Northern Nights 2014 had an impressive lineup that featured eclectic sounds from across the country. One of the acts I was most excited to catch was DC based Tony Mendez who performs as Lindsay Lowend. He has a very distinct style of melody driven, video game inspired, feel-good music that is perfect for that summer festival vibe. After a great daytime set on the main stage, I was lucky enough to sit down with Tony and chat about the festival, future and past projects, video games and more.
So what do you think of the festival so far? How long have you been here for?
I’ve only been here for maybe eight hours accumulatively and I love the size of it; it’s not too big, it’s not too small, there’s a good energy without being too filled with people. It’s not like EDC where it’s like a zoo; everybody’s just fucked up and everywhere and some people are about that. But to me it’s all about the smaller festivals with the more passionate crowds and the ones that are just more easy to maneuver. And that’s what I love about Northern Nights, is that it’s so easy to maneuver and everyone here seems to want to be here.
I find that’s a lot more common out on the West Coast and so I was wondering what it’s like out in DC?
It’s getting better. You know, it’s not the best, but it’s definitely getting better. Shout outs to people like Jonah Baseball and Alex Young, I.V., producers basically repping the DC area. Right now we only have one festival, it’s called Trillectro it’s its second year in running but it’s defiantly something to look out for, lot’s of good talent coming to that festival. We also have a festival in Baltimore, I’m blanking on the name right now, [Editor’s note: Moonrise Festival August 9th – 10th] but that’s also going to be awesome, I’m excited for that! But yeah, East Coast is also dope for sure!
So you just started performing recently? Yeah, I just started doing live shows about a year ago. And right now I’m just doing the DJ thing but I’m trying to start a band with my best friend because I firmly believe that live music is the future of music. Because DJing is cool, don’t get me wrong, it’s cool to have a listening party, and listen to dope music. But it’s even better to have that dope music performed live and so I think bands are going to make a comeback in the next year.
I really liked your energy during your set even though it was just a DJ set you really brought a little more to the performance.
That’s the thing, if it’s a DJ set you have to have energy because thats 90% of what counts. 10% is track selection and smooth transitions. The rest is just hyping the crowd up, having a good time, not taking it too seriously, releasing that this is a very rare opportunity to be making a living doing this. So just have fun, let loose, have a few drinks, you know just have fun!
Do your club sets differ from your festival sets?
I would definitely say festival sets are a little more hype. So in club setting, I might drop a few more down tempo things but definitely at festivals I want to keep the energy up so I try to avoid stuff that’s too downtempo.
Could you tell us a title about the background of Dad’s On Display?
Oh, absolutely. Basically I started that project at Arizona State University — Freshman year. I realized at a certain point that I didn’t want to go to college anymore, but I had already paid the full price for a dorm room. So I was like “let’s just turn it into a studio”. So instead of going to class I just made beats, as Dad’s on Display with my friend Jonah Baseball and so its like a collaborative project. Instead of going to class I got a lot of emails like “yo, where were you today, you weren’t in class!”. So I basically flunked out of ASU. But yeah, no regrets because you can’t have a backup plan if you do what I do. If you want to make a living doing it, you have to have nothing on your schedule but that and you have to realize that there’s always going to be a market for this but the people who are going to rise to the top are the people who really love it and enjoy doing it the most. And not the people who are like, “I like DJing, but I need a backup plan so I’m also gonna go to law school” because that’s not gonna work for you.
Can you tell us a little more about the live project you mentioned? Is that going to have a similar sound to Lindsay Lowend?
Definitely. I have a big emphasis on harmony in my music. Not necessarily the stuff I drop live but definitely the stuff I write. I’m really obsessed with harmony. Basically me and my friend are going to start a live band that really emphasizes on harmony and quality over quantity. It’s easy to have some over produced shit like lots of crazy chord stabs and crash symbols, drum fills, but at the end of the day for me it’s all about a really catchy melody and really catchy chord progression something that sticks with you. And so it’s going to be a band that really capitalizes on that aspect.
Favorite video game?
Link’s Awakening, for the Game Boy Color, also the original DMG Gameboy. It’s definitely my favorite game. That’s what I titled my debut EP after, it’s kept with me ever since. I love that game! I still have my original copy in a case and everything.
Thank you very much!