Rooftop pools, luxury suites, champagne sippin’, convertible cars, smooth tunes for the ladies… the extra exclusive penthouse for the VIP VIPs.
Penthouse Penthouse is Mike Parvizi and Preston Walker, LA-based producer duo and TeamSupreme beatmaking extraordinaires. They got their comical but brilliant name from a Workaholics episode, in which the boys befriend a sexual predator, who at one point offers to take them to the “penthouse penthouse.” It exudes utmost luxury and epitomizes the band’s overall sound and branding.
Mike: “We were looking for a name that would represent the soulful, sexy, luxurious beyond-normal-qualities of our music. So Penthouse Penthouse is like the extra penthouse – the one that you probably won’t gain access to – or that you don’t even know about.”
The duo have been collaborating for a long time through various projects, but Penthouse Penthouse was triggered by their involvement with TeamSupreme. The beatmaking collective allows for collaboration between its members and featured artists, and after messing around on some tracks, they created a unique, soulful R&B vibe and sound that stuck.
Preston and Mike are both classically trained musicians, and consider that education integral to Penthouse Penthouse’s sound. Early influences include orchestral and jazz music, introduced to Mike through studying the bass for 14 years, and eventual progression into punk and hardcore bands in the East Bay where he hails from. For Preston, it was exposure to his dad’s hip-hop, R&B, soul and funk music like Parliament, Charlie Wilson and the Isley Brothers that introduced him to smooth sounds.
They met in Steve Nalepa’s (of The Acid) music technology class at Chapman University’s Music Conservatory. At the time, Preston was one half of the cult group Virtual Boy (RIP). Their friendship solidified after playing their first show together (Preston with Virtual Boy and Mike with Nalepa) at a burner rave in San Francisco, and after countless ragers in Orange (at Justine’s house mostly) the two grew into best homies.
Stemming from those beginning Orange County nights, Penthouse Penthouse began and has grown into a nationally successful project. Part of their success, in our opinion, has been their solid and engaging branding message - a crucial element in artist development that so many budding musicians just don’t seem to grasp. Their branding is incredibly consistent, from the visuals down to the song titles, and they do it all themselves.
M: “Me and Preston literally do everything; we design and make our own merch, we mail every order out by hand, we run the social media, we’re just DIY. Preston has this cracked version of photoshop for our visuals, it’s only in Spanish…”
P: “Solo en espanol, solemente! Haha”
Although they’re doing big things and garnering a constantly-expanding nationwide fanbase, they try to not take themselves too seriously. The project is very soul and R&B infused and they’ve created a unique sound by mixing those with other modern R&B club/trap influences. They’re not afraid to laugh at themselves and the sometimes quirky, funny vibe they create.
M: “We’re really self-aware. Sometimes a song will come on by a different R&B/soul artist, that’s really good but very serious, and that shit just makes us laugh... We like to keep it lighthearted with certain moments of depth. We’ll have introspective songs mixed in that people have really responded to also. So there’s a wide range of feelings if you just peruse our Soundcloud. Lol.”
The current climate of DJing is shifting. “The DJ bubble’s going to burst soon.” PP is differentiating itself from other producers by incorporating a live element into their shows. It’s different than what you’d typically expect from a producing duo. “P: It’s amazing M: Very sexual… P: Maybe overly sexual.” Although they’re able to play a typical DJ set, they’ve started to enhance them by playing live instruments, and bringing in new elements that are not normally expected of beat producers. While they were on tour with The Glitch Mob, they DJ’d the first half of the tour and transitioned into playing with a live band for the second half. The response for their live show was “overwhelming.” As they start playing more shows, they hope to transition their set to a full live performance without a backtrack further down the line.
M: “People aren’t taking DJs seriously because what we’re doing at least, is we’re adding a third alternative to the DJ/producer combo… now it’s assumed that if you produce music, you can do a DJ set and someone can book you. We’re producers, when you call us up asking for a DJ set, we can do that… but what we’re really about is we’re musicians, and we play our own songs that we’ve produced. And it’s kind of a new model, but it’s way more natural for us to play live than to stand around.”
Their debut EP Besides was released back in September and they continue to perform at monthly TeamSupreme shows at the Echoplex. See you on the dance floor.
Favorite place to tour?
P: Miami. It was vacation.
M: Preston was like, with his people… haha
P: The Cubans. They welcomed me with open arms, hahaha
M: We were chilling on the beach and I just kept noticing things about Preston, he started turning Cuban or something… I was like, have you always been this tan!? Have you always had that cross necklace?
P: Never go full Cuban.
What’s it like to have fans?
