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.
Now Danny Hughes (DCPA) is sharing on his latest track Iconic Love and it is ICONIC!
Iconic Love is AMAZING! Iconic! Talk to us about the making of the single?
Thank you! This one was a journey from start to finish. I held on to the vocal recording for over a year before coming up with an idea for the production. Marcia (MISHA) Sondeijker is the vocalist who wrote the lyrics and we both agreed they were special. I started off the track with an ethereal melody which flows into several different layers of electro house production. ‘Iconic Love’ has several drum rhythms and a crunchy bass line to tie it all together.
Can you give us a sneak peek of what music you'll also be releasing this year?
Next, I’m releasing my first cover version of a track with my good friend Michael English (Pelican Dock). We’re working on a ‘nu disco’ cover of the 80’s hit ‘Shattered Dreams’ by Johnny Hates Jazz. After that, look out for some progressive and electro house instrumental tracks and more covers of pop songs this summer!
What's the concept of the project?
‘Iconic Love’ is a nostalgic track, which is apparent in the hook “can we go back to the time we fell in love”. The track leads with a ticking clock to emphasize this, and conceptually I wanted the track to appeal to everyone. I believe the lyrics can apply to a lot of situations where there is a yearning for lost passion. It could be a person, a hobby or job, anything really.
Do you have a checklist of why a project needs to be made?
It usually begins with a feeling based on a vocal track from a collaborator, or a melodic idea I come up with. After that, I spend time working with the basic elements to determine whether the track has greater purpose. In a way, the checklist is based around achieving a specific result with the track, one that can even be expanded on in the future. That helps me get to a point where I know I want to release it. As artists I feel we should differentiate when a song is based on a greater vision or just a fun idea for the studio. Some projects are just concepts to be used for other musical applications, or to share with just a few people. I think the biggest step to check off is making sure I can relate to the song on my own, but also with an audience.
What is the most honest part of the music making process?
It’s important to me that my music has a valuable underlying message and stands as a contribution to the world. Sharing ideas with others and getting their opinion can be humbling. There is also something about being out in the world with a song playing that adjusts your perspective. I make most of my final changes based on how a song sounds and feels when hiking, playing live, or just driving around in my truck. It’s good to test out tracks in environments where they are most relevant.
Is there anything that can feel forced?
Musically, I find myself forcing too many ideas into the production before it’s complete. One key step is to critically listen to a track repeatedly while subtracting unnecessary elements. It’s helpful because you step back and remove the forced material, making the track feel more natural. From a marketing standpoint, I used to find social media to be the most forced item on my agenda. I like to share what I’m doing professionally and personally, but this took a while to feel more routine. It’s still challenging at times, but I think most audiences develop distinct expectations for individual artists, and ultimately appreciate simple, consistent, and relevant content.
What would be your DREAM project to get made? Speak it into existence!
This would be decades from now, but my dream project could possibly be to revisit all my work as DCPA, re-envisioning the tracks and producing albums in different contexts. A few examples would be a piano-only album, fully orchestrated versions, and even remixes by my favorite music artists or fans. I believe every great song has unlimited potential beyond its original recording.
So many ways to connect, what's the best way for you?
You can reach out and find my music at the links below!