The rumour that we only discovered the fabulous Dumplings én China because we thought it was a takeaway deal being entirely unfounded, R$N decided to get in touch with the mysterious 31-year-old Brooklynite to find out more. Currently boasting some intelligent and exceedingly tasty beats on Soundcloud and with a new EP 'Subtleties' out Dumplings told us about life as an artist and how he hears in colour;
Where did the name come from?
This isn't going to make any sense to anyone but it makes all the sense to me. I was walking home one night to mi casa and it was raining so the streets were reflecting beautifulness as I passed by a dumplings spot littered with colourful graffiti on it with a lonely couple eating while I viewed from the outside. It was everything I wanted at that second, plus I was slightly jealous that I wasn't eating dumplings. Then I dropped the name unconsciously on this heavy mental track I never released and I was like, this is it. So the name Dumplings én China, its more like a series of paintings.
Is Petty the God also you? I enjoyed some of your Soundcloud tracks under that name also. What is the difference between the two?
Petty The God is me too. Petty is my nickname and what I usually get called by the homies and family. I just got sick of the name and I thought it was really hindering me creatively. I don't want to be considered a rapper, a pop artist, heavy metal, douche bag or anything for that sake. Dumplings is life and Petty was just a stage.
How long have you been performing as an artist?
I just started performing this past month. First show was at Pianos NYC and was stupid. I was the opening act and ended up finishing with the highest headcount for all four shows that evening. The booker made a boo boo by having me open the show but its not his fault cause I'm still sort of a mystic in NY, but this is changing fast. Next show is at The Delancey in Lower Eastside, NYC this Thursday, 9.11, at 8:30.
Where does your sound and vibe come from?
I mean the sound comes from the galleries and museums. I listen to a lot of music, whether its Blood Orange, Stevey Ray Vaughan, Raury, Danny Brown, SBTRKT, Ibeyi, etc but color has overtaken everything with the writing process. You're aware about the artists who hear colour, its called synesthesia, that's where I'm at right now. So I travel to Chelsea and Museum Mile in NY pretty much every weekend while people spend that time brunching. Also, I am forever blessed to have friends and family who are amazing artists and continue to inspire me, like my sister Jessica Repetto, the primary artist behind all of my album art.
What can one expect from one of your live performances?
Just some dope shit mixed with fairy dust. I don't have any backup vocals like the rest of these artists when they perform, so when I perform I give you everything I have. Eventually I want to play with the lighting further and maybe get a few nasty back up dancers from En Vogue or something.
Are you currently unsigned?
I'm currently unsigned but I got a lot of interest from the Zebra Cakes EP I dropped in the summer. A few weeks back I submitted this new EP, Subtleties, to a bunch of indies and two well known labels have approached me regarding being signed. Expect to hear an announcement in the next few weeks if all goes accordingly. I'M SPECIAL NOW.
Does it mean less today to be "signed" as an artist, given the changing industry?
Being signed means someone's taking a portion in exchange for distribution but with that also comes a network that the artist(s) didn't have previously. So it's a fair exchange as long as you get access to more colours. I think the biggest thing right now is to be booked, in whatever capacity that means. Making people spend money on albums is so difficult right now, so the shows and sponsorships the artist receives is the difference maker. Regardless of it all, if you're fly enough, the people who support will push for you, get you shows and make everything a reality.
How does an up and coming artist become successful in today's era?
You just gotta have your own palette and never ignore any music that's being released, young or old, cause the moment you do that is the moment you're dated. I try and stay away from every trend possible, while not ignoring the trends but taking a pinch of each and reinterpreting it while keeping it true to Dumplings. The listener doesn't have time for bullshit and at the end of the day they want an entertainer because no matter what anyone says, this is performance art. If this doesn't work then the artist should apply for a customer service position at Apple.
What's the hip hop and music scene like in Brooklyn?
I'm not really sure right now to be honest with you but I know it's busy. You come here to make it regardless of industry so with that comes a lot of greatness and halfway steppers. I know that Brooklyn changes lives, like it did for me when I arrived and if doesn't inspire one, that's crazy.
How did you come to be associated with producers such as Zoe? Is there a community of producers and artists in Brooklyn?
I came across Zoe like I come across all of the composers I find, which is either on Youtube or on Soundcloud as it furthers my reach. I have worked with producers from Amsterdam, LA, NY, Atlanta, etc because of Soundcloud and Youtube. Plus I do not want my sound to be local cause I'm far from that. I'm all about the curation aspect and for me to pigeon hole myself to NY is stupid. The only thing I keep in Brooklyn is my recording, which is done at Musiclass 101, and my engineering, which is handled by the God THNDRTHF.
Do you have a day job?
I work as a project manager for a creative studio and web agency but have just partnered with a few pals to open a multi purpose space in Brooklyn called The Wyckoff. We'll be utilizing the location for gallery use, pop up shops, photography,video production and anything visual arts related. I'm hoping I can be outty 5000 from my day job in a few weeks and do the tunes and studio full time.
What do you want to achieve?
I want endless supplies of mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil, my family to never work another day in their lives and a Ferrari with my father's name on the license plate so I can skate around chucking the middle finger at everyone that didn't believe in me.
What can we expect from Dumplings én China in the future?
Bigger and better art. I am working with this composer, Strange Vice, who's from the Netherlands, on a project that will be really musical. After that, it's more work and a potential spot co-hosting Dancing With The Stars.