As if back-to-back DJ sets didn't look intimidating enough, Roger Schami and friends have doubled the stakes. Known in the LA club scene as Hoodboi, Schami is a founding member of Athletixx, a lifestyle and music clique that is famous for their mastery of the four-person live show.
"There has to be at least five or six feet around us because we're constantly trying to play the next song," he laughs. "We try to have four CDJs with us. We set them up as long as possible so we can experiment and vibe with it." Having proven their proficiency in multitasking, the squad is boldly taking on their next project — apparel.
"We've put together a clothing line," Schami shares. "It's very Athletixx — minimal sportswear. My father's been in the fashion industry his entire life. He used to work for J Brand, so that's been a big help." With a lookbook that reads like a Lacoste-meets-Straight Outta Compton hybrid, the line is sure to reflect the crew's esteemed future house-meets-hip-hop beats.
"So far we've showed fans our sound doing different bootlegs," explains Schami. "Now, we're stepping into the studio and trying to figure out what sound we're going to be pushing. We've been writing all original stuff, including some features. You'll probably see an EP by the end of the year."
Until then, fans can get their Athletixx fix with the Siroj's remix of Hoodboi's mystifying track "Palm Reader," a song he originally composed with Norwegian producer Lido. "Lido and I made it in my apartment in downtown LA and it has this really mysterious, magical kind of vibe," he says of the THUMP exclusive track. We recently met up with Hoodboi at the Toronto stop of his Palm Reader tour to talk about his Kawaii-infused trip to Korea, the Athletixx collective, and his passion for design.
THUMP: You recently travelled overseas to play in Korea for the first time, what was that experience like?
Hoodboi: It was amazing. I was scheduled to play a festival called KBMF, followed by an after party at Cakeshop Seoul, which I've always heard so many good things about. Two days before the show, the festival was cancelled, but the after party still ended up happening. I played a show with DJ Sliink, which was really dope too. I wasn't expecting to have any friends out there, so that was fun. I had an extra day off, and then owners of Cakeshop have another club, so I ended up going back-to-back with the owners of Bakeshop and we ended up staying out until noon the next day. I'm already planning my next trip to Korea.
Do you have to change your sound or style when you're playing overseas?
They kind of respond to everything there, they have a very wide variety of tastes. They're pretty open to anything, especially to the more kawaii stuff, they're the founders of that kind of sound. They love it. A lot of the jersey club happier stuff is more accepted.
You're currently on your Palm Reader tour, what can fans expect from this show that they haven't heard from you before?
It's a brand new set. I've been pretty much playing all new music. I'm playing songs from people that I've been wanting to play that never really fit into my old sets. It's a little bit faster, a little bit heavier, kind of more around the vibe of "Palm Reader" the single. I'm playing a lot of remixes that are going to be coming out around the Palm Reader EP as well as some new stuff that I'm planning on releasing pretty soon.
You've mentioned before that you kick started your interest in DJing by throwing parties in LA. How did these parties transition into a career in music?
When I was in college, I went to school for graphic design for four years. I'd always been into music since high school and it wasn't until my second year of college that I decided to start throwing parties in LA. From there, I met a lot of producers who taught me how to produce and we started DJing the parties. I wanted to learn more about it so people like Djemba introduced me to Ableton and from there I started making music as the moniker Kloud. A few months later I decided to do jersey club under the name Hobo and it was really good timing because it was when jersey started to become really world renowned. As soon as I graduated in December of 2013, I got an offer to play in Australia with Djemba. I was planning on taking a year off just to do music and touring but that kind of turned into three years and now here I am.
How did Athletixx come together?
It started about a year ago it was me Falcons and Promnite one New Year's Eve where we were just really drunk and decided to just give it a go and start something new in LA. The city already has a pretty distinct club sound but we wanted to put our own take on it. It wasn't so much starting a record label as it was actually doing a DJ crew it was just the three of us at first but it felt weird having only three people. We started talking to some people in LA and we met Kittens whose a local DJ out there with a similar style when it comes to music, fashion and taste, so we asked her to be part of our crew.
Why is playing in a crew better than playing solo?
Travelling together is a big aspect. I love travelling by myself, I find it very relaxing being on my own time, but it's always great when you're travelling with a friend and experiencing new cities together. It doesn't feel like work. I also think we have a lot of chemistry together on stage. It's hard to be DJing and hyping the crowd at the same time. What's nice being with Athletixx is there's three people doing something at once. There's so much engagement. You can't move when you're up there everyone is always dancing.
What's something that your fans don't know about you?
Not a lot of people know that I do pretty much most of my design work. That's something I want to push more in the future. I don't want to step away from music, but I want to have different roles for myself. Other than that, I love dogs. I love my dog. I have a Boston Terrier at home that I'm obsessed with — Milo. He's an eleven-year-old puppy. I Instagram him as much as I probably can.
You can now "purchase" Palm Reader EP here.
Catch Hoodboi and Brenmar co-headlining "The New Originals" tour this Fall, starting Oct. 28th in Montreal.
Oct 28 - Montreal, QC @ Le Belmont w/ Brenmar
Oct 30 - Orlando, FL @ Tier w/ Brenmar
Oct 31 - Binghamton, NY @ Eclipse Nightclub w/ Brenmar
Nov 04 - Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre w/ Brenmar
Nov 05 - Tempe, AZ @ El Hefe w/ Brenmar
Nov 06 - Santa Monica, CA @ V Lounge w/ Brenmar
Nov 07 - El Paso, TX @ The Garden w/ Brenmar