Interview: El Dusty brings Cumbia Electronica with Tejano Roots to LA with MLKMN, Kinky and Enjambre

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By Oscar Bautista/Photos Courtesy of Press Junkie PR

Hailing from Corpus Christi, Texas, Dusty Oliveira or as he’s better known DJ Dus aka “El Dusty” is a specialist of sound who has been mixing for years to create great combinations of sound.

Taking inspiration from old school rhythms and beats, he produces a unique sound of dance music all with a magnetic cumbia flavor.

El Dusty, along with friend and collaborator MLKMN, Kinky and Enjambre will be performing for us here in L.A. with a show coming up Thursday, December 17 at the Fonda Theater.

EnClave LA had the opportunity to speak with Dusty in hopes of giving LA audiences an insight on his introduction to mixing, his inspirations, and the amazing community of musicians emerging from the Corpus Christi music scene:

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EnClave LA: We definitely want our audience to get an understanding of who you are, so can you give us a little background. How did you get into mixing?

El Dusty:  Well I always wanted to be a DJ since I was a kid. I was really fascinated by the whole turntable culture…in 4th and 5th grade, I was asking my dad “Hey, gimme some turntables” and my dad was like “Hell no!” ‘Cause they were too expensive.

And then one time my older brother came home one time and he had 3 turntables and a mixer and I was like “Dude, where did this come?”. He was like “We jacked from a quinceanera.” I was like “Oh sh*t!”…so there’s 3 Technic 1200s, a badass little Radio Shack mixer, the one that everybody starts with. So, he said “Stay out of my room when I’m not here”…the first thing I do is go to his room and start practicing.

Then my mom got this huge record collection from an uncle that passed away, and I started discovering all these songs in there that were sampled, stuff that people were using to make rap beats…that record collection I inherited really set things off for me because that’s when i became a sample producer.

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EnClave LA: What was it like rising up in the Corpus Christi music scene?

El Dusty: It was cool, I was a little kid like 12, 13 years old DJing and scratching. So I definitely got a lot of attention at the early start. I’m not going to say I was really badass or anything but I was one of the only people doing it and on top of that, being 13 years old, it was kind of like a novelty. When I got into high school, there was another kid in another school…we competed in at a DJ contest at a skating rink and there was only like 3 guys that got in it, but all those guys ended being my really good friends.

EnClave LA: Something that really stand out in your music is the cumbia. How did you start mixing that with rap beats?

El Dusty: Well, a lot of it is oldies, but a lot of it is Spanish soul too. So, a lot of this Spanish soul sounds like Motown stuff; it sound exactly like it…it worked in my favor. I’ve always attracted to cumbia because Selena and the Kumbia Kings and all the Tejano that’s like around here. Tejano is super huge in Corpus; at one time Corpus was the little Tejano Hollywood. I’ve just always been into that rhythm and it’s really easy to mix cumbia with hip hop and so that’s where it kind of spawned off.

EnClave LA: Some of the samples mixed are specific to cumbia. Do you record live instruments before you start to mix?

El Dusty: Oh yeah! Dude, there are so many awesome musicians around Corpus. I feel like some of these musicians here belong in Hollywood. Some of these guys that I’ve seen play and some these bands…it’s like if these guys were in California, they would be huge. Over here there are some dudes that are freaking badass and a lot of those dudes are my homies. A lot of these guys work in the studios here like at Freddie Records or Q-Production; these Tejano labels that are going…it’s one guy mixing all the stuff and a lot of those guys…those background dudes are my homies. They come through and they play and you don’t even have to tell them what to do. I’ve been working with these guys for years so they already know what I want.

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EnClave LA: It seems like you guys are really about fostering a community in Corpus.

El Dusty: Yeah, and the scene is tiny…it’s super tiny. So a lot of these guys know each other…their parents know each other. In my case, I’m from a certain part of town where all the musicians are from. My older brother knew all these guys, so that’s how I met a lot of people. Or if somebody asks “Hey, are you Mark’s younger brother” and I’m like “Yeah, do do you know him?”…“ Well I use to gang bang back in the day” and I’m like that kinda answers everything, you know what I’m saying hahaha.

EnClave LA: With the show coming up, what can the audience expect to see?

El Dusty: Just a big fun party. A lot of the shows that I do are with a partner of mine named MLKMN and we’re always touring together and doing shows. If it’s my show, he comes with me; if it’s his show, I go out with him and DJ. We’re always sharing the stage so it works out really good. In this case, we’re doing the show together so we’re going to keep our whole set together and it’ll be a big party like we always do.  

EnClave LA: Is there anything you want to mention before we end the interview?

El Dusty: Yeah, next weekend I’m dropping a new song called “Orale” with these dudes…it’s a puppet show on YouTube called “Hey, Vato”. There are two cholo puppets. It’s a really cool show; these guys are from South Central. I had asked them to do a video…if they were interested in doing a video with me and they were just like “Hell, yeah!”

EnClave LA: So can we expect a puppet version of you?

El Dusty: Yeah, man. Well that puppet’s on the video…it’s pretty dope. I mean he’s got the Corpus hat and he’s got the long hair…it’s a cool deal.

EnClave LA: Well thank you for taking the time to speak with us, I look forward to the show.

El Dusty: I appreciate it, man. Thanks a lot!

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