1. What is The DPD Project?
The DPD Project is a thematic mix-CD project created by music geeks and best friends Chris Diamond, Chris Prokop, and Michael Darpino.
Each CD in the project has a theme that ties the songs on it together. For every theme we each pick five songs that we feel best represent it. The collected fifteen songs are then mixed together in alternating order based on our last names. The songs that end up on DPD are meant to be the very best songs for their particular theme.
We write liner notes for each song to explain why we picked it for that theme. The project has grown into a sort of musical memoir over the years since music has been and still is such a huge part of our lives.
2. What does DPD stand for?
DPD is the first initial of each of our last names: Darpino, Prokop, and Diamond. Technically the D's are interchangeable but Diamond will always insist he's first.
3. How did The DPD Project get started?
The project began after a series of music discussions we had at The Fox & Hound bar in Washington DC during the summer of 2002. Arguing the merits of our personal top 5 albums lists led to a discussion about how we could best share the music in our individual collections with one another. After a few rounds of ideas we decided on this project.
For us the project serves several purposes. It gives us a great way to introduce each other to new music but also lets us celebrate in our musical common ground by exposing similar tastes. The project also gives us an excuse to relate music related trivia and personal stories through our liner notes. And of course the project gives us constant fodder for music debate, our favorite hobby.
4. How do you choose your themes?
We all bring themes to the table and after discussing their feasibility decide if they should be added to our master list of future themes.
For each new disc we take turns picking the new theme based on a rotating order of our last names. No one gets to pick two themes in a row.
The themes the DPD Project covers ranges from specific subject songs (such as songs about drinking) to autobiographical mixes (such as songs that remind us of our ex-girlfriends) to a variety of random criteria (such as songs off final albums or songs with female vocals).
5. How do you pick the songs?
Song choosing for the project is a very intense process.
After a new theme is assigned the three of us go back to our private music collections and scour them for every song we can think of that matches the new theme. We each build a play list from these songs and then have a kind of song tournament until we whittle the list down to our top five picks.
Sometimes the song v. song combat goes quite quickly and other times it can take months. All three of us take the fact that we are committing our selves to the 5 best songs in our collection very seriously. Because of that commitment we don't get together to burn a disc until we are each completely confident in our individual song choices.
6. What if someone doesn't like one of the songs?
In the DPD Project there is no veto power. When we each bring our five songs to the table that is it. If one of us dislikes another's pick the song still goes on the mix because for the person who picked it that song is golden.
7. What happens if a song makes it onto all of your final five lists?
If all three of us agree a song is so perfectly matched to a theme then we will make it a 'unanimous pick'. The unanimous pick ends up becoming a bonus song on the disc.
8. How long does it take to make a disc?
When we started the project we could compile, mix, burn and listen to a disc within a week. Of course we were also mostly unemployed then. Now a disc takes us about a month to a month-and-half. Some of that is due to challenging themes, life hecticness, and scheduling a date for us to get together and listen to the disc.
9. Do you really make and listen to the disc?
Oh yes, that is our favorite part! The three of us get together to lay out each track in an overall disc pleasing order. When we started there were no particular rules, but after about 15 discs we decided that the songs should always go in specific order. We take turns opening and closing each disc, and rotate the tracks throughout the disc in D-P-D order. After we all give the mix the green light we burn the disc, print out our notes, and pop it in the stereo. We read the note for each song as it plays which creates a kind of multi-media experience. We never reveal our song notes to each other until the mix's inaugural listen.