Read up on one of the music scene’s most exciting emerging acts.
Rarely does music strike you from the initial dropping of the bass line, or immediately captivate you as the singer begins the first note of the song. Too often in this day and age has music become a mere wallpaper or background to the world around us, a stripped down skeleton of sound that attempts to purvey a mere mood as opposed to a soundscape totally captivating in all aspects. This moment, this jaw-dropping bliss of a realization about a song being so much more than just music, so much more than a mere backdrop to life around us is unmatched and recently I was totally encumbered by this unmistakable sensation as the SoundCloud algorithms blessed me from a transition from Dominic Fike to perhaps the most delightful band on planet earth.
LORD$OFDOGTOWN, named after a 2005 film documenting the lives of skateboarders in 1970s Los Angeles, focusing in on the unbridled punk and rebellious spirit emanating from that burgeoning scene almost fifty years ago. Upon one listen to L.O.D.T. this allusion makes complete sense. Their sound is based around a gentle rap verse, built up by traditional trap drums, wailing guitar plucks, and occasionally, a soft, upbeat piano underscoring the rap verses. On top of their clear affinity for and talent in rapping, there is also a wonderful element of true singing blended seamlessly into their tracks, often times ad-libbing their bars with some whimsical iteration of their lyrics behind the main vocals.
Lyrically their content is focused around adolescent adventures in love and mischief beneath the backdrop of sunny Southern California. The group is clearly an assortment of romantics, as most people’s introduction to the group comes from singer DKAI serenading a female interest. But after this, in $ixx’s verse, we are shown that this group of California misfits are every bit as rebellious as smitten, rapping, “I already don’t care ‘bout life on this Earth, I’m goin’ out with a joint in my mouth and my brain off a perc.”
The independent spirit is strong with them, as the group admits that a lot of their upcoming album was actually recorded in their high school’s utility closet. The camaraderie and energy from this group of six young artists are beautifully captivating and contagious. Their music could so easily be the score of a montage of youthful miscreants getting into trouble in any film and truly makes me want to live my life to the fullest in the strangest way. LORD$OFDOGTOWN will be one of the biggest groups on Earth in a few years. You can count on that.
I had the privilege of asking the group some questions.
How did you guys meet?
Petti: Most of us were just friends in school that spoke once in a while & we all coincidentally had the same PE class to sit together except $ixx. We met him when DKAI introduced us. I remember going up to him and putting him on the spot. Told him to rap in front of all of his friends.
lighttpink: I met Petti sophomore year of high school. I knew he was a producer cause he would always show me the EDM shit he would make & I would constantly ask him to make me rap beats. He would just laugh and say okay until he eventually made one. From there we met everyone in the group & had the idea of forming the group/collective.
Andre Santi: We all met in high school, almost all of us PE the same period. One day we weren’t doin’ anything, so we just sat around & talked about raps/beats. That was the beginning.
DKAI: I met Petti in high school, my freshman year. He asked me to show him some lyrics because I would just write for fun back then. I introduced them to $ixx one day & Petti put him on the spot to rap in front of everyone.
$ixx: I was Introduced to Petti & Santi by DKAI my freshman year, I had been makin’ music with DKAI for a good year & a half beforehand.
MGMTJAVI: I met everyone in L.O.D.T. with Abdel over a Skype call a couple of years back. We started connecting the dots and getting in calls every week until we eventually linked up & really started chasing this. Been homies ever since.
abdel.kreation:I’ve been friends with Petti for like 5 years now, he hit me up to collab on some dubstep shit after a video I made on vine popped off on the EDM scene, we were both making that kind of music at the time before we started making beats & tripped out when we saw that we were in the same area. Fast forward a couple of years, I was with Javi one day – Petti sent me demos of everyone in the group & they were all rapping/producing everything. From there we all decided to come together & figure out how to get the fuck out the desert. Rest is history.
What inspired you to start making music?
Andre Santi: The need for expression. We all had shit to say & Petti kept supplying production that knocked.
Petti: There’s a special feeling about creating shit from the ground up. We can either work a 9-5 or make worlds of music sharing ideas and innovate. I think we all fell in love with that feeling.
lighttpink: “Alternative Trap” by Lucki Most definitely influenced the hell outta me.
Being able to relate to someone’s music that well is something beautiful so I figured I could do the same to someone else.
DKAI: My living situation. It was a way to write everything I felt at the time.
$ixx: Before the group, I listened to lots of punk bands, rock bands & heavy metal bands but would transition bacc to d12, Logic, & MF Doom. I pull lots of inspiration from the whole team though. The amount of progress Santi made in the few years is insane, his mixing & production took off within a few months of jus workin’ at it. I also wouldn’t be where I’m at now in my sound of music without the inspiration of lucki and even pink, I wouldn’t count them in the same wave but for some reason, I keep em in the same category in my head.
abdel.kreation: I started deejaying in 2012 then moved on to producing hip hop & different EDM genres in 2014. I’m really trying to push boundaries and just do anything & everything I want to now. No limits.
What was the reception from your hometown like when you started making music?
Andre Santi: The reception has been on a slow burn-up. At first, it felt like we had a home base in all our friends support at our high school & I was always worried that we would plateau there, but it feels like we’ve finally made waves in our valley & caught some attention over the last year.
Petti: It’s a mixed bag. A lot of people fucked with us & a lot of them didn’t. Everyone had their doubts because music isn’t a “realistic career”. I feel like people really started to come around recently because we’ve been tapping into a new wave with our newest project.
lighttpink: Wouldn’t be able to say. We just did our thing & over time progressed just as any musician would. We recognized who our fans were & focused all our time & energy into building that core fan base. Fuck a hater.
