The following interview is part of a class assignment for Entrepreneurship and the Hero Adventure at SMU, Meadows School of the Arts. Each interview has been conducted and created by students for this course, which celebrates those heroes in our communities. Heroism, for the purpose of this course and assignment is described as:
- Service of something larger than oneself.
- A willingness to sacrifice in the name of service.
Author: SMU student Winston Ray
Check out this interview with Frank Dux.
W: Tell me your story as an artist, how you learned your trade, and how you have achieved the success you have today?
FD: I started taking it serious in the Spring of 2006. I got my start at a nightclub in Amarillo, TX called Graham Central Station. I started in the Spanish/Carribean room and was mentored by two great dj’s that taught me quite a bit about reading a crowd, song selection, and timing. Dj King and Sonny taught me the tools I use still to this day in the nightclub scene. I was self-taught before that. I purchased a beat up set of tables and a mixer from a guy I knew on the football team. He gave me about 40 records with the full turntable set for $100. I then took all of the vinyl records from my house back in El Paso. I didn’t know about BPM’s were so I would match records that had the same speed. I would then use my ear to see which ones sounded good melodically. I kept a notebook of these “sets” or “transitions” for when I went to parties. I’ve achieved the success I have today by working extremely hard and doing business the “right” way.
W: Have you had any mentors in the industry along the way?
FD: The main mentor I had was Dj Mozzak. I met him in the Summer of 2006 at a radio station dj battle. He beat me in the finals. The program director liked us both and ended up giving both of us mixshow positions. I would go over to his house every Sunday to learn scratch techniques, beat juggling, and song selection. He was a veteran with 20 years of experience and most importantly, a dj that was willing to take on a hungry student. I definitely owe my success to Dj Mozzak for taking the time to teach me everything he did. To this day all he tells me is “carry it forward”. That’s the definition of hip-hop.
W: Tell me a little bit about your new project called K.A.O.S.
FD: In short, it is a dj vs. drummer routine where me and my drummer (tDOTace) act as a band playing off of each other. Our routine is not only modeled, but is a tribute, to the “Fix Your Face” routine that Travis Barker and Dj AM pioneered. We were both born and raised in the culturally diverse city of El Paso, TX. In a 1 hour performance you will hear anything from Top 40 Pop to Classic Rock to Hip-Hop to Salsa to Children’s Theme Music blended in such a way to give you that “did that just happen” moment over and over again. We chose K.A.O.S. (chaos) because that accurately describes what we do. K.A.O.S. is short for Killing All Original Sounds. We want our set to be able to reach the masses.
W: How have you managed to balance your time between your music video company Esteelo Films, and your job as an independent music producer and DJ?
FD: I’ve learned through experience how to manage the things I do. I also have a full-time job with an energy company and a beautiful family. It is hard work, but I stay very organized and I continue to work on my crafts. This is a business, so I feel it’s important to continue to grow in all aspects of my career and increase my worth in the industry.
W: How does where you are today differ from where you were when you started?
FD: Today is much more business oriented. There are projects and deadlines I must meet to satisfy my clients. When I first started it was more about learning new techniques and increasing my music database. The flipside to that, of course, is now I make money as opposed to dj’ing in my bedroom by myself. Hahaha!
W: How do see yourself growing as an artist and entrepreneur in the years to come?
FD: I see myself continuing to grow as an “artist” creatively and financially. I definitely see myself doing music, photography, and videography full-time in the near future. I plan to use my MBA and background in Finance to help turn my love for my music into a financially thriving company.