—interview by Javier Suárez @javiercantdraw
—photography by Felton Kizer @FeltonKizer

If you’re one of the 27.3 million millennials born to Latin American immigrant parents in the United States today, then you’re probably familiar with traditional Mexican (or Latin American) music. You grew up listening to Los Tigres Del Norte, La Sonora Dinamita, and the other oldies in your parent’s car. (Or how many times have you rolled your eyes when El Baile del Beeper came on at your cousin’s quinceañara?)

Regardless of whether or not we enjoyed our parents’ music, our Americanized generation still knows the lyrics to “Llorar, Llorar.” This bicultural upbringing has created an entirely new subculture that has influenced new genres of music. A hybridization of our parents’ music and the familiar sounds around us here in the States.

Enter El Dusty. A music producer pioneer from Corpus Christi, (AKA Selena-town) Texas. He’s the epiphany of our first-meets-seconds generation culture clash and has been anointed the new father of Cumbia Electronica—a perfect mixture of traditional cumbia sounds along with notes of Trap, Electronic and House influences.

We sat down with El Dusty to learn more about the founding father himself.

JS : Tell me about yourself. Who is El Dusty and where are you from?

ED : My name is Dusty Oliveira, that’s my real name, and I’m from Corpus Christi, Texas. I started off like every other deejay doing Hip hop and scratching and shit like that. I kind of just got into it on my own.

My mom had this big CD collection of all of this old Time Life type [music]. I was finding everything in there. Every sample from like Souls of Mischief. It was really weird to find the exact loop on [these CDs] as a child. It was really cool. 

Then my mom inherited this huge record collection. It was a lot of old stuff, a lot of [music in] Spanish, a lot of old Funk and Hip Hop. Anything you can think of, it was like 20,000 records. [It was] A trailer full of records and they just brought it to my house. I’m still using the same record collection now.

Around the same time, my brother and his friends brought home some turntables one day and… every day when he was gone, I was in there fucking with them.

My brother was trying to be a deejay and he saw that I was way better than him (laughs). He was like, “This is crazy, a 12 year old little kid scratching and shit.” He started getting me gigs and [we started] going around town playing anything. Little teen clubs, quinceañeras, weddings, whatever we could do.

What was it that attracted you to these specific genres of music? That hybridization of genres you do with your music now, what led up to your current sound? 

My parents listen to so much different kinds [of music]. My dad would listen to classic rock and oldies. The Chicano oldies sound was really popular in Texas. My mom listens to Tejano, Cumbia, Rancheras, you know, the romantic stuff. My brother was into rock-and-roll from the 80s and gangster rap. Then I kind of found my thing doing the whole backpacker hip hop thing from the 90s.

I like listening to different genres and try and mash them all together and just have my own twist on it.

There’s very few musicians that do the kind of music you do, are there artists now that you’d consider your contemporaries? 

Toy Selectah has been doing this kind of [music] for a long time and Camilo from Mexican Institute of Sound does a lot of hybrid mixes and now Happy Colors is around popping up everywhere. He’s a mix of a lot of different type of shit. He just got signed with Sony too. My peers are definitely doing the same kind of music I am.

For people who don’t know the Texas music scene, where do you see yourself fitting in with your contemporaries, not necessarily in your genre of music, in Corpus Christi and surrounding cities?

We have a thing called Peligrosa out in Austin, TX. We just toured out there with Red Bull. There’s a bunch of parties [with a similar sound] popping up all over the U.S. There’s Peligrosa, of course, there’s Qué Bajo [in New York], there’s Cumbiasazo. They’re all over the place and it’s a good thing. It’s definitely spreading.

Cumbia is super popular [in Texas]... I want to try and bridge that gap between the regional sound and that deejay [sound]. there’s that void and that’s where it’s all headed. There’s always going to be bands and musicians, but there’s also always going to be deejays and electronic [music] performers. Especially now with technology. 

I want to find that sweet little [middle] spot.

—dusty (left) & Javier (Right)

What’re you working on now? What’s next for your creative endeavors? 

I’m going to play SXSW and there’s a lot of other gigs coming up. I’m going out to L.A. and do Calentura, which is another [similar] party that’s out there. I’m working on my album right now with a couple of artists who are trying to do cumbia and rap. 

Can you tell me more about the album you’re working on?

The album is called Made in Corpus and it’s got a bunch of features. Toy Selectah is all over that album, Camilo Lara, just did a song with Los Master Plus. I’m working with this guy Dj Blass, Happy Colors, MLKMN. It’s like a mixtape, but it’s made like an album

Damn, that’s a hell of a roster.

(Laughs) Yeah, it’s a good sound. I’m messing with more than just cumbia. I hope people like it. We’re definitely going to push our sound, the alternative Latino sound and I’m never going to get out of Hip hop either. So we’ll have a lot more of that coming up too. 

Any closing remarks?

I’m loving Chicago out here, but it’s cold. 

Maybe you should come back in the summer when it’s not snowing and freezing. (laughs)

Every time I come here it’s pretty fucking cold. I don’t know if I believe you. (laughs)

But yeah, stay tuned for all of this, I just bought a mini food truck and we’re going to do a deejay slash record store out of it. We plan on having multiple ones in different parts of the country. 

It’s good to be able to work with my friends and help promote them and they help promote me.

—Keep up with El Dusty and follow him on facebook and also check out this dope music video featuring Royal Highness.


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