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DJ Dus aka “El Dusty” is a former hiphop/R&B DJ – who has toured the country with the like of Baby Bash and Frankie J – turned techno cumbia connoisseur. The result is Cumbia-Tech, a fascinating genre that melds the traditional sounds of cumbia with electronic sounds – ranging from techno to dub step – and urban hiphop beats. Today’s interview takes us from DJ Dus’ days of sneakily honing his skills on his brother’s turntables to the Baby Bash & Frankie J tour to his present endeavors with Cumbia-Tech. Hosted by Nataly Sanchez and Joseph Mitchell, this is an exciting glimpse into the birth of a new music scene. Tune in at SpanglishNoise.com or download the podcast on iTunes!
NS: This is an exclusive Spanglish Noise Interview with Dusty Oliveira.
JM: Also known as DJ Dus or “El Dusty.” His latest single “K Le Pasa” has taken the internet by storm with its fusion of techno and cumbia, which he calls Cumbia-Tech.
NS: Today we’ll explore how he came up with this exciting new genre and where he hopes to take it.
DJ Dus: Hello, I’m Dusty.
NS: It’s really nice to meet you. So you’re from Texas?
DJ Dus: Yes I am! And then likewise – nice to meet you guys. I’m from Corpus Christy, Texas, way down south..home of Selena..all that stuff.
NS: So what was you inspiration behind “K Le Pasa”?
DJ Dus: I really just wanted to have a song that had a drop, like a real deep break-down..something that was minimal and then it just came into something really heavy and powerful. I don’t know, I think it kind of worked out. Once the remixes came out, it really opened it up, it kind of spread it out to different kinds of genres..but the original inspiration was just listening to all the new electro-music like Skrillex and Afrojack and all that kind of stuff..and trying to incorporate it into cumbia because I like to play a lot of electro here, back at home in Austin and stuff, but for my DJ sets for “El Dusty” I kind of kept it traditionally to cumbia and stuff like that..whatever I kind of mix in..and I wanted to make it heavier, you know. I wanted to make it more electro so more people would be able to get down with it, not just..you know..the Hispanic culture or Latinos or anything. And I even want to go heavier with my new stuff and kind of get all over the place with all my new music to open up the audience to a little more than just Latinos. I really want to get into the heads of all the kids like me that are Mexican-American but don’t necessarily speak Spanish as their first language..just to drill it into their heads that it’s cool, you know, like “we’re all here, we’re all representing”..and just getting a little bit of everything into the mix.
JM: And what was the reception when it came out? I mean, what did people have to say about it?
DJ Dus: It was really good, man. I got a deal with Man Recordings out in Germany; they put out all these really good artists - Schlachthofbronx, Social Feed, Diplo, Crookers..and it kind of, you know, had a little run out there in the U.K. and it’s starting to pick up here in the U.S. ..I’m talking to a few labels..I’m working on a deal. It would put it in the mainstream, let’s just say, and if that goes through, hopefully I can start getting a little bit of love here at home.
JM: Have you been in the scene since the beginning? (Dj Dus: “Oh yeah, oh yeah”). JM: Or was it around before you?
DJ Dus: I don’t think so (laughs). When I first started doing it, I didn’t hear anybody else doing it. I wasn’t trying to be the first either, but I was already making rap beats and stuff like that..and then I hooked up with this guy who sings in Spanish..and I wanted to do, like, a hip-hop group, kind of like Linken Park or something in Spanish..I don’t know, one thing led to another and we just started messing with cumbia and it just kind of happened like that. I was sampling old Spanish records at the time, doing hiphop beats with Spanish records, and I started chopping them up and making them into cumbia. I really didn’t know how cumbia was formulated or anything like that, I was just kind of interpreting it my own way and the more I learned about it of course the better I got. I’ve always did it in my own style. It’s not too too traditional or anything like that..I’m sure there are true musicians out there that’ll eat my lunch because of the way I do my patterns or whatever but I kind of dig it like that and it’s really easy to dance to, you know what I’m saying. You hear a hiphop song and you’re used to dancing to that 4/4 rhythm..when you throw a cumbia on there it has that 4/4 beat but then it also has this really wierd swing with the bass and with the [inaudible] and stuff like that. It makes you understand what’s going on, I guess it’s for everybody..I try to make it for everybody.
NS: Is it hard to break into the music scene out there in Texas?
DJ Dus: Yeah, there are a lot of really good artists over here. We’re known for, like..especially in Corpus, you know, our Tejano music scene, the cumbia music scene is really big. There’s a lot of Mexicans here that started the Tejano thing, so it’s always going to be kind of a big deal over here in Texas.
