Polyphonic Underground

Artist interview - Dreddbeat - 2020-02-10

Dreddbeat is an indie electronic artist based out of New England, who's known for incorporating elements from a number of different genres into his music — from Synthwave to hip hop to alt-rock based styles.

He’s one of the artists featured on Polyphonic Underground’s upcoming record release, Terrible Investments. And, you can learn more about him at dreddbeat.com

Dreddbeat, welcome! So, let’s begin!

Q: How did you get your start in music?

A: Hello! Lets start this off! My mom use to love going to concerts when she was younger so I was exposed to all sorts of music from a young age. I got my first guitar at 12 and was obsessed with music from that point on. I was in a few different bands back in high school, both academic and personal projects, would go to local shows every weekend, and tried to expose myself to as many different genres as I could growing up. I've been working on my bachelors in audio engineering to help myself become as self sufficient as possible.

I've loved every day of this journey so far.

Q: Where does your name come from? What inspired it?

A: "Dreddbeat" is a combination of Judge Dredd and Deadbeat. Nothing too deep haha, I just like the name and had to rebrand from my original moniker, "Toys In The Attic", for various reasons. I love the original J. Dredd movie, one of my favorite films from that era.

Q: How would you describe the music that you typically create?

A: Electronic variations of genres with other genre elements sprinkled in I guess haha. I try to give my music spacey/emotional/smoking-a-bowl-on-a-rainy-night type vibes, something personal, ya know.

Q: What sets your music apart? What makes it unique?

A: The same reason that sets most peoples music apart: it has a little bit of me in it. I try not to follow too many "rules", so to say, when I write my music, I feel it's too restrictive. Idk if I'm completely unique but I certainly just do whatever I want and see what happens.

Q: What's your song composition process?
A: Almost every single one of my songs has ended radically different than how they started. I usually just drop a 4/floor beat with a little melody that's been stuck in my head. I add some bass or pads and then work from there. Adding parts and trimming away at the rhythm.

To move from 4/floor to something that I feel fits the song more (unless I'm aiming for 4/floor rhythm). What takes me the longest is writing lyrics, I suck at it lmao but practice makes perfect!

Q: Let's talk a little more about your songwriting. When you create music, what is your personal purpose or goal?

A: To get all the noise that's in my head out and into a cohesive idea. I'm not a very articulate person most of the time and I have a hard time conveying my emotions but with music, it's much easier. I can express abstract ideas without having to find the right words.

Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?

A: I don't ever force my way through a track. If I'm getting frustrated, burnt out, or the well is simply dry, I take a break. I smoke, I read, I engage in other creative activities, I exercise/meditate. I wait until the desire to write becomes something I cannot ignore like an impulse that will happen whether you want it to or not. Then I get back to writing. This is my tried-and-true process of recovering from writers block. Listening to my favorite artists for inspiration is also a go-to for me.

Q: What does your studio look like? What gear do you typically use?

A: It's an absolute mess in here but also, somehow a vibe... For vocals I use a Shure SM7B (with cloudlifter, ofc), guitar I have my Les Paul Signature T going through a sansamp (I know, I know, it's a bass DI but who's going to stop me?) and into a 2i2.

For synths and percussion I have various plugins that I use and I mix it all in Reaper. I have a pair of Yamaha HS8's with the subwoofer and Beyer DT-770's for monitoring. I've slowly invested in my equipment over the years, one day I'll have my own studio maybe.

Q: Who are your favorite artists, synthwave or otherwise?

A: I used to have a go-to list for this type of question but the last couple of years, it's been changing to be honest. My favorite artists differ depending on where I'm at in my life and my musical journey. That being said, if I had to list my top 5 it would be:

Twenty One Pilots
The Midnight
System of a Down

Lately, I've been obsessed with Royal and the Serp, she is a phenomenal songwriter. Even if it takes me a lifetime, I swear I'll write a track with her!

Q: Of your own music, do you have a favorite?

A: I only release music I'm satisfied with, I love all my tracks! That being said, while it isn't the fan favorite (That title goes to "In The Name Of Love"), my personal favorite is "Save Me". It's the most vulnerable song I've released about a very sensitive and personal topic.

Q: What would your advice be for other musicians and producers starting out?

A: I have three pieces of advice that were given to me and have served me well. One, MASTER THE FUNDAMENTALS OF YOUR ART. Practice so much that the fundies become just as natural as breathing. You are only hurting your growth by not studying.

Two, learn how to take constructive criticism. Listen to what people are saying and look at it as feedback to help you improve, not something personal. Don't get all hurt and upset if someone calls out a bad practice or something that doesn't sound right. There is a difference between constructive and people just being rude for the sake of being rude though.

Three, Get weird. Seriously, stop thinking "what am I suppose to do here? What is expected here?" and just get outside of your comfort zone. This is where true creativity is born.

Q: Excellent! OK. Here's our last question for today. What are your ambitions as an artist from here?

A: To become a rockstar, baby! But also, and more importantly, I'm just going to keep making music and if I can help even one person get through a hard time, then it's all worth it.


Thanks so much Dreddbeat for chatting with us today! Stay tuned for more Artist Spotlight interviews from Polyphonic Underground.

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