Celebrate Rodrigo Diaz's Dramatic Club Debut at Beauty Bar.
First time I met Rodrigo Diaz, he cornered me at some after-party and started badgering me about a bad review I gave his friend's show. Second time I met him, I offered him a job.
He was passionate about music. He was well-versed in the area's endlessly interesting underground electronic scene. He thought like a journalist. For the next year and a half — from April 2010 to November 2011 — I edited Diaz's near-weekly, Denton-focused “North of the Dial” column at the Dallas Observer. He did a good, if flawed job with the column. Despite my pleas for variety, he wrote almost exclusively about the Denton electronic scene. When that didn't work, he'd write about Dallas electronic acts playing a show up in Denton.
“It's really the only interesting stuff going on,” he'd say when asked why he so favored electronic music over, say, folk or rock in his coverage. Then he'd start spewing reasons why. It was tough to argue with his passion. Or, because of that passion, with the fact that he started more actively participating in the very scene he was covering.
A few months back, Diaz finally gave up his column. He was too involved in the scene to cover it, he explained. And he cared more about the music he was making anyway.
Again, it was difficult to argue with him. He'd started performing under a new moniker, Ynfynyt Scroll, and he'd found a niche in his blend of juke-, vogue-, trap- and dancehall-inspired offerings. Better yet, he'd found an audience. Alongside his Track Meet collaborators Austin Shook and Matt Creech, Diaz started throwing rave-inspired bashes — events that drew wide varieties of dance fans excitedly to sometimes obscure basement and loft locations.
For the past few months and with the steam rolling from Track Meet's live events, Diaz has been releasing free-to-download, teasing singles on his SoundCloud page. Each of these postings has been meant to build anticipation for Let Me See It, the aggressive, punchy, oddly irresistible debut EP Diaz released earlier this week.
To commemorate the new album, we caught up with Diaz to talk about Ynfynyt Scroll's expansion, Diaz's intentionally offensive stated aim for the new sound and his thoughts on why Dallas is only gonna get “tighter” in the coming months — starting with the release party for the new album at DJ Blake Ward's Glamorama weekly at Beauty Bar tonight.
Check out the Q&A and stick around for the album stream that follows. It's tough to argue with.
I know you were DJing and producing before Ynfynyt Scroll started. Why did this moniker come to be?
Ynfynyt Scroll is a reference to the web design feature that lets you scroll endlessly down any given website. We all scroll all the time, endlessly and “ynfynytly” just like scrollscrollscroll.
I noticed the you've been calling this music of yours “Dramatic Club.” Why that moniker?
Dramatic Club is the name I chose because it is the most straightforward descriptor of the music. It is club music, even in the most genre-specific sense of Jersey Club or B-more club. The use of the “Ha” sample from Masters At Work's “Ha Dance” is a staple of Vogue/Ballroom house, which is also a derivative of east coast club music.
Since this isn't a work of Vogue/Ballroom in its truest sense, I preferred to label it Dramatic Club. The stabs, the emphasis on the last beat of each measure and the use of hits are all worked in such a way so as to be as dramatic and cunty as possible.
The phrasing I came up with to describe the EP is “strictly rhythm + verbal altercations over fashion + glamourous ladies & gentlemen + forceful and confusing sexuality. It's the c-word and the f-word and the p-word and the b-word.”
I think it speaks for itself.
Obviously, there's a want to be pushing boundaries with this music, while at the same time nodding at some '90s influences. And yet, from what I can see, your parties at least have been welcomed with open arms. Your singles, too, by local press. Are you walking a fine line? Are you surprised that your offerings have been so well-received? Am I wrong to assume that they have been? Do you see it this way?
I am walking a fine line that I have been walking for many years. I spent a long time deeply resentful of modern dance music and its foibles.
But once Bok Bok started putting out Night Slugs releases and Kingdom and Prince Will followed suit with Fade to Mind and labels like Body High and Pelican Fly began to surface, I took notice, and I owe a great debt of gratitude to Austin Shook for turning me on to it.
During our That's What's Hot days at Fallout Lounge and The Cavern from 2008-2010, Oleg Belogorsky and I used to awkwardly combine deep techno and house and what I see to be the “standards” of modern electronic music (stuff like Drexciya and Kerri Chandler) with Trap and R&B. I thought we were the only ones, but once the aforementioned labels and artists came to my attention, I realized we weren't the only ones combining the sensibility for deep techno and house with Trap and R&B and Garage sensibilities.
Now the fine line I'm treading has all sorts of DJs and producers across the world in the same boat as me, and this is the future. I'm very glad it's well-received in Dallas, and I can't believe people here are open to juke and kuduro-influenced acid house. I think with what we're doing with Track Meet, everything is finally coming to a head, and I'm glad that years of work and waiting for the right time to cash out on what I've been learning and doing is paying off. So now I just need a condo on my neck.
Visuals play a big role in your live settings, and there's an obvious care talking to the seemingly lack of care displayed on your album art. How important is the visual aspect of Ynfynyt Scroll?
This goes back to Track Meet, a vessel through which Austin Shook, Matt Creech and I propagate not only the amalgam of audio influences that inform modern day electronic music, but also the visual influences. The album art was not meant to prove a point; it's just what happens when you put me in front of a computer with Photoshop.
What can you tell me about your label, #FEELINGS?
#FEELINGS is run by Ben Aqua, and, ugh, he's just the best. He is extremely active on SoundCloud, trolling the dashboard for the best new amateur producers, and you can expect a lot musically, virtually and IRL from the label.
What's the plan at the Beauty Bar release party? How receptive were they to your wanting to bring in your standard black light set-up?
The plan is to have black lights and to Track Meet the place out. We're not doing our insane, B-movie-quality setup with the cage and the slime and the toxic waste barrels. But it's not really necessary.
What's next is for Dallas to start being waaaaaay tighter than it is right now. Tighter and more dramatic and more club. That's good for Ynfynyt Scroll, that's good for Track Meet, it's good for local DJs and venues and it's good for the bored-ass people across the Metroplex staying in and watching Drag Race reruns on Friday and Saturday nights.
Stream Let Me See It below.