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Stay Creative And Stay Hungry- Local Artist, Kenny Gaines

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Written and Published By X

Last weekend, I was debating on going to see Eprom at Soundcheck DC. I had an early appointment for my very first tattoo ever and didn’t want to risk being faint or anything from being tired. But the odds were against me getting any sleep because all of my friends were going to this show and one of my close friends, Chris (Revazz) was playing as support. So, at the very last minute I told myself I had to go because I knew I’d be missing out on some amazing music, especially if a good friend was playing. I’m so glad I went because all three sets, Thugdub, Revazz, and Eprom’s, were absolutely insane. Another great thing that came out of going was that I got to see and meet Kenny Gaines, otherwise known as, “Thugdub” for the very first time and ask him if he was interested in sharing some of his career and journey as a producer with the world. He seemed thrilled.

Thugdub uses Ableton to create a grimy bass music with experimental, hip-hop/rap and dubstep elements. He’s been producing for about four and a half years now but started DJing two years before. He explained that he was very into riddim and dubstep at the time, so learning to mix the two genres helped him gain an understanding of the different arrangements of tracks which ultimately made producing a little easier once he got started. What got Thugdub into music was his parents. He said growing up, his dad was always bumping rap. “We would ride around listening to Biggie, Gang Starr, LL cool J, etc. My mom loves R&B and is always listening to music no matter what she’s doing.”

What does your music making process look like?

“I usually start out with some sort of sound design whether it be drums, basses, or melodies. Those elements really give a song its character, so I like to establish the vibe of the track in the first stages. After that, it's a series of experimenting with different arrangements, mixdowns, and ideas. In the beginning I would study tutorials while making my tracks so it would take me a while. Now that I'm pretty comfortable in my DAW it takes me about 3 to 5 days to complete a track.”

How does your music differ from others?

“It's honestly hard to say what makes my music unique. As creatives, we draw inspiration from a bunch of other artists we listen to. Making it our own is what makes the final product unique. But one thing I think stands out about my music is its originality. When It comes to music I believe in quality over quantity. All the tracks I release are brought together with A LOT of thought and care so my fans can always expect quality.”

What advice do you have for growing artists?

"My advice is to stay creative and stay hungry. If you're excited about buying a new piece of equipment or a VST, buy it. No, it won't instantly make you better, but that excitement will make you want to practice. You'll learn new things and overtime, improve. Lastly, trust me when I say every artist to ever live goes through self-doubt.

At first, it's almost impossible not to compare yourself to others. The best thing you can do for yourself is keep your head down, focus on your mission, build your team and never look back. With each release and show you play you'll be reminded of who you are and why you do this."

What artists have you opened for and what venues have you played at?

"Playing support for G-Rex, Shlump, DirtySnatcha, and Monxx were some of my bigger shows. My favorite show has to be support for Black Carl! In West Virginia. It was one of my first times playing out of state and The Just Come Presents crew showed me so much love from the minute I pulled up. Angelic Root and Prophet were on that bill as well but they treated and supported me as if I was a headliner. The venue was intimate, and they had a really dope production setup. It was also one of the first times I saw my logo on a LED screen. The whole experience really made me fall in love with what I do. Another one of my favorites was opening for Eprom at Soundcheck. It was probably the most people I've played in front of and I could really feel their energy. At one point I accidently cut the music in the middle of a song and the crowd was so supportive it almost felt like I didn't even mess up. I played an unreleased track at the end of my set and got the best crowd reaction I've ever had. Those shows will forever go down in Thugdub history."

I can imagine that seeing your logo on the screen is kind of almost like that “I made it” kind of moment. It’s more than just “making it” though, it’s your entire brand, art and individuality that comes together at these sets. I loved every second of the set that was played at Soundcheck. I was dancing the entire time and so was everyone else! You could tell that a lot of people really loved the all the different elements of the songs that were being played, and people love getting down to grimy experimental bass. “It's very important to me that my music is original and fresh. I try really hard to implement that into my sound because I don't want to be known as ‘That Dj that sounds like so and so.’ I want to be a household name when it's all said and done and maybe even turn Thugdub into its own genre.” Kenny proclaimed. As I’ve said before, I think we’re going to see a lot more experimental bass start to popularize. People like hearing newer sounds and uncommon genres especially in electronic music. We are slowly straying away from the habitual, individual Brostep kind of riddim we’ve been hearing. I think the community is slowly starting to go more towards any hybrid kinds of genres.

Lastly, how has music affected your life and who do you take influence from?

"If it weren't for music, I probably wouldn’t have ever traveled outside of the DMV area yet. Most of my lifelong friends I've met through music. It helped me find my passion, change my way of thinking and my perception of the outside world, all for the better. I am forever grateful for music.

My friends and family influence me the most. I'm very fortunate to be surrounded by strong minded individuals who tell me like it is but also support me in all of my adventures. Without them I wouldn't have the confidence to do what I love."

Thugdub’s music is grimy, inventive, dynamic, catchy, and overall amazing. I really enjoyed his set and cannot wait to see what else is ahead of him in his music career. I do these articles because I genuinely see potential and talent in these producers. Whether they’re just starting out, or they have experience, like Thugdub, I always like to help out those who I can clearly see have a passion for what they do. Don’t miss out on Thugdub, click below to hear his music and follow his socials. -X



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