The local music scene continues to evolve over the years, and every so often a brand new label emerges to help artists in certain genres to excel in a scene that may have never heard of them. This past year, we've seen three labels rise and progress in their own ways, two of whom we've already spoken to on the blog. The third is Dirt First, founded by local producer Pablo P., who you may know better as Mr. Vandal. He's been hard at work pushing the label with their compilations, and helping the artists on board strive to become better at their game while promoting their work. We chat with Pablo about his music and starting up the label, along with thoughts on the latest comp to come out. (All pictures courtesy of Dirt First.)
Dirt First on Facebook
Gavin: Hey Pablo, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Pablo aka Mr. Vandal. I am a 25-year-old producer and artist. I paint, skate, own a clothing line,
and run a record label called Dirt First with some friends and fellow producers.
Gavin: What first got you interested in music, and what were your biggest influences?
Growing up I listened to a lot of punk and hip-hop, but the sounds you hear from my music now are influenced by artists like J-Dilla, Mala, Caspa and Gucci Mane.
Gavin: What was the spark that got you writing music and performing?
Bass music and hip-hop are what sparked my interest in music production. I started playing shows a year after I had started making beats when my friend and some local promoters reached out to me.
Gavin: How did you come up with the Mr. Vandal moniker, and how has it been for you releasing music so far?
When I was trying to come up with a stage name, Mr. Vandal popped into my head relatively easily. Growing up, my friends and I were always skating around SLC causing mayhem, and were seen as delinquents and hooligans. That love for skating and punk/rap music and the influence of those cultures followed us into our adult life; hence the name Vandal.
Gavin: What made you decide to form a label, and why Dirt First as the name?
Originally, Dirt First started as a music collective for a few friends of mine who made music, and me to share tips and knowledge about beat making production and sound. The name is attributed to one of our best friends, “Dirt,” who we jokingly said would be the face of the label. We were just fucking around at first, but ended up sticking with it as we moved forward.
Gavin: What was it like for you setting up everything and making it a solid base for people to release albums?
It was challenging trying to figure it all out at first, but we found that relying on the internet as a way to share music rather than hard copy records made it a lot easier to distribute our music. There are so many social media platforms nowadays that made it easier to get our name out there.
Gavin: How did you go about recruiting people for the label, and what do you look for in a musician to be on it?
There was really no recruitment. I was lucky enough to have some really talented friends who shared a love for making music. Recruitment is definitely something we would like to pursue as Dirt First progresses. As far as what we would look for in a musician, I think that same love for music production that we all possess, and a similarity in musical taste and interest.
Gavin: Who do you currently have tied to the label now?
The names on our current roster are: Mr. Vandal, Grimblee, Hecka, Gravy.Tron, Tsuruda, Huxley Anne, Phil Maggio and Dumb Luck.
Gavin: What made you decide to start releasing compilation albums, and how do you go about choosing music for those?
We decided to start releasing compilation albums because we all had collaborated on songs with one another and we thought it would be the best way to share those collaborations as well as our individual projects. The individual songs on the compilations are sent to me by the artist. I ask each artist to send me two songs and those are the ones you see featured on the album.
Gavin: You released your third comp earlier this month. What was its reception like?
We got a great response from our listeners! Dirt First fans were very supportive and excited about the album.
Gavin: Do you have any new releases on the way over the next few months, or just everyone writing and recording?
Both, actually. Most of us are working on upcoming releases, but everyone stays pretty busy writing and recording throughout the year.
Gavin: What can we expect from you and Dirt First in the new year?
I have been working on clothing design as a part of the label that has been increasingly successful, which I plan on expanding and working on throughout the new year. As far our shows and music go, we have a lot of really dope out of state and local up and coming artists joining us at our shows, which we are all super excited about.