D.A.M.B. talks production, birthday songs and ‘That Tessa Track’ EP

D.A.M.B
Written by Sean Little //

D.A.M.B., aka Shaun Slaughter and aka Leron Hubbard, is a producer from Sacramento, Calif., who I had the privilege to perform with recently. His style brings heat to the party, and his production is pushing a lot of boundaries with interesting samples and deep bass.

He’s signed to Tracey Recordings, Le Heat and No Brainer and can be found blowing up parties with Lights Down Low, Heater House of Bass every second Friday at Townhouse and Whip on every fourth Friday at Townhouse.

Showbams sat down with Slaughter to learn a bit more about him as a DJ/producer and how he’s evolved as both. We also spoke a bit about his brand-new That Tessa Track EP.


Showbams: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. You both DJ and produce tracks, what came first? How did you get into each?

Slaughter: DJing came first. I started in ’98, mostly house music and from there I started making unsolicited edits, extended players, remixes in 2005 and eventually my old DJ partner bought me a decent midi controller and basically said “Dude, GO MAKE YOUR OWN SHIT!” From there I started making tracks and sending them to pals to criticize and give feedback ‘til I got it right. I sent my second attempt “Waiting” to my pal Larry Tee and he was WAY stoked on it, and he talked to Alexander Technique at DANR Records and got it signed. Sinden featured it on some Mag Mix CD and shit started rolling. Definitely was validation enough to keep at it.

Showbams: Being both a DJ and a producer, how do you feel that each affects the other? Do you produce songs with the crowd in mind hoping for a specific reaction, or do you use DJ sets as inspiration to go back and produce a track that you feel captures the vibe of the crowds you’re used to playing for?

Slaughter: I have a really weird process of writing music. I never come into a project with too much in mind. I usually just start building drums and find some random samples to use, and then I see where it goes. It’s kind of awesome creatively because it’s SO random, but incredibly hard when trying to build your sound and signature as a producer. I’d imagine my tracks are a pretty great example of how my brain works, hahaha, but yeah, I mean, I DJ house nights, and I will probably keep the D.A.M.B. stuff in that general arena.

D.A.M.B

Showbams: How did you get started in the DJ/production world, and what’s it been like to grow as an artist and producer at a time when it seems that so much is happening so quickly (personal production pace, other producers emerging, new genres popping up) in the scene?

Slaughter: I lived with a girl for a bit who was a trance DJ and had turntables at her place. I’d wake up and fuck around with them when she left for work, which is how the ball started rolling. Eventually I got the bug to throw parties AND DJ them….mostly all the French touch stuff that was really blowing up late 90s. Fast forward a few years and here we are today.

It’s been a pretty rad experience so far. I’m incredibly impatient, so honestly, things don’t really feel like they’re moving fast. The whole process of writing, mastering, label shit etc. has taught me patience for sure. In terms of how the production etc. is evolving as a whole, I guess it’s pretty amazing that any young producer with a laptop can sit down and hash out a track in the matter of hours without a huge, elaborate studio. In regards to new genres, most of that shit is kind of annoying honestly. So many kids are flipping styles SO much. Moombahton one day, trap the next day, deep house, then tech house then etc. etc. etc. I guess it all just seems so fleeting so I try and ignore it.

D.A.M.B.

Showbams: You just dropped That Tessa Track EP, and I really dig a lot of the songs and sounds (even sneakers squeaking on a basketball court in March Madness) you used. It’s minimal, but has a unique style to it that I can definitely see blowing it up during a live mix. What track from it means the most to you, and which do you see getting the biggest/best response from crowds?

Slaughter: I definitely like March Madness the best. The samples worked out really well together. That Tessa Track came from a jokey booty-bass song I made for my pal Tessa’s birthday, but I ended up liking the drums so much I filled it out and shopped it around. The original song had a really embarrassing sample of me saying, “Tessa, its yer birthday” over and over on it. The track that does the best out for me is “Train Hopping”. It’s just a solid builder and sort of a gimmicky break (sounds like the soundtrack to Abyss) people seem to lose it the most to that one.

Showbams: When creating That Tessa Track EP what other producers or genres did you look to for inspiration? What was the creative process like for this EP?