M: I get recognized downtown in my fucking building. It’s weird. Or when I tell someone my producer name, it’s weird to have people actually listen now… I don’t really take social media numbers to heart, I don’t think anyone in TeamSupreme does because we just kind of do our own shit. But recently we’ve been encountering this phenomenon of seeing those numbers grow, and then seeing the real world implications of those numbers… people hitting us up to do things, recognizing our faces, it’s fucking crazy. It’s just tight, we’re all nerds and people think we’re cool?
What do you like to do outside of music?
P: I like to run a lot.
M: I don’t really have a lot of free time now, I just do music. I teach music and in my free time I do my own music, and the other half of the time I’m sleeping.
Where are some of your favorite LA venues?
P: Definitely the Echoplex - not to toot our own horn - but it’s an amazing venue. The sound system in there is incredible; it’s one of the only venues in LA that has an actual stereo sound system. Low End Theory is always fun. It gets a little too packed for my liking sometimes, especially recently, but regardless I’d rather be there than most places.
M: I’m a homebody for the most part, I don’t go out that much. I go to the Airliner, I go to my friends’ shows... One of my favorite places is this bar called The Varnish. It’s a 1920s speakeasy in DTLA. A few nights a week they have live ragtime and jazz players there. I live one block away and I go alone a lot... just sit in the dark in solitude, take a deep breath and sip real slow on a $15 cocktail that’s making me feel so good...
What are you listening to right now?
P: While we were on tour with him, Cody Farwell (aka Goodnight Cody) put me onto a lot of music. A lot of Japanese music, Jamaican rock steady, reggae, dancehall…This group called 10cc, a British band from the 70’s.
M: Frank Zappa… As far as new producers, outside of TeamSupreme – obviously everyone in TeamSupreme is my favorite… Dane, Djemba, Colta, those are my brothers - but outside that my favorite producers are Lakim from Soulection. I’ve been playing his shit out… AbJo, also on Soulection, he’s a genius. Zikomo is one of the most honest beat makers…
P: This group called Vulfpeck from Brooklyn… they just scammed Spotify into giving them $20,000 by putting out an album of complete silence - fans have been reposting it.
M: You can listen to it on repeat in your sleep.
P: Now they’re going on tour in the US playing shows for their fans, that was their goal, to play free shows for their fans. I think they’re a 4-piece band, and all their recordings are just live, nothing else. Just them going in on their instruments, it’s pretty amazing. I’ve been listening to a lot of them lately.
M: This guy, Flamingosis… Oh my god, this guy Marvel Alexander, hold on I’ll play you guys a song…
P: There’s an artist called Brasstracks, amazing.
M: (Plays “Why My Ol’ Lady Gotta Be A Thot”) Marvel Alexander is like a producer, but he’s rapping all of this shit haha that shit’s so funny. I listen to it, a lot.
P: A lot of Stevie Wonder.
M: Jai Paul too.
Any dream collaborators?
P: I like to collaborate with people who want to collaborate with us. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen pretty naturally… there isn’t like, one person I would pick.
M: We’re just down. At this point no one is making any money off of their recorded music. You can sell stuff online yourself, but you need to be collaborating with someone else’s best interest in mind, like, people will hit us up on Soundcloud saying they love our tracks and want to collaborate, we’ll listen and send them some shit. You could be an unknown and be a great talent, the music speaks for itself. One thing I’d say though, is if people hit us up saying “Yo, can I lease your beat for our mixtape?” First of all, I don’t know what the fuck a lease is... My best advice to any vocalist that wants to collaborate is don’t ask, just fucking do it over our shit. Steal our music, record your collab and send it back. There’s no need to make it really formal or ask permission, it’s better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. We’re not going to get mad at people for taking our song and making something dope. If anything, it makes us feel weird when people hit us up asking. Sure, if they’re going to sell it, that’s a different story. There was this shady person that took some TeamSupreme tracks, made a compilation without our permission and tried to sell it… It was supposedly a “mistake,” it was supposed to be a free download… but naw.
P: His name’s Michael Giovanni. HAHAHA.
M: This guy’s crazy, he actually took Aaron’s entire catalog, put it on iTunes as his own album. He would literally post pictures of himself on the artwork and on social media, being like, “Hey, here I am in my car headed to the beach, producing this track right here,” and he would press play and it would be Carmack’s beat. [YIKES]
P: Hahaha. Good question.
M: Preston’s hobby that he didn’t say is that he plays Pokemon on his phone.
P: So tight, I just beat it today. Check this shit out, on the phone. We’ve got Snorlax in the building. Boom, bitch. Done. Don’t get me started.
