Why Dust Club Prioritizes Quality (INTERVIEW)

Days before their expected mid-August EP release, Indie-Rock duo Dust Club decided to scrap it all. With the new goal of restarting in mind, they got to work.

To celebrate the release of their masterfully mixed, euphoniously dynamic first EP: Low End of Normal, we wanted to share with you our candid interview with Dust Club--(our first community feature!)

Let’s start off with the basics! Do you mind giving us an introduction about Dust Club and a little introduction about yourselves individually as well?

Mustafa: I’m Mustafa Ahmed and am 18 years-old, studying at Duke University. I grew up in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to New York when I was 13-years-old. I first got into music production shortly after my move to the United States, gravitating toward making hip-hop beats out of classic R&B and Soul samples.

Prez: My name is Prez Thomas, I’m 20-years-old and I am from Manhattan, New York. I currently go to Babson College in Boston where I’m studying marketing and entrepreneurship. In the studio Mustafa and I operate in somewhat of a songwriter-engineer capacity wherein I sing and perform our songs while Mustafa manages the audio interface, post-produces, mixes, and masters the works after recording is complete.

What inspired you guys to start Dust Club? And, the name "Dust Club," what’s the significance behind that?

Prez: Mustafa and I had been making music together for years prior to Dust Club, but had never pursued any musical projects with the intention of publishing our work. Prior to Dust Club we had been making predominantly hip-hop. One day in May of this year I jokingly messaged Mustafa saying we should start making Indie-Rock and the rest is history. The name Dust Club doesn’t have any specific meaning. Sometimes we say it is because we made most of the album at Mustafa’s house while it was undergoing renovations so we had to negotiate lots of dusty studio equipment. That said, a cemetery is also a dust club, so who knows, maybe it’s an homage to death.

Congrats on the release of your new EP! We’re so excited to share it with our community. Do you mind telling us more about the concept/story/inspiration behind it?

Mustafa: The new album, more than anything else, represents the best work from a four-month-long explorational music making process. We entered into this project with very little technical knowledge and lacked the confidence we have today.

We learned a lot about ourselves throughout the album-making-process, we learned a lot about each other, we discovered our sound, and we learned how to collaborate with other artists.

Topically, the album doesn’t offer a very overt thematic throughline, but there are definitely messages hidden in the nuances of the mix, hiding between the chords and breaths.

What’s your favorite song off of the album and/or what song are you most proud of?

Prez: Each song is so different it’s hard to peg a favorite. The album has songs for dancing, songs for crying and songs for breaking drywall. My personal favorite is a song called “She Got Sick.” It’s our take on a garage rock song and was written with and about someone I really care about, so the song means a lot to me both lyrically and melodically.

Mustafa: If I had to make a choice, my favorite song would be “Quit Your Self Deprecation.” This song was the last song we recorded for the album and marked a special milestone in our creative process. Everything from the vocal performance to how all 36 instruments compliment each other, our goal going in was to be as ambitious as possible with all aspects of the composition. For me personally, this record is something I am very proud of.

As you’ve mentioned, your album was originally supposed to drop in August, but you restarted the process of creating it. What was restarting like? Did you face any challenges? How has the album evolved from the original work that was to be released in August?

Prez: We had gotten sick of the original songs. We were ignorant when we made them and found ourselves unable to apply new knowledge to them. They sounded course and ugly. We were afraid to admit that we didn’t know what we were doing so we began fighting, a lot. We decided it was better to say “fuck it” and scrap the project rather than risk our relationship and Dust Club in order to save some half-baked songs.

When we first got to listen to your music, we remember that you weren’t sure of how others would react to it (granted, your reaction was unnecessary because your music is so good!). But, what do you hope others will gain from listening to your music?

Mustafa: Well, we hope people like it. Even if they don’t we hope at least a small sect of people appreciate it.

I’m not going to claim that our music is any more thought provoking or moving than anything else you might find on the “artists who might have potential” playlist, but I like to think our work is engaging enough that it might get some gears moving.

At the very least I’d hope it is melodically engaging enough to get somebody’s hips moving.

What do you think is the most valuable part of being part of a creative experience?

Mustafa: The personal growth you feel as go through the creative process is something that can add great value to your life. When working on a creative undertaking as large as an album, it really forces you to immerse yourself and fully engage with the art you’re making. This adds an element of purpose to a project, allowing you to work towards actionable personal goals which helps you grow holistically.

Prez: Holding yourself to a high standard, not only for your sake, but for others.

I think if you’re going to be an artist it is important to give your audience the quality experience they deserve.

It’s easy to make half-assed art and sell it as being more than it is. People are smart, though, and can see through the bullshit. I like to think that we make music for people who are smart enough to appreciate good quality.

Lastly, we're curious and hungry for more...any other exciting projects coming soon?

Prez: We’ve probably got in excess of 30 songs that didn’t make the cut for this project. Some of them are really great and simply didn’t make the cut for logistic reasons. We’re hoping to finish some of those songs and release them as singles in the near future.

If you haven't already, make sure to check out Low End of Normal streaming now on Spotify.

BONUS: This video was too wholesome not to share :')

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