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Interview: DJ Andrew Hypes Talks Sync Licensing, Tetris, And Music

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

Andrew Hypes is a profound DJ hailing from Waynesboro, Virginia. Since his youth, he always had an affinity for music thanks to watching his father playing drums and listening to all types of music. His father influenced Andrew's love for music to where he began drumming himself and that carried over to producing and DJing.

Some of his influences include Prince, George Clinton, and A Tribe Called Quest. The music influences are also very reflective of his mixes. An example would be at a FeelGood RVA event in November 2020. When the Reading Rainbow theme song was about to end, he made the smoothest transition into Wayne's famous song, Lollipop. Another example would be when Andrew Hypes broke social media for his set at a VCU event in 2017. Below, he transitions the old The Beach Boys Surfin' USA song into the very recognizable song Swag Surfin'.

The Virginia DJ has traveled overseas out to London and France for gigs, not to mention all over the United States. Andrew is currently on tour DJing between DC and Richmond. You can find more info about that here. Prior to his tour between the two cities, we spent some time learning about him and asking Andrew some questions.

Jay: You have opened for artists like Pharrell Williams, Pusha-T, Diplo, and more. What goes through your mind when preparing for an opening set of a major act?

Andrew: Just making sure the crowd is engaged and rocking.

Jay: Not only do you DJ, but you are also a producer. Your catalog includes the likes of Grammy award-winning artist Lecrae, Evan Barlow, French Montana, and Mad Skillz. As a producer, how do you get yourself involved in working with those artists? Would you say that some would recognize you as a DJ before a producer or the other way around?

Andrew Hypes produced the 2020 Rap Up by Mad Skillz

Andrew: Most of the time it's organic. I run into these people or I am introduced to them by a mutual friend. I am definitely more recognized as a DJ right now which is an amazing thing but I am ready for the world to hear the music I've been working on with artists.

Jay: What are some of your favorite music albums and why? Did any of them influence your drummer background?

Andrew: Public Enemy's In Fear Of A Black Planet, Tribe Called Quest Midnight Marauders, Van Halen's 1984, and Kendrick's Good Kid Mad City. All of them influenced the drumming background for sure! My father was the primary influence on my drumming. I used to just sit and watch my dad as a child and then one day I picked up the sticks. The rest was history.

Jay: You and two other producers, Mack Powers and Nate Harlan, had a collaborative song picked up for the newest Tetris Beat game. Congrats to Mack and Nate by the way. I wanted to bring that up to talk about the importance of sync licensing. A music synchronization license, or "sync" for short, is a music license granted by the holder of the copyright of a particular composition, allowing the licensee to synchronize ("sync") music with a visual media output. In that case, it would be the Tetris game (check out the video on Andrew's Instagram of the song on Tetris). Other examples involve the likes of movies, films, and website music just like how MySpace had music playing on people’s profiles back in the day.

What sync licensing can do is generate residual royalties for indie artists. The money can come in the form of a performance royalty every time a certain composition gets moved to a secondary market or if it gets a rerun on a TV show for example [read more on sync licensing]. How do you feel about the importance of sync licensing?

Andrew: Syncing music should be on everyone's mind that's in the industry. The more streams of income obviously the more the name/brand is pushed.

Jay: How do you see that growing as a way for indie artists to gain passive income?

Andrew: Some artists and producers solely focus on sync and that's because that's where the consistent money is, especially if you have an in with a company. Overcoast Music + Sound are some guys right in Richmond that do so much of this stuff!

Jay: Who are some indie artists that you would like to shout out?

Andrew: Slim Kartel, Rep, Radio B, Skillz, Gotnow OG ILLA, Fresh Porter, and everyone else putting in the work!!!

Andrew Hypes can be found on social media @AndrewHypes and visit his website

Written by: Jay Guevara. @justinhisprime on all social media.

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