DPR LIVE + DPR IAN bodied their debut Coachella stage.
If there’s a music festival that launches artists to a wider audience, Coachella is the place for that. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world come to the California desert to see an equally global lineup. For many artists, a Coachella performance can make for a moment in their career.
Such is the case for DPR LIVE + DPR IAN, who make up part of the 9-member team called DREAM PERFECT REGIME and made their Coachella debut on April 16th and 23rd at the Gobi Stage. “It feels surreal… it feels like he [DPR LIVE] was just performing in the basement the other day in a crowd of 20 people,” DPR IAN reminisces. “Funny enough it’s our first time at Coachella.”
DPR was founded in 2014 by Christian Yu (DPR IAN) and Dabin Hong (DPR LIVE). The rest of the 9-member team consists of DPR CREAM, DPR ARTIC, Joonyong, John, Cline, Eddie, and Hyunsoo. What started as three friends sharing the same love for music, the DPR team quickly became a global obsession that does everything themselves. And no, they’re not a boy band or even a musical group. Instead, they identify themselves as a creative collective group who are taking music in a new and exciting direction.
GETTING THE AUDIENCE’S ATTENTION
On March 17th, the DPR team released DPR ARCHIVES, Pt.2, an album that serves as a compilation of everything in-between. “I think the beauty of art is letting everything flow… not everything has to have a reason,” DPR IAN says in an interview with NYLON Manila. His dreamers (DPR fandom name) are familiar with his character MITO, a symbol also featured in his debut album Moodswings In To Order and EP Moodswings In This Order. MITO is another version of DPR IAN where he tells his story in every track he releases. This character is a tool to express his experiences with bipolar disorder and helps him evolve as an artist.
DPR IAN’s overarching theme in playing a dark character like MITO is showing how he goes through his manic episodes. “That to me is as real as it gets. If I didn’t explain that side of me, it’s almost like an identity crisis.” Ever an evolving artist, he teases that a new character will be introduced soon for his next upcoming album. “To give a little hint, MITO is a character when I’m in my lows. This next character is not just visually different but sonically as well”.
At his Coachella debut performance, he performed fan favorites such as Nerves, So Beautiful, and Calico. With Nerves, he spoke the chorus instead of singing “Hi, how you doing? // Don’t worry about me ’cause I’m doing fine”. In So Beautiful, his arms are wide open giving the audience a “hug” from him. He whipped out his bass guitar skills for Calico, showing that he’s a multifaceted artist. DPR IAN can hypnotize the audience with his small dance gestures and facial expressions.
NEW SOUND, NEW IMAGE
DPR LIVE’s EP IITE COOL revolved around the summer concept. When asked if picking concepts for each track comes easily or harder to him, he states, “I had a lot of public practice with my music and finding my color as an artist throughout the years”. And unlike most Korean male musicians who enlist in mandatory military service later in their careers, DPR LIVE enlisted before pursuing a music career.
“It’s kind of like a Marvel universe building off from IAN’s character,” says DPR LIVE as he explains the color he wants to represent the DPR team overall. His character will be introduced soon in MITO’s universe when DPR IAN puts out a new album. This character has a new sound and new image. From DPR LIVE’s perspective about this character, “I feel like it’s a debut and honestly my artistry, I’ve done that for a while, but I feel like it starts now”.
The Coachella audience was hyped up for his LEGACY track performance when he asked everyone to put their hands up. A key factor to his on-stage presence is he utilizes the space by running up and down to interact with the audience. DPR LIVE’s setlist was mainly from his debut album IS ANYBODY OUT THERE? No Blueberries was a seamless transition introducing DPR IAN on-stage with him. They continued to perform together for their Boom track and DPR IAN picks up a rose from the side of the stage and carries it with him till the end of that performance.
OVERSEEING THEIR ARTISTRY
“We really create worlds by doing something exciting, and that’s what we enjoy,” DPR LIVE shares. Creating worlds is an introspect into the music the DPR team creates, and they have an entire storyboard on it. “When people come to our shows, we want it to be an experience whether it be theater, cinema, etc,” DPR IAN says, who is known for also serving as the visual director of their group.
Enduring the pain and suffering to go after something you’re passionate about is something DPR LIVE + DPR IAN can agree on. DPR IAN muses, “If you’re not broken, how can you make something so beautiful? … that’s where the magic lies”. DPR LIVE adds, “We always wanted to create from a real place, and I think that’s why people are drawn to our artistry”.
Eschewing behavior typical of most music groups, this creative collective let their music speak for itself, and the audience ate it up, like with the crowd they played to at Coachella. The value they prioritize as a group is vision. That vision they have now is the same as how they formed over a decade ago. And as cliché, as it sounds, at the end of the day, teamwork makes the dream work. “Just keeping it real, having that vision, and not stopping,” DPR LIVE confidently lets it be known.
Photos courtesy of Julian Bajsel and Roger Tam
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