When first meeting the young, up and coming music producer, Dansonn, you wouldn’t automatically think, “hip hop producer.” Yet, Dansonn has continued to inspire and create unique, original beats that he pulls from his love of classic hip hop and (twist) classical music.
Los Angeles native Dansonn grew up playing classical music and the cello. “I was classically trained in cello from the age of 7 and I stopped when I was 17 and that’s when I transitioned into music production.” Despite his classical upbringing, hip hop was always in the back of his mind. “Playing cello, I didn’t like the music I was playing, it just wasn’t as exciting for me because I was playing very traditional classical pieces. But rap has always been by far my favorite genre,” he said, citing some of his biggest influences as Nas and Mobb Deep. Dansonn tells us that both Nas and Mobb Deep played a huge part in his own personal sound, “mainly their drum work and how they structured it and the general vibe and atmosphere they created with their music. Those were my big initial inspirations starting out.” But he has not forgotten his classical roots. “The thing I like about classical music is the general type of sound, like the warmth of orchestral strings and my sound could be described with an influence by the classical side in terms of the instruments I use, but melody wise, I’m much more hip hop.” He throws in a third dimension of his sound by his love for film scores. “I grew up listening to John Williams, and watching a lot of movies like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., Jurassic Park, those are some of my favorites.” By incorporating the strong melodies from his classical background, his affinity for film scores and combining them with hard hitting drum beats, Dansonn has developed a sound all his own.
Having such a unique background is not the only thing setting Dansonn apart from the pack however. “What also makes me unique is I’ve never sampled before. Sampling is taking an already existing melody, chopping it up and making it your own. That’s something I never did, everything is completely original and it’s something I take a lot of pride in.” Developing his signature sound was not always easy though. Growing up in a conservative family, music production was not high on the priority list. Dansonn cultivated his passion in high school working on beats until the wee hours of the morning after his parents went sleep. “I would have to wait for them to go to sleep and produce until 4 in the morning then wake up for school at 7 in the morning, but my mindset was this is really something I want to do and I feel like if there is anything you really want to do you’ll make time for it regardless.” It has definitely paid off as Dansonn’s original sound caught the ear of more than a few big names including RZA from Wu Tang Clan and Dansonn’s own childhood hero MC Jin, who has long been known as a pioneer for Asian rappers. Dansonn worked with him on his upcoming comeback album, which will be his first American album in years. Dansonn described the experience for us. “Being with him in that studio session and hearing him freestyle, which is what he’s known for was really surreal for me from a musical perspective and a fan perspective and having watched him since I was like 8 years old was really cool.”
With so much success in such a short period of time - he only graduated college 7 months ago - the world is his oyster. Dansonn’s future is bright and he tells us he is “focusing on getting my music out to as many people as possible. I’m ready to embrace everything.” Watch out hip hop world, Dansonn is coming for you. But before that, 21 Questions…
Wine or beer?
London or New York?
Adidas or Nike?
Burger or taco?
Early bird or night owl?
Biggie or Tupac?
Words to live by?
How would you label your style?
What would you want as a super power?
Speak all languages.
Star Wars: Clone Wars.
Most recent trip?
Nor Cal, San Jose.
What are you doing this Friday night?
Watching the new Star Wars movie.
Best classic movie?
The Shawshank Redemption.
A city you've never been to but want to go?
Favorite article of clothing?
Beach or mountains?
If you weren't a music producer, what would be your dream job?
What is your favorite childhood memory?
I’m very Star Wars minded right now, but watching my first Star Wars movie in theaters.
Fireball or tequila?
By Mischa Teichgraeber