Angel + Dren on NYC Inspiration, Live Performances and the “Enter Dragon Paradise” Concert

·5 min read
Photo:  BUKUNMI GRACE
Photo: BUKUNMI GRACE

Born and raised in the Bronx, the twin DJ duo of Angel + Dren do it all. Not only are they known for their back and forth, high-energy DJ sets, but they are some of the most stylish people working a turntable. Releasing their debut R&B EP Dark Summer last year, the duo is just committed to being creative.

Angel + Dren are masters at marrying all of their interests to create one passion, which is part of the reason for their healthy lifestyle. Owners of the Harlem juice bar Mad Juicy, the twins are always expressing how they feel through their music, fashion and health. Fans will get to experience it during their set at the Brisk “Enter Dragon Paradise” activation in Miami along with SoFaygo, Leikeli47 and Ty Dolla $ign.

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The Root spoke with the duo about getting inspiration from New York City, what it’s like performing live and what fans can expect from their DJ set.

The Root: What’s a DJ set like with Angel + Dren?

Angel: Well, I think we operate generally on energy. I feel like anytime we’re playing, I want people to be able to catch a vibe, not just even from the music, just feeling welcome. Feeling like whatever issues they had that day, they can leave it at the door, and we’re just gonna have a good time.

Dren: I would describe it as extremely high energy. I always feel like it’s a conversation between us and the crowd. I like feedback and direct responses from the crowd and more energizing it makes me. I think it’s pretty effective because we take inspiration from the Caribbean, Hip-Hop, and R&B. It’s energetic. It’s fun, it’s upbeat.

TR: You rep NYC all day, how does doing a set/performing in NYC differ from other places?

Angel: New York just has something special. I could be biased, but I feel like I’ve heard it from other people. New York just has a rawness to it. New Yorkers know their music. So I always know when I’m performing in New York, I have to give them the best of me because New Yorkers are up on their stuff. Every time I perform in New York, there’s no pressure, just excitement.

Dren: I take what I get from New York and bring it to other places. Miami has a completely different set of influences than New York does, but we’re all tied through music. I try to bring everything I have as someone who grew up in New York and was of Caribbean heritage and try to apply it to where I am and invoke that. It’s something that connects us.

Photo:  Brisk
Photo: Brisk

TR: Why does your 2021 EP, Dark Summer, give off different energy than your DJ set would?

Dren: This was an opportunity for us to explore different sides of us sonically. Something that I want on our EP can live in a different world than the rest of our music, or we could even remix it into something else. It’s important to explore different sides of yourself with different sounds. Dark Summer allowed us to do that.

TR: What’s your favorite aspect of performing live?

Dren: Interplay between me and Angel. When she’s killing it, I’m excited to get back on. I’m like, “she’s not about to like to have the crowd rocking and not me.” We like being a little competitive and having fun with each other. Seeing her killing it genuinely inspires me and makes me ready to get back on. I love the energy out. I love trying out new music and seeing how people respond to it. There are so many different aspects of performance that I love.

Angel: We switch every 30 minutes, but sometimes I’m like “Hold on, I’m just kind of getting in my bag. Give me 10 more minutes. I got two more songs.”A lot of times these sets are coming from the top of our heads. Maybe you’ll go in thinking “I’ll play this today.” But then you enter the space and you let that inform what you do. That’s like a creative part but it also keeps you on your toes because I’m pulling out songs I haven’t played since 2019. No matter what, it’s cool that we have each other. Because matter what this gig is, it could just be us. And I know playing it will give you fun because it just reminds me of when we were learning and we were playing in the Bronx, and it was just us. So I feel like knowing that I’m gonna have fun regardless takes all the pressure off.

TR: What can fans expect at the Brisk “Enter Dragon Paradise” concert?

Angel: I’m excited. I’m gonna pull up in a fit. I don’t know what I’m gonna wear but I’m excited to be in Miami. I’m gonna bring some energy I’m gonna show up feeling good. I’m gonna show up ready to engage and be open and have a good time.

Dren: I’m excited to see the rest of the performances. I still get excited to hear other people’s sets and hear other people perform.