MIA Interview Exclusive: Meet Lost Kings


lost kings

Cassie McHugh Co-Editor-in-Chief

They’re here for a good time and a long time. 

DJ duo Lost Kings first broke out into the music scene over four years ago when their remix of the Disclosure/Sam Smith hit “Latch” gained rotation on Sirius Radio. They followed up the track’s success with an array of remixes for high-profile artists including Rihanna, Halsey and Imagine Dragons before releasing a slew of original singles that made waves on U.S. Dance charts. 

Following their set at this year’s Made in America festival, which rivaled the energy of the headliners’ crowds (mosh pits at 3PM anyone?), Lost Kings spoke with us about their rise to success, hopes for the future and favorite ‘Nova basketball player.  

The Villanovan (TV): You made a name for yourselves in the industry remixing songs and then started releasing your own tracks. Do you prefer doing one over the other?

Nick Shanholtz (NS): We prefer doing our own thing, doing originals. The remixes were just a way for us to initially build our following. It was always about the originals. It was just getting to a point to be able to put them out where people would be paying attention. So now, it’s all about building our story. We have things we want to say and want to do, and we want to tell it through our music.

TV: You’ve been on the festival circuit for the past couple of years. What’s it like playing at festivals versus other performances?

Rob Gainley (RG): The energy is crazy. At festivals, people are there for music and to have a good time, and that translates so much. We thrive off that. When we see people having fun, we have more fun. We’re always going to give it our all, but we take it to the next level when we see the crowd like (it was) today. 

TV: Made in America is curated by Jay Z. To you, what does it mean to have his seal of approval and be asked to come here?

NS: I’ve always been a big fan of Jay Z and grew up listening to his music. This festival has always been on our radar to play, so it’s amazing. We both grew up not far from this area. I’m from Maryland, and he (Rob) is from Boston, so in this area we have a lot of friends and people who can come. I’ve always heard good things about this festival, and it was great. The crowd was crazy. I’m happy that we were able to do it.

TV: You guys tweeted recently that you have new music soon. What can you tell us about what to expect? 

NS: We’re going to announce an EP hopefully in October, so we’re super excited. We’ve been working on it in LA, and we have a lot of music that we’re really, really hype about. We’re doing a big tour in the beginning of next year that’s going to be our first hard ticket tour. We do a lot of nightclubs, so it’s going to be nice (because) we’re setting up this tour to be able to play for all ages and be able to have people who stream our music come. So many people hit us up, and they’re like ‘I’m not 21. I can’t come,’ and it’s so annoying, so to now be able to put out an EP and tour and do something big, we’re excited about it. We’ve been working for a long time for it.

TV: What would your advice be to the young people who listen to your music and are thinking of pursuing a career in music themselves? 

RG: As corny as it sounds, hard work actually does pay off. You have to bust your butt and not make excuses about ‘Oh, I don’t have time’ or ‘I have a project.’ For us, we had work. We had day jobs when we started, and we never let that get in the way. If it’s your real passion, you’ll find the time. If you really want something, you have to just sacrifice everything. For the first year, we didn’t see our friends. We didn’t do anything. We would just work, and it’s the same way now. We sacrifice everything that we can for the betterment of what we do. If you really want to pursue this, you have to be ready to make that sacrifice.

TV: Five years from now, where do you guys hope to be?

NS: I hope to be the biggest thing ever. I think we’re better than everybody else, and I know that sounds conceited, but there’s a lot of DJs in this space that I think make [poor] music and don’t play a good show. We really work our butts off to make our own music. There’s a lot of people in our space who don’t make their own music, and it’s just a façade, and I’m just sick of people investing in that. I think people deserve to invest their time in what they’re listening to and what they’re going to and what they’re paying their money for. We put our blood, sweat and tears into this, and we’ve been working a long time. We just want to make the best music that we can. Not that it’s a competition, but we’re competitive dudes, and we want our music to be the best quality music for people, and we want to put on the best show that we possibly can. If we can do that for five more years, 10 more years, then we want to ride the wave and keep it going. 

TV: Final question, I have to ask – Are you ‘Nova basketball fans?

RG: I like [Donte] DiVincenzo. He put on a good show last year. I was impressed. We don’t have college basketball teams, we just root for it in the moment, and he stepped up.”