Dressed in a simple black T-shirt and jogging pants, Dylan Echevarria moves in his seat as he discusses his journey so far as an artist.
“There were times when everything was fine,” he says. “And others where I was lost in the unknown.”
Echevarria’s demeanor does not give the impression that he is a sought-after DJ signed to a major record company. His modest nature and open disposition are the antithesis of the stereotypical DJ personality.
“I was kind of an anti-social kid growing up,” he admits. “I started DJing for a number of reasons, but one of them was to go out socially when I got back to Miami.”
Although originally from Miami, Echevarria, who goes by the nickname Eche Palante, spent most of his formative years in New York City before returning to South Florida in his sophomore year in high school. Soon he started DJing and experimenting with music as a way to make friends. The DJ eventually became a production, and the production became a passion, and very soon he was performing at events across town at 17.
“I have to give my brother Joey all the credit for my interest in EDM. Growing up in New York, I used to play Guitar Hero while he made all those crazy electronic sounds, ”he laughs. “At one point I thought to myself that I also wanted to learn how to make music rather than just playing notes in a video game. I can’t be more grateful for all the insight he has given me since the start of my career, and I probably wouldn’t have entered it without him.
Yet as a high school student, Echevarria’s skills behind the decks didn’t really lead him to gain popularity; he was even bombarded with eggs in a memorable performance. It wasn’t until college that he really found his rhythm, performing at fraternal nights and clubs like LIV, Club Space and Wall Lounge. Soon, DJs like Tiësto, the Chainsmokers, Nicky Romero, EDX, Oliver Heldens and Sam Feldt dropped his tracks in their sets.
Finally, in 2017, after releasing a handful of singles and remixes, he signed with Universal Music Group (UMG).
“I don’t think artists need to sign with record companies,” he says. “I chose to sign with a record company because of where I was in my career. I had a song on Spinnin ‘Records that was going really well, I did some remixes for UMG artists, and I was thinking about how I could take my career to the next level. For me, it was more of an economical choice. Signing up with a record label gives you a budget to expand your ability to write songs and produce music with others. It opened doors for collaboration with artists from all over the world. ”
After graduating from college, Echevarria had a decision to make: Continue her musical career or her studies.
He chose to pursue a joint law degree and a master’s degree in music at the University of Miami, with the ultimate goal of becoming an entertainment lawyer. But balancing homework, recording sessions and DJ concerts has become a challenge.
“There were days when I thought about putting my art on hiatus until I finished law school, but those thoughts faded as I learned to foster a healthy balance between school and music, ”explains Echevarria. while my weekends served as an outlet for DJing and music production. I wanted to make sure I gave myself enough time to prepare for classes and exams and limiting my time producing music ironically favored quality releases over quantity. I never wanted to downplay the importance of one or the other, and I’m happy that I was able to pursue both at the same time.
Juggling a music career and law school isn’t the only thing that sets Echevarria apart from most DJs. He also never creates a playlist for any of his shows.
“When it comes to shows,” he says, “I load over 1,000 songs onto USB drives and pretty much improvise the track selection.”
Most DJs have ready-made playlists with songs sorted by genre and mood. Echevarria prefers to “think about track selection on the fly”.
“I also like the challenge of not completely planning my sets,” he says. “And so I, nor the audience, never know where the set will go, which I think makes for a more memorable experience.”
During the lockdown, Echevarria used the extra time to write and produce their long-delayed debut album. Although he started working on the project shortly after signing with UMG, complications with collaborators, life events and, of course, the pandemic only seem to be helping to lengthen production time.
“[The pandemic] was a blessing in disguise, ”he says. “On the one hand, it allowed me to have more personal time for myself and to be with my family. I really didn’t realize how much time I was wasting playing shows and getting caught up in homework all the time I was missing spending time with family and friends. Plus, I never really took time for myself. I was always preoccupied with something else. Now, I’ve learned to appreciate self-reflection and to have time for myself – going for walks, driving trips, and just spending time thinking about how I can continue to be there. best person I can be for those around me and myself. These developments even continued to foster new inspiration for the album.
As Echevarria reconnected with his family and friends, he managed to complete five years of work, culminating in the release of Reflections in May.
“Reflections sums up my life over the past five years. Some songs are about specific events and feelings that I first experienced, while other songs are more open, ”he says.“ Some songs were completed years ago, while others are more open-ended. ‘others were released just a month or two before the album was released. Overall, the content on the album represents the ups and downs of my life, the happiness and the sadness, and everything in between.
With his law school completed and the Florida bar exam fast approaching, Echevarria looks at the Miami landscape with a new perspective, an understanding of himself, and a clear direction of the direction he is taking. wishes to take as an artist and in life.
“In a perfect scenario, I would continue to be an entertainment advocate while still writing and releasing music,” he says. “Nonetheless, I know the music will always be there, and it doesn’t matter if I’m signed or not yet. In the end, I started writing music as a hobby and never saw it become what she’s become. It’s something that I will always cherish and have a passion for. ”
Echevarria has wisdom to pass on to those who seek to follow in his footsteps.
“I want to put forward the basic idea that you have to write whatever you want whether or not you are on a label,” he says. “You have to be happy with your catalog, because at the end of the day, I think that’s what being an artist is. You want to show the world who you are and who you want to be.