Who Are Ya?! - Going Deep With Drew Dapps
Article by: Jessica Duncan
The deep, minimal, and tech subgenres of house music have been on the rise over the last few years, and San Diego-based deep/minimal house producer Drew Dapps has been riding the wave. He fell in love with house music in 2018 and has been diving deeper into the genre ever since.
Drew Dapps was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada but opted to leave the glitz and glamour of Sin City behind for the sandy beaches of San Diego in 2018. Growing up, music was always a big part of his life; his older brother is a professional guitarist and his dad plays guitar as well.
Drew wanted to be like them so he learned how to play guitar too. He also knows how to play drums. “Producing was the natural place I ended up in life because it’s combining everything; drums, chords, and basslines, playing all the instruments, just on your computer.”
Drew started learning how to produce in 2017, making beats and melodic trap instrumentals for rappers and singers to use. Trial and error, Youtube, and collaborating with other beatmakers were mainly how he learned. He also took a course called “Finish More Music” from Keith Mills that helped him “get into the mindset of a professional producer and really embracing the process and embracing the suck.” He’s a die-hard FL Studio user because “it feels most like a video game” and is the most user-friendly Digital Audio Workstation.
He didn’t learn to DJ until after he had finished and released some tracks. A Pioneer XDJ-R1, his laptop, and Ross Palmer’s “How to Become a DJ” course were how he learned the fundamentals. “I really applied myself like I was in a college class to learn.” He didn’t get his hands on some CDJ’s until one night at an after party, but what he had learned using the XDJ was enough to carry him through his set. The first festival he played, he finessed his way into playing the silent disco by bringing his XDJ with him and asking the organizers if he could jump on the silent disco lineup.
The first electronic song he heard that made him feel something different was the classic “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!” by Vengaboys and his first introduction to house music was Daft Punk. He turned 21 soon after moving to San Diego and immediately immersed himself in the club scene. This is where he found his love for the underground house sound.
He heard “Playing With Fire” by Coral O’Connor and it made him say “I want to make slappers like this that inspire the crowd to get on their feet and lock in the groove.” Some of his biggest influences are Chris Stussy, DeMarzo, and Toman. According to Drew, “remaining a fan is a big part of finding success in music and really anything in life.”
Making music has become part of Drew’s identity. His morning routine includes a cup of coffee, journaling, reading, and opening up FL Studio to create something new. Something a little different he likes to add to his productions is field recordings, like the time he turned the sound of his knee hitting the garbage can underneath his desk into a live percussion sound.
Hearing from fans all over the world how his music has touched them and how it has been part of their lives is what keeps him inspired to keep putting out new music. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to his music, Drew recommends listening to “Dapptech” which was his first song to reach 50,000 streams on Spotify, his collaboration with Anderson M “Funk Slap,” and his latest single “Something Real.”
Since 2018, Drew has released tracks on multiple labels including Conceptual, Rawsome Deep, Distance Music, Lucati’s Kolme Records, Whoyostro, and their sublabel Miaw. These labels are based all over the world, so his grandma bought him a map he can put a pin in whenever he releases a track on a label in another country. He keeps it above his decks in his studio because “seeing that map and imagining people all around the world adding some fun to their daily routine with my beats inspires me to keep going hard.” He likes to release on labels more than once because he believes “you have to hold it down for the people that believed in you from the start, it’s important to show them love and release with them again so you can build together.” Other labels he would love to have releases on include PIV, Stefano Noferni’s Deeperfect, Max Champman’s Resonance Records, Desert Hearts, Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird Records, IN/ROTATION, and Percomaniacs.
All of the goals he wants to achieve for his project are written down as something called the “Dapps Music Marathon,” a technique he learned from Ari Herstand. Some of those goals include starting his own label when the time is right, playing a Space Yacht show, getting booked for EDC Mexico, Crssd, and Sunwaves festivals, going to and playing a set in Ibiza, and starting a mentorship/education program for upcoming producers. If he could play a show anywhere in the world, he would love to play in Amsterdam because he has a lot of family in the Netherlands and a large portion of his fan base lives there. If he could collaborate with anyone, he would love to work with the Vengaboys or Quest Love.
One of the most memorable moments in his musical journey so far was his first show after COVID lockdowns at the Flamingo Deck in San Diego. The lineup included Omnom and sold out within 15 minutes of going on sale. He played first at 2pm and there was a line waiting to get in when he arrived at the venue, “that made me feel like it’s on for real, and my time is now.”
He also sold out his debut headlining show in Phoenix at Bar Smith in May; “It was such a special moment, as I’ve been able to connect with so many like-minded people in Arizona over the internet..it was amazing to finally get together in person and groove on the rooftop and of course dapp everyone up!” Other memorable moments include playing the inaugural Great Awakening festival and being billed with his own line on the flyer, and having Stefano Nofernini play one of his tracks on his Club Edition radio show.
Outside of making music, skateboarding is Drew’s favorite hobby. His vision is to bridge the gap and combine house music culture with skateboarding culture. He also likes other board sports like snowboarding and he’s tried surfing too.
Along with skateboarding, video creation and editing is a natural extension of the culture; “I have been playing around with video and editing software for some time, pretty much as soon as I started skating years ago. These video editing skills I have picked up have really allowed me to tell my story and express myself in a way beyond just music.” He is also heavily into fashion and his sense of creativity has had a chance to flourish in this realm as well. “I have designed several merch products of my own including t-shirts, stickers, and of course the OG Camp Dappington patch. Maybe being involved in Fashion Club in school paid off for me [laughs].” Going on outdoor adventures like camping and hiking are part of his “inspiration quests,” another technique he picked up from Ari Herstand, which helps feed his creativity.
Drew just released his latest EP, The Moment, today on Chichi Music - listen to it below. He will be on opening duties for Chris Stussy at Vin De Syrah on August 19th, so if you’re in San Diego be sure to check out his set. He also has his first international show coming up. Stay up to date with what Drew Dapps has going on and listen to the rest of his tracks using the links below.
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LISTEN to Drew Dapps: