The DJ Dodger Stadium record begins with the evocative statement, “There are five million stories in the big city. This is one.” The line hints at Jerome LOL (Jerome Potter) and Samo Sound Boy (Sam Griesemer)’s deliberate and meticulous approach to the first ever DJ Dodger Statdium LP, Friend of Mine. In the technological age we are all bombarded with so much noise and information everywhere we go. With the proliferation of bedroom production and the accessibility Soundcloud offers, the electronic music realm is awash with such “noise,” but the DJ Dodger Stadium album offers a shining light amongst the redundancy. The album doesn’t concern itself with the “five million other stories,” instead thriving on clarity and definition in its desire to tell just “one story.”
In a recent interview with XLR8R, Potter and Griesemer discuss the new Body High studio location—the duo’s first music production location outside of their personal homes. Potter cites the separation of work and living environment as a contributing factor in sharpening his musical focus. The Friend of Mine LP reflects this notion of focus to the highest degree. Everything about it seems and sounds deliberate—from the theatrical opening track to the ooh’s and aah’s of the final eponymous track. Potter and Griesemer’s synergism also contribute to the meticulous crafting of the album; in reference to writing and recording Friend of Mine, Potter tells XLR8R, “we literally did everything next to each other at the same time. It was all done entirely in this studio.” The album’s seamless production reflects the hours of logged and accordingly the DJ Dodger Stadium duo succeed in injecting serious life into a genre teeming with poppy unoriginality.
Friend of Mine contains multiple patterns of repetition in multiple songs. This repetition is one not of redundancy but instead of word and phrase distortion, which makes for an engaging and dynamic listening experience. In contrast to the repetition found in tracks like say Pharrell’s “Happy”, DJ Dodger Stadium’s creative iteration toys with the words and phrases rather than overusing them. In “Sit Down, Satan”, the words “sit down” and “satan” sound interchangeable in the drawn out vocal loop. “One Who Lost” explores a similar pattern with the synonymous use of the words “love” and “lost.” In both instances one word shines over the other depending on the time, mood, location, and speakers—just one among many reasons this LP beckons multiple listens.
The tracks “Trouble” and “The Dust” sound almost video game-like; “Trouble” like a seamless addition to Daft Punk’s TRON soundtrack and “The Dust” as straight from an asteroid-hurling outer space video game. Existing in contrast is “By Your Side”, a soulful take on what resembles a modernization of classic techno. “Love Songs”, the album’s gorgeous standout track, anchors the entire album. The mechanical drumbeats and soulful chanting converge as a reflection of the tone of the entire work. Griesemer tells Fader, “It was the first track we wrote for our album and [it] ended up setting the tone for the whole thing.” “Love Songs” does its part in setting the tone yet does not limit the scope of the entire album. Tracks “Trouble” and “The Dust,” though seemingly asides in their production, contain the common thread of clever looping and repetition that warrant their presence and demonstrate the dynamism of the album.
The “stadium” part of the duo’s DJ Dodger Stadium moniker takes on a literal meaning as the LP flows together as one giant set that sounds meant for a cavernous arena. The LP, however, does not contain orthodox arena bangers—the bass on the tracks is resounding but not overwhelming and the songs are maximalist yet not pretentious or overbearing. The album is far-reaching yet accessible; it’s tailored for large arena concerts and solo-car-ride listening alike. Though the album sounds as if it were made with an audience in mind, Potter and Griesmer’s music is highly personal. Potter reports to XLR8R, “we weren’t making an album for anyone else but ourselves.” Ultimately, Friend of Mine is the first full-length release on Body High and it strongly, decisively catapults the label into future projects as a tremendous LP.
In an interview with Fact, Potter dryly references music criticism when he says, “the climate gets very stale and analytical, but it’s fucking dance music at the end of the day.” This statement seems contradictory coming from a guy whose album pushes the boundaries of its genre. Though in the most basic sense the LP is “fucking dance music,” Friend of Mine also is a standout record that deserves acclaim for its scope.