For the next few weeks, songwriters Jesse Frasure and Ashley Gorley are adding an interesting “side gig” to their status as hitmakers.
Under the moniker ADHD, Frasure and Gorley have joined the fall leg of Thomas Rhett’s Life Changes Tour, serving as DJs—spinning tunes to amp up the crowd before the show and to keep the party going between sets.
“Hang out on the bus with us for a few hours and you know why we called it ADHD,” Frasure laughs.
“We’ll be midway through a verse and we’ll see a squirrel out the window and get distracted,” chimes Gorley.
As songwriters, Gorley and Frasure have penned over 50 No. 1 songs including several chart-topping favorites from Thomas Rhett’s catalog including “Crash & Burn,” “T-Shirt,” “Unforgettable,” “Marry Me” and most recent No. 1, “Life Changes.”
Early in his career, Frasure booked DJ gigs under the moniker Telemitry to make income alongside a growing career in publishing and songwriting. His popularity grew and was booked for gigs with Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Alyssa Milano, Todd English, Jeremy Pivens, Kim Zolciak, Cee Lo among others. Meanwhile, Gorley was behind the turntables by the time he was 12, and continued spinning tracks for parties during high school and college.
“Thomas Rhett asked us about DJing on his tour,” Frasure recalls. “I did a run with him on the first leg of the Life Changes Tour and he said, ‘You should come do it again.’ I said, ‘I will if Ashley comes and does it with me.’ It was a joke, but it kind of evolved…”
Gorley adds, “Thomas Rhett was like, ‘Ashley won’t do that.’ I’ve always loved hip-hop and that was how I cut my teeth learning songs and tempos and keys. I learned a lot about songwriting through learning how to match up songs. Jesse did, too, so when Thomas Rhett said he didn’t think I would do that, I was like, ‘When’s the first show?’”
Each night, ADHD will set up four turntables in the middle of the arena. Frasure says having two DJs ups the challenge and the fun.
“Nowadays with technology, you can automatically beat match, so [having two DJs] forces you to get back to an old-school thing…beat matching by ear and trading songs back and forth,” says Frasure.
“It’s a little bit of a challenge.” Gorley agrees. “Jesse will play a song and I’ll immediately be like, ‘Oh man, what should follow this?’ So it becomes a bit of a game. It will be fun going back and forth.”
By day, they will be collaborating on new music (including co-writes with Thomas Rhett) on the tour bus booked for the outings. Fans may hear a few some snippets of the tunes they pen during those morning writing sessions.
“It’s a fun tester,” Frasure says. “We will plant little easter eggs, some things that might never be released or some things that might be released down the line—just different remixes.”
Tackling the turntables at night also serves as a refresher when they return to the writing room.
“When you are getting to spin songs you love, it becomes a way of reminding yourself, ‘What is it about this song that I always love hearing?’” Gorley says, “and then you can check the songs you are writing against the songs you love, that you are getting to spin, to see if you’re feeling those same kinds of gut reactions to them.”
“DJing has always taught me the difference between a smash and a popular song,” Frasure says. “Our job is just to keep the culture of fun going, so the fun thing about a great DJ experience is when they check the ego at the door. We know [songs] we love or favorite remixes we’ve done. So you can plan some things ahead of time, but you have to also be able to read the fans and every town is a little different.”
The fall run of Thomas Rhett’s Life Changes Tour will visit Bangor, Maine on Thursday, Sept. 13 and stretch through October.
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