M: I got some! I fucking love No Doubt. Specifically the song “Cool,” the Gwen Stefani one. I will cry alone to that song. I love that song, I did a vocal cover of that, it was one of my first electronic music productions. If you are savvy with cruising on Myspace, you can maybe find that somewhere. It’s super rare. I don’t have a lot of guilty pleasures, because I don’t really give a fuck what people think, I just enjoy everything. Weird shit that I enjoy, I recently rediscovered this tango accordion player, Astor Piazzolla, he’s a fucking legend. Pretty much any mainstream trap music, I enjoy the beats and playing that shit in the club...
P: What was that one song we were down with? Sometimes I’ll just put on 105.9, you just have to every once in a while.
M: Cleanse the palette - that music makes me feel nothing, so I can start from zero and make good music afterwards… Drake’s not a guilty pleasure, because I don’t truly enjoy Drake, but sometimes I like to get really drunk and sing along to some Drake. [Again, we love Drake.]
P: Moscow mule.
M: What? I’ve never seen you drink a Moscow Mule…
P: Because it’s so sugary, it’s on occasion… if I’m at a club, I’m not going to order a Moscow Mule… but I love that drink. I love the ginger and it’s sweet, with dinner it’s so good. In the copper cup. That’s what’s up.
M: I have two: if I’m drinking beer, I love a good IPA. We both love IPAs. Stone IPA is good, Angel City, Lagunitas… anything that’s going to make you feel like shit the next day if you drink more than 3. The other is from that spot Varnish. They have a “bartender’s choice.” You describe how you’re feeling and they make something for you. You can say something like, “I feel like a gin drink, but not sweet, and I’m walking through a forest and it’s hazy…” and they’ll bring you something. I said some shit one time like, “I’m alone, but I feel like celebrating, but I’m not… and I feel like a dark liquor” so they brought me this drink called “Bamboo” and it was so tight.
What are your favorite brunch spots in LA?
P: OH HO HO HO HEY HEY HEYYY Oh man, brunch. I like everything.
M: Preston is his own worst enemy. King of brunch.
P: Enemy of the state.
M: Preston will go so ham on food.
P: Things that I learned on tour: Don’t eat a chicken shawarma the size of a baby 20 minutes before your set. No matter how hungry you are, or how good it looks. Don’t do it!
M: We’ve diverted the question now. There is one spot, shouts out to our homie Cole from Ableton, he took a few of us out for brunch to this place in Downtown called Bar Hama, it’s a traditional Mexican brunch spot. The best meal I’ve ever had. I probably won’t go there a lot cos it’s hella expensive… I hate Panera bread. That is so sus. That doesn’t answer your question, but… do I like Panera Bread? Naw… There’s a spot called V Cafe, on Adams and La Brea, it’s a vegetarian spot and they have dank brunch. Shouts out Kenny Segal, he took me there the first time. You can get juice there, I really love juice. There’s this great juice spot on 6th and Main near me…
P: I juiced before I came over here…
M: What kind of juice?
P: Cold pressed. It’s in La Canada, this really good juice place, so bomb. I had a kale, carrot, ginger, celery thing, it was really good.
M: I love juice. My favorite spot is Sustain, they all know us there. They make us these little shots, juice and snacks… back to brunch spots, fucking Porto’s is classic. We used to live next to Porto’s in Glendale and that was our spot. That was hella good.
P: It’s funny because you ask about fans recognizing us and stuff - twice now I’ve been recognized by people who know me as Penthouse Penthouse, but before they knew who I was they recognized me because I went to Porto’s all the time. People would be at a show like, “Are you the guy from Porto’s?” and I’m like, “Yeah, what’s up! Are you here for the show?” And they’re like, “Who are you?” I’m like, “Penthouse Penthouse” and they’re all, “Oh my god!!!!!” Twice, two different occasions, I’m the Porto’s guy.
M: I have one more then I’ll be done. It’s called LSD or something…
LYKA: No, BLD!
M: Hahahaha yes, BLD, so good! There’s another one on Hillhurst called Little Dom’s, that spot’s so good. It’s so bougie every time I go there, I’m like, “fuck all these people.” I shouldn’t say that out loud, that was kind of mean. But it’s like, “Stop talking about your fucking script, I’m trying to enjoy my blueberry infused pancakes…”
P: Wow… pancakes.
M: It’s literally next to this restaurant called Mexico.
Bloody marys or mimosas?
M: I love a spicy bloody mary… but I’ve been getting bottomless mimosas recently because they’re bottomless. So I guess specifically to answer the question, if there is no bottomless involved, then bloody marys. But if they’re bottomless, then mimosas.
P: Yeah, keep ‘em coming. I’m the same too.