While D:Fuse insists his music still acts as that cathartic refuge from the ugliness of the outside world, certain lyrics from the ethereal “Indecision” do sort of sound vaguely politicized. D:Fuse spent much of the last year using his DJ sets as a platform for voter education. More specifically, he was doing his best to get people out for Democratic hopeful John Kerry rather than incumbent Republican president George W. Bush. Given the outcome of the election, “Indecision” takes on a certain melancholy, too.
Lyrics like “Maybe something here can bring us where we don’t have to hide” might be an allusion to the specter of terrorism and fear that has loomed over Bush’s presidency. While “That indecision, might blow out the light” seemingly draws attention to the sense of voter apathy, which may have accounted for why Bush was reelected.
On tour, D:Fuse’s views were more explicit, regularly holding up a ‘Re-defeat Bush’ sign to raucous applause. Whether those same people made it from the dance floor to the polls is another matter.
“I was definitely doing my best to get people to not vote for Bush,” D:Fuse explains over phone between flights in Chicago.
“I thought if only all the young people could get out and inspire each other to vote and just get the word out then we could make a difference. But Bush really petitioned the religious right in a big way. He got the church vote out and that’s what really decided the election.”
With a background in live bands, D:Fuse has always been conscious of performance with respect to his career as a DJ. With his iconic cowboy hat, pumping progressive house and boundless energy behind the decks, it’s a formula that hasn’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated. In its May 2004 issue, URB Magazine voted him #2 in the Best DJ/Artist of the Winter Music Conference category. His national satellite mix show, ‘The People’s Mix,’ continues to be one of the most popular programs on The Move on XM Radio 80.
However, after the personal investment he’s made into attempting to oust Bush only to come up short, it’s safe to say D:Fuse is a little exasperated, if not tired.
“I feel a little let down. I feel nothing but disappointment and fear for the future, really. The path that our nation is on is absolutely wrong and that will definitely be proven in the next four years. I mean, how much worse could it be or get before people realize that someone like Bush is in the back pocket of large corporations and military contracts? I just don’t know what to think anymore. People weren’t really paying attention to what the issues were, which is really sad.”
Getting proper exposure to those issues was also a problem for many people, he added.
“If you’re just watching TV, you’re not really getting the information you need. The media is a lapdog. It doesn’t tell any of the real stories that need to be told and networks like Fox are so good at dumbing down the news. All I do is fly on planes all day long, so I’ve got a lot of spare time to read. I feel I’m very well-informed. And I wasn’t just reading books by Michael Moore, either. I was reading stuff like Time or Newsweek; you can get a lot of good information from them.”
Compared to previous U.S. elections, the latest one saw record numbers of young people coming out to vote. Was it enough? “Hell, no,” D:Fuse states flatly.
“We should have had every young person 18 to 25 out there voting. Obviously things have to get a lot worse before they get better. Even people I knew wouldn’t come out to any of the (political) benefits or would just barely have voted. And these are fairly liberal and college-educated people. People can still eat at buffets and they still have some money to go shopping at the mall, so maybe that was enough and people just don’t care right now.”
Ironically enough, D:Fuse, otherwise known as Dustin Fuslier, and the U.S President come from the state of Texas, a Republican stronghold. However, being from Austin, the more Democratic D:Fuse says he doesn’t feel all that isolated.
“Austin is a very liberal city and there were a lot more bumper stickers going for Kerry than Bush. It’s a lot more laidback and open-minded than other places in the state are.”
Even still, D:Fuse admits to have given some thought to the idea of perhaps leaving America behind. With his music career going gangbusters, he’s fortunate to have that option. He wishes he could say the same for most Americans.
“Bush has nuked this economy so bad with his policies that I don’t think a lot of people have enough money to move out. Everybody is just struggling to make a living.”
D:Fuse is leaving behind all things political, however, and is going to reinvest himself back into his first passion: music. That is until the next election, right?
“I don’t want to harp on the whole election thing, but the wind is knocked out of me for sure. When’s the next big hurdle? Four years from now? Shit, I don’t even know what America is going to be like four years from now. I think we barely made it through the first four years of Bush and his neo-cons. I don’t know if I’m going to do that (political thing) anymore because, in a big way, I’m sick of hearing about it. I think I put a ton of energy in wanting to get the word out. Hopefully, I changed some people’s views, but I certainly didn’t change the election (results). I’m going to just step away for a while and just take the dance floor back to having a good time.”
After releasing several mix compilations, including two incarnations of his People series (be on the lookout for a third), the culmination of a lot of hard work has ended with "Begin". D:Fuse’s live musical signature is one of high energy, but he opted for more cohesion on the album, a collection of trance, chill out, his own vocals and lyrics, a hint of pop and tight production. The album also boasts collaborations with Pete Lorimer, Mark Harwood and Blueletter.There was also a whole other album’s worth of material that didn’t make the cut for "Begin" and may appear at a later date on his own label. “I should start one up,” he says with laugh. “I’ve got so much music in the bin I need to get some of it out.”
Personally, D:Fuse says things are going incredibly well.
“I’m very happy with where I am. I’m doing music, getting paid for a living, getting to play it. I have a wonderful wife. Begin has gotten the best response of anything I’ve ever released. The responses I’ve gotten have been really glowing, which is great because making it was definitely a lot of work. I’m really happy about it. All of that is really positive.”
As such, D:Fuse could quite easily keep things risk-free, consistent and ride it out. And he might if it he didn’t foresee it getting so damn boring.
“I think electronic music is awesome and it’s made a lot more headway than live music has in the last few years and that’s why I went with it. But before, I was all about live music. For now, I just want to move into making my live shows more live. I want to do a live PA with this band for this album. A lot of live PAs that people do is just someone bending or twisting some knobs and I really want it to be about combining live instruments with electronic music in a workable way.”
That’s the plan, anyway. However, just as D:Fuse hesitates to predict what America is going to be like in four years, he confesses to not knowing where he’s going to be, either. But that’s also part of the fun.
“I can’t even see six months ahead,” he laughs. “With a music career, you have to see where it takes you and you can’t force it. You just have to go with the flow – one door opens and one door closes.”
Thanks for the words D:FUSE!