Former Asheville Trap/Hip-Hop Duo Two Fresh on BBC Radio with Diplo
Two Fresh on Diplo and Friends
Two Fresh in the mix on Diplo and Friends
Diplo Interview Courtesy of Shuffle mag
Two Fresh’s Sherwyn Nicholls on expanding their sound, leaving N.C.
Two Fresh is the bass-pumping duo of twin brothers Sherwyn and Kendrick Nicholls. Born and raised in Nashville, Tenn., the pair became involved in Asheville’s hip-hop and electronic music scene after moving to North Carolina to attend Mars Hill College. Two Fresh continued producing music as they had in high school, signed with 1320 Records, and soon started collaborating with other Asheville spinners like Bookworm, Jables and Peripheral.
Last fall, the pair climbed to a higher level of renown, playing a slew of dates opening for Skrillex on the dubstep poster-boy’s first national tour, the Mothership Tour. Playing alongside Skrillex and other EDM upstarts like Foreign Beggars, Skream and Nadatrom provided musical inspiration, too, as Two Fresh has started incorporating more of those acts’ bass-heavy electronica into its open-eared hip-hop-derived productions.
After wrapping up The Mothership Tour, Two Fresh relocated from Asheville to Colorado, inspired by the opportunity to shake up their surroundings and their sound. As Sherwyn Nicholls put it, “Our Asheville stuff was chill hip-hop, but the tracks we’ve been working on now are more like Southern rap and 808 style.”
Shuffle contributor Nina Rajagopalan caught up with Sherwyn Nicholls, who offered his thoughts on the rise of dubstep, the joys of touring and how place affects the evolution of Two Fresh.
Shuffle: How has traveling and playing different parts of the country allowed you to develop as artists?
Sherwyn Nicholls: A lot of it has to do with the reaction of the crowd, and noticing what people want to hear. We’ve been on the road so much, it’s like being inside a club every night. We get to see what people like to hear in the club versus on headphones. It’s actually affected our music, traveling around and seeing how people like our music and react to it.
Shuffle: What was it like to grow as an artist in Asheville?
SN: Asheville is really dope because it’s such a close-knit place with so many like-minded people. The crew that we have, we always work together. We’re always being pushed to produce and make better music. Having Moog in Asheville is also a big help.
Shuffle: You’ve collaborated with Bookworm and Jables in creating the Lab Coat beat collective. Could you tell me a little bit about it?
SN: It’s a collective that we made four years ago, and it’s all artists that live in Asheville. Our homie Bookworm helped us start it. We started it by having a couple shows and bringing a couple producers from the West Coast. We started to make these podcasts and mixes, and giving them out for free, just to get the music out. It’s been a really good outlet for all of us.
Shuffle: How do you think Asheville affected your sound?
SN: The sound of the music we made in Asheville is more chill. We got into staying in a small house and working with some Moog synthesizers. The album we recorded in Asheville came out really chill and fluid. There was nothing too “in your face”, more like sitting back and chilling. That’s the vibe in Asheville, just take it all in.
Shuffle: How has the move to Colorado changed your music?
SN: The change in location and the tour we went on with Skrillex have both affected our sound. We were producing a lot on the road, and we started making more upbeat music. We were doing a lot of sampling on the road, we had records and stuff to sample. Most of the music we’ve been making includes sampled material. We were also experimenting a lot on the computer and with making sounds on the road. The album we’re working on now is a lot different than what we made in Asheville. It’s a lot more upbeat, and we’re working with different tempos. It’s futuristic hip-hop, but it’s more upbeat, like stuff you’d wanna listen to when you’re going out to party.
Shuffle: Does playing almost every night on tour get tiring?
SN: I actually love it. After a while, if you’re touring every night, you get in this groove. That’s the best thing to me, to see people having fun, and you’re having fun. It’s an all around great time.
Shuffle: Dubstep is an incredibly popular genre of music in Asheville, but it hasn’t taken hold in the same way in scenes like Raleigh or Chapel Hill. Why do you think Asheville has provided such a good hub for dubstep?
SN: The reason why it’s more accepted in Asheville, and I think that’s really what it is, is because there’s a lot more music that comes through Asheville that’s totally different. It seems like in Chapel Hill, it’s more driven by radio. When people in Asheville find something they like they really get into it.
Shuffle: You performed in the AHA AVL concert series. (See video of it here.) What significance do you think this series has had in promoting local electronic music?
SN: It’s dope. It’s honestly just showing off artists that are in Asheville. Asheville is a small city in North Carolina, but when you’re there, it seems so big. Moog is working with their brand and their clout, and they’re showing off great artists from their town. It’s great to be a part of it.
Shuffle: How do you think dubstep will develop as a genre in the future?
SN: It’s gonna be called pop. It’s already getting to the forefront of music. I think that a lot of modern day pop music will have dubstep in it.
Shuffle: What does music mean to you?
SN: Music means everything, it moves everything. I watched a documentary about music that said music creates rhythm, and that’s what humans really like. Human brains go by rhythm and patterns. We can use all these sounds and everything around us to make music. I think everybody likes music.