It's hard not to make a mention of the melting pot of individuals that Burning Man is made up of --- the beauty in never knowing who you might run into. That smorgasbord of awesomeness is very much alive in our dusty little family, too. Us piles come from all walks of life, from every background, and each one of us has a story. So how did a child born in Singapore to a Navy family end up in San Diego and part of our little camp? Better yet, how did that kid find himself slaying the decks with a distinctive style that one could only classify as Dink? In honor of the release of Dink's set from Pile Palace at Burning Man 2017, we dove in headfirst to capture his tale. Press play on the mix and get into it.
So, how did this all happen? Where'd you come from? How'd you get here?
Well, actually, I was born in Singapore. My dad was a fighter pilot in the Navy. He and my mom traveled around the world together for 15 years before having me, and they just happened to be in Singapore at that time. We all ended up back in America a few years later, where I went from living in Maryland for a bit to Houston, Texas, where I really grew up. After high school, I went on to University of Colorado. It was there that I started going to shows, like at Red Rocks, and really introduced myself to the music scene. Seeing shows where there was a cohesive vibe, where everybody was really into the artist, really inspired me. At that point, I knew I wanted to curate a setting, from the people to the music. After getting my undergrad in architecture, I came to California for my masters and have been here ever since.
What was your introduction to Pile Palace?
I was living in San Diego. I had never been to Burning Man, but I was always fascinated by it. I decided to do my masters thesis on portable architecture, and on a lunchbreak one day, I was at East Village Tavern reading up about Burning Man and this kind of architecture. Alice [Pile babe] happened to be bartending and she noticed a picture of the playa in the book I was reading, made a mention of her theme camp's very first meeting that night [Ego Trip], and told me to come. I did, and a few months later I was riding out to the burn with Alice, Porkchop, and Cookie. That year on the playa was also the year the seeds of Desert Hearts and Pile Palace were planted. But, yeah, it all started with reading a Burning Man book one day at a bar haha.
Musically, what's your background?
In middle school, I was in percussion and really loved being in the drum line. That was my first real introduction to beats and rhythms. At the same time, I always found myself gravitating towards music with heavy riffs and mean sounds. As I grew older and was experimenting with new sounds and discovering music, it naturally evolved into dance music. I saw Sacha and Digweed at a music festival a few weeks into college and it changed everything. I went home, sold all of my video games, and bought a copy of ableton.
How would you classify your current style?
I would consider what I play house and tech house, in the most basic sense. But I've always been a fan of variety and try to incorporate other genres as well. I love to have a wide range. I like to stay up to date on the new shit. And I always love mixing breaks into my sets to change up the rhythm.
What's Dink working on next?
I'm really focusing on production right now, and also my parties. I'm working on releasing an EP this year, hopefully relatively soon. I also want to put out some singles with a few different labels. We'll see how it goes.
What does it mean to be a Pile?
Well there's definitely a laziness aspect to it haha. But I feel like being a pile is a privilege. It's all about busting your ass, putting in hard work, and earning that laziness. It's an honor to be a Pile. It's ironic.