Introducing Tritonal, a DJ duo from Texas who have made a name for themselves in the dance music realm for 10 years strong. Consisting of Chad Cisneros and Dave Reed, the Austin, Texas natives is best known for their feel-good records, starting their career making trance music before transitioning to different styles and types of electronic music.
While you may recognize the name from their feature on The Chainsmokers’ “Untouchable” alongside Emily Warren, it’s timeless records such as “Call Me” and “Untouchable” featuring Cash Cash that audiences can’t help but sing along to.
Trending All Day caught up with Tritonal ahead of their explosive show at The Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, touching on everything from mental health to social media to their explosive sets.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
Chad: Probably year 1. We knew that if in the first year we worked hard enough, we would definitely be able to have a year 2 and potentially go on from there. Really, that was the thing. ‘Cause I was out of college and needed to know if it was time to get serious and find a career, or if we could actually potentially make enough money to pay our bills through music.
Chad, being an addict myself, what was the hardest part of recovery?
Chad: Just the surrender, and I mean that in more ways than one. The true surrender to this way of living — no matter how I try to make it work — is not ultimately going to work. I had to be willing to start over in so many ways and that was a rebirth for me that needed to happen. I needed to die that death so a new birth could take place.
How has music helped you along the way?
Chad: It’s therapeutic as you know — sound is anyway. For me to be able to use sound is not only therapy for myself, but for other people. It’s been super helpful. I get to see the love and the vibration transmit to them. In a way, that’s sort of selfless. In another way, this whole big DJ rockstar thing can inflate the ego. I have to stay spiritually disciplined in meditation and working with other people in recovery, so that I remain connected to that group of people.
What was your drug of choice?
Chad: It was cocaine, but really anything that I could use to take me out of the now.
How did you manage to go from patient to starting your own hospital, and deejay?
Chad: Because of the success of Tritonal, it was obviously a blessing financially. I was still continuing (and still am) an active member of recovery. I have a friend who started a business called MHD. I was his sponsor for 6 years. MHD was built all on recovering alcoholics and addicts, and became one of the 50 fastest growing companies in America. Oprah had him on his show because he was employing all recovery people. He’s just got a heart for this stuff because it changed his life. Me and him started it although I can only take credit to a degree — really because of the touring. We’re dads now. My contribution is more of a financial one now because he’s had to manhandle the ship, but it’s working. It’s successful. It’s really doing good. I’m proud of him and I’m proud of it.
Dave, you struggled with your weight and public speaking. What was the hardest part in overcoming being in the public eye?
Dave: Really just dealing with anxiety, which I still have a problem with. I will say that when we started working on Tritonal, I was pretty much an enclosed shell. It still kind of creeps up on me from time to time, but the fact that Chad is so the opposite, it’s almost helped me in a way.
Chad: It’s like beating a shell open. [laughs]
Dave: We’re kind of thrown into things and awkward situations. I can make things awkward or a situation that is awkward, when he’s there, he can exacerbate it or not. When I’ve acknowledged it and understand it’s things that I’m working through, it helps.
Chad: And to just call it out. Sometimes, the things we try to keep in creates more of a situation than just being honest about where you are.
How has music helped you along the way?
Dave: It’s been therapeutic for sure, because it definitely feels like that’s my thing. That’s what I need to be doing. Every day when I wake up, that’s where I belong.
Chad: We feel good on the studio days. We know where our place is.
Dave: Music has been a guiding light to where we are, where we’re going, and what we’re doing.
How did you guys support each other?
Chad: That’s kind of it. Especially early on, my super Type A tendencies can run out of check. How that comes alive in the studio is I can get really excited and inspired on something, and use a lot of energy into getting that right, but I can also get off track in the same way. Dave’s patience and ability to not attach so much with an idea — he doesn’t have the big up and downs people like me have.
Dave: But then it’s all creative process. It’s a roller coaster no matter what you have to deal with.
Chad: It’s just balance. 2 different personalities balance out better than 2 similar personalities.
3 things you need in the studio?
Both: Coffee, a good chair, and a good computer.
Dave: Just good communication between us, that’s it.
You guys recently unleashed “Easy.” Bring us back to that studio session.
Chad: What we wanted to do and did do with that record is sort of return a little bit to where we were with progressive house in 2014. It has some of the “Now or Never” and “Electric Glow” touch to it. Kapera had sent us over a super rough of the core progression and it immediately reminded me of “Now or Never.” We took the record and wrote the vocal that now lives on it. It doesn’t have the exact same vibe but that was the thing: with a lot of the records that leaned more dance pop like “Out My Mind,” we wanted to do more of a real straight up energetic dance record.
Talk about your show tonight, how often do you come to LA?
Dave: We come to LA a lot. We’re either here for meetings, shows, photoshoots, and shopping.
Chad: The thing that’s different about this show — and what’s been a bit stressful but hopefully that fans will appreciate it — is it’s a completely new show. It’s projection mapping. It’s all new visual content. The set has been edited and rehearsed. It’s a new experience. We run time code for a long time, so every song has a specific video. If you’ve been to a few Tritonal shows, you may remember a video or two but tonight, you haven’t seen any of it.
What’s your favorite song to drop in a set?
Dave: We have a lot of great stuff from our upcoming U & ME album. “Easy” that you mentioned, I really love playing that one. Funny enough, we’ve been playing some older records. One of them we really like lately has been “Satellite,” which is really old school.
Chad: It’s old school, we haven’t played it in years. I didn’t know how it was going to react, because the new fans may not even know the record.
Dave: Some may not!
Chad: But it’s huge.
How important is social media for your career?
Dave: I’m back and forth with that. Obviously, it’s good to have a big reach but I feel like the bigger an artist gets, the more there’s a disconnection with the fans. Fans like to feel like they’re a part of a group of exclusive fans that only know about this thing, so it’s their thing. Once it becomes everybody’s thing, it’s no longer your thing. There’s this loss of personalization with the fans. Obviously, we want to be able to reach our fans and it’s harder and harder to do that on platforms like Facebook, because they don’t give you any reach anymore. It’s important but you also have to remember what’s most important: writing good music.
It’s interesting because you’ve been making music for 10 years, and Instagram wasn’t even a thing.
Dave: Myspace! [laughs]
Chad: It was newsletters. It was getting opening acts on shows, getting support by acts who had radio shows. It was a whole different thing. We had promo pools that our records would go into, but there was a stage in our career where I would literally email Tiesto, Above & Beyond, etc. Every time, “support the track!” I haven’t done that in years. I don’t care.
Because I know either the fans are going to resonate — it’s going to connect, it’s going to do something — or it’s not. Getting on a radio show, you’ll get a little exposure somewhere to some fan somewhere else, and that’s good. I’m not saying it’s bad. What I’m saying is it doesn’t necessarily move the needle. What really moves the needle is if the song connects.
Who’s your favorite influencer to follow?
One IG account you can’t live without?
Chad: @fuckjerry. [laughs]
Dave: I’m always following the nerdy stuff on IG. There’s one called @synthdaily, where it’s nothing but synths.