From Scratch: A Interview with DannyV (Interviews)

I sat down to speak with upcoming producer DannyV (proddannyv) on July 24th, 2020 to ask the underlying questions on his music, persona and what PS2 games are the best. While writing this post I was listening to “From Scratch Season 1” by DannyV which is avaibale on SoundCloud. Hit the button below to listen, enjoy the rest of the post, huge shoutout to Angel Diaz (angel.shot) who’s photos are used in our write up.

Anthony – Alright brother let’s start off with your name, who are you?

DannyV – My is Danny Vargas but I go by DannyV. I’m a producer/engineer from Watsonville, California, small town not to far from Santa Cruz, California.

Captured by Angel Diaz (angel.shot)

Anthony – DannyV, so tell me brother why the DJ and not the rapper?

DannyV – Coming up I felt like there were already a lot of rappers in my town trying to do this whole rap thing but there was already a stigma on it. The sound that was coming out was like gangster rap or it was just corny. I felt like had I started with trying to rap people wouldn’t have taken me as serious. On top of that as a music listener I always had more of a connection with the beat more than the lyrics. I felt like my voice was not really meant to be heard on the mic. My mentality on that has changed though because I ended up buying a mic to record for people and in the process i started to mess around on the mic and I genuinely think it doesn’t sound bad. I’ve been dabbing a bit into recording and I think if i followed through with it people would actaully like it considering they know I’m actually serious about this music stuff and not just doing it when I have time.

Anthony – Nice nice, I myself had that same issue at first with recording my own voice, production is where I see a lot of untapped value in music since beats now a days are what make or break the song.

DannyV – Yea exactly that’s generally the first thing the listener hears when they listen to music!

Anthony – Speaking of beats brother let’s cut to the chase, tell me about “From Scratch Season 1.”

“From Scratch Season 1” album cover

DannyV – Basically from scratch all started from this idea I had 3 years ago where I would just record myself making beats on the spot. I’m not gonna say that I had this idea before Kenny Beats the Cave or anything like that because it’s not that crazy of an idea but its definitely something I wanted to do but couldn’t execute it properly in the past because of lack of equipment. The show was really made possible when I brought over my friend Angel Diaz who is a very well know and respected videographer/photographer in my city. He came through with GoPros and cameras and we shot the first episode in my room. The concept of the show was to sample classic tracks and flip them into a beat. After shooting the episode we thought it would be a good idea to invite other producers from the area. In doing this we could represent the hidden talent my town holds. When COVID hit, I found it as a way to keep me busy and just invite over 1 to 2 people every week to record an episode and then I would literally spend full days just editing the videos on my own on Adobe Premiere. The guest list consisted of Baez a producer also from Watsonville, UXTXM (uxtxm) a producer from Prundale, CA bout 15 minutes away from Watsonville. Still Searching (prodbystillsearching) is a producer from Pensacola Florida, and Diz (dizmusic) a rapper from Manteca California. I already have a good amount of people lined up for the second season, I want to evenly bring out people from my town and also from all over state and country if possible. I may make it into a little interviewing show where i can actually introduce these producers and artists to the audience versus them just coming in and making a beat.

Anthony – That’s a dope concept, helps bring out the creativity in the area while doing a Master P by helping put on others to your fans.

DannyV – Yeah haha that’s essentially the concept with that.

Anthony – So tell me more about your production. I’ve listen to the album a few times to which I can see the sampling, it sorta has a 00’s vibe mixed with a bit of G-Funk or Bay Area rap.

DannyV – As a producer I think its my responsibility to stay conscious about all the kinds of genres out there. I don’t want to stick to one specific sound I want to be able to create anything the artist I’m working with wants to create. So my sound really varies but I would definitely say my strong suit is making chopped samples like Alchemist or J Dilla type stuff or like trap stuff like Metro Boomin or Young chop. I’d say a producer that is definitely a big inspiration on me is like Hit Boy or Boi 1nda they definitely have sounds across the the map and I aspire to be like them. Being versatile is important when you want to remain relevant no matter what kind of music is popular at the time. Having a big family was always the reason I could go from listening to like Spanish rock, or classical music, or bay area rap, or New York classic sounds, I’ll forever be thankful for that I also always try to keep an open mind when people recommend me new music.

