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“Never Lose Your Dinosaur”: The Story of Dino Brawl

Dino Brawl (Austin Thompson) has made music the guiding light in his journey through life. This journey has taken him through piano lessons at the age of six, quitting baseball to join marching band in seventh grade, becoming a drummer for a high school rock band, traveling to Japan for marimba training, and eventually pursuing his masters in music education.

With only one year under his belt as a New Orleans resident, Dino Brawl has covered significant ground in the electronic music scene. Excelling by making more contributions than just performing his music, Dino Brawl amplifies the local scene by being an active ambassador for Winter Circle Productions and successfully running various promotional street teams for upcoming artists. One of his favorite moments in the scene came from being an ambassador:

“I would have to say the coolest experience I have had working for Winter Circle Productions was the opportunity to talk to NGHTMRE about being an ambassador for his show in New Orleans.”

Dino Brawl’s Music Style

His glitch style, funky song selection, and flavorous dance moves behind the decks have morphed the world of old and new together for the electronic scene in New Orleans. His inspiration ranges from classical to modern:

“Growing up, I was introduced and influenced by classic rock. Bands like CCR (Credence Clearwater Revival), Grateful Dead, and Lynard Skynard stuck with me. As I got older, I moved into the alternative side of rock listening to A Day To Remember, Blink 182, and All Time Low. Now, Bassnectar and Griz are my biggest influences electronically.”

Not many artists play the Glitch-style here in New Orleans, so it’s a refreshing change of pace when Dino Brawl takes the stage. His extensive experience and education in music have carried him a long way in his musical career and have played a significant role in the style and structure of his sets as a DJ. Here’s what he had to say on how his classical education transitions to his concepts of DJing:

“I like having the ability to tell a story. Despite the tediousness of classical music, it matters. To be able to move through themes is important. Lorin (Bassnectar) is one who is really excellent at bringing you through a series of things. Griz is also a great example. To write songs as a band, cut it as a DJ, and then play it live, that’s special.”

Dino Goes to College & Plays the Marimba

The road of education was not always the smoothest path for Austin, but he stayed persistent. He started his path in music education but then changed his major to music performance in percussion.

He was learning to play the marimba and took a trip to Japan for one month after his freshman year to further his training in the instrument. His first night upon arrival proved to be quite the test of his dedication.

“It was the strangest experience. I have never wanted to go home so badly in my life.”

When he arrived, he was instructed to find a Sakura house (more like dorms than a hotel). He was unable to find where he was staying after walking all night in the rain with little to no money. Luckily, he finally found a Hilton. They helped him find a place for the evening, and he found his Sakura house the next day. Through the tough times, he persevered and became incredibly grateful for what he learned during his time there.

“I have so much respect for the culture’s connection and deep appreciation for music.”

Once he graduated from LSU in May of 2013, he decided to pursue his education further. Attending Troy University in Alabama the following July and shooting for a Masters of Science in post-secondary education focused in music industry, he took on teaching jobs as a graduate assistant at Troy and also taught undergraduate classes. He met his current girlfriend, Anna Beth while teaching during his time at Troy. She was also present for the interview and gave us some perspective on the beginning of Austin’s DJ pursuit:

Anna Beth: “He started doing mash-ups. We went to his first Bassnectar show together. As we went to more shows, I could see his DJing getting better.”

Austin: “Yeah, after Troy, we traveled around to different shows because we were passionate about the music and love getting the f*ck down.”

Anna Beth: “Watching him play his first fest at the 3rd Annual Pass The Good Festival. He played Funk, Glitch, and D&B and really settled into his funky bass sound.”

Dino On the Scene

Now that he has progressed and settled into his style, the scene has taken on a more meaningful purpose for the Dino. When he started this quest, he was drawn to being a DJ because he experienced the type of connection to the music he had not experienced since joining the marching band in seventh grade.

“As a fan, this scene was something I was always looking for. I came from a private school world full of varieties of cliques I did not belong to. Having the ability to connect and project with people who feel the same has led me to many new friends and lasting relationships.”

The scene is also returning the love to this hard working artist through his affiliations. Austin is an active part of a local New Orleans art collective known as Dohm Collective. He recognizes this collective as being his biggest success since he has moved to New Orleans.

“Getting to be a part of Dohm would have to be my greatest success. Providing what I have to offer as an artist and that holding substance means the most to me.”

Being a part of Dohm has benefitted Austin tremendously. Learning different styles of music from his fellow Dohm Collective members: C-LaB (Chase Labure), Zupparty (Mathew Zuppardo), Lo Meyn (Nick Meyn), and Careasthmatic (Stephen Ridgeway), he has had fantastic opportunities opening for some of his favorite artists. He explained the gravity of one show in particular:

“Opening up for Minnesota was an emotional experience. It was a pivotal moment that assured me New Orleans was the right choice.”

“Never Lose Your Dinosaur”

Through good and bad times, Dino Brawl has never lost his positive perspective on where his life is headed. He keeps his mindset simple: be happy or not. He sold everything to move to New Orleans with no foresight of how things would turn out. Here he is now, a year later and happier than ever.

“Staying positive has always worked for me, why change it? My music teacher used to tell us all the time that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”

The impact he wants to have on his fans and people, in general, is an inspiring one. The philosophy behind his namesake “Dino Brawl” comes from Austin’s motto “never lose your dinosaur”:

“Your dinosaur is the part of you that always believed in your dreams, the part of you that could be anything when you were a kid. Getting to be Dino Brawl is a representation of never losing sight of my dreams. Always fighting to create and live in a world I’m proud of.”

Austin’s positivity and outlook on life have carried him through many rough spots with a smile, and this translates to his live sets. His energy is contagious, and you’re guaranteed to leave with a huge smile.

“Life isn’t perfect, and it’s different for everyone. Do what you enjoy and live the life you want to live. Find that thing that works for you.”

Don’t miss Dino Brawl’s upcoming set at The Varsity Theater this Thursday! He’ll be joined by Manic Focus and Wick – It The Instigator! Get tickets here! 

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