The N.U.E. team is (left to right) Dalton “Mobb Diggity” Moore, John “John From Dawson” Dagostin, Isaac Pumphrey, William “Reverb” Symanski, Jesse “J” Mccuaig and Rodel “Little Boe” Gaba
John Dagostin, better known as John From Dawson, loves Crocs. He’s been kicked out of clubs and yelled at by strangers just because of this choice of footwear, but he’s received an equal amount of praise for it. He only started wearing them because of how comfortable they are, but his Crocs quickly became something people knew him for. There’s even a song about them, aptly titled “Crocs,” on The Paradise Collection, a three-song EP Dagostin released in April.
“I started to realize how much of an impact I can make on someone’s day just by wearing these funny-looking shoes,” he said.
The Dawson City born-and-raised rapper has a penchant for entertainment. As a teen, he was interested in making music videos, but because he had no one to make them for, he decided to team up his cousin-in-law, Kyle Hammond (a.k.a. DJ Whitebread Soundwave), and start making his own music. From there, he discovered his true passion and has essentially devoted his life to making music.
With his music, videos and social media presence, Dagostin aims to share his positive outlook on life with anyone who’s interested. Since 2019, he’s released two albums, two EPs and a collection of singles. Dagostin used his extra downtime this spring, like many other musicians, to work on writing and recording new music, and laying the groundwork for several exciting new projects. One of these is Northern Underground Expressions (N.U.E.), a Whitehorse-based independent record label focused on giving a bigger platform to underground hip-hop artists from the Yukon. In addition to Dagostin, the N.U.E. team is made up of William “Reverb” Symanski, Dalton “Mob Diggity” Moore, Jesse “J” Mccuaig, Rodel “Little Boe” Gaba and manager Isaac Pumphrey. It started out small, but the crew’s ambitions quickly got much bigger as they realized how well they all clicked creatively.
“When Isaac approached me with the idea of N.U.E., I thought it would be a great opportunity to get a group of people with common interests together and create some art for our communities and friends to listen to,” said Dagostin. “After a couple months of working with them and starting to understand the vision that Isaac and William have, I know this company can make a big difference for any youth artists coming out of the Yukon.”
Dagostin said he works particularly well with Symanski, who is able to produce beats to go under acapella vocal tracks. While this is an uncommon approach to recording, it proved useful during the spring when the artists were not able to get together and work in person.
N.U.E. has an abundance of projects underway and has been churning out music at an impressive rate. The company has already seen singles and EP releases from several of its artists. According to Dagostin, a full album featuring the entire crew is currently in the planning stages. Dagostin himself has two music videos in production at the moment. There’s a reason the group is working so constantly and tirelessly to get established and build a reputation as soon as possible. The entire team is planning to move together to Vancouver this coming winter, with hopes to make a splash in the B.C. rap scene.
While John From Dawson and N.U.E. will always have roots in the Yukon, it’s important for these artists to make it somewhere they’ll have a better chance of being noticed and the ability to pursue bigger opportunities. For Dagostin, living in a rural, isolated place can be detrimental to youth. In being closed off from the rest of the world, things like addictions, racism and homophobia are able to seem normal. On the other hand, though, he believes that, with the right mindset, living in the Yukon can be a great first step to a creative career.
N.U.E. is already making a buzz around the Yukon and it won’t be long before their music is reaching out further, drawing attention to the Yukon’s strong but little-known music scene. Their plans may be hugely ambitious, but at the heart of N.U.E. is one simple message.
“I hope for it to be an inspiration to everyone wanting to follow their dreams,” said Dagostin.