Past, Present, and What’s on the Horizon – An Interview with Tritonal

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Photo cred: Julian Cassady

Tritonal is a production duo and DJ tandem made up of Chad Cisneros and David Reed. They are co-owners of the record label, Enhanced Music, and radio hosts on their Sirius XM Electric Area show, Tritonia.

The duo formed in 2008 and quickly rose to the label ranks, starting off on the British record label, Anjunabeats, and eventually moving to Will Holland’s Enhanced Music, which they currently co-own. Their debut album, Piercing the Quiet, crushed the Beatport charts, landing 8 singles in the top 20, and 5 #1 singles on the Trance charts. They remixed Piercing the Quiet, which lead to a top 5 placement on iTunes dance album charts.

They released their Metamorphic EP trilogy from 2013-2014, cracking the top Five on Billboard’s Airplay Dance chart with the single, Now Or Never featuring Phoebe Ryan. In 2015, Now Or Never became a sports anthem for CBS’s Thursday Night NFL broadcasts.

In 2015, they went on tour with Cash Cash on their Untouchable Tour, selling out major city venues such as New York’s Terminal 5, San Francisco’s Warfield, and L.A.’s Club Nokia. They also collaborated with The Chainsmokers on their single, Until You Were Gone, and remixed Adam Lambert‘s Ghost Town, boosting their streaming success online.

Last year, they released their Painting With Dreams album with hit singles such as Blackout, Getaway, I Feel The Love, and Rewind. They’ve toured the world, playing primetime hours at major festivals such as  Electric Daisy Carnival, Escape From WonderlandUltra Music Festival, Electric Zoo Festival, and Creamfields Australia.

They recently released their label’s 300th track, Good Thing ft. Laurell. They’ve also released an official remix of Armin Van Buuren’sSunny Days featuring Josh Cumbee. This fall, Tritonal is set to go on their Horizon Tour with Seven Lions and Kill The Noise.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Tritonal below. Take a listen to their new remix, then listen to their new featured singles on Soundcloud and read the full interview below to get the FULL Tritonal experience. Chad and David answered questions separately.


Where does the name Tritonal come from?

Chad: A Tritone is a musical interval, otherwise known as a chord.  It’s a diminished 5th to be exact or an augmented 4th.  It has a very dissonant sound, and the actual word Tritonal is an explosive.  It’s 80% TNT, and we thought that musical explosivity is super rad!

Where are you from and how has that shaped the musician you are today?

Chad: We’re both from Austin, TX – although Dave grew up close to Washington DC.   Im not sure geographic region influenced our love of Electronic Dance Music a lot in the early days since we were finding most of our music online!   That said, Austin is a thriving live music area, and we get to see / hear loads of different cool bands!

What instruments did you play when you were younger?

Chad: Dave played Piano, and still does. I don’t particularly play anything, although was academically trained at University for Audio Engineering.  We use our instincts when it comes to music, and always bring it back to “how does this make me feel?”

Are there an instruments that you currently wish you COULD play?

Chad:  Definitely!  I wish I had been more studious at learning piano; it’s so fundamental in writing. It’s definitely handicap at times, and I am constantly reminded of it!  That said, we work really hard at our sound design, arrangements, and go with our instinctive guts on harmony and musicality.

Tell us the story of how you started creating music on your computer?

Chad: I actually started making old school beats on gear, a Roland MC-505 Groovebox and a Korg Triton Workstation.  We saved our tracks on Floppy Disks!  lol!
Dave started noodling with FL Studio when he was about 12 years old after listening to a Tiesto album.

What was your favorite studio moment when producing your Label, Enhanced’s, 300th release, Good Thing ft. Laurell?

Chad: Hands down when we nailed the acoustic guitar counter riff with our boy, Teal. We kept sending back n’ forth notes on the rhythm and melody of it. It’s such a mainstay of the vibe!
Tritonal released a music video for the single on Monday. Check it out below!

Tell us about your new remix for Armin van Buuren.

Chad: Well obviously we respect Armin as an artist so much, but much more as a human.   He’s such a great person.  We have been close with him for years and have played a few of his massive ASOT celebrations at Ultra, EDC, and in Amsterdam.   Although our sound has changed, we really wanted to give this record a euphoric twist.

