Looking for some new tunes to power your creativity? Well, you’ve landed in the right place! Welcome to Dribbble’s Pump-Up Mix — your monthly Q&A and curated playlist of songs highlighting your favorite designers and the music that influences their creative process.
This month’s guest is none other than design & illustration duo DKNG. Get a glimpse of the sounds and songs that inspire Dan and Nathan’s incredible work!
“Much of our work is inspired by travel, and we’re missing travel a ton these days. This playlist includes some of our favorite road-tripping tunes, and also features all artists that we’ve worked with on projects like gig posters and album art.”
What role does music play in influencing your process?
Music is a huge inspiration for our work, often because we’re working directly for bands and musicians where our goal is to create a visual interpretation of their unique sound. Our hope is that when fans of a band see our work, it resonates with them as something that organically makes sense for that artist.
What artists or musicians are you currently listening to that help keep your creative juices flowing?
Khruangbin is an awesome trio out of Texas that has also collaborated with Leon Bridges, a favorite of ours and recent poster project for us. Anything instrumental makes for great work listening so we can stay focused, and Khruangbin has a great selection of instrumental songs.
Who is your “go-to” artist or musician?
It’s tough to pick just one, but Galactic is a band that has been inspiring us for years, and we got to work on a poster for one of their tours a few years back. They have a traditional New Orleans sound but have also evolved a lot over the years to incorporate other styles into their music like electronic and hip hop, and they always have lots of fun guest vocalists on their tours.
Do you play music yourself? If yes, does this play into your design workflow at all?
Fun fact: Before starting DKNG, Dan and I played in a band together. Growing up in San Diego, we were deep into the pop-punk scene in high school, and shortly after we met on the high school track team, we started playing music together—Dan on guitar and Nathan on drums.
We tried to keep the band going into our first years of college but we soon realized that we were better at designing for musicians rather than being musicians. However music is one of the main reasons we got into design, and despite not playing much ourselves anymore, it continues to be a passion.
Have you worked with bands or musicians on designs before?
We’re fortunate that we’ve gotten to build our career working with many of our favorite bands. We got our start working for the Troubadour in Los Angeles where we got to design gig posters for all the great bands that came through this historic venue.
From there, we were able to branch out into working with bands directly including some of our favorites like Radiohead, The National, Jack White, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, and The Black Keys.
What’s your favorite concert you’ve ever attended?
We might cheat a bit here and say that our favorite concert was actually a music festival.
We had the honor of creating the branding for Outside Lands at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco for three years, and during that time it was always a highlight of the year to get to attend the festival and see our work in-person, as well as get to share the experience with our friends and family.
One favorite year that comes to mind was 2016 where the bill included Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Nathaniel Rateliff, Lettuce, Anderson .Paak, and Vulfpeck among others. ■