Anthony – Dope man, I like that, let me ask you what sorta equipment do you use brother?

Captured by Angel Diaz (angel.shot)

DannyV – It all started with my Casio WK-6500, it’s a piano keyboard my dad bought my like my sophomore year of high school. From there I really just had to work hella jobs just to save up and get what I have now which is like your average home studio equipment. The KrK rockit 5, the 2i2 audio interface and the AT2020 mic, for software I use FL Studio. You really can’t go wrong with those main things if you know how to properly mix your vocals and music you could definitely make some good sounding stuff. Originally I made beats on garage band but I had to stop the interface and loops were bad, but you gotta start somewhere right lol. The keyboard was a big role of beat making for me. I made myself learn how to play piano before I even started making beats so fundamental stuff is just second nature at this point.

Anthony – Shit true man, I truly feel that. Still though the setup sounds good. Now what would be your favorite type of instrument to use for beat making.

DannyV – I lovee using piano you will literally find a bit of that in every one of my songs if not that just like gliding synthesizers. I’m gonna be experimenting with some guitar stuff soon maybe just get some solid chord recording or riffs that i can chop up and make beats too. Now that I have a mic it’s possible to get good recording it wasn’t too long I had to drive out to peoples studios just to record stuff its good to have this now because I don’t have to rely on anyone to get something done. I’m very hands on when it comes to the editing and hardware process of things.

Anthony – Seems like it man, what about samples, since your From Scratch used them what to your opinion defines a good sample?

DannyV – Honestly I used to love sampling classic stuff like you can never go wrong with soul samples from 69′ to 75′ a lot of the popular songs from Kendrick or Kanye whoever you knows samples a lot from that era. but long ago I found out you can literally sample anything I’ve sampled commercials, TV shows, symphonies a good sample can come from literally anywhere. The cool thing is that you as the beat maker can define how it goes. it could sound awful as the original but once you add filters and EQ things its a completely different sound almost unrecognizable. Soul samples are played out, crate digging is really the way to go you find original stuff that nobody has used before. My mom has put me on to a lot of Spanish records that I’ve sampled and someone who doesn’t listen to Spanish music would miss out because they’re to busy taking stuff from YouTube which has already probably been used by like 300 other producers.

Anthony – That’s dope man, out here real in tune with the music. So tell me, where do you see your music in 5?

DannyV – Thank you man I really tried to be In in five years I see myself collaborating with big name artists being happy With what I do as well as making good money off of my passion stay consistent through those five years And never forget what it took for me to get the that point. These are great questions man I’m not gonna lie lol.

Anthony – Thank you brother, I try haha. So let me ask as well, what is the importance of family in both your personal life but also in your musical career.

Captured by Angel Diaz (angel.shot)

DannyV – Your family helps you stay grounded they are your main supporters and are there for you when nobody else is there for you family Is not only about my brother and sisters but also my friends because my friends are my family when they show support it keeps me motivated I want to be able to uplift them with my achievements and one day take care of them as they did for me they always remind me how far I’ve come and always give me constructive criticism. Without them I would have never been exposed to all the music I know today. For that reasons songs always bring me comfort or remind me of someone in my family who showed can these songs.

Anthony – Speaking of criticism have you heard any about your music? If so what has it been?

DannyV – Yea it was like one time ago this guy told me this beat was trash lol but I don’t take it to heart just more of a reason to go harder and prove anyone that doubts wrong a lot of the times people in my hometown show love to what I’m doing and when my friends criticize my beats I don’t get mad I try to see what they mean and correct it there’s always room for improvement criticism is just part of becoming a better version of yourself whether it’s good or bad.

Anthony – That’s dope, I’ve seen artist who are close minded that get aggressive about criticism, so great to hear you’re open too it. Now let me ask you this, you ever play PlayStation 2?

DannyV – Yea you can’t get mad how do they expect to get better like that! Haha of course that was my first personal console used to love playing GTA and Midnight club on that shit.

Anthony – Let me ask man, NBA Street or NFL Street?

DannyV – NBA Street all day I’m more of a basketball guy honestly.

Anthony – Yeah, who’s your starting 3 for Street?

