Just by checking out the streaming numbers and hit-level songsmithing abilities, DNTST looks and sounds like the project of a seasoned producer who works in a studio full time. So when we actually read that DNTST is a dental student in Los Angeles who songsculpts with his fuzzy socks on:
We thought it was a joke. But it’s not. He’s a very private bedroom producer and doctor-in-making who has mastered the art of cyber ninja-ing. Known for his sick remix of Meiko’s “Leave The Lights On,” which broke 3.8 million streams on SoundCloud, DNTST has quietly and gracefully been releasing bangers via labels such as Spinnin Records.
He recently released “One Sided” ft. Dave Thomas Jr and Emma Sameth. We had the opportunity to shoot him some questions and see if we could crack his identity:
What do you plan to achieve with your project DNTST?
Well, the main goal is to make music that I truly enjoy—
Music (production and piano) provides a nice break from school, but it’s also something I do because I simply love hearing the random patterns and melodies I can come up with using whatever I have on hand. That, and it definitely provides some catharsis when I have feelings I don’t necessarily want to (or can’t) express with words. Then once I have a solid instrumental, I’ll see if any of my singer songwriter friends resonate with the track to add their own take.
The second goal is to have as many other people be able to listen to and vibe with the music in a similar way that I do.
You know, sometimes you have a song that just fits your mood so well, and you can blast it on repeat for days, or come back to it when you’re in that certain mood. I hope that some people will resonate with my music in the same way I do with some of my favorite songs
We have 10% of battery left in our iPhone and can only play three of your tracks. What songs would you recommend us playing?
“2AM” with my buddies Emma Sameth & Berg. One of my all-time faves. Super chill. Dark, hazy vocal chops. Just… all the feels…
“Dawg”: Just a chill, kinda bouncy, light, instrumental track. Very fun 🙂
“You’re Caught” with my bro, Brent Ryan. A darker romance type of track. I’m not sure how to describe it right now, but I think it’s pretty cool
Why are you keeping your identity private?
I’m sure it overlaps a solid amount with what the other masked artists say.
1) I think it adds a focus to the music as opposed to me. Why do you reallllly need to know about me. Just enjoy the tunes!
2) On the off chance that this project does blow up one day, I don’t want people coming up to me all the time — when you see all the attention big artists get, it looks super overwhelming, and you lose a lot of your privacy. I’ve got some acquaintances that are pretty well known in the entertainment industry, and sometimes you just want to eat dinner with your family without people taking selfies and trying to start conversations with you all the time.
3) It’s fun to create this separate artist image. Like, who knows. Am I a guy? Am I a girl? Am I a unicorn? You can’t really know for sure.
We know you’re in your second year in dental school, but can you give us your background in music? Did you play instruments as a kid?
As a lil dntst, I started out on the piano around 6ish maybe? Then around high school I asked my piano teacher if I could switch the type of music we were playing. She responded “Sure! No more Beethoven! On to Bach!”
That wasn’t quite what I meant, so I ended up quitting, dabbling with guitar, and then going back to piano without a teacher. From the start, I primarily played by ear, so once I started playing the songs I found online instead of the classical music, I ironically progressed much faster. (Basically, because the music was more fun, I played more)
(I’m pretty smooth on the piano, the guitar and with ableton live. But I have no clue whatsoever about legitimate music theory. I just compose what sounds good to me.)
What do you enjoy more: dental school or producing music?
Dental school is actually super fun! It’s a large workload, but I always tell people, it’s like puzzles and arts & crafts.
As for music. As fun as dental school is…. Music wins with no competition. It’s just free expression with patterns, tones, melodies, etc etc. It’s just.. pure, semi-random, expression. Words can’t describe how much music means to me.
What’s more difficult? Dental school or making a good song?
In this case. Dental school wins hands down
Dental school takes a lot of will power. There’s a lot of learning. Research. Reading. Etc- and it’s all important. We’re going to have people’s health in our hands. You may think dentistry is just the mouth, but when you’re in our hands, we need to look out for your whole body.
