Diplo remembers Philadelphia DJ and producer Dosk as the “USB kid.” After the young musician — real name Dylan Doskicz — missed the opportunity to play the 2016 Mad Decent Block Party due to technical difficulties, Diplo gave Doskicz a pep talk backstage, telling him to use a USB in the future to prevent that kind of mishap.
That was early in Doskicz’s still budding career. He now laughs at the snafu, citing it as a learning experience. “You can fail, you just have to fail in a smart way,” says Doskicz. “You have to learn from it, know how you messed up, and how not to do it again. But you need to fail. Success doesn’t taste as good without failure.”
Currently, after a promotions slip-up last year, Doskicz is learning how to properly market, promote, and execute his own shows. On July 5, Doskicz kicks off PAallDay, his first headlining tour set to hit four cities in Pennsylvania, starting in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh City Paper chatted with Doskicz about the tour and growing as an artist, ahead of his first stop,
So, tell me about your PAallDay tour.
Basically, it’s like my first tour going on the road. We have spots all in [Pennsylvania] and are starting at Scenario July 5. Then July 12 at Champs, it’s like Penn State’s art fest. And we have July 26 in Philly, at Warehouse on Watts, which will be my biggest show in Philadelphia, I’m pretty excited about that, my biggest production as well, and then ending in West Chester August 9th. So, it’s pretty fun!
What makes your Philadelphia show the biggest production?
That’s where my biggest [fan] base is from, so it will probably have the most people and that usually means we’ll have more funding for production, like two big power buttons on my left and right that basically shoots all kinds of lasers and strobes and then confetti cannons throughout the whole venue. Just the whole show is going to be amped up a lot.
That and Pittsburgh are going to be the two biggest. I’ve never seen a live performance DJ at Scenario, but from what I’ve heard I’m guessing it's going to be big as well.
So why is Pittsburgh your first stop instead of Philadelphia, where you’re from?
I wanted to end in Philly since that’s going to be the biggest capacity venue, I wanted to have more time to promote it. Also, I wanted to start in Pittsburgh because I’ve had a lot of people in the past few years wanting me to go out there and play in Pittsburgh and I’ve never able to find the right venue or club to actually have me over there. Then Nick from Scenario contacted me through Twitter and we kind of just went back and forth.
I’m excited to kick it off there. It’s probably going to be a crazy show.
Have you listened to VybeKings, the DJs that are opening for you?
I hadn’t before but I have now, and I’m happy that they are on the bill as well because they can have similar sounds as I can, and they’re not heavy one direction. It’s a mix of genres which is what I do as well, so I think it’s actually a great match. After listening to how they mix and perform, I thought I couldn’t get anybody better.
How does it feel to be going on your first headlining tour?
It’s interesting for sure, especially because I announced it by myself with no opening acts, I kind of fill in the opening acts before [shows] so it’s really up to me and my team to promote the most out of it. It’s nerve-wracking for sure. Once you announce, that’s when the journey really begins. You have to try and get people to come, sell the tickets. I don’t have anyone backing me so it really just me getting the word out as much as possible, and working with venues and their teams.
I’m nervous for it but also really excited because this is hopefully going to be the start of the rest of my life. Hopefully, I can start it off right.
Do you have anything planned after the PAallDay tour, or is that your focus right now?
I’m always working on music. Right now I have five originals out and just released my second mix. Probably going to get two more songs out before the summer ends, then two more in the fall, and then an EP with all new music come January, February 2020. So, we’re looking at 12 new singles I’m trying to finish up and drop.
That why it is nerve-wracking for tour, because you have to do so much and then still work on your craft. But that’s the fun of the game.
You were an international business major and Penn State. Do you feel like that degree is helping your career?
I feel like it has because chasing that part of my degree made me go abroad and that actually hooked me up with the aboard connects I have now, playing over there. So, it helped me with managing money, how to talk to… every business person comes with different kinds of cultures. So you have to understand how they conduct business, and the right time to have meetings, etc. It helps a lot. It helped me, really a lot, because it helped me get those connections to play out there. Going to Rome, meeting promoters, meeting club owners, while I was still studying, was a life-changing moment.
How else do you feel being able to study and play abroad helped you as an artist?
It definitely helped me in my music production and knowing what different cultures, what kind of music they like. Like my set in Barcelona is way different than my set in Italy because Italy is more into Latin and house where as [in] Barcelona I can do progressive house, like if you want to do dubstep you can. They’re way more open and mainstream; you can so different genres.
So, with music production, I kind of want to make music that hits all my demographics. I have a big hip hop presence. I have a big electronic presence. And I have a big international presence, Latin presence. I want to make music that hits all those barriers.
Hitting all those genres has to be difficult. How do you balance that?
What helps is opening your ears and making sure you are listening to each new music genre. Luckily having Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, the internet really helps you know what the new sounds are for the genre specifically. And as a society, we’re getting more open to different genres. You see bigger DJs blend genres like DJ Snake. You just have to look at what the top guys are doing, like “Taki Taki” is a great example of electronic and Latin put together. The big guys travel the world more and see the trends. Steve Aoki does a great job, Skrillex does a great job, basically just listening to their music and then all the music in the genre itself, you kind of get a feeling in the studio. And then it's all trial and error.
Speaking of learning, I read about your snafu at Mad Decent Block Party. Have you had any other monumental learning moments since then?
(Laughs) that was pretty bad. That was pretty funny though. Another big one that I learned a lot from, I had a big show last summer in Philly at the old Soundgarden. It was like a quick one, I tried to throw something together. It wasn’t really well executed. The space held like 2,000 people and only like 80 came. So you can imagine how empty it looked in there. It was just really eye-opening, like I need to be way more prepared. It was very embarrassing but very humbling. Like, I need to come correct if I’m going to be planning events, especially if it all by myself.
Dosk: PAallDay Tour. Fri., July 5. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Scenario. 1005 E. Carson St., South Side. www.scenariopgh.com