I've known David Heartbreak for almost two years. Like many, the first time that I heard his name was through the H&M release he did with Munchi. I reached out to him for a proper education on moombahton, and he hit me with several giant folders of tunes to evaluate. This was in 2011. We've stayed in touch, shared music, and touched base occasionally. But he's been on grind mode the entire time.
Since we started speaking, he released a steady flow of releases, two of which I found to be pivotal. One was Cloud 9, an incredibly chill set of records that seemed pointed; a stab at those prodders forcing out these giant tunes. The LOC'D OUT project with Craze was also groundbreaking. He's since signed to Lee at AM Only (Skrillex's booking agent), and his records are slotted to come out on OWSLA. It's not a bad time for him right now.
Hard work has gotten him to where he's at, nothing else. In an industry that's less than accessible to black and brown producers, he's creating leftfield production, refusing to fit a formula, and spending a ridiculous amount of time crafting custom sounds. He's comfortable using just about every digital workstation possible. The interesting point, though, is that all of this is happening for a rapper that didn't start producing electronic music until a few years ago.
He and I met in the late afternoon last Saturday in the studio of a producer friend of his, and I got to hear a couple records from his forthcoming album. I can't speak on these tunes, but the next movement for him will be monumental. There's always a possibility this will miss audiences. The budget for his latest video must have been humongous, and we're still wondering why it hasn't gone viral. The next wave of work is huge though.
Keep in mind that Heartbreak's show was directly after the second day of Electric Zoo. I decided to skip the festival completely and link up with him beforehand. We spent several hours chilling and bullshitting before this show. We walked the streets of New York, relaxed at his hotel, and just vibed out, and at the venue. Wolfgang Gartner played before him, and it was actually a blessing. Gartner's set was executed flawlessly, but the tunes didn't force listeners to think.
Heartbreak walked up to the booth after Gartner in camouflage shorts and a fitted cap, then played about 30 minutes of house and electro before moving to a stack of acid records. And got weirder and more eclectic as the evening went on. The promoter saw the response, asked him to play an extra hour, and there was a hilarious stop of the music. He addressed the crowd, asked who was tired, and played a chill reggae tune.
Diving between tempos and genres, he dipped and weaved between hard electro, trap, dubstep, rap and house. Seeing this, knowing his history, and having a handle on the acts that Pacha has a tendency to book had me grinning. This is a guy that took the most unconventional path to where he's currently at, and he is on the road to greatness. The records he's creating now have the ability to reshape popular music.
To be honest, Pacha booking David Heartbreak wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the OWSLA connect. It's a club known for staying at 128 beats per minute. I was in attendance last year as Sazon Booya and Skrillex broke the mold, and applauded at the push to try something different. Heartbreak wasn't at Electric Zoo, and this club rolled the dice to add him to the lineup as a one-off.
We left at 5AM, and the floor was still completely packed. I had a front row seat to one of the most daring sets I've ever heard, and in thinking on the event, I'm quite sure why this DJ playing this club was so monumental to me. First and foremost, it's great to see a friend succeed. But the fact that his power is rising and he's staying true to his heart and his roots is heartwarming.
We need more of this. People that don't look like the conventional concept of a DJ. People that don't put a tempo or a genre on and hit the cruise control button. And people that make it strictly on the back of a desire to learn and do better. David Heartbreak is looking to disassociate himself from genres so he can focus strictly on making music from the heart that he can stand by. I'm souped to see what he does at TomorrowWorld in a few weeks. It's one set that I can't miss.