How does the chain of connections start? Well, Connections.Media picks someone we feel drawn to hold space for. Like anything, it is a feeling in your gut, something you just have to reach out and begin. Then we follow the journey from there, as one person picks the next, based on the conversation that took place on that day, in that moment. After 5 conversations a theme reveals itself, and a chain is complete.
Follow this theme of "COMMUNITY"
Town of Birth: Rock Hill, SC
Occupation/Job/Life Purpose Work: Pizza maker, artist, musician, student
“When I’m making art, I usually try to see it first. Before I ever pick up the pen. Then, I just try to get whatever’s in my head out and match it the best I can. It’s like a puzzle. But when I can’t make it match, it can really suck.
With a song, I’ll have it in my head and then work for a while on getting it out and recording it. Then I get so wrapped up in that, that when I’m done with it, it’s like it builds up to a drop. After that, I have to start over and there’s nothing. It’s just a feeling of emptiness for a bit.
I can get really depressed until something sparks. It sucks, but the spark is enough to make it alright, you know? Knowing that it’ll come again keeps me alright.”
I assume it’s because he supports what I’m doing—which is super flattering and it definitely goes both ways. We’ve both been pretty busy with our own stuff lately, so we seldom get the chance to hang or play music together, but regardless, we’ve always held a good deal of respect for one another.
(And Khari, if you’re reading this, I’m still waiting on that ping pong rematch. Your victory was merely due to a wind advantage and I know deep down, you know that too.)
“I’d probably be in a pretty bad place if I wasn’t playing or drawing or doing something.
I used to draw a lot more in high school, now it’s mostly flyers for shows. I get a lot of enjoyment out of that. It’s kind of an excuse to throw your art up everywhere. It’s a temporary exhibit, wherever you want it to be. And then it just expires after the date, which is cool.
Music gives me something to do. If I didn’t have a ‘thing,’ I would be, God, I would go crazy. I would be actively looking everywhere to find something I could do that makes me happy. I feel like, if you’re just not doing anything, what’s the point?”
Dakota Bristow’s creativity bubbles over into many aspects of Charleston’s music scene. His most obvious contribution is his EP Recluse that he released late last year, a dreamy, immersive experience that he mixed and mastered himself, in addition to playing every instrument on every track. He also designs posters for music events around town, and has been known to write a masterful band event description for social.
However, creative dry spells hit him hard, though they typically don’t keep him uninspired for long. He looks to his own musical preferences for inspiration, and thinks about the type of music he likes to listen to and wishes existed - and then creates it himself for the world to enjoy.
Dakota values his time to himself, which has allowed him to develop an acute sensitivity. He picks up on the brief feelings and undertones other people overlook, and expands on them in his music. He is unafraid to explore his own vulnerabilities, which in turn, is a great asset both musically and personally.
“We’re living in a pretty cool time now where there’s kind of a following for everything, every kind of sound. So, regardless, I know someone’s gonna dig it, you know? There are moments where it’s really intense, and you’re going uphill, and then there’s a drop after. You get so caught up in it that - at least for me - that I don’t really take in everything I’m doing. Then a few days will pass and I’ll listen back, and it’s cool. It’s weird seeing what you were thinking, you know? Because it is sporadic in the moment.”
Do you know how to swim?
Yeah. Swimming is great. I was actually a lifeguard at Carowinds in high school for a whole two weeks before I got fired for drinking a Sprite from a concession stand. I haven’t swum since.
If you could be living anywhere, where would it be + why?
Once school is over, I’m planning on taking a road trip to decide where to move. I’ve speculated New York, Philly, Chicago, or maybe Detroit. Somewhere big, relatively cheap, and with a good art scene would be ideal.
Do you believe in parallel timelines?
The idea of multiple realities is fun to speculate, but it can also be really overwhelming and scary. What gets me feeling really weird is the idea that I’m living in some sort of dream—that everything I experience/have already experienced is just some elaborate dream I’ve created and that the real me is on another plane in another state of consciousness. Then when the “real me” wakes up, I and everything I know will cease to exist and be forgotten before “real me” finishes breakfast.
What accomplishment or trait are you most proud of?
This one’s tough for me... Artistically, it’s extremely difficult for me to feel genuinely, and permanently, proud of anything I do. I get a sense of gratification from people supporting me, and appreciating what I put out. I sometimes even convince myself that this feeling is pride, but in reality, it’s just a temporary satisfaction. The only true path to pride that I’ve found is fulfilling my own standards, and making something that I support and appreciate. The gratification I may or may not get from positive feedback is just icing on the cake.
The real kicker to that, though, is that my own standards are constantly changing. The music and art I want to make is always better than what I’m capable of. It’s like having a dollar and wanting to spend two. It often makes me question if any of it is even worth it. It’s a good sign that I’ll inherently seek progression, but it also entails that I’ll never be truly satisfied with any of it. It’s a fooking curse.
Nevertheless, I always come back to it. So, that’s the trait that I feel content with the most—despite the s**t terms and conditions I’m aware of that come along with pursuing all of this, I’m STILL down.
Has anything been keeping you up at night?
Recently, it’s been the fear of failure and the anxiety I get from time passing way too quickly for me to handle.
“I actually had a conversation with Khari about [failure] a couple weeks ago. Our happiness is kind of based on our productivity. So, I’d say failure is not doing anything, and not really trying to do anything. If you don’t have anything, that’s cool. But if you’re not thinking and you’re not trying, then that’s actual failure. Just giving up.”
Song/ Band recommendation?
Composite by Palm. One of my favorite bands, and one of my favorite songs of the year.
If you didn’t have hands, what would you want to be at the end of your arms?
Prosthetic hands... Nah probably something cool like swords or hot dogs
“There’s a lot of satisfaction in looking back and having something that you did. I was doing this drum solo last week. I was working on it for days and I know it was annoying the s**t out of my roommates. One of my roommates is a better drummer than me, and I know I could have just asked him to play it. But… I wanted to do it. I wanted to be able to do it. I guess the gratification or the satisfaction of doing it yourself is being able to say ‘I did that.’
I think stuff like that is good for bettering yourself...training yourself...developing skills. I could have asked my roommate, but then I would have been in the same place. And I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Now, I can.”
Editor in Chief: Becca Finley Article: Caralie Byrnes Photos: Caitlin Billard
Stay tuned for the ‘Connections’ book coming out January 22, complete with all 55 Connections, and how they fit into the Charleston community. Brand new pics + quotes.