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New Artist Interview: Dictate

In one moment this eighteen year old sound conquistador crafts gnarly basses and mind-boggling synth spasms, in the next he eloquently exposes his heart and soul with spirit tugging harmonic atmospheres and emotionally translucent jazz melancholia.

It’s with great honor that I introduce Blake, a.k.a Dictate.

If you took a second to look back on your high school years, what would you say took up the majority of your free time? At least for me; between school, sports, festivals, stockpiling extracurriculars, balancing AP courses, and doing everything I shouldn’t have with my best friends, my high school years were chaotic to say the least. I had no idea what I was doing- and still don’t! The anxiety ridden reminiscence of my high school career is the exact reason for the weight of my disbelief as I became familiar with the unyieldingly unique art of this young and impressively gifted musician, “Dictate”.

Despite his age and unique style, many of the original tracks in this Michigan native’s widely diverse discography have received anywhere between 10-20k+ streams. One of the things I respect the most about him is that he certainly has no desire to follow anything remotely close to the conventional variety of electronic music we hear all too often.

To wet your basshead pallet, listen to his most recent track released through left field bass label Renraku,
“Moth”:

If Jazz happens to suit you, I would highly suggest you listen to this wavy piece of art:

Those were the first two Dictate tracks I had heard after stumbling across his account on Twitter, all thanks to a retweeted picture of him looking extra dapper in his prom fit. After realizing he was @dictatemusic I immediately scoured his tracklist and quickly replied to the picture to show my support. After just a few verbal exchanges, I realized what a down to earth dude he was, and decided that everyone needs to know about him!

Enter, Dictate

I was shocked to discover how forward thinking your sound was, especially for your age… Why do you make music?

I make music because I really enjoy the fact that I can craft this whole other world to submerge someone into for a given amount of time. The freedom it gives me is something that is unmatched by anything else in life I’ve found.

I respect that man! It’s honestly one of the things I love the most about music. When a musician can effectively submerge his/her audience into their own world, the possibilities for story-telling and conveying emotion are endless.

Who/what inspired you the most around the time you decided to pursue production? & when was that exactly?

I started production when I was about eleven years old, and I listened to a lot of UKF Dubstep. People such as Eptic, Feed Me, Skrillex, Knife Party, 16bit, etc. really inspired me to research how exactly they made their music on a computer from scratch; it really blew my mind at the time.

Those are absolute legends, there’s no doubt about that! I love that you were listening to Dubstep at 11 and experimenting… I think that’s so awesome dude.

If you could collab with any producer, who would it be and why? 

My dream collab is absolutely with Clark, he’s one of my main inspirations as of this year. His music is just an enigma to me and I love it. Death Peak and Body Riddle are two of my favorite albums, and things that I pull direct inspiration from a lot of the time.

What are your biggest goals inside and outside of music?

My biggest goal inside of music is surprisingly not necessarily to get popular, but just to make a decent living off of it. I’ve been really into the idea of doing bespoke compositions in the form of video game/film soundtracks and music for commercials, and I have a publisher who is helping me (and a few other label artists) out with that. My goals outside of music however involve becoming proficient in the realm of computer science and making a decent living off of that. 

After studying music theory I quickly fell in love with scores and such like that, I think they have a lot of potential on festival stages because of the intense emotions they can create.

When someone walks up to one of your live sets, what should they expect to find?

My live sets showcase a lot of what the underground SoundCloud bass music community has to offer, as I feel like a lot of my fellow artists aren’t necessarily getting the recognition they deserve. Very heavy and technical sounding stuff, with a bit of melancholic mixed in. (as is par for the course with me haha). Also, I don’t exactly have a cohesive live set per se, I just want to play music that I enjoy for people to hear!

Well, I appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions for the blog man, people like you are such an integral part of why I love this industry!

Bonus Dictate track featuring Ocular!

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To bass and youth,

– Tristan W

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