Bumping tunes with live vocals from the DC jack-of-all-trades.
This week's RA Podcast is a little bit different. It's slow, and chilled out, more like a mixtape full of R&B, funk and slow jams. But that's not what we're talking about. The 90-minute mix features dreamcastmoe freestyling, crooning and talking all over it, like a cross between a DJ's radio show and a private live concert. The DC musician is admittedly shy, so it's a treat to hear him sprawl out and get comfortable in this recording, which is one of the most joyful and pleasant mixes we've ever had the pleasure to share on this website.
Most of us first heard of Davon Bryant when we he dropped the Liquid Deep EP on Peoples Potential Unlimited back in 2017. The label found him through demos he posted on SoundCloud of himself singing over beats by Sasac, without even realizing he was a local kid they already knew from seeing around DC, as RA's Matt McDermott noted in his review of that record.
His early work for PPU had the warm, worn feel of the archival records the label was most famous for, but in reality, he's one of the American dance scene's brightest young voices, making connections with labels and artists around the world. You might call him an old soul, but that's only half the story, and the selection of tracks he picks for this mix—from artists like Superabundance, Remy Banks, Jordan GCZ and plenty of his own work—are actually the future of soulful, cross-genre dance music rooted in the traditions of Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia and, yes, DC. So sit back and let Bryant narrate and serenade you through your journey, which he imagines as a virtual car ride. You'll laugh, you'll nod your head, and probably get up and dance.
What have you been up to recently?
Recently, post my last project, the Lamont EP, which is finally now in stores after insane Covid delays, I've been back in the studio finding some regularity. I've been taking the time to get back into my sound and find new ways to make music outside of my home bubble, by virtually having joint sessions and Zoom calls. I've been collaborating with some close friends that I've been working with for a while now. I also put together the Lot Radio DC takeover, two days before inauguration, which was a really tense time in DC!
How and where was the mix recorded?
I was practicing for a while at the Lot Radio but then realized I wanted to add a live element to the mix, so I structured the mix out a bit so I could add some live singing. Got some help from my friend Amal, who's an engineer, to help me lay down the vocals.
Can you tell us the idea behind the mix?
My idea for this mix was "Carpool with dreamcastmoe." Picking up friends along the way. I don't start the ride with some crazy dance tune. It's all things that I would roll up, smoke and drive to. The tempo just sort of rises as you go. It's what you listen to when you just need a break, to go outside or go for a drive. It also speaks to me being shy and not wanting to perform in front of people, so it's easier for me to do it in a car with my friends.
What's your favourite part of the mix and why?
My favourite parts are the interludes. When we talk about how the pandemic has changed the way I feel about making music, well, it's also made me think about what context mixes are being listened to in. I don't want them to feel like they’re just made for the club anymore. People are at home and people are tired of the same old shit. So using that broadcasting technique to give it the mix that live element feels like I can connect with people even more, as if we're all in the same room together listening at the same time.
Has the pandemic changed the way you feel about making music, and if so how?
I think it's changed everyone, and everyone's relationship with time and how they put out a project. Working on music is one of those crafts where you just have to sit and do it. The main difference for me has been that the pandemic has allowed me to be a fan of music again. I've been able to sit and listen to all the things I've wanted to listen to for a really long time.
What are you up to next?
Wrapping up my new EP with IRL. Got some exciting features coming on this one so I’m really excited to get this one out!