Pilots on Their Airplane Shtick, Harry Potter Obsession, and Busting Into the Local DJ Scene
Shutterbug Photography Mark Krause (left) and Brandon Thai of Pilots.
As such, the pair typically wear captain's hats and aviator shades during their performances at such venues as Madison Event Center and Club Red. According to Krause, they also aim to take the audience on a jet-setting journey with their EDM soundscapes, including dubbing portions of their mixes as "takeoff" and "landing."
We interviewed the members of Pilots, who are relatively new to the DJ game, about their airplane shtick, as well as their experiences of trying to break into the local scene.
Names: Mark Krause and Brandon Thai
Genres: Dutch, house, and electro-house. We sometimes throw in a trance track here and there if the mood is right.
How did you both get into the DJ game?
When I met Brandon about two years ago, we kinda talked about what we were into and how we both wanted to start something up [with] music. A week or so later we both got into a car accident [and] Brandon actually got a good amount of money back. And we bought some of our gear and it just happened. We take it as a blessing in disguise.
What sort of gear did you ?
A friend of mine actually had a set of turntables with a Serato box and laptop, so he showed me some techniques and it developed from there. Brandon started on a set of his own turntables he had when he lived in El Paso. We showed each other our different styles and just combined them to create what we have today. But after the car accident, we bought a Traktor S4 controller, laptop, and set of studio speakers for the house.
Where have you performed?
We have performed numerous shows, all over the Valley, actually: Spanish Fly, Cream Lounge (now Flight Lounge), Marquee Theatre, District 8, Madison Event Center, Casablanca Lounge, Club Red, El Patron in El Paso, and a few other spots.
In your opinion, what's the best rave venue in town?
Well Madison is a great venue. Downtown, so [an] equal drive for everyone, [an] outside alley for a stage, and indoors it is pretty decent. But I wish they could have another event at Firebird Raceway, that was where The Big Event was held and that venue was amazing! Reminded us of the Cali massives we go to.
What's the craziest shit you've witnessed at one of your gigs?
That would probably be our set at Imaginationland. As soon as we went on, the crowd started to just jump on [the] speakers and get wild. A girl was dancing so crazy that she almost tipped back and fell on us. Thank goodness our friends were there to catch her before anyone got really hurt. But that was an intense set for sure.
Why are you called Pilots?
Ever since we were young we always wanted to become Pilots, we have talked about going that route and how cool it would be to fly and just be up in the air. Then we got to thinking, a DJ booth is like a cockpit of an airplane, and a dj is like the pilot. He decides how the flight will be and what kind of journey you are going to take. We liked that a lot, so much that right then and there we decided to be called, "Pilots".
Do y'all try to make your sets like a flight?
That's exactly what we do, with a little bit of turbulence along the way. We like to start it of a bit slower and have a nice intro to it, get the people ready for takeoff. Then we build up to the climax of our set which is just wild bangers and stuff to get you dancing. We like to end it with a uplifting feeling and taking you back down for landing. Just positive vibes the whole time. But we also feed off what the crowd wants as well, [which] is always a factor.
Are either of you actually pilots?
Unfortunately no. But [that] doesn't mean that dream still can't be accomplished. There is always time for anything.
Any ambitions to pull off a set at 30,000 feet?
Actually after we saw the Tomorrowland [video], we found out that it could be possible. Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike actually did a surprise set on a plane for all the passengers going to Tomorrowland. We thought that that was the coolest thing ever. High up in the air, music bumping, and just having a good time. What more could you ask for?