Launching in 2021 and set to become a major player on the world stage, House of Cheetah is a record label, production outfit and party brand on a no-holds-barred mission to bring you the very finest tech house, direct from the island of Maui. Their debut single is Flex: a moody, full-blooded tech house cut with an urgent vocal and devastating bassline. We caught up with the duo’s Andy Sharpe to find out what to expect from them.
Welcome to DMC! Where in the world do we find you today?
Aloha DMC, thanks for having us! We’re on beautiful Maui, the second largest of the Hawaiian islands.
Who, or maybe more accurately, what is House of Cheetah?
House of Cheetah started a couple of years ago as a tech house project with my buddy Pauly, a fellow wayward Aussie abroad. As there’s not too many labels releasing house music in Hawaii, we figured we’d do it ourselves, hence House of Cheetah Records. And once things open up from the lockdown, we’ll start throwing parties. We figured putting it all under the House of Cheetah name was easier for us and everyone else to remember!
How did you first hook up as a duo? And do you both have backgrounds in music before forming House of Cheetah?
Pauly and I met when we were both living in New York. He’s originally from Melbourne, I’m from Sydney, but it took relocating to the other side of the world (hipster Brooklyn) for us to meet. We’ve both always been in music – I was in various signed bands with varying success in Australia and the UK, and Pauly was the frontman for one of my favourite NYC bands – Lord Classic.
I’d been producing electronic music on my own for quite a while, but wanted to get back the buzz you get from collaborating in a band. For my tastes, Pauly has one of those classic, cool frontman voices – I get the same feeling listening to him as I do with Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) and Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys). Whatever they sing sounds great to me. And I love his lyrics – they’ve always got a bit of a cheeky wink behind them. I figured getting Pauly to do his thing over my productions would be more fun and unique than me doing it solo. Plus, our musical references are in sync (partly I think because we grew up in Oz at the same time and had a similar path to the US), and most importantly, we laugh ourselves stupid whenever we’re in the studio.
What’s the current music scene on Maui like? Is there a range of stuff on offer?
With a population of less than 200,000, Maui punches well above its weight on the music front. That’s partly due to the fact that it’s where rock stars like to hide out…Steven Tyler, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson and Mick Fleetwood. There’s also a ton of incredible local acts – reggae favourites Ekolu, the fabulous Brown Chicken Brown Cow String Band, incredible singer songwriters like Lily Meola, and her good friend and Grammy winner Lukas Nelson. On the dance front, there are some great DJ’s on the island playing everything from hip hop to house. DJ Boomshot is our personal fav, he’ll definitely be rocking the House of Cheetah parties with us.
Are there any party brands or labels that you’ve been particularly impressed by and will be trying to emulate? Or will this be something entirely new?
I’ve been a fan of labels like Future Classic and Nervous from the start – they love their artists and they throw great parties. But to be honest, I think our parties here on Maui will be slightly more laid back affairs. But not too laid back – we’re still going to play and make the music we love, and the BPM’s won’t be slipping under 120 too often.
What made you decide the time was right to launch House of Cheetah?
As the lockdown wore on, folks on the island kept telling me that we needed a house music night on Maui. At the same time, we were finishing up some tech house tracks that we thought were releasable. Rather than looking for label support thousands of miles away on mainland USA or in Europe, we figured we’d start our own label right here, and use it to to launch regular nights when things open up. We know there’s pent up demand for a place where people can get down and have a good boogie.
Tell us about your debut, Flex – tech house banger for sure! Any particular inspiration behind this one?
Pauly came up with the lines late one night after he’d had a couple, and we recorded it the next day. It’s him being very ridiculous in a very serious way – we were laughing so hard in the studio. Took me a while to get the music and production right – I wanted to keep that sense of fun underneath it all, without it being a novelty record. We take the music seriously, we take the fun seriously, and hopefully folks can hear and feel that in the track.
How is living in Maui? The image we have is of a pretty relaxed pace of life, is that accurate?
It is (but don’t tell anyone!) I love big cities and all the energy that goes with them, but there’s something very special knowing that home is a chilled, beautiful jewel in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (with great surf…)
What can we expect from House of Cheetah for the rest of 2021?
We’ll be releasing singles every couple of months – next up is ‘Mick & Keith’, a trippy little number that involves Pauly talking about a dream he had involving the two famous Stones. We ran the algorithms and figured that spoken-word-tech-house-with-an-Aussie-accent is going to be the next big thing.
Finally, what’s been your favourite record of the year so far that we should be checking out?
Paul Johnson’s ‘You Drive Me Crazy Feat. Zoe Thorn’ (Supernova Extended Remix) has been worming around my brain since April with no signs of leaving.