A conversation with El Dusty at the Latin Grammys
(Las Vegas) Texas producer, DJ and nu-cumbia pioneer El Dusty was in Las Vegas for the Latin Grammys when we tracked him down. His song “Cumbia Anthem” was nominated for best in the Urban Fusion/Performance category. He didn’t win, but it was his first nomination and he was kind of giddy at just being there. The nomination didn’t surprise his many, many fans and supporters. Corpus Christi Texas-born El Dusty (Dusty Oliveira) translates the South Texas border experience into barrio anthems with a sampler and chopped clips of Latin music history leading to songs like the hit single “K Le Pasa,” and the collectively produced the Trapanera EP on Universal Records. We tracked him down for a conversation before he left for gigs in LA.
Patrick. How were the Latin Grammys? Lot of Parties?
Patrick. Have you been nominated before?
Dusty. No, man it is was the first time. I have been here a bunch of times to play the parties and stuff like that, but I have never been nominated before. It was a great honor.
Patrick. The nomination for the “Cumbia Anthem” track, right?
Dusty. Yes, it was our song “Cumbia Anthem” with DJHappy Colors that was nominated.
Patrick. Sorry you did not win, but congratulations!
Dusty. Thanks man. It was so cool just being here. And we will be back.
Patrick. Your new song “We Out Chea”… what does that translate to?
Dusty. It is like we are out here in Vegas – we are “outchea”…you know?
Patrick. I do, and the song is addictive. Where did the idea for the song come from?
Dusty. Milk started the beat when he was Miami with DJHappy and he called me up and said “dude, I have this beat” and so on. So I did my thing on it and I went to Miami and we filmed this video. It was pretty cool. It was one of the first times we had all collaborated on a track. Check it out on my YouTube Channel.
Patrick. “We Out Chea” is a very layered piece of art. There are extra sounds in it – a sound like a phone ringing in the background: you also switch voices and you do a call and response. It is so very tightly crafted I wonder if you can you do that live?
Dusty. Yea man. I’m a DJ person [sic] foremost, but I am producer next, so when I play I like to loop and chop and go crazy. It’s fun when we go live and use a bunch of weird instruments and just make a bunch of noises and have a good time. Its translates to the music very well, especially on that song.
Patrick. When I compare that to a song like “K La Pasa”, it’s got rap, it’s got less house, it’s more straightforward. I hear that in dance clubs; it is visceral. “We Out Chea” is more cerebral. Which will see from now on?
Dusty. No, No. that’s just a joke. Every guy that I see with that haircut I put out like a FAQ about Happy Colors. He is not a basketball player, he is a little Dominican rapper kid.
Patrick. Oh, I got Rickrolled on that one.
Dusty. I am glad it worked. It is official now. My meme creation has gone to the level of mastery.
Dusty. We have been communicating online for a couple of years. Milk had moved to Miami. I had reached out to DJHappy and said I would be there, One night about two in the morning we were talking and I said I had just got there in Miami. He said he was coming over and he came with his whole set up with a big monitor and PC and we pumped out like five beats that night. We have been sitting on them waiting for the right time. We have a lot of good songs.
Patrick. The Trapanera Remix it sounds like everyone was experimenting, especially when compared to something like the Angela Hunt version How much were you involved in the remix?
Dusty. I think so, man. There are a lot of people unknowingly using the rhythm in their songs. Even in someone like Drake you feel the rhythm in there, the beat. It is an easy rhythm to play, it is fun, it is easy to dance to, so it crossbreeds into a lot of music. It is like a house base rhythm with a syncopated rhythm.
El Dusty. http://eldusty.tumblr.com/
“Cumbia Anthem” and “K La Pasa” released on Machete X, Universal Records, are now available on Soundcloud, Spotify and iTunes