Excusive InterviEw with Danny Hughes (DCPA)
Danny Hughes (DCPA) is an electronic music producer and DJ from Aledo, Texas. His story began like many musicians’ growing up. Born into a family of musicians, he learned to play the piano, trumpet, guitar, and work with production software in academic music programs as a kid. Danny built a solid foundation in the craft, but eventually pursued an accounting degree in college while at Texas Tech. After graduating in 2011, he worked as a CPA for 9 years in Dallas. Electronic music grew exponentially in the US during this time, prompting him to re-visit his place in the music world. Building an artist career was not easy with a full-time corporate job, but his varied background in business and music allowed him to quickly navigate the modern music industry and connect with those who believed in him, including a production team at Nimble Agency all the way from Amsterdam. From 2016-2020 Danny allocated most of his free time to building his artist career as DCPA, distributed over twenty tracks with Symphonic, travelled the world to attend major festivals, and in 2020 he made the decision to go full time into the music business.
What is shaking up the music industry right now that is getting you excited?
Currently it’s the emergence of Web3.0, which will turn the internet into a decentralized, blockchain structure. Right now, the internet is a centralized system controlled by just a few large tech companies. It’s become a costly environment for artists. Artists are too often ‘renting’ exposure on the network. On the streaming and performance side, data flow is inefficient, so musicians are getting paid royalties months in arrears. Artists have almost unlimited potential for building a direct ecosystem around our music, one that we truly control 100%. Musicians are creating their own crypto tokens and NFT’s as a way of letting fans participate directly in their career. These tokens and NFT’s have virtually limitless use-cases. Much of the content you buy from an artist as an NFT could be thought of as an investment. Imagine buying 1 of only 100 exclusive copies of a song for let’s say $50, and in turn the artist giving you 1% on that song’s royalties for life? The artist is paid instantly too. These revenue streams are exciting to me.
How are you shaking up the industry with what YOU have going on?
I’ve always believed that the commercial music industry stifles creativity. From that standpoint, you see a complete saturation of concepts in music, similar branding, and it’s easy to feel underappreciated or misunderstood when you take risks. Nevertheless, I’m fearless in my approach to producing music. I’ll make whatever is in my heart. Sure, I’ll fit in the core elements that a good track needs to stand a chance against the big names, as my goal is to reach lots of people, but I still intend to deliver a unique listening experience. I refuse to become recyclable as an artist and intend to deliver to the core fans.
What comes with a price when you’re chasing your dreams?
You must embrace uncertainty when going after your dreams and accept that you’ll frequently go to sleep unsatisfied. However, that becomes a battle that you want to fight and win every day – it ultimately brings out your best side. There are very few systems in place which allow you to convert your natural creative flow into a steady day job. Pursuing steady employment at a company for finance, marketing, law, medical etc., comes with guarantees and security, and even some blissful experiences along the way; but you’re fighting someone else’s battles. That’s a high price to pay in life if you were born an artist. When I used to work simultaneously as both an accountant and a musician, for several years it felt that I had the best of both worlds. I spent time making money all day, and I could be creative at night. That came with its own share of mental and physical sacrifice though – living a dual life was tough.
What is a new dream that has sparked your interest that you want to start pursuing?
My dream for DCPA is to have an ecosystem built from the ground up, a core fanbase of people willing to invest in my career, beyond just streaming my music. When I tell people the reality of what I get paid in streaming royalties or downloads, they’re usually shocked. People want to support you and it’s important to create a unique platform for that. The emergence of decentralized artist content distribution is very interesting to me. I guess I could talk about crypto and NFT’s all day, I believe those are foundational to the future of music. I launched my own phone app via Fenix360, which is Free to download on iOS/Android at https://dcpa.fenix.band. Soon I’ll be able to offer exclusive NFT content and can even host live streams right from the app! I’m also active on Audius, another decentralized streaming service.
Consistency is key. What else is the key to your success when you want to start something new?
You must block out negativity whether it stems from self-doubt or outside influence. Most people don’t take big risks, so taking a leap of faith will most likely feel unnatural or discouraged. It’s important to envision yourself in the future. Did you go for it? Maybe you’re wildly successful at that new venture and it becomes your life’s work; or you walk away from it and are satisfied that you gave it a shot. The last thing you want is the regret of not trying something. Focus on the “why” behind everything you do.
Aside from professionally, how are you doing personally? Any new updates you want to share with your fans?
I’m doing very well and thank you for asking! Fans can expect a lot of new original music from me this year, as I shift my focus back into the studio after playing over 50 shows in 2021. I’ll be spending a lot of time back home with my family this year. Our house is a great environment for relaxation and creativity.
Do you compare yourself ever when you look at your peers whether it’s professionally or personally?
Open-mindedness and adaptability are important to me. Whether in my prior accounting career, or currently in the music world, there have always been characteristics of successful peers that I try to emulate. Not too long ago, I dreamt big of touring the world and headlining festivals alongside my favorite DJ’s. Lately, I’ve challenged whether I want more of my time to be in the studio vs performing. I’m really impressed by those artists who balance home life with all the above.
2022 is just beginning! Excited or exhausted already?
Can’t believe we are in February, even just working in the studio and around the house I feel like something is always undone. I’m excited about the results of all this hard work and reminding myself that I’m the one in control.
Who or what is helping you keep the peace with yourself?
Honestly, I receive an almost overwhelming amount of encouragement each day. I’m lucky to have kept up so many close relationships – people I’ve known for decades who genuinely care about my well-being. Sometimes when I’m operating at a low frequency, I just ask myself – how many people get this far and achieve what you have done? I can only feel proud but also grateful at the end of the day for my existential achievements. Dog therapy is great too, my lab Tipsy has been with me through a lot and brings her peaceful spirit.
How do we keep up with you?
- Apple Music
End of Interview