From the filthy tongue of dälek... [2002-10-05]Now signed on Ipecac, dälek have just released their second full-length, From filthy tongue of gods and griots an album full of mind-blowing, unique hiphop songs, certainly one of the albums of the year.I sent a few questions to them, and it's with the same intelligence one can find in his lyrics that dälek (the MC) answered.
m[m]: Would you please introduce the different people in Dälek?
d: dälek:(27) MC and co producer
oktopus:(28) co and producer
still: (23) turntables and co producer
m[m]: Oktopus and Dälek met a long time ago, could you tell us more about it? What made you get together, etc...
d: Oktopus and i met while in college. He owned a recording studio, after the last group i was in split up i contacted him about recording my solo work. Those sessions resulted in alot of drinking and discussing music. We both had similar ideas about what we wanted to do with music. What started as just Oktopus as engineer and i as the artist became a collaboration and then a group. We added a Dj when we were done recording what became Negro, Necro, Nekros and started touring.
m[m]: Dälek is obviously a band with a wide range of influences, way beyond hiphop, so what were the artists who gave you the desire to make music yrself?
d: Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim, De La Soul, My Bloody Valentine, Velvet Underground, Bad Brains, Black Flag, All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors,Jeff Buckley, Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, to name a few.
m[m]: How did you got a deal with Ipecac? Is it a one album deal?
d: We toured with Tomahawk in Europe last year, we had met Patton a few times before that. Touring with a band for so long, you build friendships. Mike was digging our live show and had a copy of Negro... He asked if we had new material... we had the new album done, just waiting for the right label and to be mixed. We gave him a CDr, after listening to it he asked us to put it out on Ipecac. Ipecac has turned out to be exactly the label we needed to be on. Being on the same roster as the Melvins, Isis, Kid606, and Tomahawk is a great place to be. All of there contracts are for one album, but we have found our home. I don't see us going anywhere else..
m[m]: I read an interview with Mike Patton 2 years ago where he said, speaking of Ipecac “I would even sign hiphop acts, if only there was sth good to come out of it. But I seriously doubt it”. Now he has released your album and one by Sensational...
Change of heart? What do u think?
d: Nah not a change of heart... i guess he just found the "something good" he was looking for.
m[m]: How do u feel on Ipecac? Your first album was released by Gern Blandsten, not a hiphop label either, how come u never released anything on a hiphop label? Do u scare them ;-) ?
d: Like i said Ipecac has been great. The ideal home for us. Both Mike and Gregg have been through all the bullshit in this industry and run the label with the artist's best interests in mind. They are like gern in attitude but with means and avenues to get your music where it needs to be. It is still like dealing with friends, not like dealing with a corporate entity. i really don't think that being on a strickly hip hop label is where we need to be... we can appeal to people from many different "genres" though we are HIP HOP. Ipecac's music is very broad... I think we fit right in there between the Melvins and Sensational. Kind of like Public Enemy on Def Jam back in the day, somewhere between Slayer and LL Cool J.
m[m]: Do you feel close to rock artists?
d: I feel close to musicians. Any musicians who are passionate about their art. Musicians who live and breath for their shit.
m[m]: It took you 4 years to record the new album, what took you so long?
d: Filthy Tongue... was actually recorded in 2 years but it took us another 2 years to find the right label for us.
m[m]: The new stuff is quite different to Negro, necro, nekros, much heavier, distorted, almost industrial. Would you agree? Is there anything that “provoked” this evolution of your sound?
d: Negro... was a studio album, back then we hadn't played live, the album itself was an experiment, we were still trying to find ourselves and our music. Filthy tongue... better represents our live shows and sound. The music and the lyrics have matured and gelled as we have as a band and as people. It is a lot heavier, darker at times, they are different. i think they represent us at different times in our lives. I am very proud of both records.
m[m]: The song “Forever close my eyes” is really instrument-based, guitars, keys, drums, a traditional band, really... Is it an area you wish to explore more?
d: We have alwayed used live instruments in the studio where needed. That song called for a more traditional band sound but i wouldn't expect us to show up to a venue with a live band any time soon. =)
m[m]: The lyrics are a very important part of Dälek. Very well written and most importantly thought provoking, could you tell us a bit more about From filthy tongue... lyrics?
d: On Filthy Tongue... i explore everything from politics, social conditions, religion, inner turmoil and struggle, to failed relationships, life experiences, and life in general. it is all cryptic i guess, but that is my poetry, the initial meaning only matters to me. It won't be spoon fed to the audience. What is important is the meaning that the listener gets for him/herself from my lyrics and from the music. I really want people to make their own interpretation, but we also post all the lyrics on our website for people to read.
m[m]: Your lyrics being written the way they are, I see a strong connection with literature so who would be your literary influences? Which contemporary writers are worth checking out?
d: Kerouac, Burroughs, Hughes, Poe, Neruda, again to keep the list short. i would recommend Jose Saramaggo who wrote "Blindness". I've really gotten into his work lately.
m[m]: There is definitely some political awareness in your music so how do you see the US of A now, one year after 9-11? What’s your view on the Bush Administration?
d: I'm saddened by the current state of the world, for as much as we grow i guess we really never learn anything. Bush as our "leader " scares the shit out of me. It is all very "Orwellian", very "1984". This blind war against "terrorism" is a huge mistake, and will put the U.S. more into the role of bad guy in the eyes of the rest of the world. It also gives our government free range to take away the civil liberties and control our citizens at will. They are free to turn their sights against any country that they believe are "harboring terrorists".This country is acting more and more like the islamic fundamentalists that they are "protecting" us from, just replace islam with christianity, but its all as insane. We are the new Roman Empire. I understand why the world is pissed at us.
m[m]: What are your views on religion? In “Spiritual Healing” there seems to be some strong criticism towards today’s preachers, today’s believers.
d: Organized religion is the root of many of this worlds problems. It has never been more than a way for the powerful to control the masses. People are killing people in the name of God??!!?? That isn't very Godly is it? Instead of waiting for that wonderful mystical next life that they all promise, why don't people learn to appreciate the gift that is this life right now?? We are at the brink of destroying this world because of beliefs in Gods of religions which in essence are all the same shit. Its sickening. How many millions have been slaughtered in the name of Christianity "saving the savages"? Christianity instilled into the minds of Africans made slaves in america, who all had their own cultures and beliefs which were all taken away from them, to this day African americans in poverty holding on to beliefs in a god and a religion that had no problem with enslaving their ansestors, and no problem with lynchings. The torture of women throughout the ages because of
"witchcraft", preachers living lavashly as their followers give money that they don't even have, the raping of children by the clergy,the raping and pillaging of lands and cultures in the name of the church, jesus the list goes on forever!! And the Christians aren't alone. Hindu slaughtering Muslims, muslims slaughtering Hindus. I understand the Human needs to believe in something. What Joseph Campbell speaks of, the basic Myths that are the thread of all religions through the ages. I personally believe in a God, but thats just it, religion should be a personal spiritual thing that doesn't result in the murder of millions of others just because they hold different beliefs.
People have lost sight of the basic values which are what all religions were suppose to teach people. Instead religions have become weapons used to manipulate the masses.
m[m]: He is not in the band but appears on almost everything you released, who is Joshua Booth?
d: Josh is a great friend and collaborator. He was in the bands All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors and THENTEN. He now composes 21st Century experimental music and is studying composition. He is a mentor to us and light years ahead.
m[m]: You worked with many different people. Kid606, Techno Animal, 2ndGen, Faust... How did these collaborations come about?
Could you tell us a bit more about those people and your relationship with them?
d: Kevin Martin and i started speaking after he read an interview i did for Hiphop Connection in the UK. Another writer Dan Hill put us in contact with each other. Techno Animal and dälek had a lot of similar ideas, this all lead to the split 12" on Matador and a Tour in Europe. Both crews really clicked and we consider Kevin and Justin to be our brothers, we love those guys. Kevin asked me to do vocals for a remix he was doing for 2nd Gen.
We met Kid606 in the states... he knew Techno animal, had Kevin on his record... All of those heads are great musicians and great friends of ours. The Faust situation was crazy, we have always been huge fans of theirs, they ended up contacting us and wanting to meet and work with us. you can imagine how crazy that was... to get to chill with a band you have always admired. We spent about 9 days at Joachim Irmler's house/studio... during a hellish European tour. It was exactly what we needed to recharge our batteries and to lift our spirits.
Faust is amazing they have always done the music that they wanted to make, they never compromised... and their music today has the same fire and power as their early work. We ended up recording 12 tracks with them ... really a Faust record that we were lucky enough to be in the studio for. We have amassed a crazy crew of people that are making incredible music, it is really an honor to have worked with them all and to have them as friends.
m[m]: What would be your dream collaboration?
d: Scoring a film for David Lynch, working with Kevin Shields, maybe producing an album for Bjork.
m[m]: I see a strong connection with the Hardcore/Punk ethics in your attitude, your DIY “policy”, your constant touring, do you think the comparison is fair? Is it that you have a HC/Punk attitude or rather that you are getting back to the roots of hiphop, what it was and always should be?
d: Hip hop and punk had the same energy when they started. They were the voices of the angst ridden angry youth. I guess you can say that we are holding to the original ethics and attitude of hip hop and incorporating concepts that existed only in the punk world (ie touring). so yeah, i'd say the comparison is on point.
m[m]: How do you feel when “confronted” to the commercial form of hiphop, MTV hiphop with golden watch, fast cars, girls with breast implants? Is it still hiphop or some form of pop music? Isn’t it a betrayal of what was hiphop?
d: All of that has more in common with Britney Spears than it does with Hip hop. Mtv music , mainstream music is a packaged product to sell to middle america.... it IS pop music. Once that coporate machine got a hold of hip hop and punk, it kept the shells but removed their "souls" and "teeth".
m[m]: In hiphop and in other genres, what do you think is worth listening to these days?
d: Black Heart Procession, Cannibal Ox, Isis, SofaSurfers, the Bug, Rye Coalition, Dillinger Escape Plan, Azure Ray, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Oddateee, The oxes, Crooked Fingers, Funkstorung, EC8OR, Fever, Enon, Bomb20, TechnoAnimal, Faust, Tomahawk, the Microwaves, and much more.
m[m]: Who are your favourite artists ever, in music, cinema, painting...?
d: That's really hard to narrow down in any of the arts.... I love Kubrick and David Lynch as far as films go. Public Enemy, MBV, VU, the Beatles, Coltrane, Miles and the work of Monet.
m[m]: You are renown for your constant touring, how do you manage to tour so much with so little money? Touring is the best way to “spread the word” but don’t you sometimes get sick of it?
d: Lots of potato-chip sandwiches and sleeping on floors. i truely love playing music with the guys in my group, and i really love traveling... so many insane stories and situations that we have been through. I am only 27 but because of touring i feel like i have experienced 10 lifetimes worth of things. This is all i ever dreamed of, i never dreamed of being rich and famous. My dream was to make music, release records, and to play that music at shows everywhere. So im living my dream. You don't get tired of that...well at least not for a while. ;)
m[m]: How do you feel when confronted to an hostile live audience?
d: That doesn't happen too much anymore, but i love it. I revel in it. We have always felt like it was us against the world anyway. A hostile audience only confirms that feeling. I don't mind being hated. I want to evoke emotion in the crowd. Either love us or hate us. It's indifference that bothers me, luckily thus far most people are on either end of the spectrum. That's the way i hope to keep it.
m[m]: What about the Tomahawk tour? How did it go? What was the reaction of the crowds, knowing that most of them wanted to see Mike Patton’s new band?
d: That was an amazing tour!! Great venues, great sound systems, great crowds. Again there was a percentage of the crowd that was crazy into us and there were people who hated us. it was great. The tour ranked up there with our best.
m[m]: Let’s talk a bit about deadverse now. It’s more than a website, it seems to be a community of like-minded artists, right?
Could you tell us more about it and about the individuals grouped under
d: Deadverse is our production team, it includes the 3 members of dälek, Joshua Booth, and our resident Vinyl junkie Balthazar.
Deadverse also includes groups that we produce and work closely with such as ODDATEEE, the Labteks, Jett Brando, and THenTen.
m[m]: What comes next for you guys? I know that a collaboration with Kid606 is to be released soon and of course constant touring... But any other projects for you?
d: We are releasing a split 12" with Switzerland's Velma in the upcoming months. The record will be reminiscent of the Techno Animal 12" with each group doing an original song and then each group remixing the other's song. Klangbad (Faust's label) will be releasing the Faust/ dälek sessions in January. We will begin recording our 3rd album in January after our European tour. Plans are in the works to produce another album with ODDATEEE. Jett Brando should be releasing an EP that i co produced on Go-Kart Records in the US soon. Scoring a very independent film if we can fit it into our schedule... Obviously a lot more touring next year ... so our plate is pretty full for a while. I'd also
like to fit in a day or two of sleep somewhere in there.
dälek / deadverse