Five tunes deep and the hype is only truly beginning to build. Disciple’s Dubloadz is gradually introducing us to his monolithic debut album track-by-track. Ever since the teaser, each dispatch has been a celebration…
Rightly so, too. The amount of work and serious attention to detail he’s paid on the production, the artwork, the animations and videos is beyond the call of duty… Although not at all surprising if you’ve been following him for any substantial amount of time. Whether that’s since his foundation metal days as Well Behave Women, since he emerged in 2014 on Rottun and Never Say Die or since he signed to Disciple in 2015 and really started to dent the bass game – Dave Dubloadz Nardolilli has always thrown every ounce of creative, physical and emotional energy into his work.
Another eight tracks are to be revealed over the coming weeks, including major collaborations with the likes of Funtcase, Virtual Riot and turbo-rising metal/bass fusioneer Sullivan King on Break The Rail, a track Dubloadz has just teased with us with over the weekend…
We’re not even half way through the LP, the point of no return isn’t even on the horizon, yet already we’re deep in the pit hurling ourselves into his unique often-wry soundscape. Make no mistakes; Dubloadz is in the process of delivering something pretty special here. Here’s what we know so far…
Congratulations on the album. We hear it was one year in the making… Can you pin point the moment you knew you were in ‘album mode’?
I’m not entirely sure at what point I decided “I definitely want this to be an album instead of an EP,” but I can tell you I majorly regretted the decision the deeper I got into it haha. You have a set of unfinished tunes and all different ideas and you think “hey I can turn this into an album” and then a few months later you’re overwhelmed trying to finish all of the tunes and burying yourself in work. Making ideas is the easy part, finalizing it all to the standard of quality I wanted was the part that almost killed me.
Wow… Give us some of the most challenging moments. Moments where the chips were down and you wanted to scream in everyone’s faces and rage quit.
I’d say 90% of the last three months I worked on it I almost smashed my laptop. I must have done the “final” mix downs for every song about 50 times each. I’d keep sending updated versions to everyone and they’d be like “Dude it sounds fine just call it finished already.” I got to a point where I wasn’t sure if I was making the songs sound better or worse. I had originally aimed to release this album in January this year, which turned into February and then March and now here we are in July.
The stress was just building as more time passed and I felt I had failed to meet my goal. I basically wasn’t even enjoying working on music at all for a point and that disturbed me. Then on top of all that I was trying to finish all of the artwork for it from drawing to inking to vectoring, coloring and polishing the final products. In the meantime more and more time was passing since I had released anything and I’d been publicly discussing that I was working on an album for such a long time. People were starting to get impatient. It got to a point where I felt like after all of my slaving the result wasn’t even going to be worth it and that was really depressing. I majorly overworked myself throughout the whole thing but fortunately I know I learned a lot and know what to expect if I ever do another full length. I’m sure one day I will, but not for a long time lol. Hopefully me being a perfectionist has paid off for now.
Intense. Balance this with the most amazing, pinch-yourself moments when the chips were most certainly up!
When it all really started to get wrapped up I was definitely high on life. I had a ten hour straight session on the cover art where I vectored it and did all the coloring and formatting. I remember being really excited with the finished product.
So who are the 9000 Ghosts?
Their names are Shmitty, Jonathan, Old Smokey, Smoogmon, Spookyboy, Spookyboy Junior, Howard, Zeb “the mad violinist” Jones, Craig,.. Actually forget it if I name all 9000 of them I’m going to be here forever. But yeah the 9000 ghosts just represent the endless array of creatures and ideas in my brain that have made their way into my art. I really do have thousands of sketches and sculptures of crazy monsters that have accumulated since I was a child. I wanted to bring people into that world.
There’s metal in that world, too. Lots of it. Talk to me about Break The Rail. That’s your roots, right?
Yeah metal is life for sure. My interest in production actually started in metal/post hardcore. My dream was to be an audio engineer and Joey Sturgis was my idol. Every band he produced he turned to gold. The dude could make anything sound good. So I wrote, recorded mixed and produced all this solo material with my homie Mike on vocals back in Jersey and that ended up being my little two man band called Well Behaved Women. It’s how I familiarized myself with Reason and was my first time using any sort of music software. You can still listen to all this stuff on youtube if you search Well Behaved Women or Dave Nardolilli.
I guess I’ve touched on metal influenced dubstep in the past but I really wanted to take it to another level. In fact it was something I had been wanting to do for a few years now. There was a pretty big period of my life where I started to feel like metal was getting really redundant and washed out and I kind of strayed away from it to make room for dubstep which was brand new at the time. Suddenly there’s this huge resurgence of amazing and fresh sounds in metal again. Bands like Loser, Loathe, Sworn In, Make Them Suffer, the list goes on. Even bands that I used to love that had fallen off for me started writing great new material again. I’d really like to take the metal-dubstep combination up a few more notches in the future and collaborate with some of these bands. It’s something I definitely plan on doing sooner than later.
Last time you spoke to UKF you talked about the importance of variety. The forthcoming track For Fucks Saké is key in this variety mission isn’t it? Serious bass house business.
I knew I wanted at least one house track on the album. I had released three beforehand so this is technically my fourth, but what people don’t know is I actually have a stockpile of unreleased and unfinished house stuff. I went through a major phase right when all the bass house stuff started popping up beginning of last year where I was really enjoying making it. It was so refreshing at the time since all I had made prior was dubstep, but unfortunately it wasn’t as well received as I had hoped amongst my fanbase. Maybe I didn’t hit the mark right at the time but I am really proud of For Fucks Saké. It was originally meant to be a collaboration with Habstrakt but he was too busy at the time to work on it.
