Shermanology On Their 'Philosophy,' Second EP, Martial Arts, More [Interview]
Holland is known as one of the powerhouses for dance music. Whether you have the titans like Armin van Buuren, Laidback Luke, Sander Kleinenberg, Joris Voorn Tiësto or Hardwell, talent is everywhere in the small Northern European country. That is not is not just reserved for those who stands behind soem CDJs and make beats, there are those who also write songs and sing them, in addition to making tracks and performing them live. This is where the exciting group Shermanology step into the fold. Strictly a family affair, brother and sister pairing Andy & Dorothy Sherman, have collaborated with the likes of Avicii, Afrojack, Fedde le Grand and Martin Garrix, but are now entering a new chapter in their career, leaving the main room behind for a more soulful sound closer to their hearts and roots.
Their father was Tony Sherman, who was part of the 70s funk band the Sherman Brothers, which had a major impact on Andy and Dorothy's youth and their decision to get into music. A process a year and a half in the making, Shermanology released their Philosophy EP. Coming in at five tracks, it was a much more personal affair from the pair, devoid of collaborations and felt more honest as they dove into a sound where they felt more at home.
We had a chance tp catch up with both Andy & Dorothy after the release of the EP to discuss their Philosophy on dance music, forthcoming music that includes a secodn EP and some collabs with MNEK and past jobs and talents like Pencak Silat. Stream the EP below and purchase it on iTunes.
MT You guys started as MCs and singers, was it tough transitioning to being DJs too?
Andy: In the beginning it was because most DJs, not all of them looked at us as singers not DJs and thought we should keep it separate. But I had already been DJing for years at my friend's house with vinyl. So when I had to get to know the CD players, it was quite an easy switch. In the beginning, we were lucky we had support from all of the promoters in Holland. So that made the step easier.
MT: What is tough to being producers too?
Andy: I was already making music even in the MC and singing time. But when I found out I really wanted to DJ, I picked it up more seriously. From a very early age, Dorothy and I were writing toplines on top of existing r&b songs.
Dorothy: The first song we wrote was with Fedde Le Grand and they took the song right away. That was when we knew this might work.
MT: What is the Philosophy of your new EP?
Andy: As long as it feels good.
Dorothy: In the past we would make a song, but didn't really like it. However they would release it anyway. Now we are never going to do something that isn't good for us. Maybe it will be good for somebody else, but if it doesn't feel good for us, then we won't do it.
Andy: In the past all the songs like "Can't Stop Me" and "Blessed" were ones that we really believed in, but because we made all of those songs with different artists, we never really got to brand the songs like we wanted music-wise and vocally. It always had a touch from a different producer and that's why with this EP, we said let's do what we feel music-wise. That's why it feels 100 percent Shermanology compared to tracks before.
MT: When did you decide this was the direction you wanted to take with your music?
Dorothy: I think about a year and a half ago. We just decided to press the reset button and build a whole new team around us. Once we decided to make the music we wanted to make, that's when we booked a flight to New York and hooked some very good writers.
Andy: After a certain point, we would come back from gigs in Holland or somewhere abroad. We would come back with a bit of an unsatisfied feeling. At one point I was playing music to please the crowd instead of playing the songs that we really want to play. That's when your heart and your mind start to conflict. It just didn't feel right anymore so we hit reset.
Dorothy: If you aren't having as much fun anymore, then you need to change what you are doing to make sure you are having fun.
MT: This EP has five songs. Why did you choose these five and were there more you could have added?
Andy: We could have done an album.
MT: Why didn't you do an album?
Andy: We decided we had some collabs on there and we have some ballads as well. Instead of doing an album where it might confuse people even more from where we came from, we picked the five songs that were in between the club and downtempo style we want to do as well. We said "let's do it one step at a time" and not put too many collabs on there. We had to kill our darlings. However for our second EP we have a lot new songs ready. We are going to be able to put more variety on the EP like ballads and club tracks.
We are working on it [the second EP] now. We have half of the songs done now. The next few months are going to be a lot of traveling and doing a lot of songwriting for the second one.
MT: How the song with Pep & Rash come about?
Andy: Every year we have a writing camp with our publisher at Spinnin' Records. We got into a session with Pep & Resh. There was a really good connection even in a friend level. We had a really good connection, started the first track at that session and then went to their studio to finish the song. Their studio is about two hours away from Amsterdam and it was more of a friend kind of thing. That was when "Sugar" was made.
MT: In one interview you said, vocals should lift you up. What about the times when life is difficult and filled with hardships?
Dorothy: Yeah of course. I believe that every type of emotion that people have, if I take myself as an example, every type of emotion that I feel, you can put it into your music. If you feel sad, you probably listen to sad songs. If you want to make dance music, it should be songs that make you feel good. If we want to make a love ballad or a sad ballad then we will. If it needs to be something you want to dance to, then it is something that feels good.
Andy: I think the context that I said that was for the dance floor. It isn't like we don't want to make emotional songs, but they usually don't make the cut when you want to make dance music.
MT: What else do you have coming up?
Dorothy: We just made the music video for "Sweet Surrender" last week. We are waiting on it to be finished.
Andy: Next week we have the video for "Sugar." We have to go back to London soon because the last session we did there with a guy MNEK. We did a couple of tracks with him and I hope two will make the next EP. There is this other girl called Rafaela that we did some sessions with as well. I think the second EP is going to have a lot of UK influences - a lot of bass lines. I used to live in London and there was this UK garage group called Artful Dodger where I was the front singer for two years. Now that I am doing this kind of music, it helps that I lived there for a little while. We are just reviving all of the old influences we had with the first EP.
MT: What is something people might not know about you?
Andy: Dorothy started in Merengue and salsa bands when she was 14 or 15. I used to work at Pizza Hut and she was making 10 times what I was making. But I wasn't mad.
Dorothy: I just decided when I was 13, if I had to have a summer job, even though I did some waitress work and hated it; I was just going to sing.
Andy: I still know how to make one hell of a pizza.
Dorothy: Andy was a Dutch martial arts champion of Pencak Silat.
MT: Can you still do it?
Dorothy: We both can. We both did it, but he did all of the bouts.
Andy: If I get myself in trouble I am the black Bruce Lee.
MT: Who would win in a fight, you or Laidback Luke?
Andy: Oh no, you don't want to fight Laidback Luke. The problem is that he is still doing everyday. So I would run really fast. You know who you have watch out for as well? Fedde le Grand. He is a black belt in Pencak Silat. He is not to mess with.
MT: That is how you deal with unruly people in the booth...
Andy: Once we had a streaker on stage. That was funny.
Dorothy: It was at Amnesia in Ibiza. They wanted to take him out, but I told them to let him dance. He wanted to be up here naked, so let him do his thing. It was funny.