Droo's Peace Crush: Making A Scene
Take a bunch of different tribes and mash them together and you might get a violent reaction. On the other hand, you might find yourself with a beautiful fusion of the sort of cosmopolitan culture we have in the Dallas and Frisco area.
Sure, it may turn discordant at times when it threatens to break apart. But when we get it right, well... Ain't that America at it's finest? And if such coexistence has a sound, Droo's Peace Crush may have found it.
Genre really is a thing of the past with this Dallas-based ensemble, as they playfully mix diverse styles where the unaccustomed ear might be surprised to hear the blended elements of what was once called "pop," and "funk," and "folk." A saxophone dancing around with a fiddle, Latin congas with funky bass and electronica. And of course the soulful singer, Droo D'Anna, weaving it all together.
So it's no wonder that Droo fit in so well at our recent Whistlestop Jamboree festivals where, not only was his band featured on the main stage in 2018, but where he himself has participated in our Jamboree Scramble.
Now, if you're not familiar with The Whistlestop's Jamboree Scramble, you should be. It's one of the most unique musical experiments in this part of the country. Musicians from all walks of life throw their names in a hat and are drawn into new, makeshift bands that prepare a half-hour of mostly original music to be performed at the Whistlestop festival each October. So, this sort of musical Frankenstein is right up Droo's alley as Peace Crush's front man, and as the host of a good many open mic nights around DFW. (Want to get in on this year's Jamboree Scramble? CLICK HERE for more info.)
I was interested in picking Droo's brain about his creative process in assembling such diverse elements, as well as his thoughts on being an original artist in a market flooded with lucrative tribute bands that, while entertaining, aren't doing much to pioneer new music.
Brooks: Let me start by asking you what is your five-second "elevator pitch" as a band?
D'Anna: Droo’s Peace Crush is more of an idea. It’s the concept that people from all different races, genders, genres, and experiences can come together and make fluid musical ideas that are unique because of the extreme diversity from which they’re born.
Brooks: What do you all hope to accomplish as a band?
D'Anna: To bring good vibes and quality music to people’s lives. We want people to listen to our music or leave a show with a smile on their face.
Brooks: Who are similar artists you have shared, or would like to share, a stage with?
D'Anna: Well, there aren't a ton artists in Dallas similar to us. But we've shared stages with Calling For Eden, Chilldren Of Indigo. And we'd like to share with The Vibe, Royal Teeth, and Cure For Paranoia.
Brooks: All very unique bands creating something original in style and sound. So, looking back, what have been some of your favorite shows you've performed?
D'Anna: Whistlestop Jamboree last October 2018 was actually one of my favorites! Also up there would be when we played The House Of Blues Cambridge Room stage for the Local Brews Local Grooves festival.
Brooks: Can you tell us about your songwriting process and how a tune evolves in your band?
D'Anna: I write the core of the songs by myself - the music & lyrics...and I can hear the end result and final production in my head when I do...because I know the instrumentation of my band and what we can accomplish in the studio. Then we all get together over a few months to learn the songs and the band writes their parts...we all collaborate in that phase of the writing as there are so many moving musical parts that we have to listen to each other and work the parts out together. If it ever isn’t matching what I heard in my head from the beginning, I will redirect it towards that vibe...but typically my band gets the sound and the dynamic of all the tunes pretty spot on.
Brooks: Tell us about your experience in the Jamboree Scramble at the 2017 Whistlestop fest.
D'Anna: The scramble band was a lot of fun. Very rad experience getting to be thrown into a situation with other really talented musicians but with very diverse styles. It was challenging, but in a great way! And it was a blast getting to know and create with others in the scene that I wouldn’t have otherwise known. As for the festival, it is just a fantastic time with wonderful people and super chill vibes...and the rail yard venue is a rad place to hang out.
Brooks: With your involvement in so many musical ventures around DFW, in radio and as open-mic host, etc., you've really got your finger on the pulse of artists in the area. Who would you recommend we keep an eye on?
- Jade Nickol - The Wild Frontiers - Cure For Paranoia - The Vibe - Ron Bulltongez - Remy Reilly - Sebastian Valenzuela - Chilldren Of Indigo - Sophia Annello - Calling For Eden - The Bodarks
Brooks: What are some venues you've played that support original music that people should check out?
D'Anna: Lava Cantina, The Rustic, McCall Plaza in Plano, House of Blues, Six Springs Tavern, T's Bar, Tutta's Pizza...
Brooks: What is the toughest challenge you've faced as a band, and how did you overcome it?
D'Anna: I would have to say that has been finding our true sound. With so many pieces (7 total) and so many different musical ideas, in order for it to work, everyone has to know their place. Our first record was very developmental...the second record, still somewhat an in-between...the third record that will be released by early 2020 will finally showcase our real sound that has become an actual thing now that we’ve been working together so long.
Brooks: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the DFW music scene?
D'Anna: Strengths are the abundance of talent and places to perform... especially places musicians can perform and actually make money doing it. So, we can make a substantial living while we work on perfecting our craft. Also, the network of musicians here is mostly supportive. Biggest weakness of the DFW scene: generally this city doesn’t seem to be too terribly hungry for original art....so they typically don’t seek it out whether that be digitally or going to live shows. And this fact has caused a bunch of very talented artists to give up on making original music to pursue what will make more money here, and that tends to be tribute and cover acts. But I believe the DFW-area could be way more of a hub for original music and original, unique sounds coming from it, and being known for that, if the average person who lived here showed a lot more support for the arts.
Brooks: Do you have any upcoming projects or news to share with us?
D'Anna: The band’s new record will be like nothing you’ve ever heard before...not even from us. It is a HUGE undertaking in production as I am bringing in lots of different artists and friends to collaborate in bunches of different ways...along with the 7 members we already have. Should be a magical full sound when it’s all finished...and extra funky/groovy. Looking at a January, 2020 release date. Also, we're excited about a few upcoming full-band shows: - Aug 24: McCall Plaza (downtown Plano) 9pm, with Jade Nickol opening at 8pm - Sept 27: The Rustic (Dallas) 9:30pm
Brooks: Huge thanks to you, Droo! Without original artists like you, who also support and build up other local artists, there would be no scene.
You can learn more about Droo's Peace Crush at www.droo.co,
Jeff Brooks is co-founder of The Frisco Music Scene and fronts the Dallas-area band The Bodarks.
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