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Music by VICE

Team Supreme is an Equal-Opportunity Mixtape Provider

We talked to the masterminds behind Team Supreme about why they're "not about that club vibe."

by Jemayel Khawaja
Apr 8 2014, 11:00pm

Name: Team Supreme
Vibe: Like that kid in high school who aced AP Chem, but also dated the second hottest cheerleader in school. Or... like Low End Theory's turnt up little cousin.
Founded: 2012
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Claim to Fame: Team Supreme's open submission mix series has been going strong for 104 weeks.
Artists to watch: Penthouse Penthouse are currently Megabussing around the country opening for Glitch Mob. Djemba Djemba releases on Mad Decent's digital-only imprint, Jeffree's. Colta has put out tracks via Plastician's Terrorhythm label.

What's the deal?
Last month Team Supreme sold out LA's Echoplex two nights in a row, but the crew comes from humble beginnings. The label formed out of a beat cypher that started two years ago, when Penthouse Penthouse member Preston James and Great Dane sent a few samples to a group of friends and invited them to mix their own tracks with them. Those who responded with edits of the original sample were included in a mixtape that the fledgling collective released for free online. "Right when we got the first beat back is when we got the idea to start something officially every week," Preston said.

This week heralds the 104th edition of Team Supreme's collaborative mixtape cypher, which you can stream in the player above. In the early days, the mixes were only distributed to the members of Team Supreme, but these days, "anyone in the world" can contribute a beat to the set, says James. "We get so many dope submissions too now," adds Mike Parvizi, Preston's co-producer in Penthouse Penthouse. "On all of the recent tapes, there's three or four Team Supreme members and then a bunch of brand new people I've never heard of bringing heat and fire."

The Team is rooted in hip-hop and beat music, but their mixtape series explores upfront pop influences and odd sonic territories. The collective has fostered a fertile environment for underground talents with its mix series, which seems to magnetically attract wonky, dance-happy music nerds. We sat down with Kenny Segal, a sage of hip-hop deepness, and Team Supreme's founding members, Mike and Preston of Penthouse Penthouse, to get ourselves learned about what's happening down in LA.

Are you trying to make a point by having all the beat tapes be open submission?
Mike Parvizi: I teach Ableton. Preston, PJ, we all teach. We're all happy to sit with someone that wants to learn how to make music and share with them exactly what we do, give them samples to try out. It's really inclusive and rewarding. The focus isn't on our own fame or survival as artists—The focus is on the craft. People come and go, and everything speaks for itself.

Kenny Segal: I don't think there was a grand plan—It's just a bunch of people who genuinely love making music, and this naturally happened amongst us. Now, we recognize the power of it, and we're a little more conscious of it, but it certainly didn't start off like we were trying to engineer this. I don't think things like this can happen when you engineer them.

You guys sound like music nerds.
Kenny: A majority of the team members went to school for music. It is kinda nerdy—everyone is really good at geeking out, but also hitting with what's hot and popular at the time. It's really easy for nerdy music to turn off the general public. We, somehow, are good at grafting it all together.

Mike: We're not about that club vibe. I feel like electronic music gets pigeonholed; You go to a Top 40 club, or you go to Lure, or you go to Dim Mak, and you get club music spun. But at our show, you can go and stand in the back and head nod and enjoy the music that way. You don't have to be there in a party mindset—you can go for the music alone, which is cool.

How does that reflect in the people that listen to your music?
Preston James: Our core fans are mainly producers, and because we all write different genres of music, we're all reaching out to completely different fans. Kenny's got a big following with the hip-hop heads. Djemba's killing it with with writing future pop stuff.

Kenny: The common thread is that we each have our own sound. A lot of crews have a specificity where everyone sounds the same, but each of us have our own little world that we've created.

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