It's always a bit nerve racking for me when it comes to shooting with a new artist. A slew of questions tend to berate my mind. What do I say? What type of questions do I ask? How on earth do I keep a normal conversation going throughout the entire shoot? And the most concerning question of all, I wonder if they'll like me?
The minute I sat down with the THRILLERS band however all of those worries disappeared.
Our day began in Silverlake. We made plans to meet up and shoot around a local recording studio that the duo usually used while in L.A. As I walked across the street I was met by brother number one, Gregory. He presented himself in a quiet stern-like manner but I could still sense a hint of gentleness in his demeanor. We walk over to a nearby taco shack where we were greeted by Jeremy, seemingly more whimsical and lighthearted, who was indulging in the last bit of his meal. As we start getting acquainted, the gentlemen offer to get me some tacos of my own. Aside from having just eaten, I catch the heavy aroma of spices from their plates. With a bewildered look of concern on my face, I politely decline: "I don't really do spicy stuff". Both smile and laugh as if the heat is no challenge to them at all. "Yeah, this is pretty hot," says Jeremy. "These toppings are soaked in jalapeño sauce," Gregory adds. Still, completely unbothered by the fact, they order two more tacos for sustenance. It was at this point when I knew that all of those concerns I had before were entirely unnecessary.
We continued our day amongst pleasurable conversation. Shooting with them became less of an "assignment" and more of just capturing friends in their element. We shared and related stories of music, favorite songs, bands, and even delved into meanings behind lyrics that most wouldn't usually catch on the first listen. Our musical escapades ventured from Neon Indian, Tina Turner, Hall & Oates to Raury. I'm usually alone when it comes to spontaneously drifting in and out of different decades of music so it was nice being able to share that with someone else. It was a bittersweet moment when the day ended but I have strong faith that I'll be seeing more of the future-funk duo soon.
To know more about THRILLERS continue and read our special Q+A below.
KAYLA REEFER: Where was THRILLERS name derived from? What does it mean to you? THRILLERS: "Our name evokes emotion, everybody wants a rush of excitement..."
Being able to travel and make a living doing what you love is amazing in and of itself. Would you say it's more bittersweet accomplishing this as brothers? "Only sweet, pursuing your life's passion with someone you love is living the dream."
Is one of you more outgoing than the other or are your personalities equally balanced? How do you mesh each of your individual perspectives into making THRILLERS music? "We're like Yin and Yang. We're a complete balance. It works well creatively because we're on the same wave."
Growing up did you guys ever picture yourselves becoming musicians, or even a funk-electronic band? "Yes, we always imagined ourselves doing something great and impacting the world. We've been surrounded by music our entire lives."
One of the things we talked about during our day hangout was that you've gone through lots of other genres of music before honing in on this one. What were those other genres? Were you part of any other bands/groups before? "We experimented with many genres like punk rock, blues, etc. but our sound was always rooted in Funk & Soul. It was natural for us to eventually find our voice."
If you could be reborn into one of the following artists which one would you pick: Michael Jackson, Prince, James Brown, or Rick James?
Gregory: "That's a tough one, but I'd have to pick Prince simply because I've always had a crush on Vanity 6 (all three of them)."
Jeremy: "I'd have to pick Rick James because he keeps the party going all night and that's my kind of guy, haha."
It's been a whirlwind of a year for THRILLERS with numerous features and recognition, performing at SXSW and other festivals/shows, traveling back and forth across the country. What's next for you? What are you hoping to accomplish with your music in 2016?
"We're working on our full length debut and have a few more surprises coming soon...We're excited about the future."
In one sentence describe the journey of your musical evolution into becoming THRILLERS.
Gregory: "We drove cross-country to California for the first time to pursue music; as soon as we crossed the state border and saw the "Welcome to California" sign, we had to pee really bad. So we stopped on the side of the highway in the middle of the desert. When we got out of the car Jeremy said, "Man, it's beautiful out here. Look at what God has made"...And before he could finish his sentence a huge shooting star zapped across the sky! That was our confirmation that we were on the right path. So our one sentence to describe our journey would have to be: "It was written in the stars".
Interview and Photography by Kayla Reefer.
Follow Kayla on Instagram @kaylareefer