Doing Something Different: An Interview with Josh Dupont
Known for being one Houston’s premier house DJs and promoters, Josh Dupont has been active in the house and techno scene for years, working hard to promote local artists as well as bringing international DJs to the city. For the past four years, Dupont has been instrumental in leading Kinda Super Disco — a monthly DJ event hosted at Boondocks that garners international talents — as well as hosting weekly DJ events, Sundays at Royal Oak, for five years.
Free Press Houston had the opportunity to sit down with Dupont to discuss his career, the evolution of his events and the city’s need for more house music venues.
Free Press Houston: So, how did you get into house music?
Josh Dupont: I started going to raves when I was in high school and I really liked the music. I think the first one I went to, I came home with a mixtape that they gave you at the door and I’d never really heard anything like it before and it sorta blew my mind. A couple years later I ended up with a roommate who was a DJ and I started playing vinyl, learning from him, and I was hooked.
FPH: You’ve made playing and promoting music into your full-time job. How’d you make that happen?
Dupont: A leap of faith. About eight years ago, I had a bunch of gigs and thought I could do it and just sort of went for it. I think once you get over the fear of failure, it becomes pretty easy. Most artists need to keep in mind the value of what you’re worth. If you really do believe that whatever you do is worth a certain amount, then it is. You can sell it or convince other people that it is just by your confidence level.
FPH: How did you end up running Kinda Super Disco with James Reed?
Dupont: James and I are best friends. We’ve been friends for about 12 years. I was working at Royal Oak, run by Shawn Bermudez, and he told me about an opening that was going to be at Boondocks. I pulled James in and asked him if he wanted to do it with me, we brainstormed on an idea and came up with Kinda Super Disco. We wanted to do something different. The original idea involved more of a house and disco kind of feel. There wasn’t really anyone booking artists that way or playing that type of music, so there was a big market for it. Now it’s evolved into more of a house and techno sound, which I think is representative of what the music is doing.
FPH: How has Kinda Super Disco grown since it started four years ago?
Dupont: The event has definitely grown. The first six months was mostly just us trying to pull our friends in. It started small and then really started building and building. As we worked with the agents, booking different artists and establishing good relationships with them, we were able to get bigger and better artists. Once you get a really good reputation, you can start getting better deals and better artists. That’s helped us grow in terms of the people we’re able to book. There was a shift about three years ago when deep house music started getting really popular. When it’s something that you’ve liked for so many years and all of a sudden it’s popular, it’s a great thing. It’s about time, right? So that really helped and we got a really big boost, the numbers just started doubling of the people who were coming to the shows and the more shows we kept booking, the better artists we’ve been able to get.
FPH: You’ve been hosting Sundays at Royal Oak for five years now. What does the future hold for these events?
Dupont: It’s been an amazing five years at Royal Oak and an honor being a part of the deep house movement at Royal Oak on Sundays. There has literally never been a dull moment. Moving forward, Royal Oak is entering a new phase and we’re all excited about it. The building is being remodeled and I know the new build-out and patio expansions will take the Sunday Funday experience to a new level. I’ll continue to bring cutting edge deep house to the patio and showcasing Houston’s best local DJs as the popularity of this music grows internationally. In the meantime, the Sunday Deep House party will move to Pistolero’s right down the street.
FPH: Is there anything you’d like to see change about Houston’s music scene?
Dupont: We need more venues, big time. Cool, non-bottle service type music venues. I’m excited about The Secret Group opening up because I think that could be another outlet for cool shows. The location is nice, the setup is nice, the sound is good, so hopefully that works out really well. But, we need more places. There’s really just not enough venues. Everything is trying to be a Top 40 bottle service Vegas-style club, or it’s just straight rock and roll. Jet Lounge was a good one that’s no longer around. We need to replace that, there needs to be a good after-hours club. There’s not many options. It’s a shame, really.