The room was covered from head to toe in soundproofing material and the desk was filled with electronics and devices. The faint glow from the computer screen and LEDs provided the only illumination in an otherwise dimly lit room. There seemed to be an endless stream of wires and chords coursing their way across the room where the Corporate Slackrs use their instruments to manipulate their distinct sound.
“Corporate Slackrs goal is to be that group where you can go party with your parents,” said Ironman the group’s DJ. “Our track list and set goes from old school hip hop to 90s rock but has a consistent EDM style. I like for people to always wonder what we’re going to play next.”
The group called Corporate Slackrs, one of Jacksonville’s rising EDM groups, has only been together for about half a year. Devin Meadow, the group’s MC, said, “To someone like myself who started this whole music thing as a side hobby, what we have done in this short time span is huge.”
He’s right, the Corporate Slackrs group only just formed in spring 2012, but they have already started their rise to success. Corporate Slackrs are now playing throughout Florida. The group has performed in Orlando, Tallahassee, Miami and Jacksonville at clubs, festivals and shows.
Electronic dance music, or EDM as it is commonly referred to as, is quickly becoming one of the most popular music styles in the United States. Last year, EDM was the highest growing genre in the U.S. in terms of album sales. Billboard.com said that in 2011, Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra Music Festival drew a combined 380,000 attendees. This startling number bested all former attendance records for EDM festivals. With the recent explosion of popularity, many EDM fans have decided to try their luck and become DJs or producers in the scene. However, it takes a special ear and a unique sound to break into the world of being a successful EDM DJ or producer, and many are unsuccessful.
The Slackrs group finds success in the unique trio of, AJ Ironman the DJ, Sean Reilly the graphic designer and Devin Meadow the MC. All three of the Slackrs help to produce their original tracks. The Corporate Slackrs’ DJ, AJ Ironman, or DJ Ironman as he is known in his trade, began DJing about only two years ago. Ironman began mixing tracks during his first year of college out of his UNF dorm room in the Crossings, but said it was more of a hobby or pastime rather than a full-blown career.
“One Christmas I just asked my dad for a controller deck,” said Ironman. “He was like, ‘I’m not going to get you something too expensive.’ I had to prove to him that I was going to make money first.”
Devin Meadow, nicknamed “Corporate” by Ironman, the MC of the trio, had been producing hip-hop tracks for about four years before meeting Ironman through shows at Freebird Live during the summer of 2011. From there, the pair began to combine their unique blend of distinct sounds until the last piece of the puzzle formed when Sean Reilly completed the triad.
“I got into the group through Devin who I knew in high school. After that, I met AJ through Freebird Live’s Electro Tuesdays,” said Sean. “About a year later, we reunited, but I was producing on my own. We became interested in working with each other until we decided to form the Corporate Slackrs.”
While sitting on the couch one day, AJ came up with the group’s name after combining Devin’s nickname “Corporate” with AJ’s personality “Slacker”. When asked about the toughest challenges a new DJ faces, AJ said, “The biggest challenge honestly is haters. The only reason that I’m successful is because my head is through the roof and no one can tell me different.”
AJ saids the key to being a successful artist lies not only in having self-confidence, but confidence in your music. “If someone says I suck, I’m going to do everything in my power to prove that person wrong. I have to prove that I’m the truth,” said Ironman.
Ironman said his favorite thing about being a DJ was the fans, the reputation, and being able to create his own music.
“Being able to hear my set and imagining how people react, and then playing it and they react the way I want them to its like ‘Yes.’ That’s how I know I’m doing it right. That’s definitely the part I love about it the most,” said Ironman.
At some of the Slackr’s most recent shows, the rising EDM group has opened for world-renowned acts such as Porter Robinson, Bingo Players, Calvin Harris and Steve Aoki. Devin Meadow said that the most memorable thing to happen to the Corporate Slackrs since forming was playing in front of 3,000 people at the Steve Aoki show. Reilly agreed adding, “When I saw 3,000 people looking me in the face at Steve Aoki I couldn’t believe it, I had to keep pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t in a dream world. I never thought that something I started in my bedroom would put me into that position.”
On the Corporate Slackrs Facebook page, the group has already reached almost 1,000 fans.
One of the groups more successful tracks titled, “Warp 1.9 Corporate Slackers Trap Remix,” which has recently been picked up by the EDM group Bingo Players and has been played throughout the country at various venues. In recent months, the EDM trio has signed with Steve Aoki’s record company, Dim Mak Records, to produce official remixes.
“It really put things into perspective that all of our hard work is starting to pay off. As well as both of our trap remixes being supported by Bingo Players,” said Meadow.