A word with Dripgirl
Dripgirl's music sets you on a hallucinogenic journey through waves of syncopated percussion and swathes of lucid ambiences, laid by a variety of instruments with swirling textures and timbres. All of which is smothered in classic analogue warmth.
No stranger to the online community, Dripgirl has an innate ability to evoke emotion through a range of genres, making him a versatile producer and one to watch for 2020.
We arranged a video call to learn about his new EP, musical background and production approach.
Hey man, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. What got you into music production?
I've played bass since the age of 8. My mum is a music teacher. She's always been super supportive of me and my siblings pursuing our passions. Sometimes she would, sort of, force us to expose ourselves to new creative outlets and experiences. One way that happened is that whenever one of us entered fourth grade, we had to start playing an instrument. We had to take lessons and study the instrument for at least six months, and if we didn't like it at the end of the six months, we could quit no questions asked. So I picked bass guitar. I was really pissed that I had to do 'extra homework' and none of my friends did. I remember being mad at her in the car when she told me, but after like not even two weeks I fucking loved it.
I took my first lesson and started learning really quickly and pretty much fell in love. When I started I was playing mostly rock and later metal. It wasn’t until I was around 11 that I eventually started delving into Jazz, which really shifted me into studying more 'technical’ music. I would practice for like 2 or 3 hours a day, almost every single day, and that carried on for about 2 years. As far as my introduction to electronic music it's kind of funny because I was one of those people who was like: oh electronic music isn't real music, it's just computers, there's no talent, blah blah blah’. Then one day I was playing the video game Far Cry 3, and there's a fucking sick part in it where you’re burning down a giant ass weed farm with a flamethrower and the song by Skrillex and Damien Marley 'Make It Bun Dem' comes on. I was like: ‘fuck, this actually melts!’, so I started exploring that side of music more and more.
On my 13th Birthday my mum gave me a copy of ableton live intro, which just changed my world completely. I could now pull out my laptop and make music wherever and whenever I wanted. I started listening to more lowkey producers and finding weirder shit which started influencing my music and approach. All of my beats were mad trash for at least a year, heh... that's how it goes. It was still very fun though! I was learning all the while through practice, and constantly comparing my own productions to songs that I liked, working to close the gap in quality. I've kept writing ever since, slowly learning what my sound is. At this point it's evolved into an absolute addiction.
You're very active in online communities, especially discord. How did you first connect with labels such as 'Phuture Collective'?
Some time in late 2018 I searched portland on soundcloud because I needed to connect with other artists, I felt very isolated, creatively. I discovered the Phuture Collective discord doing that. I really appreciate that label and everything that it’s doing to connect people. Big up Phuture Collective. I'd also like to shout out 'Jonecks' as he was one of the first people who ever reached out to me on Soundcloud DM's. He was someone who's talent and 'clout' or whatever, were just way above where I was, not to mention his music astonished me. So when he approached me saying 'Hey, I like your music, I want to work with you, I want you to meet these people.', it just meant a lot to me, and it encouraged me to think of my music in a different way to how I had before; that maybe it was something I should actively pursue and set goals for. He’s a fucking awesome guy.
Tell us about the name?
The name originally started from a graphic design project that I had. I had all this art and all this music; I decided to pair them together. I made a producer tag using the microsoft voice saying 'Dripgirl' and I basically just liked the way it sounded. I thought it matched the tactility of the music, in that it’s two words that when put together have the kind of ‘texturealness’ that I work to make as well. Ultimately I consider a musician or an artist as someone who’s just translating the ideas that come to them from the universe. A good musician is someone who has become more fluent in the language of the universe, and who has had enough practice and experience to translate those ideas accurately. Point being - I don’t really consider myself to be ‘Dripgirl’. The music is Dripgirl, I’m just the person that’s helping it get made. I know it sounds pretty preachy and stuff. I’ve come to that realization after a lot of time creating though, and it just feels true to me.
