- 16 Jun 23
Longitude Festival returns this year with a stacked line-up over two days at Marlay Park. Who better to talk us through the anticipated summer event than Irish drill’s biggest joint duo, TraviS x Elzzz, ahead of their debut appearance?
Irish-Nigerian newcomers TraviS x Elzzz have had a stratospheric rise to prominence in the nation’s blossoming drill scene, but their day-to-day life seems just as grounded. The laidback pair are chilling out at home, with producer Liam Harris in the background cooking up (presumably hard-hitting) beats for the friends-turned-collaborators, when I catch them for a pre-festival chat.
Headlining Hot Press’ Monster event last night, Gliders co-founders TraviS x Elzzz know how to shut down a room. Their next challenge comes in the form of Longitude, where the ‘Vision’ rappers will warm up the stage ahead of headliner Travis Scott on Sunday, July 2nd. Major hip-hop hitters like Lil Tjay, Lil Uzi Vert, Metro Boomin, Clavish, Meekz and Glorilla will take to the stage on their day, alongside dance acts Joel Corry, Songer and Venbee.
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Did they manage to catch any 2022 sets, when Tyler, the Creator, A$AP Rocky and Megan thee Stallion headlined?
“Our friend MJ brought us out,” TraviS recalls, referring to Chamomile Records co-founder and fellow Dublin artist Monjola. “We’ve been going to Longitude for years,” Elzzz jumps in. “I actually performed at it a couple of years ago with my boy. It’s the best festival here in Dublin by a mile. We love it.”
What was their reaction to seeing this year’s star-studded line-up?
“Wow,” Elzzz smiles. “Ice Spice isn’t on our day, so we’re sad about that!”
“Obviously we were lit, because our names were on it,” TraviS grins. “It’s insane to see that. Also, Travis Scott gets to come to my city to meet the real TraviS! Put this in bold: TraviS says Travis Scott needs to check in,” he adds, as Elzzz bursts out laughing. Confidence gets you a long way, and both rappers have it in spades.
“He’s probably the hardest guy ever to get in contact with,” Elzzz muses. “We’re excited for our first official Longitude set as TraviS x Elzzz, though. This year was such a big year for Irish music and rap. So many acts deserved to make the bill.”
“They need to keep reloading Irish artists every year at these festivals,” TraviS agrees. “These acts who performed last year and killed it should be given later time slots at this year’s event. Local artists usually get very early sets, but it would be cool to call them back at like 7pm or 8pm when more people are there as a reward and to get them more spotlight. Even if it’s a new stage, just put more Irish acts on it.”
“Don’t get me wrong, they’re doing great things, but they could be doing better work to highlight Irish talent,” Elzzz nods. “Our set is at around 2:30pm/3pm, which is early.” Monjola had the same time slot on the Main Stage last year, but gathered a crowd with his infectious energy and charismatic setlist of alternative R&B bangers.
“It’s a big stage, a lot of people are pulled towards it,” Elzzz tells me. “That’s the trend. Homegrown artists are on early because the headliners are on at 8pm or 9pm.” TraviS smiles, “It’ll happen for us eventually, we’ll be the main event!”
How do they intend to maintain the attention of a young crowd like Longitude?
“They’re the best, because they turn up and want a good time,” TraviS shrugs, laughing. “We’re the type of performers that don’t really deep what the crowd is doing or saying, we just give our energy and that’s what they respond to.”
“Before you know it, everyone’s having a laugh,” Elzzz adds. “What’s the toughest crowd we’ve had?” he turns to his collaborator. “Your cousin’s event,” TraviS says.
“The Sound House was crazy!” Elzzz grins. “We were asked by an interviewer, ‘Did you think it was gonna get lit like that?’ and we were like, ‘Of course!’ Anyone who comes to a TraviS x Elzzz show is gonna have a great time. Straight facts, no cap.”
“Bring your dancing shoes!” TraviS jokes. “Longitude is going to attract a lot more people because it’s only two days this year. There’s less supply and tickets, which would drive up demand and exclusivity. That always works.”
Travis Scott makes for a surefire sellout headline act at any festival.
“Yeah, ‘cause he’s cold,” they say together, smiling. “He’s a big dog in this game. He’s got a crowd, everyone knows who he is. Travis Scott is bigger than life, a legend,” Elzzz notes. “He hasn’t been performing as much because of all the Astroworld controversy, so to see him live again is a special moment. I think he’s gonna go crazy,” he emphasises, excitedly.
Would he get in the studio with the ‘SICKO MODE’ artist? “Our styles of music are very different, honestly,” Elzzz replies. “I’d be interested in other acts on Sunday’s Longitude lineup - Clavish would be crazy to collaborate with, or Metro Boomin.” TraviS picks Meekz, but Saturday’s choice is easy for both of them.
“An Ice Spice x TraviS x Elzzz track would go triple platinum, number one in the whole world,” the pair laugh. If the Gliders Collective were given the power to curate their own Longitude Festival, who’d be on the coveted lineup?
“We’d be the headliner!” TraviS insists. “We’d just put some heavy artillery in there after us.” Elzzz interjects, “There’s gonna be levels. Central Cee would be up there.”
“Odumodu Blvck”, TraviS continues. “Digga D, Bb trickz, Fimiguerrero, SleazyWorld, Rema. We’d turn up. Ice Spice would break the matrix!”
The Brooklyn rap sensation is teaming up with Nicki Minaj for the new Barbie soundtrack, plus that Taylor Swift collaboration everyone’s talking about: ‘Karma’.
“She’s getting indoctrinated, man,” TraviS jokes. “This is the next It Girl, so everyone has to take her in. That new Taylor Swift song has to be AI-generated,” he says, the duo bursting into laughter. “It can’t be real. It’s like an arranged marriage.”
What do the duo make of dance music’s takeover in Ireland, mirroring the ‘90s obsession? Crumlin artist and Belters Only collaborator Jazzy has remained at No.1 for the second week with the insanely addictive club anthem ‘Giving Me’.
“Jazzy’s killin’ it,” TraviS concedes. “Big ups to her,” Elzzz adds. “She’s doing her thing. Dance music is embedded in Irish culture, that’s why it’s doing so well again. That’s what’s still poppin’ on the radio, and will forever be blaring on the airwaves. It only makes sense. Calvin Harris is always a strong headliner."
Longitude Festival’s impressive female talent includes BRIT Award-winning London R&B trio FLO and Memphis rapper GloRilla.
“I’m going there as an artist too, so I want to enjoy it. We’ll definitely catch GloRilla’s set,” Elzzz insists. “Looking forward to it. I can’t wait.”
“We’re gonna celebrate the day with all of our people, and enjoy the experience,” TraviS smiles. New TraviS x Elzzz music will hopefully be on the horizon. “We’re scheming! We have a nice collaboration coming out soon, that’s gonna go crazy. We can’t say too much but if you’re at Longitude Festival, you’ll see it live.”
“Liam Harris is making beats,” they tell me, turning the camera towards their young Full Circle mixtape producer, sitting across the room with his headphones firmly on. “He’s here by choice!” Elzzz insists, grinning. “There’s no such thing as days off for Gliders. Let the world know we work 24/7. The boys are in these trenches.”
How did they take the news that TraviS x Elzzz were booked for Longitude 2023?
“Two words: Thank God,” Elzzz smiles at me. “I’m just grateful that we get a chance to shut it down.”
“Then we go to the next mission,” TraviS concludes. Tunnel vision, as per usual.
Longitude Festival 2023 takes place from July 1-2nd at Marlay Park.
Read the Longitude special in the new issue of Hot Press, out now.