Interview: Dirty Audio and Keeping Things Fresh
guest written by Vladimir Madorsky
Festival Squad sat down with Dirty Audio at Dirty Disco in Arizona last weekend to discuss his path to becoming a professional DJ, why it’s so important to love what you do, and how he keeps his music and his life experiences exciting and new. Read on to get inside the head of one of our rising faves!
Festival Squad: As a musician, you’re always going to have a group of haters. Who was your biggest hater as you first started playing music?
Dirty Audio: Most were at the high school I was going to. I wasn’t really cool like that, I wasn’t really liked. I was mellow and always did my own thing. Them hating on that was what pushed me to go harder. All there was for me at the time was to produce. I didn’t like hanging out with people from school, I didn’t like doing school work so I was always producing and that was my happy zone. I’ve never really cared what people thought. When they show love to me it’s amazing but I’ve never paid attention to the hate. I ignored it and it blew right over me.
FS: So you were playing music throughout all of high school?
DA: Yeah I started touring junior year.
FS: Where were you touring? Just on the west coast?
DA: No, junior year I was 15 or 16 and I started playing out of town. Phoenix was actually my first show out of town! I wasn’t old enough to come alone so I had to road trip down here with my family from LA. By senior year I was already leaving the country, I did an India tour, I was missing every Thursday and Friday at school so it was already somewhat serious. But there was never a moment where I was like, “OK, this is what I’m gonna do full time.” It just happened on its own. It was always my hobby and I happen to make money doing it.
FS: You started young, but I imagine know others that didn’t get into music professionally until later in life. What advice do you have for them to help accelerate their growth?
DA: If you’re not in it for the love of and passion for music, don’t do it. It’s only gonna work if you love doing it. Don’t do it to blow up and stuff, do it because you like creating music. At that point it escalates on its own because you’re not worried about the business and bullshit, you’re only worried about how to make the best possible music. My other piece of advice is not to focus on blowing up and networking, you have to have good music before anything. Focus on making your production amazing before you go on and try to do anything else like finding managers and agents. You want to have a solid base before you actually go on.
FS: So you wouldn’t recommend creating music and simultaneously developing a marketing strategy for yourself?
DA: I don’t want to say anything like that. What works for me might not work for someone else. What’s worked for me is always focusing on the music and everything comes after that. That way if it doesn’t go the way I planned it, I still have my dignity knowing I made the best possible song I could. I didn’t expect more than just to have a great song. The positive reactions and all the shows that come with it is just a huge bonus to me. I do it because I love making music, simple as that. I’m just trying to push my boundaries and the boundaries of music. I guess you can call me an audiophile. I fucking love sound. My love for music has gone past just music. Music is a category of sound. I love different sounds and that’s something I’m trying to master.
FS: What’s a specific sound that comes to mind that you’re attracted to?
DA: Ever since I came back from Europe, bass music and trap music has been happening all over America. I came back and I started hearing a whole new wave of bass music that I haven’t really heard before. Lately everyone is killing it! It’s almost like hardcore heavy dubstep sounds are slowly making their way into trap and bass music. Everyone is trying to push that genre. People are bringing influences from everywhere. It’s not anywhere like it was a year ago when everyone was doing the same thing. Half the people playing tonight like Herobust, Getter – everyone’s making such unique stuff and not following the rules anymore and it’s really creative.
FS: Would you say you’ve influenced bass music?
DA: I hope I’ve influenced bass music! I personally try to avoid using sounds that everyone else is using, avoid doing what everyone else is doing. I try to be Dirty Audio. I try to set my path and create my own music. A lot of my songs are a clusterfuck of everything I like. I’m not making music for anyone, I’m making music for me. I’m not making music for this type of person or for that country or anything like that. I make music I like and I feel that if I like it, then others may like it too. If I don’t like it, how am I gonna expect others to like it?
FS: That’s a great perspective. I know lots of people make music for the people so it’s neat to hear your response.
DA: Yeah but if you don’t like your own shit, how do you expect people to like your shit? I’m jaded at this point already. I’ve been in this scene for like seven years now. I’ve seen so many genres and styles that have been recycled already; I’m a fan of hearing really new stuff, something unique. There nothing like the feeling of listening to a song that gives you goosebumps and makes you think, “Wow, this is crazy! I’ve never heard something like this before!” There’s so many sample packs and preset libraries now, you gotta go out of your way and really want to be unique to end up being unique. You like trap? You like electro? You like jazz? Fuck it, put all those in one and you have your own thing. It’s not that hard to have a unique sound. You just gotta want to be unique.
