Three NC State students, an NC State alum and two non-State students come together to make up Raleigh-based band Dotwav Media. After releasing an album on Sept. 5 titled Rather Die Than 9-5, Dotwav Media sat down with Technician to discuss their goals, their group dynamic and artist stigma. The group is made up of:
- Renzo Suburbn – production and vocals, a fourth-year studying architecture
- Jo Pippins – Guitar, production and vocals, a fourth-year studying business administration
- Gonz – production and DJ, a fourth-year studying media communication
- Sonny Miles – drums, production and vocals, an NC State alum with a degree in communication
- Mike Moon - vocals
- Hunter - vocals, production and mixing
What is Dotwav Media and what do you do?
Jo Pippins: That’s a complicated question. What do we do? I would say we inspire the rage and the dynamic thinking of people our age. Who are we? I think that’s up for everyone else to decide, honestly. We’re a hip-hop group, alternative, punk, and there’s a lot of things that go into it.
Gonz: I think an important note is that we’re completely self-run. We produce all of our own instrumentals and things of that nature. Hunter does all of the mixes, so we never really have to contract out work. We’re very self-functioning.
Renzo Suburbn: One of the things he said on our album was, “If you thought you knew who we were, you already lost it.” So, I feel like our stuff redefines itself each time. Every time we release new music, we do a different thing with each project, and we just try to create something new each time. Definitely we’re a band, though, at the end of the day.
How would you describe your sound?
Renzo Suburbn: I would say we’re a queer, black, alternative punk band.
Hunter: I’d say we’re alternative rap or alternative hip-hop.
Jo Pippins: I feel like we’re a bunch of different artists who have different tastes, and we try to put them all in the same song and it turns into alternative rap.
As a group, who do you look to for inspiration?
Renzo Suburbn: Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, Kanye West. I wouldn’t say that he’s a primary person we pull from, but as an artist/producer, he’s definitely influential.
Jo Pippins: I would say Tyler, the Creator.
Renzo Suburbn: As far as someone who’s hot and coming up now, I would say JPEGMAFIA. Also Travis Scott. Michael Jackson. Honestly, Charli XCX. We like some pop music too.
Can you describe your process of making music?
Renzo Suburbn: I can give you a scenario. It’ll be like somebody wakes up, and they’ll hear a beat playing through the wall or whatever, so they walk into the room and will be like, “Dang, this is pretty hard. What are you about to do with this beat?” They’ll be like we can serve it for the whole group, then we’ll all be like, “Let’s write some verses for this really fast.” Somebody will write a verse and think it sounds more like a hook or a chorus, so we’ll switch it to that. Probably three or four of us will get on first, and usually we’re not all there at the same time, so we’ll add post-production or another verse from someone who wasn’t there later on.
Gonz: Usually when we all get together, we’ll all just have our laptops out and play things for each other.
Hunter: It’s a bit of an office feel, ironically.
Jo Pippins: I would say it starts with music, but also sometimes we’ll sit on an idea for a long time. Like we just dropped [Rather Die Than] 9-5, and there’s a song called Crabs in a Bucket, and we talked about that idea for at least two months before we actually recorded anything.
Renzo Suburbn: The idea of that song is like, everyone wants to see someone win, but no one wants to be the platform, because everyone wants to be on top. We got a fortune cookie the other day that was like, “If you’re not the dog in the front of the pack, then your view never changes.” It’s like you’re looking at dog ass the entire time, but at the same time, we want to change that, so that no one is afraid to put someone on and be like, this is fire.
How do you feel like your school life has an impact on your musical life and vice versa?
Gonz: It’s therapeutic to make music, for me at least. It’s like an escape.
Renzo Suburbn: It’s hard to want to be super scholastic all the time when you just want to make music, but you can’t be unrealistic with what you want your future to be. I feel like we’re real believers in speaking things into existence and projecting the things that you want to become in life. In a year from now, we want to be on Billboard and doing shows everywhere and travelling the country and travelling the world. I feel like we have to live a certain way and not disregard the responsibilities that we have now, but not being afraid to say where we want to be and how we’re going to bridge that gap. We don’t ever want to stop learning. I just think that a traditional school setting doesn’t always work best for us. I know for myself, I’m always so ADD and I’m always ready to do the next thing.
What are your goals for the future?
Jo Pippins: Just playing more shows first and foremost. That’s what we really enjoy doing.
Mike Moon: Conquer the world.
Jo Pippins: It’s actually world domination, but like taking steps to get to that point. Also putting out more merch and focusing on some of our solo music.
Renzo Suburbn: I think a lot of people don’t know that we have solo music out and they haven’t heard it, so that’s the next thing that we want to push really hard, but that doesn’t mean that we’re going to ever slack on our Dotwav work or anything like that. For the future, we want to be as inspirational as people like Odd Future have been to us. We want people to be not afraid to be a person of color and punk and just to live their life in whatever alternative lifestyle and orientation, and just not be afraid to be who they are. Not in a corny way though.
How did you decide on the name?
Jo Pippins: It’s the file type.
Hunter: Don’t let me catch you saying “dot-wov.” It’s “dot-wave.”
Mike Moon: And don’t say Dotwav with an e on the end.
Renzo Suburbn: When we first thought of it, we were thinking about “.wav” like the file type, but then we were thinking about there are waves in all different types of format. You perceive light in waves, you perceive sound in waves, water is in waves and we’re made of water. It just felt like there’s a lot of different aspects or modalities that are all in waves.
Is there anything else you want to add?
Gonz: We can talk about the album. We just released an album called Rather Die Than 9-5. It came out on Sept. 5. It’s 14 songs. It’s a collection of songs we’ve been working on for like a year.
Hunter: That would be under Dotwav Media.
Renzo Suburbn: I think we want to make it clear that we don’t hate people who have 9-to-5s or dislike anyone for choosing to have a 9-to-5.
Jo Pippins: If you want to do a 9-to-5 and that’s what you truly believe, then that’s your path. We’re not hating on you for that, but there are some people who get into that lifestyle and they don’t know how they got in there. They’re just doing it to please their parents or whatever. I feel like the internet has busted open a lot of ways to make money, so we feel like you should do something that you’d like to do.
Mike Moon: It basically just about doing what you want to do. We don’t want to do a 9-to-5. We want to make music.
Sonny Miles: I graduated from here, so I know a lot of people who went to 9-to-5s. I was like, “Alright, all of y’all are doing that,” but when I got with Dotwav, they were like, “We’re not about that.” We’re just in a system that’s supposed to breed you to do these things.
Renzo Suburbn: Everyone has to eat, so everyone has to have a job, but you don’t have to hate your job. The idea is to do something that every morning you can wake up and look in the mirror and be like, “I like who I am.”
Hunter: Think “Office Space”, the movie. That’s what we’re not trying to be on.
Renzo Suburbn: And we want to uplift people who are creatives in whatever field they’re in. We want people to have an entrepreneurship mindset about their creativity. You should be paid for your art. The starving artist stigma has to die with our generation.
Dotwav Media will be performing at Special Treats Chocolate Lounge in Chapel Hill on Sept. 20. For more information about the group, their shows or their merch, check out their website and social media profiles.