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By Mustafa Abubaker

Remember holding your crush’s hand on that field trip in middle school while you lingered behind the group, an eye on the chaperone, another on him or her. It’s that innocent sincerity that shines through on Abhi//Dijon’s eponymous debut EP. But producer Abhi Raju and producer/singer Dijon Duenas, seniors at the University of Maryland, have elevated this feeling to something deeper than pre-adolescent romance.

While retaining all the tendencies that make those butterflies in your stomach flutter when your eyes fall on someone special, the music on their EP is a mature, well-rounded take on the R&B sound that is popular right now. Rather than feeling like a cynical attempt to cash in on a trend, however, this feels genuine and truthful, whether that’s Dijon’s smoky vocals or the restrained, spacious production.

Like moths to flame, Abhi//Dijon’s music will draw you in for a night of slow grooves, nostalgia, and a glass (or maybe a bottle) of whiskey.

Listen to their EP below and download it here. Read on for an interview with the duo, where they talk new music, their upcoming song with GoldLink and more.



What’s your earliest memory of music?
Dijon: I was a military kid and I just remember being in Germany listening to the Diddy joint where in the video he falls off the bike. I was born in Washington State before settling down in Maryland—we used to be all over the place.

Abhi: Mine was Bollywood showtunes for like the first five years of my life. I don’t know what else came before that. I was born in India before we moved here, so.

How did you meet?
A: We met through mutual friends in 9th grade in a Target. We all just had the same group of friends so we started hanging out pretty frequently.

What advice do you have for anyone thinking about pursuing music?
D: Obviously for us we’re still learning a lot and we’re still learning every day. I think the one thing that helped us progress the most was setting our goals really high. We’ve just ben setting the standards for the stuff we like really high. Everything you start out making is gonna be worse than what you eventually make. We had pretty lofty ambitions ever since we started making music. So just think big about it.

A: We’re still learning about EQ’ing and mixing and all that stuff. So just keep learning too.

If you could play one song to introduce yourself to someone, what would it be and why?
A: I think it’d be ‘Twelve’ just because it’s had the best reaction.

D: I’d say “Let You Know,” it’s pretty simple, it’s got a lot of cool concepts in it. We have themes in our songs. Cats don’t think we’re conceptual.

Has your family heard your music? How did they react to it?
A: My parents have and I think their reaction is just like, “that’s nice.” I don’t know if they have any opinion of it.

D: Abhi’s brown, so. They think it’s cool we’re trying to do it though. They’re not bummed about it.

Can we expect a Abhi//Dijon music video soon?
A: Probably not… but that’s just right now. If we’re going to do a music video it’s gotta be crazy. It’d probably be “Honest.”

D: I would say “Distant Love.” It’s like an old quiet storm. We’d both be shirtless and wearing like the lower bottoms.

Can we expect more of the R&B sound on your next EP or did you take it another direction?
A: For us it feels the same just because it’s us making it. It’s a pretty natural progression. Some of those songs we made in the sessions we made the other ones.

D: From some early listens, people have said it sounds a little different. But we don’t really see it. We’ve been in the same zone this whole time. One of the songs on there is seven months old, I won’t disclose that but you know. There’s not really anything as up-beat as “Let You Know” though. Shout out to the boy Imad-Roy El-Amine, he goes by the name Royal on Soundcloud. He mixed the EP.

A: He runs Indigo Studios and works with a lot of dope people in Maryland… but we record strictly in the basement on an old FL Studio.

How did you link up with GoldLink (on a forthcoming track)?
A: Our homie Tunji hooked us up, we met him a couple times, he’s a cool dude. We’re lucky he’s open to doing something like that, I’m sure it’s a lot of people hitting him up.

Are there any new songs that you’re leaving off the EP?

D: We have a few templates for other songs.

A: Our main goal is to write songs for other people. We’re not really too sure on the whole Abhi//Dijon pact. We’d like to write for Drake, let’s get those hits.

D: If he wants that Grammy for record of the year… we’ll do a discount price for the boy. I think Drake just gets it, especially the way R&B is kind of shifting. Some cool female vocalists would be cool too. My range is pretty limited, it would be really nice to flex with a couple of the ideas we have with a better vocalist.

What’s the ideal situation to be in while listening to this album?
D: Drink water.

A: I’d say smoke because if you drink too much you’ll get sad. I don’t want anybody to get sad.

D: I’d say keep it dry, keep your mind clean while you listen to the boys.

Do you see yourself staying in the DMV area while making music?
D: I mean I live with my girlfriend and we have cats. I think everything just depends on financial op-portunities.. Baltimore’s not bad. I live near the airport.

A: I’m trying to get the fuck out of here. We could meet up on the weekends or some shit, I’m moving to LA or NYC. Then eventually I’m going back to India, I’m out.

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