Diskull is a fast-rising artist that you need to keep your ears peeled for. Stacking up impressive releases, Diskull has put out music on tastemaker labels like Noir Sur Blanc, Brooklyn Fire, and House of Hustle and has quickly earned his talent and trademark sound recognition. The Charlotte local has proved that his skills go beyond production and that he can rock any dance floor. Diskull runs Groovy Bone Records where he is quickly establishing his tastemaker status in the underground. Groovy Bone Records thrives on the community and the underground. I had the pleasure of speaking with Diskull about getting a track signed by Dirtybird, what it’s like to get a release to #1 on Beatport, and what goes into scoping out talent for his record label.
Hey guys, this is Becca from Fresh Music Freaks and I’m here with Diskull, how are you today?
I’m doing good! How are you?
I am doing good as well. So, with all due respect let’s address kind of the elephant in the room. It’s sort of impossible to act like it’s all not happening. Let’s talk about COVID-19, as a human being and also as an artist who’s working to continue to establish themself, how has the virus and it’s ripple effects impacted you?
Luckily, I really can’t complain too much. I know a lot of people that have really been going through it. I’m lucky enough to still have my day job and that’s obviously keeping me afloat financially. I know that’s not the same for everybody else in the industry and my heart goes out to them and I know a lot of people who are scraping to get by. It’s affected a lot of my friends personally and the people that I know. I also do events outside of producing and DJing for other people, I do my own events here in Charlotte, NC and we’ve obviously had to stop all of that. It sucked, not only not being able to play and not organize anything, it definitely sucks. I don’t really know how to feel about it being in the South because we’re kind of starting to reopen so it’s a little scary. I don’t really know how to feel about it…I’m also excited but I’m also not a health expert so I don’t really know how to feel about it. We’ll see, right?
Right, I’m right there with you. That’s awesome though that you’re just going through it and keeping on. So, in March you and JYNX were featured together on the Dirtybird Miami 2020 Compilation, that’s really epic. How did that all come together?
So, I got an email from JYNX to the Groovy Bone demo email back in like the fall of 2019 and he sent me a couple of tracks I really liked so I signed them. I was playing them out a bunch and everybody seemed to like them, and I was just like “Yo dude, I would love to make something with you.” So he sent me an idea that he had, it was about 30 seconds or whatever. He had this really dope synth, the main lead pluck and I loved that so I just kind of took that and ran. My favorite part of the track, which is like the wonky horn thing that I made, was a complete accident so the way that it all came together was really cool. We were originally not going to sign that to Dirtybird, well we hadn’t gotten asked by Dirtybird yet to sign it to them, we were going to sign it to another label NV’D Records. I literally sent it off to get mastered by NV’D and then as soon as I sent it off Dirtybird emailed me and I was like “Shit…Korey is going to hate me.” Korey owns NV’D. I hit him up like “Dude, Dirtybird just hit me up they want the track…” and he was like “Go for it.” He’s a good friend of mine and I was really appreciative that he wasn’t like “No, the track’s mine.” It was kind of one of those once in a lifetime things, where I’m like this is something that’s career-changing and I was happy that everything went so smoothly.
Definitely, have you had the opportunity to connect with or work with Claude VonStroke yet?
No, I wish! I was like waiting for him to maybe play our track or something but I don’t know maybe it’s a little too wonky for him. He signed it, I mean maybe he likes it I guess.
Groovy Bone, that’s the record label you started, correct?
You guys very recently put out Bones To Pick Volume 1, the first of a series, and it hit #1 on the Beatport top 100 Tech House releases. What was it like to watch all of that hard work be received with so much support?
Man, it was unbelievable. It’s like my baby, you know? I was always–I’m a perfectionist to a degree and I was really hoping for success to at least chart. I wasn’t expecting number one or anything but to get into the top 100 or something like that within the first year that we were putting out music and that didn’t happen. So, I took a break and I really tried to kind of rebrand and get a little bit more strategy behind how our releases were put out. Took some time off then put together Bones To Pick and we had some great music, shout out to all the artists on that. It was a lot of just love and support from friends. I was just reaching out to a lot of my friends like “Hey, I really wanna chart, do you mind buying a copy?” Or “I’ll go half and half on it with you,” stuff like that. The response that I got back was just amazing, with people wanting to support. Every day, we went from like–I think whenever we first debuted it was like 37 or 38 and that was amazing to me. Then the next day we were at like 17, and then we hit #1 within a week and we stayed at #1 for almost a week. It was really, really cool.
That’s awesome, I heard there’s already a volume 2 in the works?
