Danny Hughes (DCPA) is an electronic music producer and DJ from Aledo, Texas. His story began like many musicians’ growing up. Born into a family of musicians, he learned to play the piano, trumpet, guitar, and work with production software in academic music programs as a kid. Danny built a solid foundation in the craft, but eventually pursued an accounting degree in college while at Texas Tech. After graduating in 2011, he worked as a CPA for 9 years in Dallas. Electronic music grew exponentially in the US during this time, prompting him to re-visit his place in the music world. Building an artist career was not easy with a full-time corporate job, but his varied background in business and music allowed him to quickly navigate the modern music industry and connect with those who believed in him, including a production team at Nimble Agency all the way from Amsterdam. From 2016-2020 Danny allocated most of his free time to building his artist career as DCPA, distributed over twenty tracks with Symphonic, traveled the world to attend major festivals, and in 2020 he made the decision to go full time into the music business.
What stands out to you as being the piece of music that has changed the game for the industry? Thanks for having me on to talk about my craft as DCPA! Honestly there are too many tracks I could think of but many are more personal game changers. For me personally, my inspiration early on came from tracks like ATB - “Ecstasy”, Alice Deejay - “Better Off Alone”, Eric Prydz – “Call on Me” as well as a host of other trance/progressive tracks. That was in the earlier days though and most people in America had not come around to the EDM scene. People know the songs, and the track samples are still used in more modern productions, but you wouldn’t necessarily hear those original versions repeating on the radio. I’d say the biggest game changer overall, and the most frequently requested track I get at gigs is Avicii – “Levels”. The track is a combination of vocals from the 1960’s (Etta James), club worthy drum patterns and high energy festival-ready melodies. His work has had such a lasting impact on the industry and brought a new awareness to EDM. “Levels” is a revival, it embodies a greater vision. Its abundance shined a bright light on electronic music. It really awakened people and opened the doors for producers behind the scenes of electro pop. For me, Avicii brought clarity to what I want in a music career at a time when I needed it most. His spirit is omnipresent, it’s an essence. You are a game changer yourself... how do you want to change the game with YOUR music? I want my music to serve as a positive light for reconciling issues we all face. But I want it to represent a unique approach to that topic. I think music trends are too polarizing. When I’m producing, I rarely start with a group of sounds or a beat pattern that’s prevalent in the most successful current tracks. While I’m following in the footsteps of many other electronic dance music artists, and taking inspiration from them, I think it’s important in my role to produce music which aggregates what people like but also what they may identify with. I’m just not scared to always try new things, because it’s up to the audience to interpret. Listener’s opinions are out of my control, and I embrace that fact. Lucky for me, humans have short attention spans and gravitate to weird music and art now more than ever; simultaneously, we’re revisiting past ideas - decades of music. It’s about keeping it subtly familiar, just enough to draw them in. I love music nostalgia. As a DJ it’s my job to unite people and entertain; often that means mixing an 80’s classic with the latest in hip-hop, or any other weird combination. How are you putting together your next project? “I Feel It Too” has come from a special place of inspiration, it embodies more of a spiritual and reflective energy than my previous tracks. I’ve felt compelled to create this project for intuitive and emotional reasons. It’s about a soul contract – we all have these, but rarely do we define or address them. The track is a reconciliation. It's not assertive nature, rather it's a graceful message of appreciation to this other soul for the connection we share. With that, there is nostalgia, unconditional love, growth, friendship, imperfection, and inspiration for the future baked into both the musical and lyrical messaging. Who are you collaborating with? I’m always working with my team from the Netherlands on branding concepts and guidance on my music projects. I’ve got a few close musician friends as well who I have released tracks with, and we have more to come! My most frequent collaborators are Marcia Sondeijker, Mike Cruz, Filmatic and Pelican Dock. Who are you giving credit to when it comes to how this upcoming music is being made? I give a lot of credit to my collaborators at Nimble Agency (Netherlands), Tammy Miranda Music Productions (Austin TX), my family and friends who work with me on music and those who take time to help me manage the stress of the job and listen to my ideas. I’m the source of the music and artwork, but I couldn’t do it without the experiences, knowledge and support offered by these individuals. There’s just so much to music beyond the technical side…I believe the best music results from existential experience. Biggest lesson so far this year that you are taking into this summer?! I’ve realized how better to allocate my time and energy while embracing the emotional input/output required of music. Music is an industry where you can get so deep in an idea that you either don’t finish it or forget to pay attention in other areas like social media and marketing. Or you think you’re getting too emotional and overdoing it. There’s a maelstrom of emotion, time, opinions, physicality, spirituality, it all must be synchronized efficiently and be able to connect with other souls. What is something EPIC you're doing this summer to contribute to your art? I’m getting more in touch with universal energies, really focusing on channeling cosmic connections, understanding karma and the relation to our individual experiences. I’ve found the essence of spirituality to be a valuable source of inspiration for my music, and it’s helped me reflect on and reconcile connections in my life. The night sky is very distinct where I live, there aren’t many lights because I’m out in the woods in Texas hill country. I take moonlit hikes; I listen to the sounds at night and absorb the power of astrological bodies. I reflect on the language of the stars and my greater purpose in life. You are just EPIC! Give us everything we need to keep up! Thanks again for the time and platform to speak! Here are links to my music and social media, be sure to follow DCPA, give a few tracks some spins, and save the ones you like best to a playlist! Catch the vibe of DCPA by listening to my latest Spotify playlist "Cosmic Summer"which embodies similar sounds to my own, and the journey I've described. ⇒ Amazon ⇒ Apple Music ⇒ Audius ⇒ Beatport ⇒ Deezer ⇒ Facebook ⇒ FENIX360-iOS/Android App ⇒ Instagram ⇒ Pandora ⇒ Soundcloud ⇒ Spotify ⇒ Tidal ⇒ TikTok ⇒ Twitter ⇒ YouTube ⇒ Website