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In the world of trance and electronic music, opening for Paul van Dyk and BT and rubbing elbows with Tiësto and Above and Beyond is kind of like Cameron Crowe writing for Rolling Stone at age 15—-although D.C.-area native Ross Lara, for his part,was 20 by the time he did all this. Then again: Not too shabby.
Now 22, Lara has joined forces with his friend Stephen Coleman to form SECTR 24, whose music is part electronica, part power-pop, and part hip-hop. The duo recently released its first LP, A Tattooed Melody, which understandably evades easy pigeonholing: Think Linkin Park-style rapsovera chilled-out Hellogoodbye groove produced by William Orbit, and you’re kind of getting close. And yet for all the beats, SECTR 24’s strongest suit may be its electronica-ballad hybrids, exemplified by “Golden Heart Symphony” and the BT cover “Every Other Way.” The group performs at Muse tomorrow night.
Arts Desk chatted with SECTR 24 recently, and you can read what the duo had to say—-on playing Lady Gaga remixes for college professors, on collaborating with D.C. DJs, and on returning to D.C.—-after the jump:
Washington City Paper: Ross, you’ve finally moved out of D.C. and set up base in Orlando. What keeps you wanting to come back to D.C. for gigs and whatnot?
Ross Lara: Well, my roots are in D.C. and I’ve established a great following there. I’ve got a lot of great supporters who have been there since the beginning, since before SECTR 24. It’s just great to play in your hometown, you know?
WCP: Who else did you guys work with from the D.C. area to get this album made?
WCP: Did any other well-known folks in the industry help you put this together? You seem to have a knack for meeting and greeting famous DJs.
RL: We had a few guys who were kind of like mentors for us during the album-making process. I would always bring tracks to Atom Troy to listen to. He was was once signed with Sony and Atlantic and had an early trance hit (“You Are Not Alone”). More recently, Bill Hamel, a Grammy-nominated producer, who has done official remixes for Madonna and Justin Timberlake, was giving us input and advice and telling us what was good and what was not.
WCP: How the hell did you get those kind of hookups and connections?
DL: I just finished school at Full Sail [University] here in Orlando, and there are some priceless connections to be made here. I’m always striving to get to know teachers, and I’ve played SECTR 24 stuff for them, like a Lady Gaga remix we did. I had a teacher who used to be roommates with, and Bill Hamel, and he said, “You need to talk to Bill.” I met him, and we hit it off. We’re even going to do some remixes and stuff for Bill in the near future. We can’t name-drop yet, but we’re doing some big things.