Photo courtesy of Low Drag productions
“Are you guys, like, the new-age Blues Brothers, or what?” a partygoer asked, her voice barely audible over the blaring music. Her question was directed at the DJs. One was wearing turquoise pants, a bright orange vest, a purple shirt reminiscent of the 1970s, a black bow tie and thick black-rimmed glasses. As he danced, the gold clips of his suspenders flashed from under his vest. His partner was dressed similarly, and their bow ties and glasses matched. By the time she asked the question, she had been jostled by countless elbows. She was surrounded by people packed shoulder-to-shoulder in a crowded basement.
When they sat down and sketched out their idea for a production company, Matt Hanson and Riley Gasiorowski never thought they would end up DJing a basement party on Mifflin on a Friday night or being asked about their style by a reveler. Yet there they were, live-mashing songs and showing off their abilities. Their set, skillfully mashed, faded and mixed, had been put together just hours before the party. To add to the chaos, this was their first time as DJs.
While their DJ career was as yet undefined, the two had a term for their style. “We call it ‘white boy swag 2.0,’” Hanson explained with a smile, “we’re branding ourselves to set us apart.” The unusual tactic is just one of many for the pair as they venture into media production.
Hanson and Gasiorowski are founders of Low Drag Productions. Originally, their concept was unique but simple: Combine media production and artist promotion into a single company. They wanted to become the one-stop shop for aspiring artists and set up a sort of multimedia recording studio to do it from.
“The original idea was a record label,” Gasiorowski said. But a chance encounter would change the direction of Low Drag and bring it unexpected success. It would be an iPhone charger that would link Gasiorowski with Low Drag’s most important partner to date.
What gave Low Drag its current momentum was “Badger Style.” By chance, Gasiorowski met Tyler Warner, who was already in the process of creating the Badger Style video. Warner was locked out of his apartment and knocked on Gasiorowski’s door, asking for an iPhone charger. They spoke for a while until Madison Property Management came with a key. Later, they met again by chance, and Gasiorowski introduced Warner to Hanson and told him about their business.
Warner excitedly explained his most recent project and how he needed someone for sound production. The same night they drafted their business contract for “Badger Style” and began work immediately. The timetable was tight. “We had a to-do list, and everything on it was always supposed to be done already,” Gasiorowski said.
Low Drag would go on to master the track in what Hanson described as “the most ridiculous 72 hours of this year.” “The first vocal was recorded at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday, and we were done by 5:30 a.m. the next morning,” Hanson said. “Not one of our days is ever normal.”
But the rush wasn’t over for the pair. They helped sell “Badger Style” shirts to numerous vendors like the University Bookstore and continued to promote the song.
Following its “Badger Style” success, Low Drag began talks with the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bulls and even the Mexican soccer team Chivas for similarly styled “pump-up” videos for the teams. It also entered a video contest where Hanson won first place, and Gasiorowski second.
The future of Low Drag is promising, but its projects are uncertain. Hanson and Gasiorowski have recently been talking to the city of Madison, hoping to make a promotional video about the independent music culture of the city. Both members believe in reaching out to people and companies they feel could use their services instead of waiting for offers.
With the duo’s “try anything” attitude, their next project will likely be whatever comes their way. There is an undeniable sense of humility and excitement in them both, and they relish every opportunity, however unexpected, that comes their way. As Gasiorowski said, “Working with talented artists, talented people … that’s where I want to be.”