JM: How did you get into DJing and producing? What led to that interest and what did you have to do to get into the scene?
NS: Yeah, did you know you were going to do it from the start?
DJ Dus: Kind of. I mean, I’ve always been really interested in music. When I was about 12, my big brother came home with some big turntables; he was going to DJ for one of his friends’ rap groups. They were all just starting out, it was a long time ago. He brought home three 1200s and told me never to touch them, but of course every time he would leave for school or whatever, I would go in his room and start scratching..you know, it just started happening really fast. I kind of surpassed him in the DJ talent and everybody just kind of helped me out, my mom and dad..and it was one of those things that just snowballed into me becoming a producer and I joined a rock band and started producing and DJing for them..and then I went on tour with Baby Bash, a pretty big rapper from out in Houston, and you know, we toured across the U.S., pretty much for a year and it showed me a lot of different kinds of situations, musical situations and how the business worked and it was an experience. Then I’ve always made beats, ever since I was little, for different groups and stuff like that..rappers and whatever..and then I got into the cumbia thing..DJing as a performer, not necessarily as a DJ..and started doing my own remixes and one thing led to another and the original track came out and people started to take notice more of me as an artist, rather than just a DJ.
NS: So you said that you toured with Baby Bash. What was your favorite performance that you did with him?
DJ Dus: Man, I don’t even know, it was such a blur. We went to like..we did about 90 to 100 cities in about 6 months..so I mean, we played like every House of Blues, we played all the Hard Rock Cafes, you know..It was the “Suga Suga” Tour, it was Baby Bash and Frankie J and it was cool. We did all these really big shows everywhere across the U.S., I mean, I can’t really name one that was just totally cool but we played with Lil’ Jon and Wyclef and everybody you can think of..N’Sync and all kinds of different artists. It was a really cool experience.
NS: When are you coming to the Twin Cities?
DJ Dus: Well, I went back in February, I played at the Que Bajo Party [Note: This is actually in New York City]. I’m trying to get something going back there, I’m going to do a little run in August. I’m going to go to Chicago and back to L.A…I’m going to do New Mexico..and somewhere else, I forgot but..we’re kind of working on all the dates right now, trying to secure a little tour, but it’s happening slowly but surely. I’m working on an album, I’ve been talking to a couple different people about it. Hopefully we can put that out on a label and that can get released properly. And, you know, just a bunch of different remix I’m working on..I just did a remix for Daniel Haaksman out in Europe and Isa GT just did a collaboration with my band..I have a band called Master Blaster Soundsystem..and we did a collab with So Shifty out in Germany..we did some things with Toy Selectah..and it’s slowly, but surely, starting to happen. I’m just kind of riding along, going along for the ride I guess.
JM: Did you play at, or perform at, Pachanga [Latino Music Festival] this year?
DJ Dus: Oh yea, I play at Pachange every year. Rich Garza’s one of the main people in the business that’s been showing me love and he’s been introducing me to a lot of different people..I’ve got lots of love for Pachanga Fest and the whole crew over there.
JM: What are your long-term goals musically – both for Cumbia-Tech as a genre and for yourself?
DJ Dus: Well, I want to definitely push the cumbia sound out and expand my catalog with remixes and things like that. I’m a producer, I come from a hiphop and R&B background..I’m like a studio rat, you know..that’s all I do all day, I’m in the studio making beats and things like that. My long-term goals are just to make more beats, produce more albums, produce different artists, and try to get out as much music as I can, for my friends, for people I’m doing remixes for or whatever. I just want to kind of get out there and be recognized as a real-deal artist, much more than just a DJ or anything like that.
JM: I think it shows with the composition you’ve been doing.
DJ Dus: Thank you.
NS: Do you want to share anything else about yourself that people should know or we should know?
DJ Dus: You can check pretty much everything out on my website eldusty.com. I do a kid’s turntable school and today we broadcast like a radio show, almost, and this is just for kids, 16 and younger..I’m doing a bunch of things. So if you check out my website, it’s pretty much a blog and there’s just all kinds of different info on there, about all the different kind of things I’m doing and all my work. You can find me at eldusty.com – E L D U S T Y dot com – or AmericanSoundSystem.com..you can check it out, that’s my label and we have all kinds of different music on the website, it’s all for sale, you can name your own price..check it out! Thanks for having me!
JM: Oh, we really appreciate you coming
NS: Thank you for talking to us!
DJ Dus: Alright, nice talking to you guys!
NS: Thank yo for listening to today’s interview on Spanglish Noise.
NS: See you again next week.
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