haha! What we love most is playing live - we rip eight midi controllers as well as bass and guitar live. You can check out a video of us playing live on our most recent totem rig here. We designed and built that rig ourselves last year - we like getting crafty with it.

AXS: What shows do you have planned for the rest of 2016, and will GIIA be joining you on stage?

MEMBA: You can hear our Glastonbury set on BBC Asian Network this Friday. We will have a couple of gigs in NYC in the next few months - GIIA will definitely be making an appearance. We also have a lot of new music dropping soon so keep your ears peeled

AXS: GIIA’s vocals on "One" adds so much warmth and depth to the song. GIIA, how did you link up with MEMBA?

GIIA: I am actually dating Ishaan, one-half of MEMBA. We met during my first couple months in NYC. I was introduced to Will, the other half of MEMBA, and we started making music casually. When I decided that I wanted to get serious about GIIA, they both helped me to mold my sound and create my first couple of tracks. Along the way, the three of us have become really close. I am so blessed to have met them both!

AXS: GIIA, “One” is your singing debut, correct? What is your musical background?

GIIA: This is the first release I have done under GIIA, yes. I have been performing and singing for almost all of my life. I was trained classically as an opera singer and moved into mainstream genres while studying at Berklee College of Music. After moving to NYC, I started to write more electronic tracks and that's where GIIA started.

AXS: Will there be more collaborations between the three of you in the future?

MEMBA: 100 p.

GIIA: MEMBA helped produce my next two upcoming releases, so yes, more coming soon!

AXS: MEMBA, what can we expect to hear from you and future collaborations with other artists? What artists will you be working what style of music will you make?

MEMBA: We have a lot of new music coming out with the likes of KAMAU, No Wyld, Dak, GIIA, Icarus Moth & Holden Jaffe to name a few. We are continuing to blend a lot of genres together over a backbone of world-influenced riddims and fat, ole bass. We are also dabbling in hip-hop production for various rappers. We love working with up-and-coming artists, so if you're reading this and you're a musician, feel free to email us your demos!

AXS: MEMBA, how did you two first meet? That must be an interesting story.

MEMBA: We met at Dubspot School of Music in NYC. We were in sound design class together and started jamming soon after we met. It only took about a month for us to realize that we had similar visions. We decided to squad up and haven't looked back since.

AXS: Okay. MEMBA, GIIA, can you explain how you got your names?

MEMBA: We wanted a name you wouldn't forget and would always remember, so we came up with MEMBA. Our dream is to create a show that fosters a sense of community through interactive performance and technology - so everyone feels like a MEMBA of the squad.

GIIA: I wanted a name that wasn't far from the real me. My real last name is “Giarrusso” so one day when playing around with ideas I came up with GIIA. It felt good right away and so it stuck.

AXS: Thanks again for your time. Before we go, please tell people where they can find your music and hear about live shows.

MEMBA: You can check out our unreleased track Warrior on BBC radio 1 at 2 hrs 3mins here.

GIIA: “One” is my first release but you can find more music coming very soon on my Soundcloud page here.

Listen to MEMBA on SoundCloud here, Giia on SoundCloud here, including their latest release “One,” featuring vocalist GIIA. Don’t forget to Like MEMBA and GIIA on Facebook!