Making it as a DJ in the industry is not an easy feat. Not when there’s so much competition and new music being thrown at you left and right. Safe to say electronic duo Black Caviar (Troy Hinson and Jared Piccone) beat the odds last year. From performing at private parties to clubs in Las Vegas, New York, and Boston, they were accomplishing so much. So much so, Republic Records reached out to the two to contribute to the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack; The resulting song, “What’s Up Danger”, is a collaboration with New York rapper Blackway.
After one hell of a year, we spoke with Troy to chat all about their unique beginnings to sharing one of the most unexpected memorable events of the year. Consider this a 2 truths and 1 lie. Take some things you read here with a grain of salt.
The Young Folks: For those of our readers just getting to know you, can you tell us a bit about how you two met and how you eventually teamed up as Black Caviar?Troy Hinson: Jared and I met while doing mandatory community service at a recycling center. We both had a passion for music and had dreams of starting a mobile DJ business. It wasn’t till after the 3rd year till we really found our niche which was Bar Mitzvahs and Quinceañeras. Not sure exactly why it was so specific to those two other than Jared can do the Danza de los Viejitos dance extremely well which is always a party favorite.
So we were doing a Quinceañera for who we later found our was El Chapo’s God Daughter… which we did NOT know it at the time. We were being pelted with food and lambasted the entire party for not having certain songs they had “supposedly” requested in advance (which truthfully, my hand to God, we never receive such requests). The song “Mambo No. 5” was the straw that broke the camel’s back on this dreadful evening. The entire place was trashed, cars flipped over in the parking lot, dumpsters set on fire, they had a pet tiger that was running wild, it was like a scene out of an apocalyptic movie. Our attorney advised us to lay low for a few weeks for fear of the Mexican drug cartel coming after us. We finally decided to hang it up the mobile DJ business and become a production/ DJ duo. Alas, Black Caviar was born.
(“Mambo No. 5” will always give us PTSD so please don’t play or mention it to us… like ever.)
TYF: What was the idea or story behind your name? Was there one other that was very close to potentially being your name?
TH: We put a bunch of names on tiny pieces of paper then into miniature cinnamon buns, similar to fortune cookies (pet-friendly, of course) and fed them to our friend Disco Dave’s Rottweiler named Maximus. The idea was to use whatever band name Maximus passes first would be the official name. To our benefit, Black Caviar was the name he first he left us as a little treat in the backyard. Some of the other ideas we had that didn’t make it thru were Obie Won Jovi [sic], Not All Heroes Smoke Vapes and Stay At Home Dad.
TYF: What’s your guys’ process like in the studio? How do you go about bouncing ideas to each other while in the studio to eventually putting a whole song together?
TH: One of us will usually come to the studio with some sort of stoner, ridiculous, fraction of an idea. Like as in, “I saw this crazy documentary on YouTube where people actually believe that Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landing.” But basically, it’s us making each other laugh while probably on some sort of edible. If laughter occurs, we usually head in that direction.
TYF: You guys are now performing to HUGE crowds. What’s it like to be on the opposite side of things where you’re the performer and not in the crowd anymore?
TH: It’s a bit surreal, to be honest. This really wasn’t supposed to happen to us. We had given up on everything, pretty much including life… at least that’s what I tell my therapist. Then all of the sudden,9 people cared about our music and it gave us a sense of purpose. So to be totally honest, we are so bewildered and yet unbelievably grateful that anyone cares and wants to hear weird sounds we moved around on a computer screen, put them onto a portable USB stick and play them in a room where people pay money to listen and while looking at us on stage.
TYF: Leading up to performing on huge stages, when did you guys realize, “Oh wait. We’re getting more fans. People are listening to our stuff”?
TH: I think the realization came when we saw people all over the world making choreographed dance routines to our songs. That was the moment we couldn’t believe that the music we made in my little NYC apt and then uploaded it to the internet, people found and it made them want to interpret with body movement and digitally document it for the world to see. Sometimes life is pretty crazy.
TYF: Huge congrats on releasing “What’s Up Danger”! How did that collaboration come about?
TH: Thank you. Well, the fine folks over at Republic Records asked us last year if we were interested in teaming up with Blackway and writing a song for a new Spider-Man animated movie. We love taking musical chances and trying different things so of course, we said yes.
TYF: What were your first initial reactions knowing it’d be for a huge motion picture?
TH: We were both huge Spider-man fans growing up but didn’t follow it much later on in life, so we really didn’t know the magnitude of how massive and amazing the movie would be. To be totally honest, I thought it was just one of those movies that aren’t in the theater but just end up in the bargain bin at Walmart. I never expected for it to be this incredible.
TYF: What was the idea or vision behind this song that eventually led up to how it sounds today?
TH: We would write parts and send it over to the movie company. Weeks, sometimes months would pass and we would think they didn’t want the song anymore and then they would email us asking if we could make another part of the song, or change this part to better fit the movie, etc.
TYF: Last year seems to have been an incredible one for both of you. What was the absolute highlight of the year? How do you hope to top it in 2019?
TH: Definitely an amazing year for us, one we won’t ever forget. One of the most amazing moments is when Jared perfected his signature brisket. It was a magical combination of his new high tech Southern Pride SPX-300 Rotisserie Smoker, the perfect seasoning and letting that little joker cook nice and slow. Not sure how to top that in 2019 but I’ll be damned if we won’t give it the good ol’ college try.