On the other hand, since I’m doing dentistry, I don’t need to worry about money in my musical endeavors. This is a MASSIVE luxury. Since money is not as relevant, I don’t really need to compromise much artistically, so when I make music for fun, I can literally do WHATEVER I want! Okay, so some of it may not be appealing to the entire pop audience, but I’ll have a great time making it, and if I release it (Even if I only release it for a week on soundcloud) I’ll notice that a hand full of people really vibe with it. (I love to check out my analytics, and its always fun to see that a few users have played one of my super experimental tracks 10+ times. Sometimes I haven’t even played it for myself 10 times!)
Sorry, I got a bit distracted. Essentially, whether or not you think it’s good, I think it’s cool, otherwise I wouldn’t have made it! And if it was difficult, I’d be too lazy to do it haha
If you had to choose careers between being a dentist or DJ (and no, you can’t be a dentist as your daytime job), what would you choose?
Definitely dentistry. Dentistry= puzzles, art, and I get to help people 🙂
That, and like I mentioned earlier———– because I’ll be stable from Dentistry, my passion for music doesn’t need to be comprised for me to try & make ends meet etc. At the end of the day, the music is a bit more for me than my audience
Will you be wearing a giant tooth onstage if you perform?
I’ve thought about this plenty. I don’t want to steal marshmello’s style, so I think I’d have to pass on the tooth costume & or helmet– But honestly, I sort of have stage fright, so I’m not exactly trying to tour anyways. I just like making the music, and the satisfaction of others enjoying it on their own terms
Though… occasionally, Brent Ryan and I have gone on some online streaming websites. In those cases, I’ve worn a unicorn onesie, a bandana, and sun glasses. (I know that doesn’t have much to do with dentistry. But I like unicorns. The onesies are super comfy. And it keeps my identity hidden.)
If you could collaborate with any producer, who would it be and why?
This is a tough question. There are so many producers of different genres that I respect so much… I hope you don’t mind, I’m going to list my top 3 in order.
1) Galimatias (Legendary at making sexy/ electronic R&B/ chill music)
2) Felix snow (dope. Awesome. Unique pop type music)
3) Louis the Child (dope. More EDM pop type stuff)
You have listeners all across the world. If you had to pick a country to play a show, where would it be?
That’s a good question. Maybe Italy? Italy is dope.
But honestly, I prefer that people blast my stuff in their rooms or in the cars (also, ya know, the stage fright thing)
What can we expect from DNTST in 2018?
Well, I start working on dental patients soon. Which is pretty awesome.
But musically, I’m just going to keep cranking out & refining some tunes! I’m sitting on a lot of “cool” stuff (stuff that I like, but may be kind of weird) and I’d love to release it properly (reaching the biggest audience as possible!)!
I also might dabble with some more synchronization with film & TV (That track 2AM was just played on a show called “Good Behavior”. One moment, a character gets murdered, the next, our song comes in. Pretty epic.)
That, & keep the collaborations coming! I’m not so great with words (As you may notice from my rambling..) but I’ve got some very talented friends/ singer-songwriters like Emma Sameth, Dave Thomas Junior, Brent Ryan, and Meiko (to name a few) and it’s always a pleasure to work with them
As a last note, I love spreading great music. I’m currently looking to expand my Spotify playlist reach, and/or looking for other ways to curate music and get great music in to the ears of those who will appreciate it!
The world ends tomorrow and, like any DJ, you decide to throw a DNTST’s Apocalyptic Party. Who’s gonna DJ (after you, of course), play the show, and sing the closing song before everyone dies in flames?
Alright, for “DNTST’s End of the World Kickback”, why don’t we have my producer idols roll up.
Let’s start out chill with Galimatias, lift up the vibes with Felix Snow, and rage with Louis the Child.
To send us into the flames, I think I’d have to bring up my homie, Emma Sameth. She’s got a KILLER voice. And… I mean… She literally has a song called “up in flames” it just fits too well.
If you ever see a dude with a unicorn onesie walking around, he’s either DNTST or demented.