In these days of fractured media, it's harder than ever to define a hit song. But 18 million hits on YouTube suggests dubstep duo Mt Eden have pulled an impressive audience to their song, Still Alive.

Half the duo, Jesse Hooper, on the phone after a sweaty gig at the Webster Hall in New York, says attention has come thick and fast for him and Harley Rayner from a tentative start in 2008.

"My girlfriend Talia's little brother, Adam, set us up on a YouTube website when he was 9 years old. He said, 'What do you want it to be called?' and we were like, 'Just whatever'.

"So he called it MtEdenDnB08 - for Mt Eden drum and bass 2008."


Pulling some attention and then confidence from an early track, Sierra Leone, Jesse and Harley became known as Mt Eden Dubstep. They've now dropped the last word.

Dubstep is a style of electronic dance music evolved in South London over the past 10 years. Jesse credits his dad for making a choice that set him on course for dubstep when the future star was in pull-ups. "I started out in Papatoetoe, so I'm pretty much from there. My dad moved us to Mt Eden when I was about 2. Eventually I went to Auckland Normal Intermediate and that's where I met Harley.

"We then went to Auckland Grammar. Our friends were into electronic music and so that's what we gravitated to. I'm kind of grateful my dad chose Mt Eden. He could've gone to South Auckland and I would've been into hip-hop."

Jesse's first career choice was building, where he spent about three years. At nights, however, he was making electronic music with Harley.

The boys have musical family ties. Harley's father is former Split Enz keyboardist Eddie Rayner and Jesse's older brother plays music at a church. Jesse, 22, and Harley, 23, are openly delighted about the success for a couple of bedroom producers and amateur DJs.

They put out a debut EP called MEDS - for Mt Eden Dub Step - at the end of last year and will put out a full album this year.

The pair are looking forward to bringing their sound home in August to show how far it's grown, particularly from their 15-date US tour.

For the New Zealand shows, Mt Eden will include the duo on keyboards as well as a live drummer and a vocalist. "We've been pushing really hard and we're genuinely excited about showing everyone what we've got now."

Dance club

Mt Eden follows a list of hot New Zealand acts in the electronic genres, including Concord Dawn, Shapeshifter, Bulletproof and Tiki Taane. Mt Eden play Backstage in Auckland on Friday, August 26, with support from Bulletproof.

Tickets from Cosmic Corner and

Check out Still Alive