Dave Nardolilli, the Savage Wonk pioneer known as Dubloadz, has come a long way since his start only two short years ago. Recently called on to join the Disciple Recordings roster, the New Jersey-born-and-raised artist shows no signs of slowing down as he continues to draw from a wide spectrum of influences while pushing genre boundaries in an exciting and unique way.
With a recent move to Los Angeles and his new Lost In The Sauce EP already being hailed as his best and most diverse work to date, we thought we’d check in with Dubloadz for a chat about the EP, his inspirations, and where he’s headed in 2016.
An artist is never truly satisfied with where they are. You can always continue to improve and move forward. The way I see it I’m still in the beginning with a long road ahead of me. I’m just not afraid of it anymore.
Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us the story of how Dubloadz came to be. Did you always aspire to be a producer and musician?
I’ve always been rooted in art and music, it just took a while to figure out my niche in it. When I was younger I aspired to be a graphic designer and illustrator. I went to college for it and didn’t finish, but now I do all my own artwork for Dubloadz. Way before I was producing dubstep I was in a one-man band. I played guitar, wrote all the music, programmed the drums, and added electronic and atmospheric elements.
A few years after I dropped out of college, I was stuck in a spot where I had no idea what I was going to do with my life anymore. I had lost sight of my vision for my future and it was scary. I had been listening to electronic music for several years at that point and DJing college parties but I never really thought I could do it as a living. I guess you could say I was stuck in a hole where I really didn’t believe in myself anymore. When I finally sat down and started writing dubstep it seemed like more of a hobby, but the songs started circulating and getting attention from my idols.
How does it feel to be where you are today?
I’m fortunate that I had a good group of friends and artists to give me the push I needed to realize that you really do have control over what you make of your life. It feels amazing to be able to say I do what I love for a living, but I still struggle mentally. An artist is never truly satisfied with where they are. You can always continue to improve and move forward and the way I see it I’m still in the beginning with a long road ahead of me. I’m just not afraid of it anymore.
How did the relationship with Disciple begin?
My agent actually put me and my other manager Perry in touch with them because they had expressed an interest in bringing me on board. I didn’t expect it to happen, honestly. It’s a roster of amazing artists that I’m very proud to be a part of and next year is going to be huge for the entire label. For me as an artist, it’s really pushed me to step my game up. I feel like I need to be better to live up to my labelmates. It definitely means more experimentation as well, but that was going to happen regardless of the label. It’s just easier to try new things when I have friends who are such talented producers to inspire me further.
Speaking of inspiration, we’re definitely digging the new sound that you’re exploring on your latest EP. Talk a bit about how Lost in the Sauce came together.
I came up last year developing my sound, which was primarily dubstep, and I felt this year I was going to push all of the boundaries of the style I had created the year before. I knew when I was going to start writing my next label release and that it was going to be different in a lot of areas. I wanted it to be more musical in general and I didn’t want to be thrown in a category like “riddim producer” or “underground dubstep producer.” I’m a musician and I don’t plan on limiting myself…ever.
The whole bass house movement that guys like Jauz, Ghastly, JVST SAY YES, Ephwurd, and others were doing really caught my attention, so I wrote dozens of tracks before I got the five that made the cut for the EP. It was a really awesome (and sometimes extremely frustrating) challenge to find the combination of sounds I was looking for to please my fanbase while expanding into new territories. But now that all is said and done it’s easily my proudest accomplishment in my career and the feedback has been beyond what I could’ve hoped for.
We’ve seen artists like Getter, Algo and Ephwurd really begin to push genre boundaries as well. Were you consciously challenging yourself an artist in a similar way?
100%. Getter is easily one of my biggest influences if not my biggest influence currently. It’s a combination of things, really. I feel like every artist reaches (or should reach) a point of enlightenment where they want to push out of their comfort zone. Getter has been making stuff that wasn’t dubstep for years it was just this year when he made it all work under the same alias. It’s really about the way you present yourself but it’s also key to keep in mind that you should always have stuff to please your original fans and cover the spectrum.
There are always going to be those bitter, closed-minded people that want to spew negativity all over your stuff. You can write an EP of four dubstep tunes and one house tune (like I just did) and there will still be kids that go out of their way to point out how shitty the one tune they didn’t like was instead of just enjoying the other four. I feel bad for people like that. It must suck going through life not being able to just listen to something as a piece of music and trying to enjoy it in oppose to slapping a label on it and hating it immediately.
It almost seems as if artists have to apologize these days if they release something that isn’t a heavy-hitting dubstep tune. Why do you think that is?
I always expect negative comments when I put up a tune that isn’t dubstep because unfortunately it seems to be becoming more and more routine for people to try and find the bad things about music/art as opposed to the good. Maybe it’s just part of growing as a successful artist. I have a show coming up where on the event page people are already talking about how if I play any house music they’re going to leave. It’s disheartening really that people are already jumping to conclusions about a set that hasn’t even happened yet as well as trying to tell the artist what he can and can’t do. I don’t understand the negativity.
Five years ago when I was the kid in the crowd who loved dubstep more than anything and Excision or Datsik or whoever else switched into a trap or house section, I didn’t stop dancing and stand there with my arms crossed. I danced to it and enjoyed it. Fortunately, the new fans I’ve gained and the old fans that appreciate and love the progression in my sound immensely outweigh the closed-minded, negative people. I always want to make my fans happy, but there’s only so much you can do when it comes to the shit talkers. The most I can hope for is that my words and music can open peoples’ minds one by one and convert people that might have previously thought they hated a certain style to understanding and liking it.
I always want to make my fans happy, but there’s only so much you can do when it comes to the shit talkers.
Looks like you were touring alongside Barely Alive for a little bit. How was that?
It was awesome. Willie [half of Barely Alive] is a good homie and that back-to-back went a lot better than I thought it would. [Laughs] You never know how the flow is going to work when you’re going b2b with someone for the first time. We also had a show together in Chicago which was one of my favorite shows I’ve ever played. I haven’t gotten the chance to meet Matt [the other half of Barely Alive] but hopefully I will in the near future because they’re both musical geniuses.
What is the craziest show you’ve ever played?
Hard to say, honestly! EDC New York always sticks out in my head because so many friends and family were there. It was just an amazing feeling. Both the shows I played in Australia were crazy, too. Canada is always crazy. Chicago, Paris, Minneapolis, NYC, L.A.—honestly they’re all awesome.
Before we go, hit us with your shout-outs and where you see yourself headed from here.
Now that I live in L.A. I have a million more opportunities to work with artists that I’ve wanted to have studio time with for ages. 2016 is going to be a big year, but I can’t reveal much yet! I’ll let the announcements speak for themselves as they start to pop up. But I will shout-out all of my fans for being so amazing and keeping me going through these past two years. I’m blessed to have so many amazing fans and friends in my life to keep me inspired. This is still only the beginning for me and I look forward to everything ahead.