Despite going by the name of ROOKIES, duo Mags and Sandles are no novices to the music production game. The pair have produced some of our favourite chart-topping hits for the likes of Sam Feldt, Don Diablo, and Calum Scott – with legendary Dutch DJ Tiesto remixing the latter. It is no wonder why the boys are currently one of the most demanded producing pair in dance music. FABER took some time out of her schedule to chat with the ROOKIES boys about their Songwriting process, their day jobs and their latest single ‘California’.
FABER: You begin your writing process on the guitar and piano – How do you then transform that organic sound into the fuller, summery sound that is ’Rookies’
ROOKIES: We normally wait until the song is finished melodically and lyrically and work from there. We can sometimes do 5 different versions before we end up with the final version. We also collaborate with lots of other producers – it’s always handy to get somebody else’s perspective on a song you’ve written.
FABER: Have you dabbled in other genres or have you always aimed for dance music to be your sound?
ROOKIES: Yes, our “day job” is actually writing and producing for other artists. We love listening to all types of music and we’ll give anything a go.
FABER: How did you get to produce songs for singers and musicians like Sam Feldt and Calum Scott? Who usually approaches who first?
ROOKIES: It really depends on the artist. Sam heard a topline that we’d written called “Been A While” a few years back and we’ve been collaborating ever since, and Luke, who manages ROOKIES also manages Calum. He did the introduction and we’re super glad he did – he’s an incredible artist and singer. He’s got an album coming out next month that we did a fair bit of work on.
FABER: The visuals for ‘California’ look dreamy and cool. Do you plan your own imagery for your music videos? If so – what influenced your idea for this video?
ROOKIES: We have pretty strong opinions when it comes to visuals and we definitely like to have our input. With the ‘California’ video, we had told the label what we wanted visually, then we worked with a Danish production team who came up with the storyline and concept. We wanted it to be dreamy and nostalgic. Hence, the 4:3 aspect ratio and the old school mise en scène.
FABER: Sandles – You usually do the vocals yourself. Are you open to featuring different singers on your tracks? If so – who would you like to collaborate with? Would you consider featuring a lesser-known artist?
ROOKIES: I would absolutely love to have other artists feature on our tracks. We are always writing for other people as that’s where our love lies. There’s an amazing feeling hearing your favourite artists/new artists sing something you have written and seeing them do it live. I can never put my finger on who I’d like to collaborate with as I am a fan of so many artists and bands. That’s a hard question. A lesser known artist (who I believe should be a household name everywhere) I’d love to collaborate with is Japanese House. Her melodies are so unique, and her lyrics are beyond beautiful. I’m a huge fan.
FABER: How have artists like The Beatles and The Beach Boys influenced your music?
ROOKIES: I grew up on the Beatles and Beach Boys. Reading it back now makes me feel like I’ve given the most generic answers to “who influenced you” but for me, they wrote the pop songbook – you can trace everything back to The Beatles. If you were just starting out in writing music, I’d say start here.
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