By: Drew Albee
When we sat down for this interview, Krooked Drivers’ Donnie D’Albora was experimenting with the addition of a new element to his live show — and his excitement was palpable.
Since the beginning of the year, a lot has changed for the Denver-based artist, but he remains devoted to crafting beats and rocking shows, despite detaching from his longtime partner-in-crime.
“It’s definitely kind of a weird transformation and everything, but I’m trying to step up my game and prove to anyone who is doubting my situation, or who thinks ‘oh, that project is done,’” D’Albora said. “It’s not ever going to be done. I just work so hard with it.”
Doubts surrounding the project arose when Maddy O’Neal left the group in February. After five years with Krooked Drivers (KD), O’Neal will be focusing on a new project — her solo career—a notion D’Albora is wholeheartedly backing.
“She wanted to voice her own opinion as a solo artist — not getting judged on stage with someone,” D’Albora said. “It’s cool because a lot of girls do need a voice within the music industry. I, 100 percent, am completely about supporting her, she’s going to have a great career.”
This massive modification to KD’s dynamic was something D’Albora sensed would come all along.
“It’s something I knew was going to happen, at some point,” D’Albora said. “Good things don’t last forever, and it was such a good thing — we had so many good memories — and yeah, in the end, we both needed to go our own ways and have our own careers.”
Moving forward with his career — despite the radical alteration — D’Albora is excited for the future and the liberation that comes with being an independent artist. Later on in this transformation, he is eventually planning on changing the name of the project — to Dusty Kicks.
“I feel like I have more control now,” D’Albora said. “I can make every decision really count depending on my fan base. I love the fans, and I felt like I was getting disconnected from who I was, as a person, with everything that was going on.”
In spite of everything going on, D’Albora dedicates his time and effort to making “a lot, a lot” of music and is always pushing the envelope “to make even better music” and “enhance my live performance.”
In order to enhance his live act, D’Albora was playing around with what he described as “analog super fun time,” as we discussed what the future holds for the Electronic Hip-Hop/Soul artist.
“I’m going to write a lot more sample-free tunes that are analog-style hip-hop and I’m going to expand my collaborations with people — a lot.”
Some of those collaborations have already come to fruition. Recently, at a Buku Music + Arts Festival Late Night Funktion afterparty, Ryan Viser joined D’Albora on stage and played live trumpet over KD songs. D’Albora also confirmed that Stone Soul would play his horns over KD tracks during future dates the two artists share.
On top of collaborations, D’Albora is grinding out new tunes, as well. In the course of a little over one month, he has released a pair of EPs, Beyond the Stars and Time is Never Lost, featuring 13 original tracks. He also has a remix of “‘The Same Thing Coming’ by Unified Highway (ft. Zion-I & The Grouch) dropping soon. D’Albora referred to his remix as both “sample-free” and “ridiculous.”
“I just have so many projects that need to be finished. I have a lot, a lot, a lot of music, and I’m always making more,” D’Albora said. “Fucking music, dude. It’s just never going to stop.”
And without stop signs, D’Albora is excited to forge the road ahead.
“It’s been such an awesome ride, just learning about everything and just creating,” he said. “I’m just excited for this new turn of events.”
Be sure to catch D'Albora on spring tour as he curates beats and experiments with more impromptu enhancements to his live show.
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