DKAI: I think most people enjoyed seeing a group come from nothing but ofc there were people that didn’t like our music. Either that or put us down and say “music isn’t going to do anything for you”.
$ixx: Once we started droppin’ music as a whole & really started pushin’ out content we actually got some traction/feedback from fans, people actually listening, shit was dope.
What inspires you artistically from the environment you grew up in?
Petti: The fact that there ain’t much impactful shit out here related to hip hop or R&B. That’s why we call ourselves LORD$OFDOGTOWN cause it really is a dog town out here. People say it’s a bad place to be in the music industry but we think it’s the perfect place to start a foundation.
lighttpink: Basically, Just everyday problems I witness whether in my own life or someone else’s. Heartbreaks, gun violence, drug abuse – All these things have affected my life in one way or another so it’s easy to draw inspiration in my music from it.
Andre Santi: Everything I’ve been through pushes me to try and make something impactful every time. Not even like heady lyricism, I just always try to make something worth spending time listening to. That shit’s valuable to me.
DKAI: Music was always involved on both sides of my family. I love music, it’s in my genes & the only thing I honestly ever cared for as a hobby.
$ixx: There ain’t shit to do in the Coachella Valley for a youngin tbh, it’s pretty dry, at least it was for me. I spent most of my younger years skatin’ with DKAI getting kicked outta grocery stores & party supply stores, but the Lords of Dogtown film really inspired me & made me want to become a pro skater before I even considered rap.
MGMTJAVI: The group of friends I grew up with inspire me & have a lot to do with who I am today. Realized we were all talented in our own ways & just started trying new things. The whole team consists of all my best friends so it’s fucken awesome. We always push each other to go harder than we ever thought we could & all respect everyone’s creative art. In general, we just keep it 100 & do what real friends should be doing anyway, supporting the fuck outta each other.
abdel.kreation: The desert is dull sometimes especially since there isn’t really a scene there… on the other hand, that can also bring a ton of creative inspiration. My main source of inspiration though is the group as a whole, we all have the same end goal and love the process of doing what we do. Once you get to know us Individually you wouldn’t expect us to all be so close just because our personalities are so different, but that’s what really sets the whole team apart from everyone else.
What other artists or groups influenced you musically?
Petti: Mainly A$AP Mob, Pro Era, & TDE. As for artists, we all have our own inspirations which always keeps the studio sessions interesting. we all got different notes ready to make a chord.
Andre Santi: Pro Era, A$AP MOB, the South Florida Scene, TDE & the south, in general, are all heavy sources of inspiration.
lighttpink: Other than Lucki. I would have to say Playboy Carti, Mac Miller, & Earl Sweat. But growing up I listened to a lot of Al Green, Ray Charles, Pink Floyd, Lil Wayne, & Bill Withers. So from an early age, I was introduced to all kinds of different genres & music.
DKAI: PARTYNEXTDOOR, Tory Lanez, Dutchboy, 6lack, and some others were some people that inspired me when it came to finding my voice.
$ixx: I mentioned some artists already but I really fucked with different sounds throughout my years like Earl Sweatshirt, Suicideboys, Pouya, Blink 182, Nirvana, and Metallica.
abdel.kreation: Isaiah Rashad, Kendrick, DIVINE COUNCIL, STEVENLOVESYOU, Timbaland, Pharrell, Mac Miller, Odd Future, Pro Era, a ton of EDM shit the list can go on & on.
How difficult is it for six of you to reach common ground musically? What does that creative process look like?
Petti: We all just really fuck with each other’s creative ideas. We all have completely different visions in music, and putting them together is a whole different monster. It usually starts with me making a couple of beats they fuck with. I try to bend the rules in my production so that everyone in the group can find a pocket . We inspire each other and we’re really competitive with each other. You’ll usually just see us with our heads down comparing flows and ideas.
Andre Santi: We all come from different backgrounds when it comes to our music tastes’& it shows when we’ making songs. It typically only takes a few minutes to match energies once we sit down & get to recording. It used to be us hopping on some random fire beats Petti would send us but we’ve been having a lot of different sessions and going in with an idea/topic.
lighttpink: Not really difficult at all. We just hop in the booth and get working. Occasionally we’ll have disagreements on certain things but other than that we seem to work fairly well with one another.
DKAI: I would say all of us work really well with one another. For the music aspect of it, we are all skilled in certain areas so we help each other grow and expand on talents we didn’t even know we had. The creative process of our music is usually someone on the team we bringing what they made to the table & everyone getting together to work as one so we can get shit done.
$ixx: It can be hard sometimes tryna agree on a topic or certain sound, or even bpm but we work pretty well over all for the most part. We like to keep studio sessions in groups of around 3 to 4 to keep the tension low in a sense.
abdel.kreation: Not very hard, sometimes we’ll bump heads on certain things but overall I feel like we have really solid chemistry and we’re all close enough keep it real & speak up when somethin ain’t it.
Whether it’s production, artwork, verses, or even the way we roll music out – Everyone puts in their honest 2 cents. No yes men. As far as the creative process goes we’re always bouncing around and recording anywhere we can, passing files between Andre Santi, Petti & myself just getting shit done.
What’s next for L.O.D.T.?
DKAI: New music, more of who we are & what we can do.
$ixx: I can’t say too much but more music on da way n stay tuned…
Petti: More new music.. we’re on a quest for the next wave.
Andre Santi: More music dropping soon .
lighttpink: Working on this project and changing the game.
abdel.kreation: Videos, shows, more music – All this year. Keep up.