Mike Parvizi and Preston Walker make up the LA based Producer/band duo ‘Penthouse Penthouse’. These dudes immerse themselves in music in every facet of their lives. They teach music to kids in between selling out LA shows, touring with The Glitch Mob and creating music in the studio. They’ve managed to gain fame with pure talent and the help of friends while continuing to emit overwhelming amounts of down-to-earthness and humility. I went by Mikes dope DTLA pad to chat where they pull their music influences from, how they’ve handled the reception of fame, and what their bigger plans are for the band. Although they are mostly known as a producer duo, Mike and Preston consider Penthouse Penthouse to be a band as well. When they aren’t performing your usual DJ style set, Penthouse Penthouse transforms into a full band onstage with guitar, singing, drums and bass. They demonstrate excellence in both worlds of modern day music production, and have proven that some DJ/Producer’s haven’t forgotten where their musical roots came from. Many are busy experimenting solely with new electronic sounds and computer generated beeps and bops, while Mike and Preston fuse this modern sound with fundamentals established by some of the worlds greatest old school Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop and Funk artists. Preston grew up with a lot of 80’s midwave like Duran Duran while Mike was raised on Jazz and played in punk rock bands and an Orchestra. “We grew up on totally different styles of music and then, with this project, honed in on a little bit of everything. Theres a long lineage of music throughout music history that starts with early jazz that inspires our band”. Music like that of Charlie Parker, Marvin Gaye and Air inform the chord progressions that Penthouse use frequently in their tracks that have come to define their sound. Together they create the perfect team of classical training and DIY know-how that reflects in the tracks they put out.“We’re making more intelligent music for people and people are starting to enjoy more intelligent shit. I feel like peoples ears are opening up. Like, the lowest common denominator is going up a little. It’s good to make music for an audience that can really appreciate it.”
The creative process for the band is laid back but heavily inspired by factors that are in the now. “Theres definitely this ‘in the moment’ factor where we’re in the moment, and we do something and we put it out and its like a representation of that day or that moment. We bounce ideas back and forth and have a good creative chemistry. We’ll sit and tag team a beat where we do something and he’ll get an idea and ill tag him in. There’s not a preconceived factor like when bands spend a year writing 2 songs. You can feel all the nervous insecure energy, like the over produced energy. That’s what we strive to not be like, is that shit.”
Penthouse Penthouse’s following is partially tied to a very popular DJ collective that they both participate in called, TeamSupreme. This crew has become a significant part of the DIY beat producing community and has received plenty of well-deserved attention. Preston is the the brain behind the innovative idea that is TeamSupreme and apparently came up with the grand scheme when he was pretty intoxicated. Here’s the idea a nutshell: A group of 17 music producers all take the same 1 sample and produce a track with their own take on it. All of the tracks are then put into a mix that is released every week. They’ve reached 113 released mixes (or beat cyphers) and haven’t missed a week since they started. All of the members of TeamSupreme are insanely talented and act as each others inspiration musically as well as functioning as a support system of musicians working hard towards something they all believe in. As a team, they feed off of each other, compete and push each other to do more. “Everyone [in TeamSupreme] is an informed musician. We listen to a bunch of shit and know music.”
Another chunk of Penthouse’s “come up” came from fellow TeamSupreme member and producer, Djemba Djemba reposting their music on his Soundcloud account from the beginning days. Djemba Djemba is well known in the beat making community, partaking in Diplo’s DJ collective, Mad Decent and performing at festivals like Hard and Coachella. They’ve gotten mad support from other large names and big influences like The Gaslamp Killer, who is a resident DJ at the popular Low End Theory, The Glitch Mob, who they are fresh from touring with, and more. Penthouse managed to gain a recognition in the DJ community by being dope and grabbing the attention and respect from the right people. “If you truly love something, it comes naturally and you don’t gotta try. This is what we do and the work speaks for itself. We don’t have to hustle it on people.” But, although the guys are beyond grateful, fame and recognition isn’t what drives them, it’s just a fun aspect of being in a band. “I consider us to be the punks of this whole shit. We don’t really give a fuck about what people think and we’re super DIY. We don’t have a team and we don’t have an agent or a manager and like hella industry people are on our nuts that are just basic. We’ll be like ‘name two of our songs’ and they can’t. When you find some sort of success, you’ve gotta be careful who you fuck with. We’ve yet to sign with someone because we are waiting for someone that understands the larger vision.