Bryan Preston's work as Dadadoh, as well as with his Spicy Mayo outfit, has blurred the lines between punk and rap. Andy Warpigs meanwhile, is a hugely prolific member and advocate of Phoenix’s DIY scene.
Both are local music dignitaries, yet none of their efforts would’ve been possible without one another.
"When it comes to music, Andy and I believe in each other," Preston says. "He's been at my first release show and I've been at his first release show. We're kind of like musical brothers."
It’s not enough to say they’re cut from the same cloth, two young black men creating art that's never easily classified. It helps, though, that they had similar starts: Preston hosted his own YouTube interview show, and Warpigs recorded various local shows. When they met in 2013, they were eager to kick off their own musical careers, inspiring one another with their experimental leanings.
"I had heard he was using an Old Dirty Bastard beat on one of [his] songs," Warpigs says. "That's when I decided [to meet him]."
Adds Preston, "Andy was Lil Nas X before Lil Nas X."
Over the years, the pair have collaborated frequently: Warpigs was a founding member of Preston’s The POC band, Preston played drums in Warpigs' band and co-produced a couple of LPs, and they've worked together on projects for Poster Parents and Smiling Faces. It’s been a union emphasizing boundless creative expression.
"I don't feel like either of us have ever let tags and labels and scenes hold us back," Warpigs says. "As far as what we wanted to do creatively, we definitely benefited from having the other person as an inspiration. If I didn't have courageous or brilliant people to inspire me, I probably would have given in to my loneliness and depression."
Preston echoes these sentiments, adding that the duo always have had specific objectives.
"I don't think we were ever at the point where we're like, 'I want to interview these bands or I want to be around these people and hope that they will put me on the show,'" he says. "I believe that this just comes from a genuine love of music."
Both men back up their beliefs with action (and a little money). Says Preston, "I was working on my EP and I told [Warpigs] about it and he was like, 'You know what, I'm willing to give you money to manufacture and produce copies of it.' And he fronted me the money." In turn, Preston says they've "spent a lot of time and money developing other artists."
That desire to empower others knows few bounds, Preston says, adding, "If someone wants eight people to say this one line when three people is just enough, I'm not saying no to none of that." Warpigs chimes in by explaining that Preston "once drove me down to South Phoenix just to record a church organ."
Warpigs, meanwhile, has used his own career accomplishments to "knock doors down, to open up new venues." That includes booking shows at Valley arcade bars and throwing "art parties in people's backyards," two decisions Warpigs says helped sustain the local indie scene.
"Basically, when the Trunk Space [relocated in 2016], I felt like all the outsider musicians were kind of fucked," he says. "I wanted to create a community and platform for the weird artists specifically."
The duo hope this continued investment will build something much larger in the Valley: a veritable artistic collective akin to Elephant 6, a famed Georgia group of indie rock collaborators.
"That was my window into rock music, specifically alternative music," Warpigs says.
To an extent, Preston and Warpigs have achieved some success in building this coalition. Preston runs Tvlife Entertainment, a one-stop arts and music conglomerate that "does everything in house." The group have released several Warpigs LPs, including Counter Culture-Shock!
And not even a global pandemic has derailed their collective efforts. Preston says he's at work on new records from Spicy Mayo and POC, noting that as a rapper working remotely, it's "business as usual." However, his focus is also on a new video series, "The Breakdown," where local artists share stories behind their lyrics.
"A lot of people in this city take a lot of time on their lyrics, and really have a story to tell," Preston says. "And I just thought it would be really interesting if we could get those people to explain some of these songs." Warpigs says the show's especially vital nowadays, adding, "Literally, TV is like a replacement for socialization. You need to see other people's faces or you start going crazy from loneliness."
Warpigs, meanwhile, has several projects lined up, including new music and a documentary film project. He says he's acclimated to a constant sense of churn and upheaval.
"That's something I've had to deal with day in and day out," he says. "We'd got some momentum going and it looks cool, and then three weeks later, someone drops an atom bomb on the thing. I don't get depressed about it anymore. I just pick up again and start again. There's a transitory state to it."
Warpigs does note that the last few years in general have been difficult, including the death of his father. But as always, Preston was there to offer support (and a ride or two).
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"I would not have been able to keep making music if I didn't have help from Brian," Warpigs says. "Brian was there all the way, having my back, stopping me from walking off into fucking traffic. If my dad would have had that [male friendship], he might still be here."
Preston doesn't see his efforts as anything extraordinary. He's not only helping a buddy, but a vital member of the local arts scene.
"Andy would say he's always been a little bit more artist-oriented, and I've been more business-oriented," Preston says. "At the end of the day, I want to continue to keep doing this right. And if there was a way we could all get paid to do this, and we could just focus in on this, I think we would all be better people for it."
Watch episodes of "The Breakdown" here.