Work!, the latest mixtape from DJs Compose (Jay Ablan) and Anit (Tina Viernes), is an eclectic mix of genres aimed at exploring the future of music in Hawai‘i. The project has been a long time in coming for the duo, who have been working together nonstop for the past three years. A culmination of their unique sound, the collaborative project has enabled them to expose a more rooted and aggressive mix than the club tracks one might normally hear from them. Work! is a carefully composed mix of multiple artists that is meant to reflect what they believe to be the progression of music culture, as well as represent their individual musical style. We sat down with the duo to get the lowdown behind Work!.
Where does the inspiration for your musical style come from, especially the inspiration for Work!?
TINA: As of right now, we feel this is where the music is going. Within Work!, we got all different types of genres going from dub-trap to hip-hop. We just wanted to release something that was “us” and that was eclectic. Before we figured out which direction we were going, our mixtape went all over the place. We tried to incorporate electro and dance, but it just didn’t sound right. I feel like the first six tracks we put together helped lead to this aggressive sound we achieved in Work!.
JAY: This project has been a long time coming… And I’m very excited that it’s finally here. Tina and I have both been putting a lot of time and effort as a collective to make sure our sound stays ahead of the curve. We wanted to use this opportunity to put together something that represented what we like and what we think you should like, too.
How did you decide on the title?
TINA: We decided on the title from the French Montana song, “Pop That.” In the beginning of the track he’s saying, “Work, work, work.” If you listen to the mix, we create a transition looping “Work,” so it just fit right for the title. Also, we really “worked” on this mix. It’s a reflection of everything we did.
JAY: Adding to what Tina said, “work” was such a perfect title for this for a lot of reasons. We have been working very closely together for a while now. People probably see what we do and think it’s a non-stop party. I ain’t gonna lie, we have a blast! But we understand this is our job, our “work.” We work harder every day because we wanna keep pushing this amazing thing we have as far as it can go.
How did you decide to include such diverse artists as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Kanye West in the same piece, and what goes into blending those styles together?
TINA: We wanted to add a variety of artists because that’s who we really are. We didn’t want to play the normal things we play at Addiction. Jay and I are actually open to whatever genre. I believe good music is good music, regardless of the artist.
JAY: We always try to be as versatile as possible. It’s not unusual for us to run through a bunch of genres when we play. I think that’s where the experience of doing so makes this mix sound relatively seamless.
What is it like collaborating with another DJ on one mix?
TINA: Collaborating with Jay was very easy. We’ve worked with each other the past two to three years so I know what he’s about and the type of sound he likes. In this project, we barely butt heads. We were more focused on whether the other person liked it or not, and we would try to figure out the problem together. Sometimes he would suggest a song to add or how to transition a specific song and it would work.
JAY: It was a lot of fun and a lot easier than one would think. Tina is very talented and has the ear. We approach music similarly: If it’s good, it’s good. The feel of the mix throughout has points where you can feel the masculine side, as well as the feminine areas, but there is no drop in the energy. We worked on each song and transition together. It worked out perfectly.
Listen to WORK!HERE or pick up a hard copy at KICKS/HI, Homecoming Honolulu or Blank Canvas.
You can find Jay and Tina Thursday through Saturday at Addiction Nightclub and every first and fourth Fridays at Nextdoor. Starting October 3, you can find them at The Republik every Wednesday.