INTERVIEW: Dustin Hensley

Hi Dustin, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thank you! Things are great on my end. Been super busy, but that’s a good thing!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Nobody But You”?

I wrote it last summer with Zach Lockwood and Kellr, and we had a big time that day. Zach and I had been friends for awhile but had never written together, so I was a little nervous. For a couple of reasons. First, he’s insanely talented. So, so good. It’s a little intimidating. And second, you never know how it’ll be writing with friends. You can get along great, but sometimes the chemistry isn’t there when it comes to writing. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with us. We were all just sitting around catching up and talking about ideas, and then Kellr started playing this loop and it was like a switch flipped. I started humming this melody and Zach just started singing what ended up being the first half of the chorus. I think we wrote it top to bottom in about 45 minutes. It was nuts. And Kellr is a genius when it comes to production and tracks. I’m so proud of how it all came out. They make me look like I know what I’m doing!

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

At the time, I was into this girl. We’d always had this “will they, won’t they” type thing, and in all honesty I was getting annoyed with the whole situation. I was venting to the guys about it and somehow this song came out. Like I said earlier, Kellr was playing this really club sounding loop and it just took off from there.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Hopefully! We’ve talked about some different ideas and things we could do. I wanna do videos like Reba used to do haha. They were like watching a movie. Bonus points if I can blow something up haha.

How was the recording and writing process?

Recording this one was really fun. It’s got such a cool groove and I love the melody. I sang all the background harmonies as well. I think there are 4 more harmony parts on there behind the lead vocal. Kellr has this great studio, and it’s got a really cool vibe to it. It was pretty easy to get in the right head space for it.

What made you want to blend Country with synth pop music?

It wasn’t really that deliberate I don’t think. Kellr comes from a very EDM/ House music background and I love his stuff. Really, I just liked him as a person and knew that I wanted to work with him. I wasn’t sure how it would work, but I love every song that we’ve done and I’m really excited for everyone to hear it. It doesn’t sound like anything that’s happening right now and you can’t really frame it or put it in a box. I love that. We just did what we wanted and what felt right at the time.

Does one genre tends to shine out the most depending on the lyrics’ theme or you try to balance both styles into one?

It’s different for every song I think. Obviously the thematics of a lyric will lend itself to what the feel should be for the instrumentation, but I don’t know that we ever made a conscious effort say “we should make this sound more country, or more pop.” And we would catch ourselves at times thinking, “is this pushing it too far?” And as soon as we would say that, we would toss that thought out. We really wanted to challenge ourselves, and not confine it to any parameters, and that’s what we did. I’ve had a little pushback from some of the country “purists” saying that the EP isn’t country, or that it doesn’t fit within the format. But honestly, that conversation is so tiresome to me. Country music to me is real life, and story telling, and  truth. And that’s 100% what this EP is. I just swapped out a banjo for a synth pad haha. Plus, I don’t listen to music that way. In a box or categorized. If it’s good, I’m going to listen to it. And I think the rest of my generation listens the same way.

How’s your new album coming along?

It’s done! And I’m chomping at the bit to get it out. Just trying to get all the T’s crossed, and I’s dotted now.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Well, we were originally looking at the beginning of this year, but we’ve had some really cool opportunities come up that will ultimately push the release date back a bit. And I absolutely hate it when people say stuff like in interviews, but it’s the truth haha. Hopefully I’ll be able to tell some good news hear shortly.

Any plans to hit the road?

Same deal haha. I can’t give away too much, but it looks like we’ll be busy this year. Stay tuned!

What else is happening next in Dustin Hensley’s world?

Lord. We don’t have that kind of time to get into all that! Things are good. Really good. Just working a lot, always writing, always recording. Aside from that, going on a lot of terrible Tinder dates. It’s great writing material. There are some crazy women in this town haha. I also got a new vacuum that’s changed my life. That’s about it!

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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