At Home with NYC-Based Future-Funk Band, BITS
by Wade Wallerstein
Photography by Rachel Cabitt
Meet BITS: the ultra-funky pop band comprised of NYC’s most delectable brother-sister duo, Rex and Blu Detiger. DRØME first got to know the Detiger’s when Blu DJ-ed our No Place Like Homo Pride Party in June, but being a superstar DJ is just a side hustle: BITS is where the true musical prowess of the duo shines through. Not only did BITS give us an exclusive preview of their new tunes, but we also got to kick it with the siblings in their Lower East Side apartment.
Nostalgic yet forward-thinking—electronic disco meets future funk—BITS’ high energy grooves recall a New York of the past while simultaneously defining the New York of the present. Not to mention, the lyrics come with a razor sharp wit—it’ll take a few listens before you hear all of the wisecracks on “Tom Tom”. BITS are unflinchingly honest, with just the right equilibrium of self awareness and social consciousness to make their tunes thoroughly true to the now. BITS’ first singles, “Tom Tom” and “It’s Summer” have just dropped and a six-single EP compilation is in the works.
DRØME: When did you found the band? And what made the two of you want to work together?
Rex: We have been playing together ever since we picked up our first instruments.
Blu: We have always played together and collaborated in many iterations of bands. But we started thinking, writing, and recording stuff that would later be BITS songs only a couple years ago. That's when we started creating music that felt connected to the BITS vision.
R: To be honest, we both really respect each other as artists, musicians, and people. That’s why we wanted to work together.
What’s it like to work so closely with your sibling? And, on top of that, living together?
B: It’s great. We definitely have that special sibling telepathic connection.
R: We don’t know anyone else our age who has 15+ years experience playing music with someone else. We’re very lucky. We work together really well and there will always be a special sibling bond between us.
B: We have endless support for each other. And we can always be honest and trust one another, which I think is really important in any partnership. We also push each other to be the best we can be!
How long have you been playing music?
B: I started playing bass when I was seven years old. I started with rock music, and learned all the classics. Then I got more into R&B and studied jazz for a while. Finally, when I learned to slap on the bass I fell in love. Funk and disco are my favorite types of music to play.
R: I’ve been banging on stuff for as long as I can remember. I actually started playing Djembe when I was seven. Then, I started playing drum set when I was ten. There are videos of me singing ACDC, Van Halen, and Rolling Stones songs at CBGB when I was like 12 and 13! And I would always rap a little bit in my band in high school.
Rex, do you always wear all white? Or just in the summer?
R: I do. I’ve done it for about a year now. Winter was tough. Now that the song and video are out, I may be ready to bring in other colors to my wardrobe. But the all white clothes were very good for me I think. It was a small way to stick out. Everyone recognizes me everywhere. I wanted to project that I was an artist, rockstar, matcha tea drinker, spiritual person, light energy, etc.
B: Honestly, it really worked!
What is your dream to achieve with BITS?
B: Sold out shows at Madison Square Garden.
R: That’s always our immediate answer! We want to create something that cuts through and becomes emblematic of a particular time. We want to connect to people through our music, performance, videos, etc. We want to highlight the honest ironics of pop culture.
B: We want people to listen to us and dance, sing, laugh, think, and feel.
How would you describe BITS’ sound/vibe?
R: Yes. And I also like to describe our sound/vibe as “the honest ironics of pop.” We write about our own lives in first person. We have songs about our friends not texting us back, wishing we were DJs (even though we do actually DJ, especially Blu!), waving to our mom in VIP during a show, or some sexy french voice taking our breath away at the par-tay. “I wanna hit my tom tom like a hip band; then wave to mom mom in VIP with the other hand.” You just can’t make this stuff up!
B: Sonically too, it's very interesting. I like to think that a lot of the musical characteristics pay homage to our favorite old school funk, R&B, hip-hop, and rock influences. It's also very rare to find real slap bass in pop music these days. I like to think that we're bringing that specific funky element back to pop music!
What does your creative process look like? How do you work together?
R: Every song unfolds in a unique way, but we try to always start with a strong lyrical hook and general musical idea. For “Tom Tom,” we were thinking about all these bands who, god bless them, put down their guitars, synths, or microphones, and start playing tom drums. We used to hate this trend, but maybe we were just jealous. I thought, “I wanna hit my toms on stage, and I wanna one-up these bands by waving to my mom in VIP while I do it.” (There’s just something special about making your mom proud!) We just kept exaggerating and building off this hipster band/party storyline. “Best New Artist at the Pitchfork Awards.” We’re singing, dancing, partying, and laughing at ourselves and some of today’s bleached-hair-L-train culture.
B: We love DC go-go music and felt it was a natural fit for a song with toms and slap bass. Most of the songs begin with an idea or concept that we want to play with, explain, exaggerate, critique. And then we add a slap riff, melody, or chord progression.
What upcoming projects or shows do you have planned?
R: We’re creating amazing visuals to go along with our live show. And filming skits!
B: Stay tuned. We've been working very hard on creating a compelling and entertaining live show. We want people to have fun and leave feeling that they've seen something very special.
R: It’s gotta resonate! We also have remixes by us and some of our favorite DJs coming out! And VERY special DJs may already be playing Tom Tom in the club…
You both are not only known for your tunes, but also your style. How would you describe each others’ personal styles? What inspires you?
B: We like to always look like STARS.
R: Yes. FAMOUS.
R: I would say that Blu’s style is powerful, badass, passionate, bass-virtuoso. She lives in the moment, doesn’t let anything get in her way, and performs like a motherfucker. She's a true artist and entertainer.
B: Rex is a genius. A creator, manifestor, rockstar; a funny and driven high-level being! And of course, he can groove behind the drums like no other. And his voice cuts through and shines.