August 6, 2019
Tune-In Tuesdays #30: Music and More with DERYK G
DERYK G at his in-home studioSource: Panoptic Sounds
DERYK G. is an upcoming artist based out of the west side of Chicago who’s discography elegantly pulls elements from across various genres.
With his show coming up on Aug 10 and the upcoming release of his EP this fall, we spoke to DERYK G. over the phone to learn more about his work on Saturday.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your music?
I am a producer and music artist from the west side of Chicago. The type of music I produce is a fusion of hip hop, funk, and rock.
I’m also Mexican, which I try to include as much as I can – at least in my new music.
What first sparked your interest in music? When did you start creating your own songs?
My interest started my freshman year of high school. My friend had brought his guitar over and left it at my house.
I looked at it and I was like, “I’ll teach myself something, I guess,” ’cause I didn’t have much to do at the time. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos, taught myself how to play enough to play some songs.
I formed a band with some friends that year in high school. It eventually broke up during my junior year, but while I was in the band I was making a lot of beats and rap songs – which were pretty terrible.
I was doing it on the side to figure out what I liked. After my band broke up, I started making my own stuff and people liked it.
Who would you say are some of your biggest inspirations, personally, lyrically, and musically?
DERYK G.Source: DERYK G.
I had always listened to classic rock with my dad growing up. He’d play a lot of Led Zeppelin and Queen. Queen will always especially be my favorite band forever.
I heard a lot of funk and R&B growing up, too: Isley Brothers, D’Angelo, Kool and the Gang. A lot of really fun, weird music that also had R&B elements to it.
Right now, some of my favorite contemporary music comes from Omar Pablo and Still Woozy. They inspire me in this saturated musical era that we’re going through because their work reflects being themselves.
Lyrically, a lot of rap music. I’ve always been very introspective in my music and that’s where it comes from: Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Drake. They really inspire me lyrically.
Could you give us a glimpse into your songwriting process?
Honestly, I usually start with the music. I’ll make the beat or start with guitar, piano. It can come from anything.
I kinda mumble melodies in my mind and then I mouth them out. Eventually, the words’ll come out as I keep doing it.
I go with my gut. I never rewrite anything, I just say the first thing that’s on my mind, write it all down, work with that and structure it.
What it’s like to be in the studio with DERYK G? From start to finish, what is your production process?
I’ve only been in a real studio to reproduce a song I had already made. Most of my music is made at my house – in my attic, actually. I have all of my instruments; piano, electronic drums, guitar, everything plugged up to my speakers through my interface. I use Ableton.
Nowadays, I don’t really have much time to make music ’cause I’m in school, so I go with whatever I’m feeling.
Usually, I’ll have a chord or a melody I’ll go with. I might draw inspiration from one of my favorite songs at the time, too.
It’s kind of random. I make music when I’m in the mood to. I never go into my room like, “I NEED TO MAKE MUSIC!” – it’s whenever I feel inspired.
Whoever’s in the room also impacts the track. If I invite people over to make music with me, they usually carry whatever I’m doing.
It’s a long process.
What do you find most rewarding about being a musician?
DERYK G. performing liveSource: DERYK G.
Doing shows is super rewarding.
I think that’s the most rewarding part. Making music so people can relate to it. When people are able to connect to what you’re saying or your energy, that’s crazy.
I could just be in my room dancing, then play it live for people and they start dancing, too. That’s crazy to me and I love that so much.
Speaking of which, you have a show coming up on August 10 in your hometown of Chicago. What tracks can fans look forward to hearing at your upcoming show?
I’m going to perform a lot of my older songs off of my EP from last summer, “SUNNY.”
I’m going to play a lot of new stuff from my next EP and songs I’ve put out recently, too.
I’ll be performing with a live band for the first time, which is really exciting. They’re a bunch of friends I’ve made over the years who play instruments that I’ve worked with. I can’t wait for that.
After your show on the 10th, what’s next for DERYK G? Do you have any more tour dates coming up or any new songs in the works?
Around September I’ll have the new EP out. It’s pretty much done, so I’m getting ready to release it.
I want to move on from that because I’m done with that era in my life. I want to start fresh and make something new, more developed from what I’m releasing on that EP.
I’m going back to school this fall – I don’t live in Chicago right now because of college, so I’ll be doing most of my music and performing around there.
What are you studying?
I’m studying Industrial Engineering, which is not at all music.
I feel if I study music, I’ll treat it like a job. I don’t ever want to treat music like I need to learn everything about it. I want to strictly treat it like a hobby I can do to free me from school, work.
With Industrial Engineering, I’ll be working a lot with marketing and helping businesses become more successful. I’ve always been into that field of work, and I could do that with music. I could find my niche with engineering and music, working on the business side of an artist or musical corporation.
What is your biggest goal, personally and musically? What impact do you hope to have on your listeners through your work?
My biggest goal is to be heard. I want to find my way into people’s playlists.
I also want people to be able to relate to what I say. I feel like a lot of what I say in my music isn’t really covered in a lot of the music I listen to, especially with funk music.
I try to make my lyrics very introspective and something others can understand. I’ve always wanted to be heard without having to speak because I’m terrible at talking.
I want my work to be timeless and relatable.
Is it ever difficult for you to open up in your lyrics? Have you ever had a really bad case of writer’s block?
Whenever I finish a project or group of songs that fit a similar vibe, I do go through a writer’s block. I know after I put out this EP I’ll probably hit a huge writer’s block.
Whatever I say in those songs reflects what I was going through at that time, but now it’s a different time.
I’m just looking forward to finding a new type of sound I can fill myself into.
I never have trouble being open in my lyrics because I’m very open; I’m never hiding anything [laughs].
There are things I’m not going to say in my music, but the stuff I feel is important to say I will, and I never have a tough time with that.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians out there looking to dip their toes in the industry?
I’ve only been doing music for a few years and I think it’s a weird process that every musician goes through to make into a career.
The most important thing is to be yourself and tackle your main goals, musically. That was my problem when I first started: I was making rap music when I didn’t really want to rap, I just did it because I didn’t know how to sing.
Even now, I don’t know how to sing as well, but at least I’m trying. I’m trying to find how I can at least sound “okay.” I definitely sound better than last year and it’ll only continue to get better from here on out.
That’s the mindset. You’ve got to be bold in your goals and trying to accomplish them, not to worry about being heard or not. Don’t let that get to you, which was another big thing for me.
There’s this stigma that once you start making music, you have to make it big. We need to look at music as an art and not the commercial thing it is, currently.
“Himalaya” by DERYK G. coverSource: DERYK G.
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