Do you have a particular approach to a track? What is the production process like for you?
Yeah that's a good question, the answer is... err, not really. The beauty of a laptop is that you can take your studio anywhere with you. So it just depends on where I start it and where I end it.
If I'm working from my bedroom, I have access to all my equipment so I'll record a lot of bass, and a lot of vocals. But if I'm out and about, for example 'Truth' was written on a bluetooth speaker in the plaza of my community college at the time. I think that one was pretty much done in a 4hour session, which is why it's only a minute long. That doesn't bother me in the slightest though, I like short songs. I don't want to push something to be longer if it doesn't need to be. That's definitely something that I think is embedded in my production process. If I feel like it has more places to go, im going to take it in those places, and try and keep it interesting, but I'm not going to limit myself just because of a measurement of time. That’s equally true for songs that end up being like 8 minutes long.
You draw from a plethora of genres, who or what inspires you?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Phlegmatic Dogs, Quickly Quickly, Andy Stott, Flying Lotus, Culprate, Thook, Decap, Omari Jazz, Aso, Harris Cole, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, [bsd.u], Thundercat, and Witch. Team Supreme is a HUGE influence as well, I love the way they had this idea, and thought so much bigger than themselves to bring people together through music.
I’m always looking for lowkey shit though, and what I’m listening to changes all the time. I feel like there’s something to learn from anything. It could be a song from a big label or someone’s first song on FL; I'll find something I like about it, something I could apply to my own music. That's also one of the reasons I love using real world sounds in my music. Just walking down the street or going into coffee shops and stuff. I’ll hear a cool sound and immediately I’m just thinking of all the things I could do with it. I often carry a portable H5 mic on me just in case I hear something I like and want to save it for later.
Oh and psychedelics fucking rule and have definitely had a big effect on how I create and think about creation. My friends have also definitely changed that stuff as well.
You have just self-released a 3 track EP, 'Gardeness'. A further study into the mind of Dripgirl, can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the project and the artwork too?
So the main inspiration behind the project sort of started with water, and its role in growth and life. The EP is loaded with very textural, organic samples, and a lot of them are samples like rain, swimming, splashing, pouring, etc...
I usually do my own graphic design, however on this occasion my friend Marquandre Brown (who is a really really talented artist) was producing the artwork for my merch. He did such an amazing job, I saw it and immediately wanted to use it for the EP too. I made music at his house, whilst he made this. *points to sweatshirt* He strolled out really casually from the next room like, 'How's this?'. I think it's just awesome. He used entirely gouache paint. We started making prints, and sourcing shirts to print on and have now paired it with the release.
What are your goals for the rest of the year?
I was going to move abroad to teach ESL, but I've decided to postpone it for a bit while I finish my associates degree. My goals right now are to play more shows and release more music, as well as to increase my streams on paid platforms like Spotify. I'm also working on setting up collaborations with some of the artists that really inspire me, not necessarily big artists, just the people that I always love to listen to like Letjoux, Omari Jazz, Slowya.roll, Emze, and other dope ass Portland producers.
Anything extra you would like to add?
Thank you so much for having me, I would like to shout out some of my friends!
Omari Jazz writes amazing, trippy ass beats. You’ll love em.
Letjoux is a legend, his music is very jazzy/rnb, and he’s honestly one of the most technically impressive producers I’ve ever met. Major goals.
Sv1 writes some crazy ass experimental bass music. It is textural and heavy and fucking nuts. Shit blows me away. Same goes for my friend LOUD9.
Alex Martian writes some really crazy like bouncy foley, what-the-fuck type beats that feel like coffee when you hear them. Utter beast.
A lot of people know Elijah Who (currently “sayso”) who writes the best tracks for sitting on a long bus ride while its raining. He’s also an insanely nice dude.
Last but not least Emze. I just met him last night and he’s a really down to earth, chill dude. He writes some nice chill beats and he’s a savage on the sp404.