An Interview with DŸLN, the Music Producer / Visual Artist

DŸLN is a 20-something up and coming Asian American music producer/visual artist from California. (Not to be confused with DYLN, the stage name for Canadian singer songwriter, Stephanie Lang).

In volume 27 of Amped Asia magazine, we got a chance to talk with the producer about his artistic process. Our goal with these interviews is to inspire a new generation of Asian Americans in the music industry.

How did you start getting involved with music?

I started doing music when I was still in grade school, I had learned how to play guitar at an early age and that was pretty much the start of everything.

I ended up joining a dance team in High School which was my real introduction to understanding rhythm. Music had really sparked my interest at this point due to the fact that I would make short mixes for our rally sets. Considering this was my first exposure to using a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) I noticed that Iʼd spend hours on the mixes in order to get a perfect transition. Once I went to college at UC Riverside I was exposed to a lot of underground electronic music, I was hooked.

I immediately quit my day job and spent whatever money I had left at the time on a pair of turntables. With my elementary understanding of my DAW I made a mix called “Flavours 1”. This was pretty much a small passion project where I wanted to showcase all the “ratchet” music I grew up listening to in Southern California.

“Ratchet Music” is pretty much an underground scene of hip hop that is very popular in the West Coast which can be characterized by Scum Stomps, Bells, and simple yet effective party melodies. There are a lot of other categories such as Gurb, Hyphy, Swangin, Etc. but pretty much I made a track with a bunch of music like this.

I dropped the track on Soundcloud and surprisingly ending up getting about 2 million views on it the first year. It was wild considering that I didnʼt even have intentions of it blowing up like that, but thatʼs what
happens when you shine light on a culture that exists. That was pretty much the start of the DYLN project and how I got more involved with music.

Tell us about your journey as an artist. What were the ups and downs? What was difficult for you to overcome?

Definitely my lowest point as an artist was when I was first starting off, I quit my job and music was all I had paying the bills. I would take gigs that wouldnʼt even pay me for “exposure”. I was naive, nightclubs would book me for super low rates and I would take them. I was super broke at the time. Kept it pushin though.

Luckily I was able to break out of that scene as my community grew. But even now, I still think I have a long way to go. Iʼm currently trying to curate my own genre of music and itʼs still at that tough early stage of trying to distribute it to the masses properly. Still at my low point definitely.

Iʼm also super into editing video, so Iʼve been trying to combine my visuals with my music releases as of late and trying to get my community to pay attention to that is definitely a mission too.

How do you get started?

I usually spend hours listening to tons of music in the car, at the gym, and in my room. I write down all the songs I like in my notes & voice memos. Then I hit the studio. Thatʼs usually how it starts.

Whatʼs your full process?

Iʼm currently making a genre of music called “Ratchethouse” a blend between West Coast Ratchet music and 4×4 electro house. So with that being said the process is usually:

Find a Ratchet sample or vocal (Something everyone knows).

Speed up the tempo.

Arrange the drums.

Find a sexy lead.

Write the melody.

Find that bounce.

Then you gotta ask yourself the KEY question:

“Can someone throw it back to this?

If the answer is yes then BOOM you gotta banger.

Who inspired you?

Iʼm inspired by a lot of artists but definitely those who have created their own culture stand out to me. Iʼd say Calvin Harris is my all time favorite though. His music is very genre-bending bridging the gap between a lot of sounds, thatʼs what I like.

Honestly though the people who probably inspire me the most at the moment are my producer homies from San Diego KNOCK2 and ISOXO. These dudes are super talented and are pretty much my mentors when it comes to music production. Itʼs only right I mention em. Check
them out!

What tech & tools are you using today?

iMac 2019 Logic Pro X Adobe Suite Thatʼs pretty much it.

What advice do you have for aspiring DJs?

My advice would be the following:

Buckle down and learn how to produce music. I see a lot of DJʼs wondering why theyʼre not making it or getting notoriety when they arenʼt releasing anything thatʼs their own. It will also help you exponentially on mixing altogether. Learn how to market yourself! Download Photoshop, Premiere, any visual editing software. We live in the age where any DJ/Producer can create their own marketing/visual content for their releases and push them
on social media.

Donʼt just drop it on Soundcloud and hope for the best, LEARN THE GAME.

Find your sound and do it for the love of music. Donʼt get caught up in chasing fame or money trying to get every show you can possibly get. All those things will come when you pursue what youʼre passionate about.

Focus all your energy into making music that YOU love and release it. ASK YOUR FRIENDS FOR HELP! Donʼt be afraid to lean on a friend. Ask them to share your music and get their input on your tracks. I personally have a group of 10 people I always send my tracks to prior to releasing for input. Friends are cool.

DM ME, if you need help or advice with anything feel free to reach out. Iʼll try my best to respond.

What do you want to plug?

Follow me on socials
Checkout my music!
Check out my visuals!

Written by Editorial Staff