Slaughter: Dirty Bird. They are like fucking scientists of bass. I do not get it! My creative process is as follows: Pot, Soda, Wasabi Party Mix, Repeat.

Showbams: What are you most excited about right now in dance music, whether it’s producers, genres or emerging scenes?

I really like the Dirty Bird stuff house-wise, but for me right now, Zombie Nation is genius production wise, like mind-blowing jams off his new record.

Showbams: What are your top five tracks right now?

Zombie Nation: “Level”
Ejeca: “Riddim”
Amtrac: “Metro”
Super Flu & Andhim: “Scuzzlebutt”
Dabin: “Awakening (Kwikfiks Remix)”

Showbams: What’s up next for D.A.M.B., both on the performance and production fronts?

Slaughter: I have the Alicia EP out on Tracey Recording in March and a new EP from my other project, Leron Hubbard, on Teenage Riot on February 12th. Performance-wise, I’m working on doing a really elaborate visual show to go with my set at a club here in Sacramento. Something more like an art installation and something more engrossing than watching me press play on CDJS

Check out D.A.M.B.’s new Tessa Track Promo Mix and his That Tessa Track EP preview here. You can also check out his Facebook for updates and show schedules.

Light Down Low hosts Gigamesh, D.A.M.B, Josh Kemp & Split at Monarch

Gigamesh at Monarch

Lights Down Low took over the basement of Monarch on Friday, Dec 7th to host Gigamesh and throw one hell of a dance party. The night got started with yours truly, and I had a great time playing on one of the premier sound systems in North America, something that sounds like an exaggeration but isn’t at all. The Void Acoustics set up was recently voted the 7th best sound system in the U.S. by Beatport. This fact was on full display through the night, as everything hit heavy on the lows and clear on the mids and highs.

It was amazing to be able to play on such a high quality system and hear the difference between it and standard club systems. If you get the chance to see a show at Monarch, do it. You’ll be impressed. I worked in a lot of personal favorites for my set, including a few that made my top 10 list for the year, such as “Bicep’s Vision of Love” and “Waze & Oddysey – Love That (Burns Hot Enough).” The crowd was really receptive and the light show set a great tone and vibe for people as they trickled in. Most of my pictures from that night make it look like I’m in a neon jacuzzi/aquarium, which is obviously something anyone should aspire to be in. By the end of my set at 11 the dance floor had filled out nicely.

Split

Josh Kemp stepped on and started dropping some choice deep house cuts. I’m pretty sure his first track was Nick Monaco & “Kill Frenzy – This1That1,” but don’t hold me to that. He set up a groove right off the bat and kept building it up for the crowd til the dance floor was packed to capacity by about 11:30. I was able to talk to Josh for a bit, and he’s a really nice guy and great DJ who was out from Florida to play the show.

Up next came D.A.M.B., who hails from Sacramento. The vibe got kicked up a notch, and my drinking pace picked up the pace to match what he was laying down. His set was really solid and had the crowd dancing front to back. D.A.M.B also dropped some of his own tracks, a lot of which you can listen to here. I didn’t get the chance to talk to him, but I definitely enjoyed his set and want to check him out again.

Monarch

Gigamesh was up after D.A.M.B. and immediately came in with his own remix for “Punks Jump Up” from Mr. Overtime. Gigamesh has a signature sound with lots of sequencer samples that set a disco/French house vibe that is always infectious. By this point though I was having too good a time. The whole crowd was into it, and everyone was there to just let loose and have a good time. Gigamesh kept up the pace for a while before D.A.M.B. stepped back up to the decks and took over til about 3.

I wound up leaving around 2:15 or so and went home before I could do anymore harm to myself or my wallet. It’s always tough for me to really make comments on a DJ’s individual set because the better they do, the more you don’t notice the technical aspects and just enjoy yourself and dance.

Personally I feel that the party as a whole is a better indicator of how the DJ does and how the show went. That being said the whole night flowed together really effortlessly, and it couldn’t be a better testament for Lights Down Low and the parties they throw. Corey and Richie always throw a stellar party with the best acts that come through the City. Next time you want a guaranteed good time without the hassle and bullshit of the normal club scene. In the end this was one of my favorite shows to play, and by far it was the best sound system I’ve ever had the privilege to play on.