Shawangunk Stomp: the story of Dutchyyy’s Uproot
The short story: Dutchy’s new record “The Uproot” is available to pre-order right now! It’s been a six-year journey from recording to release, so I highly recommend checking that via the button below.
The long(er) story:
Although originally from Florida, by 2013 Dutchy aka Dutchmassive was firmly rooted into Los Angeles’ creative community. He’d spent the last 5 years as a regular fixture of the ever-evolving beat scene, collaborating with both genre pioneers like Take (aka Sweatson Klank) as well as emerging collectives like the Astral Basement family.
A series of personal turmoils however, were to abruptly end his journey in Los Angeles. In swift succession Dutch was faced with losing his full-time job, the breakdown of his relationship and then losing his apartment. Finding himself without regular income and forced to couch surf, he decided to hop a Greyhound bus and travel back to his childhood home of Tampa, Florida in search of a fresh start.
Rather than finding peace in his hometown, he was faced with animosity. Without wanting to dwell on the situation too long, Dutch recalls “being met by jealousy from people that stood still in life.” It was clear from the outset that Florida was not going to be a permanent stop.
Luckily his stay didn’t last long. An old friend, Sam Sleezy, called and invited Dutch to spend some time with him in New York. “He spent months trying to motivate me to record new raps,” remembers Dutch. “but all i wanted to do was make beats.” He spent the majority of his time in Sam’s hidden forest backyard, finding solace in the process of creating without distraction.
Unknown to him, a chance call from his father would change the course of his life. “My pops, who I had not spoken with in over a decade, invited to me visit him for the weekend in upstate New York,” remembers Dutch. “So I accepted.”
Dutch packed up some belongings and headed out on the road to reconnect with his father. By his own admission, he wasn’t fully prepared for what awaited him. “When I arrived, I was surprised to find out my pops was the caretaker of one of the illest nature preserves in upstate New York on the top of the Shawangunk ridge mountains,” he recalls.
The Shawangunk Preserve is a Deep Ecology Learning Center and Preserve located in the Adirondack Foothills of New York. Founded in 1974 by Tim and Peg Spencer Behrendt, they chose the location because no highways or other human sounds could be heard. It’s 516-acre footprint ranges from expansive wetlands to forests, mountains and countless other areas of natural beauty.
My back and front yard, had ice caves, waterfalls, forests and scenery that looked like it came from Tomb Raider meets Lord of the Rings.
In awe of the landscape and eager to reconnect with his father, Dutch decided that a weekend break wasn’t enough. He moved onto the preserve permanently, taking the opportunity to rebuild and dedicate himself to music. “I spent a year alone, building with him, inspired by this sacred mountain,” he recalls. “During this time, I rejected and pulled myself out of any beat collective. I just wanted to focus on art without any politics. I rejected what society had programmed into me.”
With music as a central part of his daily routine, Dutch’s output during his time at Shawangunk was prolific to say the least. He created relentlessly, carrying his laptop and midi controllers with him wherever he travelled in the preserve. The 120-minute instrumental album ‘Chill Gawd, Chill’ was created there, quickly followed by ‘The Uproot’. The beginnings of 2015’s ‘Traversal’ album (released via Grand Garden) were also conceived on the mountain.
I spent a year alone, inspired by this sacred mountain, creating music all day and night long, in the attic, in the basement, near the waterfall, everywhere I occupied.
Despite the critical mass of material created during his time on the preserve, The Uproot remained unreleased for six years. “The Uproot was supposed to drop after Chill Gawd, Chill and before Traversal,” says Dutch. “I actually ended up pulling songs from The Uproot to put on Chill, Gawd and Traversal because it was too long.”
“Then my computer crashed, and I lost all the original sessions for this unfinished album, so I was stuck with demo tracks I bounced out. So I sat, and I sat, and i’ve been sitting on this piece of my history because well…. analysis paralysis.” The chance recovery of an old hard drive in 2019 uncovered the original session files for The Uproot, allowing the album to finally be released.
So what can I say about the album itself? As one of only a handful of people lucky enough to have had a copy of the demo mixes for the last 5 years, I’m more than a little biased. It’s a deeply personal piece of work; full of meditative, soulful production which reflects the environment is was created in. In his own words “Chill Gawd Chill was effortless, fun and comfortable, The Uproot was losing everything, breaking down, and building up again leveled up.”
I’d urge you to listen and experience it for yourself.
Preferably in a dimly lit room at night, with headphones.
The Uproot was losing everything, breaking down, and building up again leveled up.