Everyone who reads this column fancies themselves a rocanrol star, even me. Also, we’ve had this discussion before, usually right before I launch into a week’s worth of tirades designed to make you, the reader, embrace a lifestyle that’s focused on loud noises emanating from a stage filled with instruments, equipment and speakers.
And as it so happens—as it was meant to happen says Bokkonon—someone from the community came forward to tell me their story. It’s mostly about climbing up and outta one place so that you can start over in a new world. That next realm—starry and constructed with built-in difficulties and only hints of where success might be hidden—is both waiting area and destination for those lucky enough to find the way in.
So here is what I know about DECON, a creator of the latest of the greatest in musical currents, a booming, blithely beatific thing called EDM.
DECON who began his trip toward the light of the stage with a jump from Rio Rancho to part-time residency in Salt Lake City, gave me a call to tell me all about his journey from listener to practitioner.
Weekly Alibi: Hi, are you DECON?
DECON: Yeah, that’s me!
Right on, dude! You’re on the line with August March at Weekly Alibi. How are you doing, man?
I’m fine, but I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name. …
August March. You know, as in Saul Bellow? …
I don’t, but that’s a cool name; my real name is Danny Clay.
Awesome, tell our readers all about what you do, yo.
I got interested in music as a career because I went to a lot of shows growing up in Burque. My first big concert was Jason Mraz, when he played at Sandia Casino Amphitheater in 2013. After that, I started to get a gist of how the music industry worked at a local level. And I started going to more events and began taking in the Van’s Warped Tour on a yearly basis. I loved the alternative scene at those concerts.
About that same time—the summer of 2014—I dropped out of school, I was having some problems with schooling and working in the construction industry. I had the opportunity to relocate to SLC in order to work in the concert business. So now, currently, I’m in Salt Lake City and Provo. What I’ve been doing is … I did something weird. … A person that I’m close with, who works in the music industry out here, told me to start at ground level, looking for work. So whatever I find, I take, as far as gigs go.
What sorts of work did you find beyond the land of enchantment?
I found some work through the UCC Youth Center, then realized there were large venues in the area that supported artists like Maroon 5 and Wiz Kalifa and Tim McGraw. So I told the people in charge, “Look, I’ll pick up trash, I will mop the floors, anything and everything … if I can have that opportunity to see if I can somehow fit into this culture, I’ll do it. You don’t even have to pay me, I just want to learn all about the music business.” I ended up having to do hundreds of events, basketball games, everything. Finally, I told them I was mostly interested in music. So the first concert I was assigned to was Dolly Parton!
How did that experience affect your desire to be part of it all?
Well, it started off as a secretive sorta thing. I wasn’t officially part of the staff, or the tours I was working, but I learned the ins and outs of tour management at those early shows. And I got to know artists, first hand. That really helped, I think, because you see the humans behind the sound. I finally got a break when Panic! At The Disco came to play our venue. I was told it was my responsibility to contact them if I wanted to work their show. They never responded, so I decided to sneak into their gig. I worked backstage unnoticed; the tour management assigned me to work with the VIPs for that night, by accident. I ended up getting to chat with these artists for about an hour and a half. They helped me get mentally organized; they were very supportive. I decided then and there I wanted to take the next step and begin working on my career as a performer.
What did that entail?
Being in the studio every day, being engaged musically and creatively. The hard work and getting to know people resulted in opening slots for bands like Imagine Dragons and Post Malone.
You make it sound so easy. Was it that easy?
It was totally by accident, except it feels like hard work. I must be doing something right with my music. I’ve learned enough about what sorts of styles are popular these days, but for me it comes down to thinking about what isn’t available on the scene and then tailoring my music to lead the way to new sounds and experiences for listeners who may be like me, literally waiting in the wings. I haven’t had any formal training, I’ve picked it all up along the way.
The last part of “along the way” seems rewarding, que no?
Well this year things have been happening quickly. I actually performed on last year’s Warped Tour and then opened for Saving Abel and Quiet Riot at Music Con in SLC. People really seem to dig my mix-up of Euro-electro and Latino beats. I’m working on vibrato too. My first album, The Sound Controls Me, drops next month, on May 15 and the first video single, “Clinically Insane” is rockin’ the charts. I’ve taken everything very seriously and what’s happening now, including this interview, seems like it’s the result of that.