Under The Radar: DPAT Gets Houston Recognized
Photo: Jonathan Lackey
We live in a big city. I don’t mean population wise, but rather in space alone; it’s big here. I don’t mean that it’s difficult to navigate or anything like that, but sometimes things happen, albums drop, and people get recognized by everyone except their hometown. Such is the case with Houston’s producer/DJ, Dpat. It’s hard to believe that anyone could get nominated for a Grammy in this town without us all hearing about it, but it’s true. Dpat got nominated for his producer work with Wiz Khalifa, and no one in Houston noticed. On August 7th at the Prints Not Prince Anniversary over at Walter’s, he’ll bring his sound back to Houston.
To be honest, Dpat wasn’t on my radar either, until Kelly Townsend turned me onto him. I can admit that I’m a fan of anything creative, and I’m a bigger fan of people who make their own destiny happen. In the world of music, it seems like making a great album isn’t enough anymore, and hard work coupled with lots of touring is what sets some apart from the herd. When I had the chance to chat with him, I found how earnest the twenty-three year old was about the whole Grammy experience, and why his story had to be told.
FPH: You’re from Houston right? How long have you been making music?
Dpat: Yeah, I’ve been making music for about six years now.
FPH: How did you get involved with Wiz Khalifa?
Dpat: I sent some beats to The Weeknd and after he chose one, he told me that it was going to be on Wiz’s next album. It was all really surprising because I never expected my first production credit to be for two big artists and on a major label release. The first time I heard it on the radio was a special moment.
FPH: Was it surreal, as an artist and a producer to get a Grammy nomination at such a young age?
Dpat: Definitely. I never thought I would even be considered for a Grammy, so to be nominated and for the competition to be Jay-Z, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, and other huge names, was an honor. I never sacrificed my sound to get to that moment, so I don’t think anyone should just to get noticed. You can make the industry gravitate to you, instead of the other way around.
FPH: Is it strange to garner national praise as well as press from everywhere but in your hometown?
Dpat: I figured that would happen since there isn’t a huge electronic beat scene here and I’ve released the majority of my music online. I didn’t do any street promo for anything so I didn’t expect a big local following. This interview is the first recognition I’ve received from Houston.. it means a lot to me.
FPH: You’ve developed your music into a set with live performers correct? Is that what you’re performing as now?
Dpat: From the beginning of conceptualizing the live show, I always wanted it to be a fully engaging experience and the best way of portraying that, in my opinion, is with a live band. My music works best with live instruments as well, so that’s what I’ve been doing for all of my shows. It’s a lot more work than simply playing solo or DJing, but I’d rather put my time, money, everything into making something I believe in.
FPH: You and Seattle’s Sango have become close friends as well as collaborators; do you have anyone in Houston that you collaborate with; or who, you want to?
Dpat: I haven’t collaborated with anyone from Houston yet, but honestly I would love to work with Beyonce. She’s the Queen, what can I say..
FPH: Your music is so deep, with many “moving parts,” has it been difficult to pull off with a live band?
Dpat: It was a challenge to break everything down when we first started rehearsing, but with time we all became more accustomed with the idea and every rehearsal has been fun since. I have bigger aspirations for the show and I want to add a lot more elements once the budget is bigger; I’m constantly thinking of new ways of translating the music live. I want it to be a fully-engaging experience where a majority of your senses are stimulated. It’s a never-ending, evolving process that I’m excited to keep exploring.
FPH: How did you get hooked up with Soulection?
Dpat: Sango introduced Joe Kay and I after hearing my music through The Weeknd and we hit it off after that. One release later and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Soulection is a big family and it’s awesome to watch all of us progress together. I was on the plane to Oakland with Joe and we realized how global it’s becoming because at that moment, Sango was in Europe and Esta & Lakim were in Australia playing shows. It was really inspiring for us.
FPH: Your last release, “In Bloom” had a very dark and atmospheric sound, is that the vibe of your current work?
Dpat: I love dark, sexy slow jams; that’s what I vibe to. I’m working on an EP with Atu that will retain that fall/winter sound, but I do want to make some hard rap shit, no lie. I don’t want to put myself in a box of only having one sound, so we’ll see what happens.
FPH: It seems like in today’s music world, an artist has to constantly have some kind of drop at least once a year. Do you echo that sentiment, and if so, with “In Bloom” getting ready to turn a year old, do you know when your next release will come out?
Dpat: I’m not worried about quantity of output. I’d rather focus on taking my time, allowing myself to grow, and crafting a project that seamlessly flows together and passes the test of timelessness. When an artist starts releasing too many songs or albums too consecutively, I think they become over-saturated and every new drop feels less special. I’d rather wait longer for something great, than be treated with something new every week.
FPH: What should the crowd expect when you perform at the Prints Not Prince One Year Anniversary show?
Dpat: Bass and slow grinding.
You can be in the presence of Dpat when he performs at Walter’s on August 7th, with Sango, FLCON FCKER, Children of Pop, No Sir E, and special guest DJ, Yung Slutty. The tickets range from $10.00 to $15.00, the doors are at 7:00, and this is a not to be missed show.