I've been finding myself obsessed with funk style lately. Following a tangent of shows this past year (Pretty Lights, Griz, Flume, Gramatik, and The Floozies, to name a few), I've come to respect that side of production. Incorporating live and electronic production is an incredible culmination of all the elements, both past and future sounds. So naturally, for the purpose of this week's Spotlight, I wanted to find someone that has a similar passion, but a better understanding of how it's constructed.
Allow me to introduce Sal Dragone, 19-years-young music student from Philadelphia. I was able to sit down and talk to him a little bit about his process of creation, his influences, and what he wants to accomplish in the years to come.
Daily Beat: So how did you find your passion for making music?
Sal Dragone: When I was younger I started off on the piano, then picked up the guitar and bass. It gave me my understanding of melodies and harmonies. But then I found out that I liked hitting stuff, so I took up percussion! I spent time in drumline in high school and played kit as well. When I got to school I knew that I really wanted to take on electronic production, but I knew that I didn't have the tools for it yet. When I enrolled in class, they gave me Logic, so I started messing around with it. I guess the driving factor right now is making music that I know that I like to dance to, and from there, others will want to dance to it too!
DB: When you listen to artists in the same vein as what you make, would you say that you find influence from them? If so, what?
SD: I have a huge respect for artists that use phrasing and know how to combine layers and keep elements switching. Like I love Pretty Lights and the progressive funk lines, but for me I'd have to say that what I enjoy the most is groups like The Floozies, that take a phrase, groove that for a second, then switch to a grimey wobble, throw some glitch in there, and keep the crowd dancing in different styles, all throughout the same track. That kind of style for me makes the most sense, so I'd say that's what I take from these artists the most.
DB: So what would you say is in store for you in the future?
SD: I think I want to focus on remixes a lot. I really enjoy finding a vocal line from tracks that I like and building the track around that. I guess not necessarily remixes that are similar to the original, but instead using the acapella and chopping it up. After I get more comfortable with that, I want to really fine-tune my production value and kind of get more of a social/marketing presence. I know that I have a way to go, but I want to make sure that I can really have a stocked setlist and perfect my sound and my style of performance. Then I can take on the audiences, and hopefully they'll enjoy listening to it as much as I like making it!
I have to be honest, I'm seriously excited to see where this kid goes with his music. Sure, the Soundcloud might be a tad light, but I got a chance to listen to some of his upcoming projects and I have to say that with his determination, passion, and understanding of the funk will take him places. Keep an eye for Sal Dragone, especially if you like to shuffle and groove. I'll be sure to keep you posted as well. 'Til next time, friends!
~ Ryan T.