One part R&B, one part hip-hop with the kick of electronic flavor, the sound Timeflies has crafted is like a blueprint for the music driving pop culture in 2014. The New York/New Jersey duo comprised of Rob Resnick and vocalist Cal Shapiro cites Janis Joplin, Pretty Lights, and Big L as combined references, giving you a sense for the kind of genre-bending sensibility that’s informed their latest album After Hours.
Both members of the group are tech-savvy, and they were on their YouTube hustle earlier than most of the artists out right now. Though it’s become commonplace, Timeflies stand out as artists who use technology to stay closely connected to their fans. They release new music, whether they’re covers or short, quippy original songs every Tuesday to keep listeners satiated. They also built their own app where you can access everything Timeflies from your phone at the click of a button.
Timeflies will headline the 2014 Pepsi Summer Solstice Concerts on Vevo on June 21 in Montauk, NY at 5:00am EST. Before you catch them there (or check out the live stream right here on Pepsi.com or on Vevo) get to know them in our original interview below. We chopped it up about how they got their start, their favorite “Turn Up,” summer jam and the always-exciting joys of being epic procrastinators.
How did you both get into music?
Cal: We met at a party on campus, I was freestyle and he invited me to come play with his band. We won battle of the bands, with Ludacris at some big festival show and we started doing our own thing.
Where does the name “Timeflies” come from?
Cal: We’re both the biggest procrastinators when we were in college, we would start concepts for songs and our friends would hear them and really like them. They’d ask “where’s the end of the song?” and we would say “Oh, we’ll get there eventually” and then it would be the end of the semester, like time flies, and then the name just stuck.
You incorporate so many different elements into your music, how would you describe your sound?
Rob: We have a tough time doing that because we like so many different types of music. We’ve tried before and we came up with electro-hip-hop-dub-something, but that even feels like it’s missing something with more of our recent stuff. We make music we like, and we like to think we have songs on our album that will get you in every mood. We have the slow songs, the hip-hop, the rock, we make music that sounds like us.
You seem so connected with your fan base, always tweeting at followers and reaching out. Now that you have over 200K followers and your fan base is rapidly growing, do you find it harder to stay connected/what are some ways you stay connected?
Rob: There are definitely some fans we’ve had from the beginning that feel like they can tweet at us and we’ll always respond, but now we’re at a point where we get more tweets and might miss some and not respond, I think as a whole, we’ve been good at staying connected with our fan base and all of the new people. We’re always on Twitter, responding through Facebook, we have the Timeflies App that we’re really excited about. Twitter is great and we’re only going to be getting more and more advanced with technology and staying connected with fans.
Yeah, tell us some more about your app.
Rob: Early on, Cal and I really wanted to have an app. For both of us, if we hadn’t gone into music we would be working in tech or entrepreneurship. It is something we were really excited about, we started it almost 2 years ago when we released our first EP. Now, we’ve had four updates and various features added. The core is getting everything you need about Timeflies in one place. We have all of our Twitter feed, you can follow everyone on our team, we have show lists, your proximity from the show, countdowns, all of our music and all of our videos are on the app, as well, bio, wall papers, bunch of little stuff. You can pull up the lyrics while you’re listening to the songs.
Tell us about Timeflies Tuesdays.
We started that in our college dorm room. It started out not so awesome, we were just messing around and then we realized after "Under The Sea" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UqmKZD4zoo), while we were working on our first album, Scotch Tape, we realized that people were really drawn to this freestyle and remix of a popular chorus so we did 68 Tuesdays in a row, running to the studio to get something out, just us remixing, doing medleys and our way to express ourselves out of the original music.
How do you have time for all of this?
We don’t. It’s exhausting but we love it.
A lot of your top hits like “Let It Go,” “Monster” and “I Choose You” seem to be about relationships and love, what’s something important you guys have learned or some general advice on relationships and growing up?
I think something that is really true for us is finding someone who is equally as driven as you are. We are really focused on music right now, to have people around you who also want to be successful and the best at whatever they’re doing is so important. Even some of my friends are stuck with what they want to do and everyone should shoot for the moon.
Speaking of relationships, who would your dream collaboration be with?
We talk about this all the time, we don’t have a female vocalist so Katy Perry or Rihanna would be amazing. Then watching a movie like Batman or The Lion King, we think about Hans Zimmer. We’ve also been listening to a lot of Regina Spektor recently, especially after watching Orange Is The New Black.
Do you think it’s important for music to have a positive message?
I don’t know. I think its important for music to have a message, people are going to find a message in a song. We talk about this in the studio, I will interpret something from a song and Rez will say ‘That’s not what I got out of it’ and that’s the idea, if you feel really strongly about something you write about, there’s a chance someone else will feel strongly about it as well. It is important for music to have a message. It doesn’t necessarily have to be uplifting, I sometimes like songs that stray away from that. But, there should be a message.
What made you want to start your label Forty8Fifty and where did the name come from?
We were really serious about having our own label. We wanted to make sure we maintain a lot of the control and can sign other artists, in the long run, we’re focused on Timeflies but also building something bigger than ourselves. Forty8Fifty was actually the name of our college house that everyone lived in. Our whole team basically moved with us from college.
What is your favorite party/pump-up song?
Rez: Right now, it has got to be “Turn Down For What.” It's the best video.
Cal: Our song “Somebody ‘Gon Get It” with T-Pain, I got to go with that.
What are the most essential elements for a good summer party?
Good speakers! No one wants laptop speakers in a room with 200 people. It also takes people who are down to have a crazy night. Put on “Turn Down For What” and see what happens.
What are your favorite TV shows?
We love Game of Thrones and we love Scandal.
What’s the best birthday gift you ever received?
Rez: I got a banjo for my birthday last year and it was awesome.
What can fans expect for the rest of 2014?
More videos! Check out “Monster” if you haven’t, get the Timeflies App, go to our site and get lost in the Timeflies world. We always want to encourage people to find and check out new artists!