Ian and Julian of Black V Neck are working hard to represent the best of Miami. The duo met in college, both played French Horn in the marching band. After discussing music and discovering that they each liked to produce, a friendship was born and the rest was history. Growing up in a house mecca like Miami, it would be easy for anyone to fall in love with the culture. When your family is involved with the scene, it makes it even easier.
“We were both born and raised in Miami," Julian says. "My father was a DJ and he came from France to Miami to open up a night club in 1990. That’s when nightlife here was really kicking off. It slowly became the mecca of house music for America. America’s Ibiza. You got the beach during the day, then you can go to the club until 10am the next day. You grow up around the culture of house music and it feels normal and it feels like a way of life. It’s such a hub for South Americans and Europeans here. We’re both half Cuban and the Latin culture here loves to party. You work hard during the day and you party hard at night… On top of that, the gay scene in Miami Beach is influential. The gay scene has always been into the coolest music and the newest clubs. Always at the forefront.”
After falling in love with electronic music, Ian and Julian gave their best efforts to get any possible opportunity to play. For Ian, his first time performing was at a frat party. He set up his Traktor and speakers and played for six hours straight. For Julian, he was able to score a residency as a local club. He burned CDs to play on CDJ1000s and honed his skills every night.
Breaking through as up-and-coming DJs is always a challenge. For Ian and Julian, they had the good fortune of meeting Shiba San right after he moved to Miami.
“We asked him to invite us to the studio so we could watch how he operated. He eventually signed one of our first records which helped us get out there. We sent so many tracks out over the years to labels without hearing anything back. You just have to know that it takes time and it’s a process.”
Despite getting the record signed, there was still a tremendous amount of work to be done. They kept pushing and were eventually able to score their first gig, booked by their now frequent collaborator, ERNESTO.
“ERNESTO hosted a party every week at Coyu Taco in Miami. We met him at one of those parties and he eventually booked us, he was the first one to book us to play anything anywhere. There were probably 15 people in the total but the next time the room was full so he really helped break down the door for us.”
Ian and Julian kept pushing until 2019 when a true breakthrough occurred. Their EP titled, "Mouth Music" was accepted to the iconic Dirtybird records. It was emblematic of the strange world of electronic music and the struggle of artists trying to be heard.
“I actually hated the record when we finished it," says Ian. "It was at the bottom of our promo. We found the vocals on Splice, there were so many variations."
"I just had a concept about layering these vocals that were similar but slightly unique," Julian adds. "Ian came in and reworked the bassline. We made it and thought, what do we do with this? Julian put it in a batch of records we sent to Dirtybird. It was the 5th out of 5 we sent, and that’s the one they took. They asked for a B-side and same thing, they picked the last one. It’s always the ones you least expect that VonStroke is gonna take.”
Since that track, Black V Neck has blown up. A regular act on festival lineups across America, they are honing their style and finding their groove. They just released a track with Afrojack, and are getting massive support from DJ Snake and Malaa on their new single, "Si Tu Sabe."
“We aren’t going to be limited by one kind of sound. We will make club bangers, but we want to be diverse and eclectic while fitting into our brand. You can expect more music from us that’s different, but we still will keep making club hits, we love that too.... We make house music. If you think it’s underground, it’s underground. Whatever you want to think, we make house music, We don’t do techno, we don’t do dubstep. At the end of the day we do house music.”
Listen on SoundCloud
Listen on Spotify