Interview by: Cesar Perez
In this interview we sit down with gry.clds, Co-Founder of the Florida-based Dust Heavy Collective. Cesar Perez joins gry.clds to discuss the origin of Dust Heavy Collective which features a roster entirely composed of Floridian beat makers. As well as to discuss the collective’s future plans, and much more.
Cesar Perez: How did you discover Instrumental Hip Hop and that music scene?
gry.clds: I guess it’s time for the story that everyone tells when asked this question. When I was in High School I had a friend in class that had FL Studio on his flash drive and would play his beats during class. It was like southern, Florida stuff that was really generic. From there I got FL Studio and I tried making beats with it and I had no idea what I was doing. I gave up on that, a few years later I got Reason and the same thing happened. Every few years I tried a different DAW and it never worked out. I was basically on and off for a while; every so often I’d have the interest to learn how to make beats and I’d try again. Eventually I got the Maschine and I learned how to use it. At some point, I learned about the SPs series. I must have seen someone do a live set with one or something. So I started to lurk the SP forums, learning as much as I could about them, eventually copping a SP-303, but sold it a few weeks later and got the 404 and a 202 to accompany it (eventually got another 303 though). A few months later I learned how to use Ableton because I wanted to move away from using the Maschine “DAW” and I didn’t want to make full beats on the SPs. So it wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I actually got serious about making music. Before I started making music I was already listening to some of the acts like Dibiase, Flying Lotus, Teebs, Dilla, Samiyam, Ras G etc. that a lot of the beat makers I associate with, have mutual friends, or are in the same “communities”, “scenes” with are fans of, but it wasn’t really until I started making music of my own that I realized what I was really listening to. But yeah, from there I just started to get active on the SP forums, Stones Throw forums, Soundcloud, and different Facebook groups.
CP: Was there any artists out there in Florida that inspired you or got you into the beat scene?
gry.clds: It wouldn’t be Florida Based artists, because I wasn’t aware that many if any actually existed (I’ve since learned that there’s a decent amount) that made beat music/beats that weren’t generic mainstream stuff. My influences were more so the stuff I was listening to before I started making beats and some of the stuff I started listening to as I learned about production. They include: Boards of Canada, Blue Sky Black Death (all time fav production duo), EL-P, Kno, Portishead, Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind, Archive, etc. As of recently, the producers in Florida that I’ve come to know and that are in Dust Heavy Collective are who inspire me.
CP: You run a label/collective based out of Florida by the name of Dust Heavy Collective. Can you tell me a little bit about the label and the genesis of the name?
gry.clds: The collective was created back in 2013. The original founding members were myself (back when I went by Dismal Days/Daze, Mondrian Loop and ImOnlySleeping. I was lurking SP forums for a while looking for Florida Based artists and then I made a thread asking if there were any Florida based artists on the forums. I wanted to create a collective and or do shows. ImOnlySleeping popped up but for the most part no one else was from Florida. So I kept looking and I eventually came across Mondrian Loop on Tumblr. I discussed the idea with him and from there we created the collective. I came across B8TA on Tumblr later on to. I don’t remember who else I came across, but a lot of the members were suggested to me by current members/past members. Basically I’m real bad with coming up with names and we were brainstorming names and Mondrian Loop came up with the name. The three of us were all into sampling dusty records, so that’s pretty much how we got the name
CP: Are the rest of the artists on the roster from Florida as well?
gry.clds: Everyone is from Florida just from different parts. Mondrian Loop, B8TA, and METVLMOUTH are from Orlando (Central Florida. Kiezin is from Tallahassee (North Florida), I’m from Palm Beach County (South Florida) and Dr. LaFlow and ImOnlySleeping are from Broward County (South Florida) LaFlow and ImOnlySleeping are about an hour from me, the rest of the members are about 2.5-3 hours away.
CP: What is the science behind all the artists on the roster hailing from Florida? Do you plan on expanding to artists outside of the Florida area?
gry.clds: When I started the collective I noticed there weren’t many beat showcases or production shows going on in the area. So the whole purpose of making it only Florida based was to create/expand the scene in the Florida area. A lot of other states have their collectives and I didn’t want to bring in people from other areas because I don’t believe that would benefit my overall goal. That also complicates things when it comes to throwing shows and other things.
CP: Where do you envision Dust Heavy Collective moving on into the future and what are some of your plans for the label?
gry.clds: Within the next few years we will throw bigger shows and shows more often, maybe possibly get more artists involved in the collective and put out more releases from the artists. I want to put out merch (shirts, hats, etc.) and possibly vinyl releases. I would like to start putting out zines with our anniversary cassette releases and possibly with the member’s cassette releases.
CP: What are your thoughts on labels/collectives pushing the cassette format and how that differs from just having digital mp3 releases?
gry.clds: When you see a release come out, I feel people are more likely to purchase it if it’s a physical item that you receive. Digital releases don’t really have as much of an importance. Every day somebody releases a digital release. Most of it just goes unnoticed because there’s just so much being put out and a lot of people just drop projects that no one will remember in a year’s time because they can. But if you have a cassette or a vinyl release and provide a digital download along with it, people are more likely to purchase. Even if they don’t have a record player or a cassette player they still have the digital versions. I believe as long as they have something they can hold in their hands they are more likely to purchase it. Even if the cassette is a novelty item. It’s also not expensive to put out a cassette release so it’s a decently priced way of getting music out there.
CP: Are there any projects that you have coming out on Dust Heavy that you want to talk about?
gry.clds: For releases we just dropped “Heavy Dust Volume 8”. In November we have a 3 year anniversary “Heavy Dust” tape which will be out on cassette and digital download. I’m in the process of finalizing my project and plan on dropping it before the year ends. That’s it basically this year unless there’s a surprise release or something. Next year I’d like to put out a few of the member’s releases on cassette.
CP: Moving forward do you see yourself making beats less and focusing more on being the head of the collective?
gry.clds: Well I already feel I don’t make beats that often. I make a few week I’d say, but they all just stay on my hard drive for the most part or I play them at shows but they don’t get released. If in the future running the collective becomes more time consuming, I feel it might not affect me too much, because I’m already in a spot where I already don’t make much music compared to everyone else in the collective, and I have one release while the majority of the members drop 2-3 in a year. But if it were to ever get to that point, I wouldn’t mind, as long as I’m still creating.
CP: What keeps you motivated to continue being an artist and wanting to create, along with the day to day duties that come with running a label?
gry.clds: I’m really into creating whether its collages, making music, video edits, photography, I really just like creating. The fact that I’m creating something keeps me motivated.
CP: Do you have any last words?
Check us out on Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. “Heavy Dust Volume 8” is out now. Thanks for listening and checking us out. Make sure you are subscribed to Speak With Beats and much love for having me.