Who They Are: Three Pittsburgh-born DJs — Preslav Lefterov, Thomas Cox and Adam Ratana — who met 15 years ago at the HyperVinyl record shop near the University of Pittsburgh campus, where all were starting out in Pittsburgh’s fertile drum-and-bass scene.
What They’ve Done: Inspired by early-Nineties major-label house producers like Masters at Work, and Omar S., Theo Parrish and Underground Resistance in nearby Detroit, the trio began releasing their own music in 2011. In addition to these original productions, they’ve shown a talent for remixing, posting to Soundcloud their take on tracks by the Weeknd and Nicki Minaj.
What They’re Doing Next: PTA’s debut double-album, Enter the Machine Age, sees release this month. A no-frills, blue-collar, pistoning dance album, it finds the trio taking acid, techno, house and disco beats and making them hard enough to drive through steel. They also just remixed a new track from Daft Punk collaborator Todd Edwards and a forthcoming release features vocals from Nic Offer of !!!. By day, they run a local studio where psych rock bands like Zombi and new dance producers like Waajeed have come to record.
What They Say: “There are lots of good Pittsburgh people that accomplished things — Wiz Khalifa, Girl Talk, Modey Lemon, Anti-Flag — but very few of them set up shop here,” explains Cox. Adds Lefterov: “We realized we just got to do this ourselves and put faith in it, to double-down on Pittsburgh. We took a lot of inspiration from the example of Detroit, as well as J. Dilla and how he handled business. He never said no to an opportunity whether it was major label or underground.” Underground or not, PTA admits to being suckers for a good pop song: “We definitely want to do things like Random Access Memories and the new Pharrell album,” Lefterov says.