Yeah, so Volume 2 is out as well. It did pretty well. Beatport and my distributor kind of had some issues on that so it came out a little earlier than I wanted it to, I wanted to space them out a bit more. But it still did pretty well.
Well, that’s good to hear! So, Groovy Bone, this is your baby. What is your vision for the future of Groovy Bone?
Well, I think the best thing about it is just showcasing artists that I really like, working with them and giving them a platform. I would love to do more events with Groovy Bone once everything settles down with the virus and do more takeovers, do more festival stuff. I would love to fly the Groovy Bone artists–we have a lot of artists in Canada for some reason. Canadians love me or Groovy Bone, I don’t know why but I’m totally okay with it because they make frickin’ amazing music and they’re really cool. So, shout out to all my Canadians out there.
Shout out to the Canadians!
Yeah, they’re really cool people. I would love to, not only just Canadians but other Groovy Bone artists in other places of the country, fly them out to shows eventually. Honestly, just even being able to pay an artist would be great. So hopefully with the Groovy Bone 1, we’ll see some royalties come in and I’ll be able to pay some guys.
You said usually it’s friends. So, when you find artists outside of your friend group what really do you go by? Do people send you music? Is it usually referrals? What do you look for when you look for new music or new artists?
I guess there’s two parts to that. A lot of times they find me and I’ve never even heard of these guys before. They send dope tracks and I’m like :Wow, this is good.” So I check them out, look at their discography of the labels they’ve released on and I’m kind of surprised, I’m like “Wow, how have I not heard of this person before?” Sometimes it’s just friends of friends, it’s just a community. A lot of the underground guys who are struggling to get on these bigger labels, they’re looking for somebody to help support them and get their music in front of more eyes. So I think they’re out there looking for labels that are on the come up that are a little easier to get on but are still very quality.
The second part of that would be what kind of music do I like or what I’m looking for is just…I guess people think that because I do play some Bass House in my sets they think that I want to sign that and that’s not necessarily true. I try to keep Groovy Bone a little bit more towards the Tech House side but also really gritty Tech House, not your I don’t know generic crap but the weirder stuff. I also like stuff with melodies too, if it’s got a dope melody, dope bassline, mixed well, and composed well I’m all about it.
Definitely. So, Bones To Pick Volume 2 just came out, what other releases are coming up on Groovy Bone that we should keep an eye out for?
The next one is an EP, so we did two of those compilations for Bones To Pick. It’s going to be an EP for Willy B. who is also from Canada. Shout out my Canadians once more! It’s called the Throw It Down EP. It’s got two tracks on it that are really good, I think they’re probably our best tracks that we’ve ever had. He just had a release on Lucati and Dateless’ label, Kolme Records, and it’s really good but to be honest, I think the tracks he gave us are way better so I’m really excited. After that, I think we might be doing another compilation.
Nice! So, I’m curious as to what Diskull means and how you came up with that. What can you share about that?
Yeah, for sure. I went by Tye Dye. My name is Tyler Davidson, my real name, and I went by Tye Dye for like the longest time. I used to rap and stuff and it was like a part of me that I kind of wanted to leave in the past and make something new that spoke more to the brand that I wanted to put out there. If people know me they know that I can be serious and I’m a hard worker but I kind of like, I don’t know, weird… I’m kind of into Metal and darker stuff but I’m also really fun and lighthearted. I wanted to bring both of those styles together. It took me like…there was like two or three months of me just like, “Dude, what am I going to do? I gotta figure out a name.” Nothing really stuck and I was just looking for imagery, I was Google searching late one night and I don’t even remember what I Google searched. It was like groovy, dark, or something stupid like a skeleton or something like that. I saw this picture of a skull with like ‘80s gear on and I was like, “That’s pretty cool.” Then I was like “disco..skull…Diskull, that’s a really cool name,” I thought. Normally how things like this work is like I come up with an idea and I’m like, “Okay I’ll wait on it and see if it sticks.” So, if it sticks in my head and it keeps on coming back to me then it feels right, so I just went with it.
And thus Diskull was born.
Is there anything you want to say to your fans or anyone listening?
Thank you guys for all your support, it’s been tough with this whole virus thing. I had my Dirtybird release, I was playing Elements this weekend on the same stage as Claude, and all this stuff was like finally happening and then everything kind of slowed down. But as much as that sucks I think the future is bright and we’re going to be better than ever whenever all of this comes back and it’s back to normal. I hope everyone out there is being safe, taking care of their families, and using this time to make themselves better.
Absolutely, well that’s a great outlook to have on it, very positive and forward-thinking. Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with Fresh Music Freaks and myself today. It has been an absolute pleasure.
Thank you Becca. Thank you Fresh Music Freaks for having me!