Getting Ready

The First Time This R&B Duo Performed Was on a Sold Out Tour

We hung out with THEY. as they got ready for their performance at the Life Is Beautiful festival.

By: Jodi Taylor
Photography: Alec Kugler

Typically, what we’ve seen in our historied pre-gaming sessions is a frenzy of stylists putting together umpteen looks, hairstylists flailing hot tools, and makeup artists going at the talent’s face from every possible angle. But this could not have been more opposite from the atmosphere at R&B duo THEY.’s suite ahead of last weekend’s Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas. The duo, comprised of Drew Love and Dante Jones, got ready in separate rooms of the hotel and were the most chill ever.

We first hung out with Dante, who, after picking out his outfit (a casual hoodie and jeans), turned on a quick wrestling video—apparently this step is always part of his pre-show ritual—and followed it with some meditation. On the other side of the hall, in Drew’s room, we found him hanging out, lollipop in mouth. Turns out he isn’t one for a routine; getting ready involves throwing on an outfit, adding some accessories, and calling it a day.

Click through the below gallery to hear about what they learned from touring with Bryson Tiller, what’s on their rider, and their first major fashion moment.

Drew Love: “I came out to L.A. as a songwriter first [and Dante] was already out there doing production—he had a Grammy under his belt. I instantly noticed how different he was than most producers that I had worked with. After that, I decided to hit him up one day [and] was like, ‘We should make a run at this as a group.’ We did it and never really looked back, and now here we are.”

DL: “One thing I always say about our album, Nü Religion, is that not everybody is going to like every song. There's at least one song on there for everybody. If you go through the entire thing, you might hate 13 out of 14, but I guarantee that the one that you do like, you're going to love. We always focused on trying to be a little bit different. We blur the lines of what you're supposed to be able to do, especially within the urban realm.”

Dante Jones: “Right now, it’s like everybody connects with the same tools, but we’re all different people, so at the end of the day we should all have our own individual voices and not sound the same.”

DL: “[Touring with Bryson Tiller] was the first that either one of us had ever stepped onstage. We got thrown into the fire. I had to learn a lot of things—we learned a lot of our chemistry, which we built on after that. Then it was more about stage presence, and how to believe in yourself, how not to get too high, not to get too low. Pace yourself, honestly.”

DL: “Being able to perform in front of people and receive the energy that you’re putting out, that’s a blessing within itself. There’s a lot of people at this festival that I haven’t gotten a chance to see yet. I still haven’t seen Chance [The Rapper] live, so to see him tonight is going to be tight. And Blink 182 also is going to be sick.”

DJ: “I try to think back to, ‘Alright. What really got me hyped when I was younger?’ It was always wrestling. One thing I read about performing is you want to give the fans what you would want to see if you were in their shoes. That’s why I always try to watch something that’s always really inspiring and energetic.”

DJ: “I’m big on meditation. For me, it helps to clear my mind so that when I’m onstage I’m not thinking about anything—there are no thoughts running through my head. It’s clear, living in the moment, feeling the energy from the crowd.”

DJ: “Our rider right now isn’t that crazy. [Drew] likes wine, [and] it has the liquor on there, of course.”

DL: “If you want to forget everything that happened the day before, that’s when you go with the wine. When we’re trying to chill, he does the Tito’s, I do the Jameson.”

DJ: “Then we do chips and salsa, which is a mistake in Europe. I’m gonna ask for extravagant things.”

DL: “Grapes, and a person to feed me the grapes. Designated grape boy [laughs].”

DJ: “Preferably a grape woman.”

DL: “You know what’s crazy? Dante and I—say we’re on tour and we’re in a hotel or whatever—we’ll meet in the lobby and we’ll come out the elevator wearing the same thing. We’re very in synch on that. I guess it comes after a few years of performing together.”

DJ: “Because we do a lot of jumping around, moving around, and stuff like that, I try to do something that’s a little bit comfortable.”

DL: “Sometimes I don’t want to get dirty. A lot of rappers and people out there, you see them rock these super extravagant, fancy, crazy outfits, and that’s cool, but I’m trying to wear this joint after I perform, too. I always go for a grunge look, if not a sport jersey situation.”

DJ: “[Tommy Hilfiger] reached out to have us come out [to London and] do an after-party [for their show]. Growing up, for me, I always really looked at Tommy Hilfiger as one of my favorite brands. So it was dope to be there and be able to be part of the brand coming back.”

DL: “It was really interesting because Dante and I had never really been in that type of spotlight. It was our first fashion trip, in general. To really be out there amongst the designers and creators, the models, and see how people put things together and see the way the fashion shows are done, it was really enlightening.”

DJ: “When Timbaland hit us up, at first I didn’t really want to believe that it was his team reaching out. He walked in and we played him all the music that we had at the time. It was really kind of like a pinch-me, surreal moment to see somebody that I idolized listen to my stuff. He knew the names of the songs even though they were just rough demos. He knew.”

DL: “That was tight. Mine came a little bit more recently at a festival in New York, Panorama. We’d done several festivals before that, but to run out onstage and see the entire tent packed from front to the back—jam-packed, like couldn’t get in. Then the floor collapsed after we got on the stage. That was one of the first times I was actually nervous in a long time. It was a really good time.”

DL: “We’re working on new stuff. The next project, listen to it without any expectations because it will be completely different. We bring something different and continue to try to switch it up. One thing we always do is stay true to ourselves and what we really want to do. We’re never going to do anything just because we feel pressure is on us to do this or that. We’re just going to do what we like to do, and if people like it, they like it. If not, at least we like it.”