This is Part 3 in our ongoing series, “Capturing the Moment,” where we dive in with your favorite artists’ tour photographers and videographers, talk in-depth about their craft, life, and learn more about the unsung heroes of dance music.
A small town boy with big dreams, Dalton Campbell grew up in a tiny town in Texas. His dream to get out in the real world and make a difference has now become a reality. Like many young boys, Dalton grew up with a pretty normal childhood. He was a BMX rider who commonly rebelled against his parents during his childhood. With BMX, Dalton found a passion for filming his BMX friends, which led to film in general as a passion of his.
This passion led him to apply to an art institute, but unfortunately resulted in rejection due to financial issues. But, when one door closes another one opens, which is exactly what happened to Dalton’s secondary path, which has led him to the success he has now. Although his small hometown in Texas didn’t live up to his big city ambitions, Dalton moved to Las Vegas for the ambition of finding a better life for himself.
“I thought I had the most boring life in Texas, and I was like ‘You know what, I’m going to move to Vegas for no reason.’ And I did it and I moved here. I’ve never been here before, moved here, 21, which is like the craziest time to move to Vegas. And I waited tables for two years.”
“I think school is cool for the technical aspect, but it can’t really teach you creativity or passion.”
Dalton’s BMX friends got him fired from his waiter job but convinced him to take on film as a full time gig. Pinching for pennies and living paycheck to paycheck, Dalton had one camera, and one mission: to make a career in film. By utilizing all the resources he had via Google, YouTube, and people he knew, Dalton taught himself the ins and outs of film. His primary tactic was to film videos for companies for free, hoping to get some sort of an offer at the end of the production.
“I ate ramen noodles for three months, had no money, broke. One camera, for all you camera nerds out there it was a GH1, which the worst camera in low light, had an onboard light, fish eye and regular lens and that was literally all I had.”
After Dalton started working for Insert Coin(s), a video game bar in Las Vegas, he met DJ Mike Attack. From then on with his hard work and positivity, everything seemed to fall into place. “Everything happens for a reason” became his motto, and it spoke truth of his journey. Now, Dalton is a full-time videographer and photographer while being the main man behind the creative content for the sensational DJ duo, Galantis, from shooting content you see on social media to even directing music videos.
Dalton has landed him a career that can only go up from here on out. We caught up with the man himself at EDC Las Vegas, check out the full interview below and an exclusive video made by Dalton Campbell for Dance Music Northwest.
DMNW: What is it about videography and photography that first appealed to you as a passion?
DC: I would say the creativity and how fun it is. My mom gave me my first VHS cam, back in the day. My stepbrother and I would film random skits. I think Mad TV influenced me or something like that. We would just film the dumbest shit. We would drive our cars and do donuts and run through a field in slow-mo and do cartwheels and stupid things. One time, we filmed a guy catching a football, he missed it and we put newspaper in our pants and filmed a car running over it and back to our faces saying “ahhhh”, which is so cheesy and you could clearly tell that it’s not a real leg but it was the fun. So what attracted me is the fun, the creativity and the freedom to create.
DMNW: You are currently touring with Galantis, how did you get that gig?
DC: There’s this old school saying that I believe in, and it’s, “If you’re a really good person and have a good soul and a really hard worker, you can do anything you want”. Any career, anything. Be a good person, and work your ass off, that’s the recipe for being successful. I worked my ass off and I had clients that believed in me and saw the drive and the creativity. The gear wasn’t there but the creativity was there. So that’s what helped me, it was people believing in my work and pushing me to the next level. People always ask me “What’s a good camera to use” and I always say, “It’s not about the camera that you use, it’s about how you use it, it’s about what you create, you could go on your iPhone and if you have an awesome idea, people wouldn’t realize you shot it with an iPhone.
DMNW: What was your favorite show that you have ever worked at?
DC: I honestly really like small sweaty venues. It’s intimate. I use to go to these nightclubs in San Antonio and people are sweaty and grinding, people don’t care and you’re just having a good time, you’re in the moment. Right now Galantis, we don’t play a lot of small venues but when I first started and filmed trap stuff like Brillz, the shows were more intimate, the people were there for the music and they don’t care who’s standing next to them, they’re just in the moment and they’re enjoying the music. So I would say I prefer small venues over big festivals.
DMNW: How many times have you been to EDC?
This is my 4th time! I’ve actually never been as a guest. The first time when I started filming, I was actually a PA. I wanted to film so bad that I was a PA. I worked for the livestream for insomniac, and I was on the bass pod stage. I have no problem with bass music but I had to work from 6 pm to 6 am, listening to drum and bass, full blast, non-stop with headphones, I was just over it. Three days in a roll haha. Then I filmed for Brillz, shout out to Sammy because he’s a really positive guy. He’s all about living a sober lifestyle and being positive. He’s super rad. And the thing is, I don’t just film one thing. Even though I’m with Galantis right now, I don’t just do nightlife. I like to be versatile. When I filmed for Brillz, some people were like “woah, who is this guy”. I put a lot of color in and back then there wasn’t too much color in the nightlife footages. Last year, I filmed Ferry Corsten. It was different going from trap to trance. When you film trap shows, people are nuts. You just stand there, or if you’re like Winterhalter, you’re like a camera robot. When you film trance, it’s so mellow and people don’t move that much. Now I’m with Galantis and I’ve been with them the whole year, they’re super rad!
DMNW: What are some things that fans don’t know about tour life?
DC: It’s not as glamorous as people think it is. People think you eat good food, party, watch shows and ride jets. And it’s actually not all that. Especially if you are a video and photo guy, there’s a lot of work. A lot of times, when the show is over and people go party, I go straight to the room, I get on my laptop and start working. Content never dies. We are grateful for our jobs and it’s great but airports suck haha.
DMNW: What makes a GREAT event video in your opinion in order to capture the whole show?
DC: Everyone has their own style. What’s really cool about video is that not one person is going to do the same recap. It’s always going to be different. Maybe the same crowd, same artist, same visuals but the angles are always different, the feelings are always different, and the colors, the way the camera moves. A bomb recap is to make someone watching the video feel like they are there. You also want to show what your artist is like outside of the stage. A lot of EDM recaps have the same things, jets, big crowds, jets, big crowds, partying, jets, big crowds. So I think mixing it up and showing some footage that most people wouldn’t normally see is great.
DMNW: What is next for you?
DC: Jobs come and go, opportunities come and go. Opportunities will present themselves, but as long as I am creating and doing that full time, I am happy. So after Galantis, it’ll just be more creatives and working with the next client that wants to create amazing content. Even if I’m not getting paid a lot, but I’m creating and making a living, that’s all that matters to me. I would even ramen noodles still if I had to. I do want to do some personal projects. I want to put out a series, to inspire people. I want to film a series where I follow creatives around and film them and see what inspires them, that way I can get other people to be inspired. I feel like 9-5 jobs are just so dead these days and boring. There’s so much out there in the world and I believe every person has something that they can offer the world. You just have to find it, never give up and you will eventually find what you like and love.
We hope stories like Dalton’s inspire you like it did for us! You can keep up with Dalton on Instagram @daltoncampbell
Anything you want to say to Dalton? Leave a comment below!