FS: When you first started playing music, was it right away that you got into electronic and production?
DA: Growing up I was always about music. In middle school I tried the rock thing. System of a Down and all that. I went to a smaller private school and no one was there to really join the school band. I wasn’t really that good at the instruments anyway. “I’m actually the only musician to come out of that school and I failed band class.” By the time I figured out what all the different software was I was already really into EDM, electronic, or whatever you want to call it.
FS: So what’s your go-to software? Are you Mac or die?
DA: Ableton all day! When I first started I used FL Studio but all Ableton now…and Mac everything.
FS: Who were some of your biggest influences growing up?
DA: People like Scott Storch, Dr. Dre, all the hip-hop legends. What I listen to right now on my iPhone library, it’s mid 2000s jams. I grew up on that, man. The first music video I saw was a Lil Jon video. Usher, all those guys back in the day made me realize I wanted to make music. When I finally got into the electronic scene, I really looked up to Deadmau5, Skrillex, Diplo, Afrojack at the time, which was seven years ago. I was really inspired by those guys then and they’re all still legends.
FS: So which of these artists are you looking forward to collaborating with? Anything you’d like to share?
DA: I don’t know if I can talk about collabs yet, but I recently came out with a song with Rickyxsan on Mad Decent which was dope. He’s a good collaborator. Other than that everything is a lot of solo stuff I’ve been working on. At this point all the stuff that I’m making that the world hasn’t heard yet is different from everything I’ve already put out. I want to keep that solo right now because I want to find a new sound for myself as well. I think a lot of what I’m making right now is so weird that a lot of people won’t accept it just yet. It has to grow on you. It’s still brand new. The stuff I’ve been showing is almost like a cross between indie and trap. I’m thinking way outside the box. I don’t want to sound like anyone else. If any project or collaboration I did resembled anyone else’s song or style or anything, I just trashed it. It has to be unique at this point. I want Dirty Audio to be the freshest sound, something new. I don’t like repeating things, I like pushing things to the next level.
FS: Now you’re trying to develop this new personal sound, would you say your recent tour through Europe had a big influence on that?
DA: Yeah definitely. Out there is a super different music scene. Over there they really like melodic catchy, almost stuff you can chant along to. Right when I got back from Europe is when I was making a lot of the music I’m coming out with now. A lot of it you can easily sing along to the major drops or hum along. “You know the more you travel, the more shows you play, the more places you go, you just gain more knowledge and you change everyday. You’re always learning something new.” Four months ago I was onto big room and dubstep and that’s what I loved at the time. And now trap is what I love playing. I’m still a kid, I’m 21. You can’t blame me for changing every couple weeks, it’s part of growing up. My mind is always changing. I roll with my gut at all times.
FS: What were some of your favorite cities to go through in Europe? Berlin? London? Did you hold residency anywhere?
DA: Ibiza man, that was my favorite. I was living there for three or four months. My absolute favorite place in the world; I held residency at Pacha. Germany had some of the craziest crowds, Italy and Amsterdam were insane…everywhere man, all of Europe is so amazing. That was my first time in Europe, I was mind blown. Everything was so new. As you can tell from this interview, everything for me has to be new. I love new sounds, new music, stuff I haven’t seen before, the architecture, the clothes, the crowds, the languages, the culture, it’s very important to me.
FS: Last question: I noticed you had a Facebook status saying you were thinking about releasing some production tutorial videos. Have you done any?
Andrew: Yeah! It’s on my Youtube. I’m gonna do more because I did the first one and it got great feedback. I personally as a producer love when other producers show some of their secrets. You obviously don’t want to show too much but I don’t mind sharing a little bit. I feel like, at the end of the day, it’ll push me to do even better. I just feel like it’s great overall. “Helping others is one of the most rewarding things to me. I get happiness from other people’s happiness.” If I can make someone else happy by doing something simple like that, why not? If you can help someone by doing something, why not do it? A lot of artists on social media don’t answer their fans and stuff. If you can make someone happy simply by typing something or hitting favorite or whatever, why the fuck wouldn’t you do it? They get excited and I react and I get excited and they hit me up on Facebook and Twitter and all that. It’s not long ago that I was going to the festivals and shows as a fan on the other side of the stage. I just think back and try to see what it was that I wanted and liked. What would excite me? And that’s exactly what I try to give to people now. If I’m happy, they’re happy, let’s all be happy together.