Best friends are truly the greatest. You give each other weird nicknames no one else understands, you can run the same jokes into the ground until everyone knows them by heart and, while they won't let you forget it, no one judges you if you jump in a lake and lose your swimsuit.
Music festivals are the perfect place for best friends to get even closer — EDC Las Vegas especially — but to play EDC Vegas with your best friends?
“Are you kidding me?” Ookay says, his voice peaking with excitement. “Like, what the heck? That's amazing! That will probably be one of the happiest days of my life. I'll definitely never forget it. I already don't forget it and it hasn't happened yet.”
Ookay's wildest dream will come to fruition when he takes the stage alongside Yultron, Kayzo and Dotcom, aka The Binches, on Sunday, May 20, at EDC Las Vegas. It's six years of hard work and unabashed amusement reaching a culmination no one could have seen coming. There will be tattooed puppets, unreleased material and more backslapping buffoonery than EDC has ever seen.
Honestly, it won't be much different than any of the other times The Binches get together.
“It's like this weird military brother thing,” Ookay says. “There's always that piece of you with them, no matter where they go. It feels more like a brotherhood than a friendship.”
The seeds for this “brotherhood of The Binches” were planted about six years ago when Ookay met Yultron at South by Southwest. They just sort of clicked and kept talking, and then when Ookay moved to L.A., they played a pool party together at the Roosevelt Hotel. Kayzo and Dotcom were on the bill, too, and while Ookay says the vibe was “as Hollywood as it gets,” the guys all had fun.
A similar sense of humor and interest in a genre-blending bass movement gave the forming foursome something to rally around. Soon they were all living in LA, and created a kind of safety net of comfortable company and inspiration.
One fateful afternoon, they watched episodes of Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, and suddenly the were sending group texts and meeting up for Korean BBQ, holding full conversations in the voice of John C. Reilly's character, Steve Brule.
It might have been Ookay who first addressed the group text with “hey biiiiiiinch,” but it doesn't really matter. It was adopted as the new official greeting, and when it started to seep into their respective SnapChat stories, their fan bases took notice.
“The fans felt connected to us calling each other that, and they kind of put it together,” Ookay says. “They put The Binches together before we thought of it. It feels good that people care about us like that, to turn us into the One Direction of EDM.”
“They call us the Binchstreet Boys,” Yulton laughs.
People started to recognize them as “The Binches” at parties, but it became real when they performed a benefit show at L.A. club Exchange. The fans were surprisingly receptive, so the friends thought, why not make a song? The next obvious move was to release a tune.
“We did a song called 'Tempura Roll' on Yultron's EP, which is basically just like a song with four different drops from four different producers,” Ookay says. “It was just really fun, but people can see the difference in styles, how it progresses and how it changes.”
It still felt like an inside joke on the run, but when Ookay started seeing Binches posters and cutouts at his shows in Asia and Europe, he knew the accidental brand had taken on a life of its own.
“At the end of the day, the fans made The Binches,” Ookay says. “It feels like a movement, and it feels like something a lot of people can relate to. They might not have a platform to share it like we do, but a lot of people have their friends they do that with.”
Each Binch has his own nonsensical alter ego. Ookay is Bobo, Yultron is Wise Yogul, Kayzo is Kaynkle “the lonely traveler” and Dotcom is Mr. Crims, “the wise professor.” Yultron got the idea to have puppets made of each Binch character, and again, the fans have taken to the idea. The puppets are getting their own meet-and-greet at EDC, and the friends are convinced it's the puppets that are the real stars.
“I feel like the puppets are definitely a step forward in bringing some of the happiness and the light to other people that we get when we're around each other,” Ookay says. “I feel like I can be myself [around The Binches] more than I can around other people, because they understand me and I understand them. That's something special you can't buy, and you can't re-create that. It's just so organic, and I think that's why it works, and a lot of fans can see that. I think that's why we are still best friends amidst how busy we all are.”
A lot has changed since The Binches first bonded. Six years ago, Ookay was the only one touring regularly. These days, they spend time together less often, because all of these dudes are hitting major strides in their careers. Each of them has his own time slot on the EDC lineup, yet nothing changes in the dynamic.
“EDC is about bringing people together, and through the friendship The Binches already have, we saw a perfect opportunity to book something exciting that speaks to the core of the festival,” says Chase Fiedler, Insomniac's West Coast talent director. “It took some time and effort, but we corralled many moving parts and different artist teams to help build a performance we think will go down in EDC history. We can't wait to see what they have in store both for their performance and their music.”
“We've been in the scene for a minute,” Yultron agrees, “and we've all hung out with different other DJs and producers, but with each other, we somehow click the best as us four.”
It doesn't feel like work to hang with The Binches, so when they hit the decks Sunday, it might be the most comfortable the guys have ever been. What makes it even better is knowing the fans will be out there with Their Binches, too.
“It's not exclusive to us,” Yultron says. “Everyone is a Binch. We make fun of ourselves and call each other 'binch' because life is too short to be mad over people criticizing you and making fun of you. It's almost like everyone's welcome, and everyone's a part of this club that we're in.”
“You'll definitely see [the happiness] in our faces onstage,” Ookay says, “and you can see it in our face every time we hang out. It's only showing how everyone is working so hard. It's amazing to see how far everyone has come.”