In an industry where everyone is trying to get to the top, you need something that sets you apart from the herd. In the world of house music, Josh and Matt David have just that. The brothers’ group, Breakdown, is innovative in both their musical approach and their persona. The duo believes in fun, above all else, and strives to imbue their tracks with the same sense of entertainment with which they approach life (one look at their promo photos should tell you that).
Although Josh and Matt have only been creating music collaboratively for a few years, their musical pedigrees speak for themselves. Josh is an avid record collector who began DJing when he was 15. He began filling his two bookcases of over 4,000 records in high school, when he spent his lunch hour collecting change from friends in the cafeteria to use for record store shopping. He was so notorious with his bag of assembled coins that one record store employee even dubbed him “change boy.” His love for music eventually evolved into a successful career as a promoter for companies like Insomniac and Go Ventures, and after many years of working on some of the country’s biggest festivals, he returned to school to study marketing and got out of promoting after injuring his back.
Matt took a different path. Always interested in electronic music, he brought his first synth at age 16 and began writing songs. A highly successful computer engineer by day, Matt initially only pursued making tracks for fun, occasionally working with people but never finding a concrete projects to put all his focus in. It wasn’t until Josh approached him in late 2007 asking to learn songwriting that Matt’s music career went pro.
“When we started working together, since I had a lot of experience going through music to DJ, I could point out what wasn’t in the right place, and then Matt, with experience on the engineering side, could fix it,” Josh says. “It’s a cool combo. We compliment each other very well. We have a good dynamic. We have different sets of knowledge so together we’ve been able to get use out of each other’s ideas and backgrounds.”
“The best thing about working with your brother is that you’ve already had all the serious fights when you were nine,” Matt adds.
That initial meeting of the minds came about because Josh showed up with information about a contest he—despite his songwriting inexperience—wanted to enter. The contest, Bass Phenomenon Remix Contest, resulted in the pair’s first track, a Krafty Kuts remix, and a surprise win. Suddenly the brothers realized there might actually be something to their one-off experiment and Breakdown was born.
“We were so excited about winning on our first try,” Matt says. “It fueled us and we’ve been working ever since. We do every little bit and piece that comes our way. We knew from that contest that we had something cool and we could do something. It woke us up.”
Since then Breakdown has been writing and remixing as many tracks as they can, honing their skills and capturing the attention of both other artists and promoters. Breakdown has had multiple charting-topping tracks on Beatport’s Electro House Chart and has played major festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival and Monster Massive, as well as clubs around the country. Their tracks have been played by DJs like David Axwell, Benny Benassi, Wolfgang Gartner, Laidback Luke and Dada Life.
The second half of 2010 saw huge leaps forward for Breakdown. The duo’s remix of Nas and Damian Marley’s “As We Enter” attracted significant attention and word got back to Matt and Josh that the likes of David Guetta and will.i.am have been playing their original track “Pet Monster.” In December, Breakdown released a remix of Daft Punk’s “Derezzed,” which was written for the Tron: Legacy original score. The remix garnered over 20,000 plays in the first four days and grew from there. Disney licensed the track to use in promotion for the film and even slotted it into an official trailer for Tron: Legacy.
On top of all this Matt and Josh are in the process of forming their new record label, The Party, to feature their latest releases along with the tunes of fellow producers they believe in. As their project and audience grows, it’s become clear that Breakdown stands out from their peers, not just for their innovative dance music, but also because of the brothers’ approachable, funny personalities and jokester attitudes. Everything about the group seems ready for world domination.
“I think we’re in a good position,” Josh says. “We’ve fine-tuned our sound to get it how we want it to sound. We’re versatile, as well, though. If we hear something that inspires us we can go in the studio and smash it out. We’re very go with the flow when it comes to music. If we don’t like a track within the first 25 minutes we trash it and never look at it again. If you’re not feeling it within 20, it’s time to start something new. We just go with what we like and keep moving forward. That’s what we want to do with Breakdown, move forward.”