Ten minutes into a Skype interview with the LOL Boys, both members of the production duo disappeared from the computer screen to find a charger before the laptop they’re using died. When they reappeared, Jerome Potter asked, “Can we interview you?” He and fellow LOL Boy Markus Garcia were ready to unleash several inquires, like where I went to high school, which music writers I admire and who my favorite up-and-coming writers are. “Those are just some of the questions people always ask us: ‘Who are some good up-and-coming artists? What are your influences?’ We’re just trying to flip it,” Markus told me.
The name “LOL Boys” suits Jerome and Markus perfectly, as they are both “LOL” and “boys” in several senses. They fire off tongue-in-cheek answers and silly jokes as frequently as the characters on 30 Rock, they credit the internet for their existence and josh around about which netspeak terms are appropriate to use in spoken conversations. Although Jerome lives in L.A. and Markus in Montreal, they are able to produce together by sending unfinished tracks back and forth online. For the LOL Boys, the internet is “the building blocks,” the tool that allows them to craft blissed-out productions they tour around the world and the inspiration for the wacky, pixelated artwork for their releases.
Can you describe the process of producing together when you’re not physically in the same place?
Markus: Did you ever play that game when you were a kid, Exquisite Corpse? It’s where you take a piece of paper and you fold it into three. One person draws the top part, and then you pass it to another who draws in the middle, and then you pass it to another person who draws the bottom. That’s kind of what it’s like, except there’s no third person.
After spending so much time communicating and getting to know each other mostly through the internet, were you ever worried it would be weird to hang out IRL?
Markus: Not really, because the internet is more real to us than real life.
How about your visuals: What programs do you use to make them?
Jerome: Microsoft Word.
Markus: Mario Paint.
OK, sure. The reason I ask is because the artwork reminds me of those programs we used to fiddle with in elementary school, like KidPix. Is that something you’re going for?
Jerome: Everything we do is influenced by the internet, and for us, the internet is the building blocks—that’s how it used to look. There’s kind of a nostalgic tinge to using that kind of visual. People in our generation—we grew up with the internet, you know? We’re the only people that grew up with it, so we’re the only people that have a nostalgic childhood attachment to it.
Markus: It’s also a way to give people something tangible, even if there’s not something tangible. When you used to buy records or CDs or tapes or whatever, there used to be something tangible you could hold from the artist, and nowadays with mp3s—
Jerome: But it’s something visual, not just tangible. If it’s a Soundcloud mp3, you don’t see anything.
When you DJ, do you have any go-to tracks that you always use to get the crowd excited and dancing?
Markus: It has to depend on the audience. We’re in Europe right now, so what we play here is not necessarily going to work in the U.S.
Jerome: Waka Flocka.
Markus: Waka Flocka works in every single place.
Jerome: That’s a hard question because I don’t think there is a right answer.
Markus: There’s no one answer that’s going to be like, “I play this gold record or this golden mp3.” We both come from a party DJing background, so we’re more conscious of the floor.
Jerome: You have to realize that it’s not about you—it’s people coming out to a nightclub for their night out. It’s about them enjoying a good time, so if you’re up there being pretentious and playing only records that you want to hear, then nobody’s having fun but you.
Right now you’re in Europe, but you guys recently played two shows in New York. How was your set at Webster Hall different from your set at Glasslands the next night?
Markus: We did the live set at Glasslands.
Jerome: Normally, we DJ, but we’re testing something out where we only play our own songs, and it’s basically just a one-hour set. We live remix everything—everything is stemmed out into different parts, like the drums, the synth, the bass, the vocals. It’s more down-tempo, not really club-y—it’s more of a show.
What are your policies on using netspeak IRL? Do you guys say “LOL” out loud?
Jerome: We say “IRL,” but we’re never going to replace actually laughing with “LOL.” It’s not like “Lolololol”—we just laugh.