What do you like to do when you’re simply hanging out – aside from music?

Chad: My wife and I just had Twins!  Wow, they’re so adorable, but can also be so much work!   I honestly can’t take credit, as my wife is the one who deserves all of it.  She has somehow maintained an amazing home for all of us, and I’m just blessed to be a part of it.   We have 3 kids now, and thats gonna be all for us!
Dave and I work out, we go on hikes, and hang out with friends when in Austin. It’s such a great city this time of year!

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities? 

Chad: As someone in recovery, who’s been sober for almost 12 years – this plays a big part of my extracurricular activities.   Super active in meetings, sponsoring and mentoring others, and I also co-own and operate an Inpatient / Outpatient Detox Treatment Facility called Infinite Recovery here in Austin.   We treat alcoholism and drug addiction, helping people put their lives back together.

Who are your musical influences?

Chad: Both of our favorite band is Coldplay. We also love Jon Hopkins and Nils Frahm.   We listen to so much music each week preparing for our radio show Tritonia, that we stay pretty involved in whats current.  Hard not to be inspired by so much awesome music out there!

Who is one of your favorite acts right now to watch live?

Dave: Cold play is pretty exciting; however, we enjoy a lot of acts including Galantis live! We like how they innovate with their drums and percussion fused in with their DJ set!

What are some of your favorite venues to play and why?

Dave: We really love Terminal 5 in New York, Echostage in DC and venues similar! They’re so much fun to play, watching a seething, soaring mass of people get down with our music. It’s awesome.

What are some of your favorite cities to play-in and why?

Dave: We are fortunate to be able to have played in many great cities! We really enjoy playing out in Hawaii though, as it’s a complete switch from the normal vibe of travel. It’s nice to change it up and maybe bring the family sometimes.

What DAW do you use and why?

Dave: We use Logic Pro mostly! We’ve come from a variety of DAWs and feel Logic supports our needs overall rather than switching between many programs. However, we do use Ableton Live frequently!

Do you have a typical music production process? If yes, can you explain it?

Dave: Indeed we do! Between the two of us, we like to start with the peak of the record, i.e the “drop” as some would say. It helps us understand where the most intense threshold of the record is, and then we like to boil it down from there to help prepare our verse, pre, etc. It’s a great method we feel works for us.

What is your favorite MIDI Controller or instrument to produce with right now?

Dave: Honestly, we’ve still been rocking our good ole’ M-Audio AXIOMs! But we’re all about upgrading our gear as we see fit!

What is one of your favorite or go-to VST Plugin?

Dave: Whew there are many we love to pinpoint here, including spire, nexus, avenger, sylenth and we really love Omnisphere! It’s super awesome!

Do you have a key production tip for our young producers out there?

Dave: Definitely! Whenever you begin your mix, especially if it pertains to something more vocal heavy, we like to bring the entire mix down a bit by a few DBs. Then, we can properly hear our levels when mixing in drums, leads, bass, etc. You don’t need to blow your ears at high volumes to get your mix proper – take your time 😉

What is your favorite color?

Dave: haha! Anything on Phillip’s HUE!

Do you have a favorite in-studio snack?

Dave: haha we do! Almonds or apples is the way! At times, you might catch us with some of those Peanut M&M’S though!

What is next for Tritonal?

Dave: Quite a bit actually!! Not only do we have some new music coming down the pipeline soon, but we’ve also got a dope tour lined up along with Seven Lions and Kill the Noise this fall called the Horizon Tour! 

Chris Stack

Chris Stack is one of the founding members of rBeatz. After graduating from Kenyon College, Chris joined a branding and marketing startup, BrandYourself (as seen on SharkTank), in New York City. After leading the company to grow past profitability as a leading account manager, Chris set his sights on his passion: music. He currently runs his own LLC in New York City, helping musicians in the city with their online presence and marketability. A native of the Washington DC area, Chris Stack's passions and hobbies include music production (8 years on Ableton), marketing, baseball (Mets), football (Ravens), Netflix n chillin, and the experience economy.

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