Dialektiks, in self-promotion mode (THE way forward in this world of blogs and stuff) sent me a link for their 'Intelligent Design' mixtape the other day, I hooked up an interview instantly and it's all done and dusted now. Why not have a read:
Certified Banger: Yo Dialektiks, on behalf of everyone – thanks for dropping the free album! What were the best and worst things about making it?
Dialektiks: Because it was our first project, the best thing about making it was the progression made as artists every time we made a new track. We could hear our sound getting better and better as our techniques improved and when we put the tape together we got good reactions from people which really encouraged us to come at this bigger and better for the next project.
The worst thing about making the tape was all the technical stuff. Neither of us are sound engineers and all the levelling and EQ’ing took forever. For the next project we’re getting our friend, Fig Leaves, to do it all!
CB: For those thinking of downloading it – can you describe your sound and the album as a whole? Who would you recommend it to?
Dialektiks: The sound is heavily influenced by Philly soul samples and funk. It’s laid back, melodic hip hop with intelligent lyrics about anything and everything. We’re trying to do something that isn’t so widely available in the UK. As an artist you don’t want to sound like or emulate anyone but if you’ve heard Murs and 9th Wonder then what we do is similar. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we bring an element of fun to our music.
CB: Yeah I love their album. What are you personal favourite tracks of there? Can you tell us about them and maybe the story behind each one?
Dialektiks: ‘Call Me’ is the track that everyone is drawn to. The vocal on the chorus is catchy, the melody on the verse is bounces along and the three verses from three rappers (it features emcees T.E.R.R.O.R and Gemz) are all top quality.
The idea behind it was to set it up as a competition between the three rappers to see who could come up with the best verse. Money was riding on it and there was to be an impartial judge but every single rapper missed the deadline so no one won! Still got three amazing verses out of it though, definitely one for the best of CD 20 years from now!
CB: Why did you decide to make it available for free? What will it lead onto hopefully?
Dialektiks: It was never suppose to be a work that was really heard by anyone. It was just a tape to practice, a learning curve, and a dummy run. When we played it to some friends, people seemed to really like it and we got a good review from someone who had been on our MySpace so we decided to put it up for download.
We’re just happy if people listen to and enjoy our stuff, right now we’re not in it to make money. Hopefully we’ll get enough feedback from people to know how we can improve for the next project ‘D-Day’ – that’s coming out in May 09. We want that one to help us make a mark in the UK Hip Hop scene. The dream is to get signed to an indie label by the end of 2009.
CB: What’s the meaning behind the title?
Dialektiks: We wanted the title to give an insight into our sound and philosophy. We don’t rap about dumb shit like guns and bitches, hip hop is a chance to get yourself heard and to share thoughts and we wanted to say things that were going to count and that people could relate to. We put thought into our music and that’s why its design is hopefully intelligent. Also the acronym of Intelligent Design, I.D. also stands for ‘I Dialektik’ as in this is us, this is our work, this is who we are.
CB: It reminded me of the ongoing argument of evolution vs. intelligent design / a creator God. What are your opinions on that?
Dialektiks: I’m not religious but I understand that people need to believe in things, need to have faith in something else because the world we live in is far from perfect. I have tried believing in higher things but I’ve found my faith is vested elsewhere, generally in those around me who pick me up when I need them the most. So there’ll be no shout outs to God in the next album acknowledgments from me, but Newspeak has a little more faith than I do!
CB: So, you’re from Edinburgh – what’s that like from a Hip Hop point of view? Is there a good scene? Is it bad being so far from London?
Dialektiks: It’s definitely a good scene out here. It’s quite a close knit community of emcees, DJ’s, and producers where everyone bumps into each other. We’re based in Edinburgh and come from England, but everyone has been really supportive out here. I think everyone knows it’s tough to get good music heard, so there’s no beef.
Two people big in the scene that have really been really helpful are DJ Beef who kind of took us under his wing when we first got up here. He introduced us to the crews and the best places to go. Then a big up to Ralph Peterson, he’s the manager of Medina, the local hang out for all real hip hop heads. He routinely holds open mic nights and we’ve performed there a few times.
It’s not that bad being so far from London. We did our ‘Call Me’ remix with two rappers from London, T.E.R.R.O.R and Gemz just by sending beats over the net. We’re avid believers that if you put in the work and make good music then you’ll be heard. So drop us in Alaska with a mic, an MPC, a Mac, and internet and I guarantee you’ll still hear hot music from us!
CB: So where are you from originally? And why are you now based in Scotland?
Dialektiks: Decksterous is from Sheffield, and moved to London to study at university. Newspeak, was born and raised in South London. We met whilst working for Oxfam and soon discovered we went to the same university. After graduating, we began making music in London but for work reasons, Decksterous soon moved up to Edinburgh. We continued to make music with Decksterous sending Newspeak instrumentals and Newspeak firing back completed tracks but when we decided we wanted to take music seriously, Newspeak quit his job and decided to move up to Scotland and we set about producing our first mixtape – ‘Intelligent Design’.
CB: What are the positives and negatives of Edinburgh just in general? I like the history but dislike the weather and the price of a pint!
The positives –
- Going out to the centre of town and being able to walk back home! Never taking a night bus again…
- The scenery being amazing all year round…
- The people are just generally real friendly out here. Always willing to help…Even the traffic wardens!
- The Fringe Festival is amazing! Comedy, Film, Music…what more do you need?
The negatives –
- This place is so cold we had the heating on in May… It makes me wish global warming would hurry the hell up!
CB: Who else is making moves in the Edinburgh area?
Dialektiks: There are loads of cats making big moves in Edinburgh. Again, gotta big up DJ Beef and Ralph Peterson, DJ Sonny, Jee4ce, S.T.M, Catchclick, Freaky Family, Young Fathers, Underling, Werd and Deeko, Evil Residents… The list goes on… Apologise if we forgot anyone, the weather's playing tricks with the old memory…
CB: In realistic terms, where do you see Scottish Hip Hop going? Is it in a healthier state than Hip Hop in general?
Dialektiks: I think like economies, every form of music has a cyclical boom and a bust. Mainstream hip hop is in a bust right now. Apart from a few artists, it hasn’t recaptured the energy it once had. There’s only so much ringtone rap you can listen to. People will start looking to the underground scenes again, but this time rather than music just emerging from New York and the West Coast, it really is a world wide scene. I reckon as soon as people start making music like they’re never gonna get paid off it then it will start to get interesting again.
I don’t think there are any two rappers or groups in Scotland that sound the same. So it’s very refreshing to see people doing it for the love of the music. It also keeps other areas on their toes. You know what they say, competition is healthy…
CB: Thanks for speaking about these issues – I think you’re the first Scottish artists I’ve had on here so that’s cool! Finish us off with any additional info you’re burning to tell us:
Dialektiks: Our next album, ‘D-Day’ is coming out in early summer. ‘Intelligent Design’ was just a practice lap, this is going to blow people out of the water! We’re just striving to be better artists, so every track we do is going to better than the last.
We’ve also got a crossover EP with the artist Fig Leaves coming soon. It’s going to be a crazy fusion of hip hop, indie, 80’s rock, funk, genius! Check out the Myspace regularly for updates, add us on Facebook… Dialektiks, The group that keeps on giving!