Breakups suck. Side effects include grieving, mourning, longing and confusion. Healing consists of socialization, Hinge dates and writing an EP called UDGAF or “U Don’t Give A Fuck.”
At least that was the process for 23-year-old Los Angeles-based songwriter and producer Daniel Loumpouridis. He views music as a collaborative process – as is healing from a breakup. UDGAF is a cure for himself.
“I was dating this girl for three years,” said Loumpouridis. “It was a really intense relationship. My first real love. And then when it dissolved, I had a major identity crisis because I thought she was going to be my life, I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with her.”
Just like everyone in love, Loumpouridis and his ex had plans for the future. They would be together forever. They would work side by side. He thought he could use his producing and engineering skills to help make her a pop star.
Loumpouridis thought wrong. But, perhaps, his ex thought correctly.
“The least validating thing you could possibly hear during a breakup is ‘oh, at least you’re an artist and you’ll make good music out of It’” Loumpouridis said.
As horrible as that sounded, he did make good music out of it.
LISTEN TO UDGAF ON SPOTIFY BELOW:
The title track for UDGAF was not written like other breakup songs, or really any song. They were not written in a notebook, crafted, edited and retouched. “U Don’t Give A Fuck” came straight from Loumpouridis’ mouth and into the world.
“I wrote a whole note down of things I wanted to say and then burned it,” said Loumpouridis. “Everything sounded lame, corny and awful. So, I just put a microphone in front of me with heavy ‘Kanye’ autotune. I tried to improvise and freestyle. Then, I got the flow and melody down.”
That certainly seems a little unorthodox for any songwriter, let alone one who is good enough to have been certified gold since age 17.
In 2015, Chicago-based dance duo Louis The Child released the song “It’s Strange” (ft. K.Flay). Loumpouridis co-wrote and co-produced the song while he was still a kid. It was a catchy track that went on to be featured in the video game “FIFA 16” and a Nissan commercial in 2018. An earworm if there ever was one, the single broke into the top 40 on the US Billboard Hot Dance & Electronic chart.
Despite the early success, Loumpouridis remains focused on constantly evolving his career, something he thinks is part of a musician’s lifestyle; though, his is a fairly comfortable one.
“Expectations definitely get warped when you strike huge success early on,” he said. “’It’s Strange’ still pays my rent. I don’t have to worry about not having enough money for groceries and I’m incredibly grateful for that.”
Loumpouridis maintains that living in Los Angeles and working in the music industry is like swimming with sharks. It is a constant grind. Every day you must keep your head above the water.
“It’s showbusiness,” he said. “I love LA, it’s the best city in the world. If you’re trying to do what I’m trying to do in the entertainment industry, no shade at New York and Chicago and Miami, but LA is the only city in the world where there’s eight million people all on some shit, where they’re all on the grind all the time and all trying to do something spectacular.”
Perhaps, there is something inspiring to that. People engaging one another, inspiring you to work alongside everyone you meet.
“I’ve never once had a bad experience out here,” he said. “I know there are horror stories, but you hear those because they’re the ones that stand out. You don’t hear good news. You only hear bad news. LA rules.”
Despite the advertisement for the west coast that Loumpouridis gave above, he grew up in Chicago and admits he is a midwestern kid at heart. He also went to college at the University of Miami in Florida, though he always questioned whether or not he was meant to immediately live in Los Angeles.
Getting seasoned experience in other places was not necessarily bad for him either. He met Louis The Child’s Freddy Kennett in high school. Thank goodness Loumpouridis was stuck in a square state. He might be struggling to pay rent or buy groceries if he was not.
Before the two went on release a gold-selling and top 40 dance chart record, they had a deep love for musical equipment that most kids could not get their hands on—namely synthesizers.
Loumpouridis is a producer after all. He is also a self-described nerd, so who would blame him for having a passion for higher-tech musical gear?
“The Rev2 is like my favorite instrument ever made,” he said. “The control that you can have on that thing is just stupid. My roommate and I even got a Roland chorus echo reverb.”
Despite his otherwise “cool” demeanor and look, this slender, beard-sporting, adopted west coaster would fit in with some dorks. In fact, he does in the form of friends who love high-tech gear more than he does.
Loumpouridis has two such pals in Nashville who produce at Happy Camper Studios. They made him a modified tape deck, which is like a tape delay.
The nerdiness is also exemplified by Loumpouridis’ bedroom which has posters of Prince on the wall, an Audio-Technica turntable and a record collection. Some of his favorite artists and instruments came through the influence of his parents, who raised him on a steady diet of pasta and Elton John.
“Every Saturday morning we’d go to swim lessons and come back and eat Italian food,” he said. “And then my dad would put on ‘Funeral for a Friend.’ That is how I remember weekends as a kid.”
He feels that every significant memory in his life can be attached to a song. He spends the more ordinary moments listening to his favorite artists like Kanye West, who is not only a great source of inspiration on UDGAF, but in Loumpouridis’ life.
“Yeah,” he said. “I love Kanye. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who loves Kanye as much as I do, and then listens to my music. Maybe I am just exposing myself.”
Consider him exposed.
However, is there really anything wrong with using inspiration from others? In fact, two of the three tracks on UDGAF are “remixes” from Loumpouridis’ friends and fellow artists Holymountain and Hunjiya. Those versions are called “U Really Don’t Give A Fuck,” and “udgaf.”
“They’re not remixes,” he stressed. “That word is incredibly misleading. I think they are complete revaluations. I just gave those two the songs and I said ‘Do whatever you want.’ The Holymountain remix [“U Really Don’t Give A Fuck”] is a mad scientist’s vision. My friend Alice, who did the Hunjiya version [“udgaf”] sang the whole thing with a sassy bitch inflexion.”
They certainly are a lot different than playing a dance mix underneath his original vocals. These “remixes” are their own emotional takes.
And that emotion being thrown back at Loumpouridis feels like a huge slap from a hand whose motivation is rooted in the failed relationship and breakup that caused the original version to be written in the first place.
“I was in the car with tears in my eyes listening to hearing these versions of my song for the first time,” he recalled. “And the fact that people even wanted to show how much they love me and like care for me. So that’s a beautiful thing in and of itself.”
There will be some more beauty to look forward to in the future. UDGAF is part of Loumpouridis’ forthcoming double album U, Us.
Daniel Loumpouridis took heartbreak and found the good in music, the healer he knew he could rely on all along. He really feels like another person several years since his breakup, and even longer after he broke through to success. He is even more motivated than ever, still ticking and trying to keep afloat.
You might even say he gives a fuck.
UDGAF is out on streaming platforms today.
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