Filed under: Issue 20, Issue 20 Home Recordings | Tags: Home Recordings, Issue 20, Local music
Walk past any lamp post, bulletin board or conspicuous brick wall on campus and you will see it: the visual assault of ‘80s-inspired neon posters promoting shows for Syracuse University’s favorite pair of twin DJs.
The Smash Brothers, Jacob and Zach Leon, began their climb to local fame in 2006 when their unique remixes of par ty hip-hop and techno were heard at fraternity and house par ties all over SU. Their motto: if people are not completely drenched in sweat after dancing the entire night, they have failed.
The brothers Leon moved to Syracuse to attend graduate school. Jacob received his master’s from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and his law degree from the College of Law. By day, he works for the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
“Instead of yelling things on stage, I spend my time yelling things at heads of federal agencies and at congressmen,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Zach, a Fulbright Scholar, is currently an archeology graduate student at the Maxwell School.
Getting their musical start as “scene” kids, The Smash Brothers changed their tune when they moved to Syracuse.
“Looking around the scene, we realized a lot of other bands … were doing similar things that we were doing, and they were doing it better,” says Jacob. “At that point, Zach and I decided we were going to … start DJing.”
The pair quickly found an empty niche in the Syracuse music scene and established themselves as the must-have DJs for any campus party. Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, and the distribution of free mix-tapes, helped to push their popularity, but Jacob attributes most of their success to word-of-mouth advertising.
“I think the word got out itself that there were some crazy-looking twin brothers who liked to … make a lot of noise and do crazy stuff on stage,” he says.
These days, The Smash Brothers are throwing their energy behind LADYBOYS, a side project featuring Zach’s girlfriend Beccah. But through it all, they haven’t forgotten where they started.
“Through and through we consider Syracuse our home,” Jacob says. “And we’re attempting, definitely, to bring some notoriety back to the region.”
— Olivia St. Denis