An exclusive interview with music producer Datwhiteboi
Twist Online : First of all tell us about the start of your music career?
Datwhiteboi : I started messing around on DAWs within my freshman year of college back in 2010. I had some roommates who were into hip hop production, working on different Texas flavored styles of hip hop/trap. That time period really got me interested in the use of 808 kick drums in my first dubstep/edm tracks under my old moniker Ariok. I have played in bands before, but performance didn’t give me as much joy as the audio engineering side of the music industry. I went on to do shows with a bass music label called Primal Filth. I completed 2 tours under them, one southern tour and another that took Leah Culver and I from Los Angeles to Atlanta, about 6 other stops along the way. It was a golden age of EDM producers, with Soundcloud in it’s popular height and a lot of talent being discovered easily.
Twist Online : Who or what inspired you to end Ariok project and get into production?
Datwhiteboi : A couple factors played into me ending the Ariok project. One was that I felt constrained in my creativity because I set the brand to be geared only towards Dubstep music. By 2014 the landscape of EDM music was changing to more trap styles. The issue was that the transfer from one scene to another is hard when your current fanbase expects something of you and won’t always agree with your transition to follow the market trends. I did lose some fans once I decided to experiment with different genres; that is when I knew that I put too many eggs in one basket. Secondly, I wanted to go back to school for a bachelor’s degree in music production. From 2010 to 2013 I had little time to finish my studies, so I wanted to take the next 4 years to go to college. I was accepted at Berklee College of Music in Boston; they offered to let me be the first to try the online degree. I chose that so I could be near family. Alongside some jobs here and there, school was the main focus because I wanted to get better at my craft and make some connections. Saying you went to Berklee is a plus with studios looking to hire engineers.
Twist Online : What kind of improvement your graduation in music production has brought in your production skills?
Datwhiteboi : I would say I got more of a general music business education along side learning technical studies on how EQ’s/Compressors/Microphones and other audio gear. It was cool because it was mostly self taught. With my prior small studies at the Art Institute, I was prepared both with prior studio practice and freedom to study anywhere. There were many times that I would take trips around the US while finishing papers/projects for school. It definitely would’ve been more sociable to have gone to the campus, but I have already met a lot of Berklee kids just by saying I went, so the community is pretty tight.
Twist Online : Tell us about your recently produced projects?
Datwhiteboi : So under the Datwhiteboi pseudonym I have worked on over 100 projects, both originals and collaborations with other producers/singers/rappers/musicians . As of April 2019, I have a catalog of 25 tracks of which I believe are some of my best work. Most of it isn’t even released yet, for good reasons out of my full control. Some of my favorite collaborators are Gotti Mirano, Aiza, A$ton Wilde, Magnoliyah, Jesaiah, Alicia Sky, Timi Tamminen, Capo, SoSmula and Emotional Xan. A wide range of productions, spanning from heavy hip hop, tropical music and cookie-cutter pop music. My current releases on spotify/soundcloud are my edm tracks to show my old fans I am getting back into the music scene, in a whole different demographic. It’s crazy to see how tastes change over a decade. It has been my current goal to make this project dynamic and fluid with the popular tastes of music, not being locked into one style.
Twist Online : What kind of response you have received from the projects you have produced?
Datwhiteboi : As any musician does, you get mixed reviews. You can’t please everyone, but I definitely treasure those who enjoy my productions. Mostly people have loved my hip hop and pop collaborations more so than my EDM. My tastes have changed over time to enjoy lyrical content over embellished instrumental productions. Ever since I started working with Adam Mcinnis, I have had a fascination with songwriting and the importance of singers in a modern track. My taste definitely changed, considering I basically listened to only Dubstep artists for 7 years straight. Now I have the ability to work with a spread demographic without going against the brand. simply put, Datwhiteboi has more stretching room.
Twist Online : That must be very exciting, working with such versatile artists as producer?
Datwhiteboi : It is very exciting to try new things. I always want to grow and learn more about what makes people enjoy this or that. It is fascinating to see so much talent and humbling to say the least. There is always someone better than you! That’s good! Pushes me more to work harder.
Twist Online : Have you set some goals to achieve as music producer?
Datwhiteboi : I would like to land some placements this year and build a catalog of 100 solid tracks. Right now I have 25 I am proud of fully and the response is positive. I would say maybe another 300 tracks I’ll feel less pressured; I want to set realistic goals and increase my chances of placement opportunities. That and it would be nice to get back into performing as a DJ. I do enjoy production a lot more though as a career. A big goal would be to have a consistent clientele to make annual living of up to $100,000 working solely in some field of music production. It is very hard to make a solid living in this business, but it can be done.
Twist Online : Any advice you would like to give to aspiring music producers?
Datwhiteboi : Don’t set your expectations too high; set realistic goals for yourself. Being a producer is a long road. I have been working in music for the past 9, coming on 10 years, and I am still not satisfied. You’ll have to make some sacrifices in your life, mostly a financial burden paying for the plug-ins/programs/studio time/necessary travel and also being taken advantage of if you are truly talented. Sadly, there are a lot of broken dreams because people didn’t focus on longevity. Musicians who get noticed normally have a quick high and then crash; so this industry judges your relevance by current works, not past works. Even some of the biggest icons struggle to maintain their relevance in the industry. I chose to focus on content over the glitz and glamor (even though I do enjoy buying some nice things here and there).
Twist Online : What’s the best way to stay in touch with you online?
Datwhiteboi : You can go to my website at www.datwhiteboi.com or find me on social media. I use Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud normally and I have releases that come out on Spotify/iTunes. The easiest way to contact me is through Instagram @datwhiteboi