The album overall has a definite flow like a DJ set – how important was the role of arrangement?
I’m glad you think so! I hope everyone else does as well. It was extremely important for me that the album read as one giant piece of music and not just a bunch of tracks. It’s not as easy to achieve that with an EP. I was the kid with the headphones in at all times in my parents car dissecting every element of every album I listened to. There was nothing better to me than an album where I didn’t want to skip a single song on it.
It’s interesting because we’re releasing all the songs individually as singles before unleashing the final album as a whole. I think this will give everyone an opportunity to have some time to let certain tracks grow on them. There might be a track that didn’t really resonate with them as a single but when they listen to the album in its entirety it will make more sense. It’s almost as if every track gets a second chance to impress someone where it may not have on first listen.
Those are often the best songs on albums – the ones that take a while to settle or digest.
Yeah that’s happened to me many times with a lot of bands over the years. Maybe the first single they released didn’t impress me or felt a bit weird and different by itself but when I heard it as part of the whole it changed my entire outlook on it. I really took a lot of pages out of the idea of a band’s album in oppose to an EDM album. Also I hope everyone takes notes of all the quirky little samples and elements at the end of a lot of the tracks. There’s a lot going on and it’s going to take a few listens to notice all the little details.
It’s going to take me a while to recover from Weapon X, the forthcoming collab with Funtcase. What did you learn about Funty during the making of this tune?
Working with James was awesome as we got to do it hands on. I was out on tour in Europe with plenty of downtime in Bristol so I took a train out to Bournemouth for a few days to hit the studio with him. He’s a master for sure. He can take the messiest most distorted noise and polish it into a perfect sound without ruining its character. I’d never seen anyone change a sound that much with just EQing. He’s also one of the most genuine people I’ve met in the industry and it’s still kind of crazy to me that I had the opportunity to work with him. I was the kid in the crowd screaming my brains out for so many of his shows back in the day. Oh, and I also learned he’s a diehard pokemon GO nerd (or at least at the time he was haha). He rekindled my love for it for a bit after that trip!
Same with Virtual Riot. As he was the first artist on Disciple to give the world an album, did he provide any pearls of wisdom?
For sure. Val has helped me an insane amount in developing my mix downs and masters. Him and Willie from Barely Alive both helped me train my ear for producing music in general. It’s really awesome when the idea of knowing what to do conventionally with a mix down develops into actually being able to hear every little detail that I couldn’t hear before. I really feel now I have the ability to make songs that I couldn’t previously get to the right point sound the way I wanted them to sound in my head. It’s one thing to say “Okay I’m supposed to put this EQ at this setting and then add this much compression because thats how so-and-so does it.” Actually knowing the right amount of what needs to be added and subtracted just by hearing it yourself is a different story.
Finally please provide your own pearls of wisdom… What you have your learned about yourself during this whole trip?
This might sound kind of negative, but the first thing that pops out in my head is simply that life is extremely hard no matter how far you go. If you put me in my 21 year old self’s shoes and told me I’d be doing this alongside my idols and touring the world without compromising my integrity I would have laughed in your face. I would have thought that if I had all of this I would never complain about anything in life. But as my success grows my anxiety and depression do as well. This lifestyle can be heavily overwhelming.
There are a lot of aspects of it that people from the outside can’t see or understand until they’re experiencing it. I know the way I look at artists now has changed completely from when I was on the outside. The pressure of having everyone watching your every move and judging you and your words is something I still haven’t gotten used to after all these years. Maybe something really awful happened to you personally a certain day and now you have to show up to your gig and try to put on a smile and talk to everyone like nothing’s wrong. Maybe you’re just having an off night or you’re extremely homesick and people misinterpret it as you being a shitty person. I try extremely hard to be a good person and to always give back love to all my friends, family and fans. Unfortunately you will never be able to please everyone and as hard as you can try to hold on to certain relationships people will turn on you. People you trusted will find reasons to say you’re a horrible person. People will bias their opinions of your music based on jealousy. Some would say I care too much but at the end of the day I’m so grateful to be able to do this and make so many people happy through my music and art. I just hope one day I can feel more at peace with myself in the grand scheme of things.
Wow. This is the complete flip on the whole ‘zero fucks’ vibe everyone appears to live by, right? We can’t end on a negative note, though. Not when we’re celebrating your debut album. Cool stuff happens from exposure and success, too. Stuff like people proposing on the dancefloor to your set or people writing to you to say your music’s helped them get through similar stuff you’ve gone through. You’ve must have experienced that too?
Yes and I truly love that stuff! It honestly gives me the drive to continue doing this. My fans are extremely important to me and when I see that they’re happy through my music and my performances it makes me feel fulfilled. I never really thought of it that way when I started doing this to be honest!
Everyone goes through dark periods of their lives and I guess that’s part of the reason I don’t have a problem talking about it. I want people to know that it’s okay to feel those feelings sometimes regardless of who you are and the place in your life you’re at, but those feelings are all temporary and can be changed. You have control over your life and what you make of it. If everyone just reached a point where they felt they had succeeded in everything and didn’t want anything else the journey of life would be over. But it’s a beautiful thing that despite whatever’s going on in people’s lives at the time it can all be forgotten on the dancefloor. At that moment everyone is there for one reason; to vibe and enjoy the music. It’s an escape from all of the bad in the world. It bonds people, builds relationships both old and new, and that’s what it’s all about. Being able to be a part of this and bring people together while doing what I love and playing the music I’m proud of is the best feeling in the world. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Keep Dubloadz on lock as he reveals more tracks from Dubloadz And The 9000 Ghosts: