aahh catches up with one of the hottest emcees in the country right now, emcee Dialect from Dialect & Despair. In the interview we talk all things Vortex related, digging, technology and how it affects our hip hop world plus much much more. Check it out.
aahh: The Vortex has been out for a few months now and has been dubbed by many as one of the top albums of 2010, you’ve also toured and dropped two killer film clips. Can 2011 beat that?
Dialect: We’ll have to wait and see! We are not out to rush anything we produce. We definitely want to build off the buzz 2010 generated but we definitely won’t be doing that by hastily releasing product that those who enjoyed The Vortex wont enjoy. It’s not about beating last years achievements, they were cool, but I just take that as a blessing and everyday I get to work on music again is unbeatable. But 2010 has been a phenomenal year we have been humbled by all the support.
aahh: Dialect and Despair fans have seen two film clips drop from The Vortex. The lead single Prolific which was ‘Rages (Australian music video program on ABC1) Indie Clip Of The Week’ and more recently Part 2 in Games Wired. Can you give us a little insight to Part 3?
Dialect: Man I’ve been sworn to secrecy! All I can say is, it is visually very different from the first two clips and I think people who checked out the first two clips will appreciate that and hopefully like the way the unfolding saga continues in part 3.
aahh: Luc Hansen and Nima Nabili Rad from Sunkie Studios worked on both clips. How did you team up with these guys?
Dialect: Luc is a close friend of Despair growing up whom we are both great friends with and he does a lot of filming and editing. He met Nima out at a shoot he was working on and they both were in to the same kind of Hip Hop and films so they sparked it off there and decided to collaborate. So Luc introduced us to Nima and the rest was history. We definitely have to shout out our film crew for the time and vision, it’s an honor working with such talented people.
aahh: The Vortex has both been released in CD format, Vinyl and limited Edition Orange Vinyl. Do you think that it’s important to always offer that vinyl option when releasing a true hip hop album?
Dialect: I’ts important to me, but only offer that option if the interest and support is there for it. We had demand for our album to be released on vinyl, as a lot of our crew and people who like our music are big record collectors. It may not matter to other people but as a vinyl collector I know I like to have my favourite records on wax.
aahh: Do you still go diggin’ for vinyl these days or do you find that drying up?
Dialect: Of course! It will never dry up. As long as there are records out there I will be digging. Some producers may like to do it differently and they feel okay about downloading drums and samples off the Internet because they are probably more concerned with getting to the end result. But for me it was the way I was shown to do it and to respect the foundation of the culture, which is from records. I personally love that whole aspect of waking up in the morning and going digging for samples and finding, sharing and learning knowledge about breaks with friends when you get back to the lab. It feels rewarding. I could make mp3 beats and would probably come up with some cool ideas but the same energy and feel wouldn’t be there for me.
aahh: We’ve seen a lot of artists skip on the vinyl for various reasons including lack of pressing options in Australia. We heard you guys went offshore (Cali?), is that something other crews should look at?
Dialect: Yeah we had our record pressed in San Francisco and we were really happy with the end product. I think it’s just a matter of finding the best product with a good price. It took a lot of research, quotes and emails back and forth to finally decide on our desired pressing plant. But it was worth it in the end.
aahh: The Vortex is packed with 15 exceptional tracks. All the production was handled by Despair and it’s been talked about how well your styles complement one another. Did this make it easy in the collaboration process?
Dialect: Thankyou! Most definitely it did. I think a musical partnership has to be cohesive and organic in its production and evolution. So we just started hanging out at first talking music and ideas and initially it was just a friendship. Then from there we went digging and continued building on concepts and we saw our ideas and philosophy about music was (and still is) the same so we thought ‘yeah lets do this, lets keep the chemistry flowing’
aahh: The concept of the album has been toted as one of its major strengths in its success. i.e. mic skill, lyrical flow, production and content, on the flip side some may label this strength as a weakness, viewing it as hip hop with a “revival” sound. How does that sit with you?
Dialect: People can label it whatever they like. I don’t really mind. It’s quite easy to label things and put them in to a box but for those who appreciate what’s being said and produced on the album, that’s who we are here for. This music comes from the heart and every lyric and every drum or sample put through the mp is from the soul. I just know what kind of sound of Hip Hop we like and there’s no use hiding that just because it may be seen as a ‘revival’ sound.
aahh: The rich hip hop culture that was present in America in the 80’s & 90’s has somewhat been abandoned for the stronger commercial market, do you think that’s an accurate statement and if so, do you see that having any effect on the hip hop music that we are exposed to in Australia?
Dialect: Styles of music change with time, that’s a natural thing. And that’s obviously in many cases a good thing otherwise Hip Hop would never have been created or evolved in to that 90’s sound we love. On the flip side, music also does cheapen with time and lose the rawness it was created from because it’s not tapping in to that original source which came with the time. It’s not a commercial or market thing, because artists like Mobb Deep and Wu Tang were selling platinum records in the 90’s. It has to do with the consciousness of the listener and if they are all happy listening to cheesy production with paper-thin drums and some nonsense rapper then the next generation is going to emulate that. And that in turn of course affects the Hip Hop we are exposed to in Australia, because you can’t blame the 12-year-old kid who just follows the first bit of hip hop he hears on the radio and accepts it and embraces it, because he just feels like he wants to be a part of something from his generation.
But I was lucky enough to have an older brother show me all this phenomenal Hip Hop music from the past but kids don’t want to do any research, they want to play what’s hot and go party. But Roc Marciano released a record that sounded like it came out in 92 in 2010 and it was critically acclaimed all across the world. There’s no stopping these records being made and people enjoying it. Then on the other hand I think people can get too precious about the changing state of music and how ‘wack’ it is. Time’s are bad now on a grand scale but people forget that there were wack rappers too in the 80’s/90’s, it wasn’t a picture perfect scene and emcees still rhymed about it then so I don’t think that’ll ever change.
Hip Hop is an underground culture and just like any other sub culture that experienced some mainstream success it has been manipulated and fashioned for a mass market over time, but in its true essence it will forever be an underground movement. So those who love that about Hip Hop should take pride in that and not worry about the nonsense.
aahh: Do you think there is room for what some have labeled “Progressive Hip Hop” in Australia and does it respect the true hip hop culture that was taught to us by the originators of the music?
Dialect: I think there’s room for any type of music, art is art and whatever people feel inspired to express they should create. I think it depends on what you’re trying to represent. If you’re just making your ‘progressive’ music and are not too concerned with the Hip Hop culture then that’s cool there’s obviously no rules for creativity. But if your claiming Hip Hop and this culture but your digging on the internet for drums and samples I think that’s kind of wack. That’s like saying yeah I’m a soccer player and love the game but sometimes I like to pick up the ball with my hands and kick it like a footy. That’s not soccer, you’d get kicked off the field for doing that in a game. So I think we should respect the art form, culture and industry the architects have created for us to live off. If you ever get lucky enough to live off it, it shouldn’t be about that but in reality many do live off it and don’t respect the heritage. That may sound a little ‘purist’ or whatever but there’s certain backbone traditions of the culture that should be upheld and respected otherwise the culture will be lost.
aahh: Has there been a shift in attitudes where knowledge in hip hop was once regarding as a fundamental element of the culture to one where knowledge is worth about as much time as it takes to type the question into a search engine ?
Dialect: I guess the difference now of being in the Internet age is that knowledge is more accessible and easy to gather. Where as in the past knowledge was passed down directly to you and learnt from personal experience. The Internet is kind of like the gift and the curse because everything in the Internet age is at the tip of your fingers; information is readily there but is also disposable and easily forgotten.
So I’m not against technology at all, in fact considering there is so much information it should be so easy for kids to study up on the classic Hip Hop albums and be well-informed about the culture’s history. I’m not going to front, there are countless records I’ve learnt about from blog sites and have purchased on eBay I otherwise may have never even heard of. So use these technological changes as tools for the right reasons. However, it’s not just a Hip Hop thing with knowledge and the Internet, society at large has become lazier because of the Internet. Some people use the net to look at porn their entire life and that’s sad. Use it to download a G Rap album instead.
aahh: The Vortex is currently getting strong buzz over in the States. A new partnership with Iller Clothing has seen the track Games Wired released on the Iller Sessions Platinum Edition, which features artists such as Digital Underground, DMC (Run DMC), J5 and more. Are there plans to release The Vortex in the US?
Dialect: We have The Vortex circulating in the states with some crew we have there and certainly the connection with Iller Clothing has helped a lot. We have some plans to get to the states and continue to push our music forward there because we want to make music that’s international and can be appreciated no matter where you are from.
aahh: As we mentioed earlier massive 2010; Tours with Social Change, release of the album, Iller Clothing deal and the signing to new South Australian label Uknowho Records. Tell us a little about Uknowho Records.
Dialect: UKNOWHO Records is a label that was started by a tour promoter in Adelaide to continue pushing his promotion work and release music coming out of Adelaide. I think the label has a great future ahead of it and we are proud to represent it as the first ever release on its catalogue.
aahh: We just mentioned Social Change, the guys have an album coming out this year? Tell us a bit about your working relationship with these guys and their label Buttertheif?
Dialect: Let me first say that their album that they have been working on is phenomenal and really is going to change listener’s ears in a massive way. I can’t wait for the public to hear what they have been working on for so many years because it’s really dope. Our working relationship is so much more than just music. They are like brothers; Social Change, Funkwig & Snair have all had such a positive influence on my life far beyond music. But when it comes to music we have some projects in the works and you’ll definitely hear more from us in the future working together. So Butterthief always will be my family that’s why you see their logo on the back of The Vortex.
aahh: What was your main aim in bringing out the album The Vortex, looking back on the year do you think you achieved your original objectives?
Dialect: We achieved our original objective and so much more. Our aim was to create a Hip Hop album together we liked the sound of and we put our heart and soul into that project for a good 18 months. So for us to just complete the album was objective achieved. But all the support and feedback for the record really exceeded any expectations we had upon releasing the album. We were well and truly humbled by it all, so the entire experience was a real blessing.
aahh: Will D&D return in 2011 or will there be other projects on the plate for Dialect?
Dialect: No doubt! I’m not sure in what capacity but the partnership of D&D is in this Hip Hop game for eternity! Were not going to stop building as a duo and we can’t say if there’s another album coming yet but rest assured we are always in The Vortex creating. You may hear me featured on some other artist’s projects this year rhyming and I’m really focusing on my craft as a producer. I’ve been working on the production side of things for a couple of years now and hopefully some of those beats will surface this year.
aahh: Any final comments?
Dialect: I just want to sincerely thank each and every person who has supported us or likes our music. We really have been overwhelmed by all the support and we’re going to continue creating for those souls who appreciate what we do.
P.S Be on the look out for part 3 in the trilogy of film clips from The Vortex hitting a screen near you soon!