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[Interview] Zac Efron, Max Joseph, Emily Ratajkowski, Them Jeans (We Are Your Friends)

We Are Your Friends Interview: Part 1

How’s Chicago so far?

Emily Ratajkowski (ER): Great. We haven’t gotten to see a whole lot of it.

Zac Efron (ZE): We’re on a pretty insane schedule.

Jason Stewart/Them Jeans (TJ): I ate the Publican. That was pretty cool.

Max Joseph (MJ): Just FYI, this is Jason Stewart. He was our DJ consultant on the film. This is Them Jeans. He taught Zac everything there is to know about DJing.

ZE: Everything I know.

How is he as a student?

TJ: He’s an amazing student! He’s like a sponge.


TJ: A+. He has a lot of rhythm inside of his body that I just had to channel to the EDM world.

ZE: I learned a lot from watching him.

How did you get involved with the film?

TJ: A friend of mine was helping out music supervising for the film, and he suggested me to help train [Efron] for the movie. I lived down the street from them, coincidentally, so it worked out. I went over there, and the rest is history.

ZE: He carried in all the equipment with Max and I. Remember the first day? You’re like, “Film all of it.”

TJ: We did an unboxing video.

ZE: I took out the decks and plugged them all in for the first time. I remember the first time I saw the decks, it was like trying to read braille. It was so crazy.

TJ: Yeah, there’s like four million buttons.

ZE: By the end of the first day, I realized there’s actually… I had some sort of map and by the fourth or fifth day, I was transitioning tracks and adding effects.

TJ: It takes a day to learn, but a lifetime to master.

ZE: It does take a long time to master.

TJ: I feel like your brother was getting bummed out, maybe, towards the end just from hearing us DJ a million times.

ZE: My little brother lives with me at my house. We would have late-night sessions with those huge monitors that we bought, which were ridiculous. They were like “wake the neighbor” speakers, and I think my little brother was upset.

TJ: I just feel bad because he would be watching golf, then we’d be like *imitates loud bass drops*.

ZE: Yeah, we would be playing crazy trap music.

I saw the [Late Night with] Seth Myers piece where he read the poem your brother wrote.

ZE: Yeah, that’s my brother!

Max, the world of dance music can be a world of temptations and questionable morals. What message do you want to communicate to young people and fans of dance music as a result of making this film?

MJ: Whether it’s dance music or whether it’s writing a book or making a movie or painting a picture, I think that a lot of people search for inspiration and the answers to their insecurities and whatever outside of themselves. I think that, at least for my experience, it’s really drawing from your own experience for your artwork, whatever medium you’re working in. That is going to be your best bet to make something meaningful to yourself and then hopefully to other people, as well.

You show a dark side of dance music and that world, as well.

MJ: Yeah, I mean it’s a fun world, but all fun worlds have dark sides and light sides. The music is amazing and festivals are really funny and listening to music whether by yourself or with some friends is great, but of course there are excesses that are part of the world, whether it’s drugs or…

TJ: Dubstep.

*everybody laughs*

MJ: I think we just wanted to show a balanced view of it, not just show it as rosy and perfect, not just show it debauched.


Geoff Henao is a writer/kinda photographer affiliated with the Chicago collective LOD. His interests include film, punk rock, cute girls, graphic novels, video games, and the Chicago Bulls. He’s funny sometimes.



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