Interviews Music

DJ Dris Discusses The Behind The Scenes Process of ‘Underwater’

With a style that spans multiple genres, refining an ever-evolving sound, DJ Dris has established himself as a versatile

DJ Dris Discusses The Behind The Scenes Process of ‘Underwater’

With a style that spans multiple genres, refining an ever-evolving sound, DJ Dris has established himself as a versatile and innovative Artist on the Electronic Music scene. His latest track, ‘Underwater,’ showcased his unique skillset when designing funky basslines, catchy vocals, and groovy melodies, creating a sound that resonated with listeners and no doubt supported the growth of his reputation. In this enlightening interview, DJ Dris takes us behind the scenes of his creative process, sharing the inspirations and techniques that led to the creation of ‘Underwater.’ So, join us as we delve into the mind of this talented DJ and Producer to uncover the magic behind his music. 

Hi DJ Dris! Congrats on the release of ‘Underwater’! How are you doing? 

I’m doing very well, thank you. I’m just excited to be able to release a lot of music at the rate that I am. It feels amazing. 

We would love to hear your story and inspiration behind this track and title ‘Underwater.’ 

Well, it’s interesting because when I was creating this, it was really about finding a funky vocal that I thought reflected the sounds I used in the instrumental. Rather than a specific memory or moment, I created the instrumental with a feeling and looked for a vocal sample to match that. The title came naturally as it almost sounds like she is singing muffled or like she is singing underwater. To give you even more insight, I created this at the beginning of summer a year or two ago, and I feel it has a mysterious, almost mischievous feel to it. Almost like how you feel on a summer’s day when you’re getting ready to go out or listening to loud music on your way to meet friends with your windows rolled down – just taking in the breeze.  

Could you share with us your production process in structuring this track? 

I started with the drum pattern and the bassline, which was the key. The quirky progression made me look for sounds in Serum that I felt resonated and glued the track together, such as the arpeggio, and the sax was the gloss. Then I looked for a vocal that I felt was interesting. 

Did you experiment with any new elements in this release? 

Yes, it was definitely the first time I used a sax on any of my tracks, so that was definitely interesting. I love saxophones, but it’s not really a sound that I feel aligns with my vision for my music – looking back, I’ll be honest, I see this track as an anomaly. But as I’m taking you on a musical journey with me, it would have been a shame to miss out on sharing with you all the corners and U-turns that have led me to where I am today musically. 

How did you approach layering the different rhythmic details compared to your previous productions? 

The only remarkable difference was that I started the track by giving the listener the vocals very early on when usually I like to create a more dramatic start where the vocals come in later in the track. However, I felt bringing them in worked better here because it would help to catch the listener off guard when the bass and the sax would sound. 

How do you hope listeners respond to this release? 

I hope that they can hear the diversity and growth all along the way. As I say, for me, it’s a journey, and I want to take you all on it with me! 

Have you had any fan reactions so far? 

I have, and I’m truly grateful for every comment and message. The feedback has been great. It really keeps me going. 

Was there something new you learned or a takeaway from producing this track that you’d like to share with starting producers? 

Definitely. In my opinion, diversity is everything as you are building your unique sound. Don’t be scared to try things out; most often, it will teach you what you want and don’t want. This track had a lot of experimenting for me, and it marked a turning point in my production methods and sound selection. I would also say not every track is for everyone; just release it and let the world decide, and you may be surprised. 

What elements in this track would you say define your sound? 

I always tend to use Afro elements such as congas. I love giving mid-track breakdowns as I feel like it gives my listeners time to dance, be emotive, and just enjoy themselves. I create tracks based on how I think listeners would like to dance to a track or how I think they would feel. So definitely the structure is synonymous with my productions. 

‘Underwater’ features a funky bassline, catchy vocals, and groovy melodic lines. Can you tell us about how you construct your soundscapes, balancing different elements against each other to ensure a powerful yet clean mix? Do you always start with the same element, or does your workflow differ each time? 

At the time I created this, I really wasn’t that great with mixing and mastering. I didn’t have the equipment I have today, so this was the result of watching a couple of YouTube videos and trial and error. I knew a bit about mixing and mastering as I started off production well over 15 years ago under a different alias with my DAW of choice at the time, Nuendo. But for this, I went on YouTube and looked into balancing at the time. So, after I felt I had a good balance, I used Izotope’s Ozone, which is great when you don’t have a lot of resources as it uses AI to balance the sounds when it comes to mastering, but I have learned now that in reality, nothing works better than your ears. 

How do you know when a track is finished? 

That’s a good question because, at a time, I wouldn’t stop working on a track until I was done. So, I would do the creation and the mixing, etc., all on the same day. I would know it was complete once I had heard it in my studio headphones, studio monitors, and my Beats Studio earpods and felt cool with it. Now I work slightly differently and tend to do a final master later on after hearing it on a few other sound systems, even though I still like to have a near-finished product to leave the studio with. 

What’s coming up next for DJ Dris? Tell us about your upcoming releases. 

I have a few more tracks from my catalogue cued up. ‘Universal Intent’ came out earlier in June. This is an Afro Tech track with a very tribal undertone. ‘Sun Will Shine Again’ ft Zack Goffe – 19th June is a very emotive song with an up-and-coming singer, Zack Goffe. ‘Eternal Flame’ ft Roxa Damas – 3rd July is a feel-good track that will uplift anyone who hears it when they feel down. After that, we will start coming up with some more exciting stuff that is yet to be confirmed with the team. So, make sure to keep your eyes on my socials and ears peeled for what’s coming next! 

As we wrap up our conversation with DJ Dris, it is clear that his passion for creating innovative and energetic music continues to drive him forward. With ‘Underwater’ showcasing his ability to blend various elements while maintaining his signature sound, we are excited to see what DJ Dris will bring to his listeners next. So, be sure to keep him on your radar by following DJ Dris across social media and keeping an ear out for his upcoming releases. We end our interview by thanking DJ Dris for sharing his insights and taking us behind the scenes of his latest track, eagerly anticipating his next release and continuing to follow him along in his captivating musical journey. 

Listen to ‘Underwater’ Now:      

DJ Dris Online      

Website | Spotify | Instagram      

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Ryan Phillips

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