DannyV – I think it was Dr. J and Jordan and this one white character I can’t remember who it was, Larry Bird!

Anthony – Ay lol, great lineup. So what artist do you wish to collaborate with man?

DannyV – Damnnn it’s a long ass list but off tops probably Tyler, the Creator, Kevin Parker, lead singer of Tame Impala and probably Frank Ocean!Producers would be Hit-Boy, boi1da and Frank Dukes, oh and of course 40, drakes producer!!!

Anthony – You ever gone to Camp Flog Gnaw?

DannyV – Nahhh I’ve never been to a festival I feel like I’d be overwhelmed with all the people or something I’m a bigger fan of personal more smaller venues nothing crazy like that but I feel like I have to go one time. Have you?

Anthony – Man, i got my experience at Camp Flog Gnaw 2018 tatted on me. I had a midlife crisis, left my new job to go to LA for 4 days and still became a assistant manager at my job. Best choice ever. Have you yourself ever held a concert for yourself?

DannyV – Damnnn that’s so dope once shit opens back up I’ll most definitely go or if not I’ll be on the line up one day hahah. That’s crazy that sounds like a good as week! Nahhh but I’ve been wanting to I feel like I’m slowly getting more of a following I got more off a following on Twitter, I think I could probably throw one and people would show up my boy who’s in a band is throwing one he wants me to do a DJ Set I never done that but I’m down to get my foot in the door like that. We’ll see how things go with these new tracks I’m recording I got connecting with club promoters out here before everything closed by boy Diz was gonna get me a set at a club. By the time things open I’ll definitely have more of a catalog for me to perform, I’m a little scared but I think I got it, performing live would definitely be new territory for me.

Anthony – I think you’ll do great. Tell me what’s the next drop for DannyV.

DannyV – Thank you man :). I got a lot in the works right now. Within a couple of days I’ll be dropping this cover I did with my friend Joshuaa I’m in the Keys and he’s signing a cover to a Lana Del Rey song I’m also editing the full video as well I know people will love that when it drops and for myself I’m gonna be developing my first official album/tape titled “V” it’s a play on my Name DannyV as well as the Roman number 5 sinner this would be my 5 project I’ve worked on it’s gonna be like a love letter to my hometown in a non corny and just me exploring myself as a recording artists versus the producer side of me I’ve already laid down a couple of tracks but marketing is gonna be a big thing for people to really see this transition and for them to see what I’m really about. I got a lot of my friend producers on it and the tracks are already sounding amazing definitely a bit of a curve-ball for those who already listen my music definitely trying to elevate that sound and bring something new to the table versus it just being a beat by itself because people don’t really go out of there way to listen to beats, they want vocals with it too but I don’t blame them. On top of the potentially From Scratch Season 2 and maybe my last beat tape as a producer I’ve put out enough free beats for people to know what I’m about it’s time to actually sell them and really work with more artists. It’s all in the works just got to execute it now.

Captured by Angel Diaz (angel.shot)

Anthony – That’s dope brothers. So how can readers here help support a beat maker like yourself?

DannyV – All my beats are on SoundCloud right now literally everything I’ve made from when I first started are on there. They can stream that or subscribe on YouTube where they can watch all the episodes of from Scratch and or just show some love and shoot a follow on IG or Twitter which is @proddannv for all of them. Lastly is just tell a friend about me I think that’s the hardest one a lot of people like an artists or producers and keep it to themselves which is counter intuitive because then that artist can’t eat and grow.

Anthony – Perfect man, hopefully we can get more view too you and your music. Any final words you’d like to leave too all the readers?

DannyV – I would just want to thank whoever took the time to read this article and if they are supporters then I appreciate them always. And to anyone who’s reading to continue chasing their goals and don’t stop even when people are doubting you hard work and dedication will get you to wherever you want to be don’t let the negativity and darkness get in the way of that.

Anthony – Perfect brother thank you for taking the time to talk. Glad we got to connect a bit, we’ll be looking forward to more my man.

DannyV – Most definitely thank you for even doing the interview I really appreciate.

Make sure to show DannyV some love, as I said before he has a full beats tape out available on SoundCloud to listen to which would help out a ton. Also show some love to Angel Diaz for his photography which brought out article to life, I am The Musical Hippie and thank you for reading.

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