2ToneDisco is an internet inspired dance mix duo who are currently burning up not only the interwebz but also dance clubs and the festival circuit. 2ToneDisco features the talents of James Campbell and Omni Rutledge and with keyboards in addition to sampling this duo is not your average DJ act. In fact, these musicians create their own digital and game influenced tracks that have caught and captured the imagination of the dance club set and the attention of respected independent dance labels.
James and Omni have held an ‘in residence’ position at Phoenix’s number 1 dance night and have been crossing the country playing at live festivals. Spotlighted as official artists at Austin’s SXSW this year, this duo has the talent and the exposure to keep their pop-centric, game inspired music flowing.
How long have you guys been performing together? How did you meet?
James & Omni: We have been performing for about 3 years together, we met when Omni had a solo show at a club James was a resident at. Something just clicked that evening and about two weeks later we assembled an EP and pursued music together as “2ToneDisco”.
I know you have been influenced by music from the 90’s in the gaming world. What games specifically got you thinking along these lines? What is/was your favorite game? Are you two part of the Pokémon Go revolution?
James: I feel like for my own music influence as far as video game music goes I got a lot from the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 soundtrack as well as Katamari. My favorite game of all time has to be Katamari, I just seem to find myself coming back to that game and showing it to other people. It’s a bummer the guy that made it apparently quit to go make playgrounds but it makes sense in a weird way. Personally, I will still go on Pokemon Go trips, mainly for fitness, it’s a good way of tricking yourself into walking more (laughs).
Omni: As far as video game music goes, more influence was in the early 2000’s specifically Jet Set Radio Future, Katamari, and Space Channel 5. My favorite game of all time has to be Kingdom Hearts and recently I have fallen off the Pokemon Go train, it just is hard to fit it in with a busy life schedule.
What about this type of music inspires you?
Omni: The music was really strange and mostly electronic but I drew vast influences from classic genres like bossa nova and disco which I feel like is also really true with electronic music coming out now.
James: I would say the whimsical theme of it all, it’s kind of like when you hear a good movie score and it brings out the emotion and really changes the vibe of different shots. Video game music is the same way except sometimes I feel it can be under appreciated.
What/where/who else inspires your songs?
James: I would say a lot of the people that we meet and the environments that we are placed in inspire us.
Omni: LA has been a huge inspiration.
What music did you listen to growing up?
James: My parents raised me on Prince, The Clash, The Beatles and David Bowie primarily. My dad was an audiophile and always had a good record on.
Omni: I just listened to what all my friends and family listened to which was an assortment of rock, soul, hip-hop, and funk. I remember being really into Michael Jackson.
How old were each of you when you developed or wrote your first song?
James: Probably like 13. I finished my first song using Reason, dark times man, dark times (laughs).
Omni: I was always messing with sounds but I think I produced, wrote and released my first REAL song at 16.
Can you share with us how you work together to write/develop a song? Are there core dynamics you try to stick with or do you let the music take whatever road it prefers?
James & Omni: The songwriting process is pretty streamlined for the most part. The goal in each song is to make it very pop-centric. We want the songs to be catchy and stay with people for a while. However, in overall style, the songs range a bit. Some are more cute, some have trap elements, some are just four on the floor “house” inspired songs but at the core they are all driven with short catchy melodies and accompanied with chopped brass samples to give all the songs that one common theme.
You provide dance music….do either of you dance?
James: I will dance, just not the best at it but if you throw some Drum & Bass on you will really see me move (laughs).
Omni: I can dance, but I rarely do it. I actually prefer ballroom dancing when given the choice.
How was your experience at SXSW this year? What kind of feedback did you receive?
James & Omni: It was super long but rewarding, I think in total we had 6 shows and we were there for a week. This year we were official artists for the first time so that was pretty cool and we saw Anderson Pak almost as many times as we performed. I think at the end of it was Omni and I waiting for a fried chicken truck just talking about how we missed our beds.
Will you be appearing at other festivals?
James & Omni: Hopefully soon, we have been really focusing on new music and we independently book all our shows currently so without an agency it’s tough.
Where do you see yourselves in five years? Do either of you have any interest in producing?
James: Hopefully doing the same thing on a larger scale, I would like to eventually turn 2ToneDisco into an output for more than just music and shows. I would love to see it evolve into art, music, performance, and fashion all around.
Omni: 5 years from now I would like to have adopted a more multimedia faceted approach to music where I’m writing for films or visual media in general.
What about collaborating? Who would be your first choice to collaborate with?
James: We have started collaborating more, recently we had a release with one of our favorite artist’s Ducky and another with Dreamcasts. Ducky just recently had a sweet release on Ryan Hemsworth’s Secret Songs that you should check out. In the future, we would love to collaborate with some Japanese artists on our favorite label Trekkie Trax.
Omni: I want to work with studios who make art through other mediums like games or films and things like that.
We have a signature question here at TNWU that almost all of us end our interviews with. As our name implies, we are all nerds and we let our nerdy flags fly! What do you think qualifies each of you to ‘Talk Nerdy With Us’?
Omni: I’ve read and own every single Ultimate Marvel comic book including the full run of Spiderman, X-men, Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Ultimates.
James: I am addicted to art toys, specifically KAWS pieces. At one point I lost a girlfriend because I wouldn’t get rid of my large collection.
You guys both fit in very well with the rest of us here at Talk Nerdy With Us and you are welcome to visit with us anytime. We all wish you the very best in your current endeavors.
Connect with James and Omni on social media at: