Dominic Gangcuanco, also known as Wavlngth., is a music producer, writer, and artist based out of West Covina. Drawing from the likes of Knxledge, Mndsgn, and J Dilla, Wavlngth. is creating his own lane with his unique sound and groovy beats. He also has been working closely with other local artist, AB, starting their record label Fruitful Records. As many other creatives could relate, Dominic talked to us about the struggles of being a perfectionist in such a vast and ever-changing industry. Read more of his story below!
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Dominic Gangcuangco (better known as Dom or Wavlngth.) and I’m currently 23 years old living in West Covina, CA. I am a music producer, writer, artist, creator, and lover, and I just recently hit 5 years on my musical journey. I am very passionate about my work and everything I do has a much higher purpose than just “producing records” or “making beats”. Each song has intention, emotion, and a deeper meaning attached to it. My purpose is to be an inspiration to people of all ages worldwide and utilize my platform to spread the message of love. The idea of creating music with purpose while being able to support my family is what motivates me to continue doing what I do. Outside of music, I’m constantly working on becoming a better person. Being the man of the house has taught me the importance of financially providing and maintaining a clean environment in order to create peacefully without a cluttered space/mind. Everyday I’m working towards expressing gratitude and becoming more consistent in all areas.
Who are some of your influences in your work or just in general?
A handful of my musical influences would be J Dilla, Anderson .Paak, Knxwledge, Mndsgn, Kiefer, Ivan Ave, Erykah Badu, Pete Rock, Old Kanye, Kaytranada, Smino, Monte Booker, and the list goes on and on. These artists have changed the way I perceive music and have all contributed to shaping my sound. Although everyone is unique in their own ways, I believe that as artists we are all a product of our influences.
Some non-musical influences that play an important role in my life would be my family. I’m the youngest of three siblings. My oldest sister is an all around freak of nature. She’s an LVN, yoga and meditation instructor, a mentor, and everything else in between. My other sister is saving your pet’s life during the day and making your girlfriend’s press on nails at night while taking care of her 3 year old son. These two strong, badass women are the foundation of my life and we all inspire each other to be the best versions of ourselves. Record labels such as Stones Throw, Selection, and Cinematic Records have influenced the way I’d like to run my company one day. I also have plenty of talented friends that are doing great things in their respective fields who influence me to continue pursuing the dream. There’s something about the creative energy in the 626 that’s so contagious and I feel like these individuals need the recognition they deserve. Shout out to everyone who’s for having a positive influence on me!
What is the hardest part about your process of work?
I feel like the hardest part about my creative process would be the mental battle. As creatives, we tend to have the “perfectionist” mindset which can be either really good or really bad. We know exactly what we want. We formulate these ideas in our head and we want to execute it by any means necessary. This is great! There’s nothing wrong with that. We all want that song or that painting or that design to be perfect and exactly how we envisioned it; so much so, that we get lost in the process, and negative thoughts seem to build up. A lot of times, I’ll cook up anywhere between 10-25 beats every week and I’ll choose 8-10 out of those beats to actually release. After days and weeks of listening to those songs, I start hearing imperfections in my music causing me to delay the release or completely put the beat away forever. Eventually I begin having this mental battle of “is this even good?” “people won’t even like this if I don’t like how this sounds” and any other thought imaginable.
This is when my art doesn’t get to see the light and I’m sure a lot of other creatives can relate. I guess that’s what happens when you stare or listen to your art for too long. We have the tendency to become tired or unhappy with our creations. I’ve been trying to break out of this habit and simply say “F*ck it!” and consistently put my work out there. There are times when we become our biggest enemy, but what defines us as great artists is how to conquer that fight. Other than the mental battles, I genuinely love making music so much that the “work” and any struggle that comes along with it is enjoyable. I chose this pathway so it’s up to me to navigate my way around any obstacle stopping me from the end goal.
As an artist, in what ways have you seen yourself grow from your past projects?
Man. There are so many ways I’ve grown from my past projects. I remember thinking my first release in 2016 (less than a year into my journey) was the greatest, coolest thing ever. Looking back to that release while listening to my current work is like night and day. I feel like the sonics have gotten a lot better. I used to just put stuff out without thinking of the mix, the levels, and the little details that separate a good record from a great record. Now that I take the time to actually FINISH songs and focus on those details, it translates to how the record sounds. I also feel like I stepped out of my comfort zone. 90’s Hip-Hop/R&B & Boom Bap are forever my roots. When I started to look back, I began to realize that all my music sounded very similar and one dimensional. After years of sticking to the same sound, I went out of my way to experiment with other styles of music and different vibes. I’ve always been a sample based, dig in the crates type producer.
I remember when it used to just be one sample and one drum loop and if I was lucky enough, a bassline. With hours of practice, I’m now trying out different drum patterns, adding melodies, and even making beats from scratch. It’s refreshing. I feel like experimenting with different ways to create has opened up a lot more doors for me and keeps music making fun. I even feel like my marketing strategies are different now that I release my music on all platforms rather than just SoundCloud. Everything from the artwork to the promo is getting better with time. My entire mindset and the frequency I’m on now is just elevated and leveled up. Throughout my entire journey I’ve always tried to reinvent my ideas and find my sound while staying true to myself. I think it’s safe to say that I’m getting there. Slowly but surely.
How have you been staying productive through quarantine?
With all the time on our hands during quarantine, I’ve learned a lot of new things to keep me busy. I bought my first cordless drill (yes, this is monumental for me LOL) so I’ve been doing a lot of house maintenance and trying to be a handy-man. I’ve also brushed up on my music theory and learned some piano basics. The other day I found my saxophone that I hadn’t seen in 10-15 years and got it repaired so I’ve also been trying to add that to my repertoire as well. I’ve also been a loyal Maschine / Native Instruments user my entire career and I felt like I was at a point where I got too comfortable. I took it upon myself to take time to create with Ableton and I feel like I’ve improved tremendously. This quarantine has been a once in a lifetime opportunity to really dive deep into things we’ve been hesitating on doing. Go start that brand. Go release that song. Go learn something new. I’m extremely grateful for the amount of time that we all have to work on ourselves and our craft.