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At the heart of it all – and Austen van der Bleek and Nick McCoy are known for putting their heart into it – the duo of bleek ‘n coy is a balancing act, but one far removed from what Derrick May has coined “the circus.” The two randomly met as student flatmates in London summer of 2011, but couldn’t be any more different. Nick, an international nomad settled in Tokyo, and Austen, a homegrown Floridian from the Space Coast, are a big example of a small world. Living up to their namesakes in a way, the better half is sly and reserved in thought while the other is quick to tell you about all of the world’s problems. It is this dichotomy that creates their sound, a middle ground of clarity with excitement built up in the tipping points. Not to mention the countless hours spent in the digital and physical trenches, so to speak, dodging the barrage of tired, semi-automatic output and digging for music truly beneath the surface. They maintain a deep respect for the culture and traditions they’re undoubtedly an extension of and, at the same time, a disdain for giving too much weight to any one outside influence. Their uncompromising and DIY attitude has led the duo on a path of independent thought and left them at a crossroads of being uniquely them. Both believing that genres don’t define music, context does, they can’t really tell you what they play, but more oft how they play: deep, soulful, raw, and with the element of surprise keeping things fun.
Their first start came while still students, attending a state university back in Florida’s capitol. With inspiration from nights spent wandering the hallowed London institution fabric and its three rooms, they took up a short-lived residency throwing their own nights on the best sound system in town at the now defunct engine room. During all this, they also combined with generations of house heads, musicians, and dancers in founding the Open House Conspiracy (OHC), which has since become their longstanding home. Through the freedom of the underground warehouse space the collective was formed in, the duo were able to cut their teeth learning from mentors twice their elder and discovering the intricacies of performing with live musicians. On the side, they took on a series of nights at more commercial venues, allowing them to share the decks with rising peers from around the state such as Randall M and Chad Andrew (tINI & the Gang), Ms. Mada (LINK), and Mark Starr (Dirty Bird).
Both Nick and Austen moved away after graduating. Nick has spent his time traveling the world working odd jobs and picking up musical influences from various major cultural hubs like Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne, and most recently the UK again. Keeping up with music, he’s delved into production and grown his record collection considerably. Austen traveled a much shorter distance, relocating to Orlando to work behind the scenes of the music industry as a writer and bring OHC further towards realizing its vision across the state of Florida.
Continuing on the tradition of DJ performances as bleek ‘n coy, Austen’s had the honor of playing alongside artists such as King Britt, Kai Alce, Chris Mitchell, Michael Zucker, Alkalino, and more. His ability to adjust for different settings and stages has also gained acknowledgements from the more commercially tipped scale, being hand picked by Chris Lake to open during his tour and receiving the nod for one of Sasha’s stops as well. He’s opened for legendary hip-hop DJ Tony Touch at his deep and soulful house focused Funkbox NYC parties, finding the right sound to warm up an eager crowd of B-boys and B-girls dancing in the cypher. He has drawn attention from parties as diverse as Tampa’s Serious Soul and Orlando’s Lazy Afternoon.