Set 25 | Ben McCracken & Derrick Soto
Above all else, there is a passion for the creative development of Dallas in the voices of Ben McCracken and Derrick Soto. Derrick and Ben grew up itching to break into the hardcore scene in North Texas. Bouncing around from suburb to suburb they finally settled in East Dallas. Though the hardcore scene in Dallas has since dwindled over the years, the DIY ethic that brought it to the forefront in its heyday is still very much alive. After some time floating around in the same circles, Ben (lead singer of From Parts Unknown) and Derrick (leader of the always-present project King of the Beach) met at a party and bonded over music and a similar sentiment for the way music could and should be enjoyed. Both moved to Dallas to pursue music and experience what Dallas had to offer. At the time, places like Galaxy Club, Bar of Soap, Royal Rock, Sandbar, Sugar Shack, Billiard Bar, and RBC (in its original inception) were still around, but the thrill was short-lived. Soon after the move, key venues offering live music began to disappear. It was the same old story then as it is now: the rent goes up, the art goes out. Though Derrick mourned the loss of some of his favorite places in East Dallas, he understood the ebb & flow of business in the area. Instead of leaving or throwing up his hands, he started throwing house shows out of his garage. “I do believe much like any music scene that we’re oversaturated, and Greenville just got oversaturated, man. It bums me out. You know that’s why I started playing on the street and doing stuff at my own house because I couldn’t get a good show like that one that I wanted to go to because it was just cover bands. And nothing against that but just dude, I want to hear you man. I’d rather sound crappy doing something I did originally than sound like Prince not being Prince.” Derrick explains. So many bands have filtered through the shows Derrick has thrown at his house, including From Parts Unknown.
With Derrick’s desire to stay put and support the local music scene, King of the Beach doesn’t plan on branching out on tour, however From Parts Unknown performs predominantly outside of Dallas. While touring around the country, Ben observed first-hand the turn away from the DIY approach to the commercialization of what were then niche genres. He has seen how the music communities in other cities function. This change in the way music is consumed and produced is not new news to artists and long-time financiers in the business. Ben describes what may be the cause of this shift, “A huge thing that happened… that doesn’t get a lot of credence is just the extreme shift that happened in popular music, and digital revenue sales, streaming, sharing, and how the physical market kind of collapsed… and everything got equalized being able to make your own music at home.” As the industry settles into the newly realized shape of the music economy, there are many disagreements about the way things should be done. Derrick chimes in, “That [DIY] aesthetic kind of got lost in the indie thing. They’re not trying to make their own labels. They’re not trying to put out zines. They don’t realize that the scene doesn’t just show up out of nowhere. You have to make it.” Everyone is attempting to navigate a path that will help them reach their goals, and maybe that is the take away here. Musicians have very different reasons for making music, and in turn, different goals and different end games. Ben and Derrick are a prime example. Derrick is more satisfied playing in town and jumping on a bill at the behest of friends while Ben enjoys touring and recording. Neither approach should be valued more or less than the other. Ben continues on this idea, “The underground vs. the popular, it’s like an hour glass.” A shifting of the magnetic poles. Musicians are going to continue to make music, despite the established fabric of the music market.