Today, we have the honor of featuring Visual Artist, DROPLITZ. Hailing from Denver, he’s quite the creator in both audio and visual atmospheres. His art displays awe inspiring visions full of psychedelia, nature, geometric depth, and much more. Focusing on both canvas and murals, John has created a promising existence of creative explorations. DROPLITZ experiences synesthesia, which triggers a connection with audio and visual experiences and blends them to further enhance his presentations. Discover more through an amazing interview as he shares a beautiful story. His latest single, Funk’d is also released today! Enjoy!
Bio: Welcome to DROPLITZ, the sound project pioneered by Denver producer and beat-spelunker, John Plehinger. DROPLITZ takes listeners to deeper levels of underground music experience with subterranean bass-lines, seismic percussion, and soulful harmony. Utilizing Ableton Live, numerous controllers and synthesis, Droplitz unearths elements of psychedelic bass, glitch hop, dubstep, tribal trap and progressive electronic.
“Birds of Paradise” 2012 Oil on Canvas by DROPLITZ
I remember my first time drawing… ever. I remember drawing with a couple highlighters in one hand. The colors were blue and bright yellow during a custody hearing to decide who would parent me. I remember this like it was yesterday. My grandma told me that I was two when that happened, “she said, just keep drawing Johnny, it will get you through anything!” So I did, I never stopped making art, or looking for new ways to express myself. And it DID get me through everything. All through grade school I was always known as the most artistic.
I thought I was supposed to be an art teacher, until I got to college and met who would later become my mentor. Carlos Frezquez, internationally known chicano artist and muralist – he was my favorite college professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He pushed me, he saw himself in me and kept encouraging me to paint bigger. Just as I was about to graduate, he had me help him on a mural and I have been doing it for a living ever since. I would say I use my Bachelor’s in Fine Art pretty regularly.
I was definitely a visual artist before a musician. Though all creative things pulled at me growing up. Writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, playing instruments -it all sort of became the same to me. I played drums all throughout grade school. I could see the notes flying through air like the concepts of my paintings. Long before music productions, I knew there would be a way for me to paint with sound.
When I was a teenager back in the early 2000’s, my hacker friend [ya, we had those back then], got me this program called Acid pro 4, I used that for a couple years and wrote a couple handfuls of film score, type songs. That was also when I got photoshop and started combining my hand drawings together digitally. I crashed that computer and actually didn’t get into production till mid college in 2010. The rest is history, I mean I literally did not sleep for like three years while learning production in Ableton Live. I can now play all types of percussion, piano, guitar, and even some trumpet…. So my tunes in the future will be funky for sure.
Synesthesia is how my art and my music reflect each other. For me, they are one in the same. Painting with sound is very similar to painting with paints. Each element of each medium relates to the other. Like how blue colors sings a soothing sound, and how yellows billow over with shimmering harmony, how reds spew sounds of passion and angst.
When I am making a song, I can see the setting of the imagery, each note adds another element to the scene. Basically, I can see sound and hear the colors. I experience a multisensory ‘condition’ called synesthesia which is when each sense can be experienced with/by the others, therefore all my creations are from the same pool of inspiration… my senses.
It’s about the words death and perception. I painted this based on a series of my own experiences during a few mushroom trips. This was right as I moved to Denver and had a sort of revolution in my consciousness!
I am a client based muralist, I often get requests to paint nature scenes, I love that because being out in nature is where I am most inspired. So to get opportunities to paint these giant landscapes of nature and plants are really rewarding and helps generate many new music ideas. First it starts with the client and their idea.
I think my clients request scenes like these because they want more nature and whimsy in their immediate, urban lives. Then I do a digital mock up of their idea. Next plan, I paint the mural, often listening to tracks I was working on the night before.
At the time of this painting, I was reading a lot about Alex Grey’s theory of how “Art Evolves Consciousness” This was my representation of ego death and transcendence that he speaks about frequently in his book and TED talk. Alex Grey and Tipper Music were the main influences for this piece for sure.
“Funk’d” needed to happen. I made this song with the full intention of making a bass stomper of a tune! A lot of people might hear my music online and think that I write only chill music, when that is not the case at all. I like to save my heavy songs for live gigs. I easily have a hundred unreleased songs that are heavy! I post my chilled out, ethereal dubs online because I feel they are the best for streaming.
“Funk’d” is the first of many releases with the surprise factor being the focus. I like to surprise people. That brings me to the cover art, which I made. The idea came out of eating cannabis edibles, they were so strong I thought I saw baby heads in the texture of the wall! Needless to say I stick to flower and stay away from edibles now because those got me “Funk’d” up!
Among many goals of mine this year, the main one is to release more music… a lot more. I have so much music just hanging out on my hard drive just begging to be finished and released. I would also like to do my first tour and potentially find management for my brand of art both in music and murals.
My dream is to travel and do music gigs and murals! I am making myself more available and bookable as to call in these dreams! I think a super obtainable goal would be to tour with someone bigger than me in the scene.
I have messed with a few DAWs over the years, but the one that takes precedence in my life and is the single biggest reason I lack sleep…Ableton Live! Once I was given Ableton and saw that you had not only arrangement view like every other DAW, but you also had session/clip view. I found it very easy to experiment for hours and found it difficult to take my eyes and attention off it. Right at the beginning of college is when I was painting and making music almost every waking moment of every day.
I am an advocate for Ableton, I feel that you can create most anything from beginning to end. I don’t use a lot of VSTs or external programs. But I do enjoy Serum, Guitar Rig and isotope Ozone if I had to pick a few that I use in my production regularly outside of stock Ableton fx and instruments.
Cannabis, walking my dogs, regular technology breaks, camping, balancing my creative muses, making art and music together and separately.
Coffee, mural design work, music work, networking through email and social media, meditation, dog walks, marketing and sales of my brand of music and art, etc.
Street Ritual has been a favorite of mine since about 2014, it is an absolute pleasure to be releasing a single and doing an art feature with such a dope label of creatives. Special thanks to my girlfriend Nikki and my Dad John Sr for always encouraging me to follow my weird and wild dreamzzzz!!!
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