ORGAN: So what's going on with you right now? What’s Happening?
we’re doing some interviews!
ORGAN: OK, besides
the right here right now obvious, what’s happening?
we haven't played the UK in forever, so we definitely wanted to come back
here and play. We just did a one-off in Berlin for this theatre that was
celebrating 100 years - it was us and Jon Spencer's new project, Happy
Trash - so we played yesterday. It was cool, really good - a completely
different crowd than what we're used to - it was cool to see people of
all ages that have probably never heard us before being into it.
ORGAN: - What kind
of crowd are you used to?
DÄLEK - Man,
that's a good question!
ORGAN - Because you're
kind of defying convention as it is...
DÄLEK - well,
let me see, I'm definitely not used to... opera theatre crowds like the
one in Germany yesterday If you know what I mean... By the end of it we
got lots of converts, people who had never heard us before staying on for
the whole set and really enjoying it... that was cool, but at the same
time while we were playing there wasn't an awful lot of movement or reaction,
so it was kind of hard to tell if we were striking any nerves or whatever!
Apparently people were getting the vibe and getting into us so it worked
out well. I guess the audience at our shows is a complete mix of people,
from hip-hop fans to krautrock fans to metal kids to electronic kids...
I think that all the touring we have done with all the different bands
has taken pockets of all kinds of audiences.
ORGAN - Bands are
pigeonholed and marketed as a 'this' band or a 'that' band, whereas you're...
DÄLEK - I think
that's been our blessing and our curse, all in one; I think it's what attracts
a lot of people to us and I think it's what scares a lot of people about
us. A lot of people don't know what to do with us, don't know how to 'market'
us... which I think is fine - I think it should be easier to market a band
like us because we appeal to so many different types of people
ORGAN - What would
you say your very first audience was like, the rock side of things or more
from the hip-hop side of life?
DÄLEK – Well
we started doing shows on the indie rock circuit: our first album came
out on Gem Blandsten so at the time we were touring with people like Rye
Coalition, so from the beginning it's always been just a complete mix of
audiences. We also did tours with people like Prince Paul and Pharcyde
so there's always been this really bizarre mix but... it works!
ORGAN - Is that a
deliberate intent to contradict what's going on?
DÄLEK - Not
in the sense that, you know, we wake up in the morning and say, hmm, let's
take the temperature of hip-hop today and do the weirdest possible thing
we can do - that not why we do what we do! In all honesty it's really simple,
it's just - the music that we make sounds right to us. It's not that
I want all music to sound like us or that we feel other people are wrong...
it's just that, for what I want to do and what we want to express, this
is the way we want to do it, and that's basically what it is.
ORGAN: So what was
it that started you off with this bug for making music?
DÄLEK - My cousins
were DJs when I was growing up, and I started as a DJ when I was ...fourteen
years old. I started doing neighbourhood parties and things like that -
this was in Newark and upstate New Jersey. I didn't start as an MC - local
MCs would ask me to be their DJ. So I would be in the neighbourhood hip-hop
groups, and there was one group that had two DJs and two MCs; one of the
MCs quit the band, and the other asked me if I'd ever thought of MC-ing.
I was, like, nah, I'd never even given that a thought, and he said, well
why don't you try writing some stuff and see what you come up with, and,
y'know... almost fifteen years later I'm an MC...
ORGAN - So was there
a love of leftfield rock always there too?
DÄLEK - You
got to remember, hip-hop DJs had to be into all different kinds of music...
that's why it's not that weird to me, and you know, when hip-hop started
everyone was listening to everything because hip-hop didn't exist! You
weren't listening to hip-hop creating hip-hop, you were listening to everything,
and from all of that creating hip-hop... I guess I always kept that DJ
mentality, loving to dig through crates to find new sounds, to find new
things that would move the crowd initially and then I guess I just took
those ideas in when I started doing my own production with Oktopus.
ORGAN - Do you think
things have become more conservative recently?
DÄLEK - Yes
and no - I mean, from the MC standpoint - yeah, I think so; musically I
think there's a lot of interesting things going on in hip-hop - even mainstream
hip-hop... (laughs apologetically) - I feel like I've said it a thousand
times but I really believe it: I think Timbaland might be one of the illest
producers regardless of genre - I mean, I hear him doing brand new things
that haven't been done before: I mean you don't hear new things when you
listen to commercial mainstream emo rock or...! You know what I mean -
there's nothing brand new going on in that - that rock music is just rehashing
the same shit out over and over again! Timbaland, you may not like everything
he does, but I think at least he's trying new things, you know? Even
50 Cent's albums have something going on musically... Jay-Z, I think
- and I keep saying this hoping that maybe he'll hear this one day - I
feel that when he wants to make a great album, he can... lyrically and
musically. I think the Black Album is a fabulous record, both musically
and lyrically, but then, he comes out with the next album and I feel he's
not even trying. He's just kind of going through the motions, y'know?
ORGAN - Seems he's
got his head set on other things in terms of where he gets his creative
kicks these days...
DÄLEK - Yeah...
well, I'm not a multi-millionaire mogul that has ten different businesses
that I gotta worry about... I don't know what that's like, so...
ORGAN - Would you
like to be?
DÄLEK That rich?
(genuinely has a think about it...)
ORGAN - or, your
own fashion line... produce films...
DÄLEK – Aww...
I don't know how to make clothing (laughs).. I don't know how to direct!
I'd like to score films. I'd like to stay with what I know, and I
ORGAN - I notice
your sound gets compared a lot with the work of David Lynch -
DÄLEK - Yeah!
Well we're huge fans of his work - and we'd love to work with directors
of that calibre... or directors with passion, the same kind of passion
that we have for music - if they have that kind of passion for film we
would love to be working with people like that.
ORGAN - So it must
help to be working in the environment that Ipecac give, then -
DÄLEK - No doubt!
ORGAN - I assume
you get to do anything you want; you never get hassled about what you create
DÄLEK - No,
not at all - honestly, Ipecac - that's home. There never is the conversation
that goes, 'maybe you shouldn't say this on that song, maybe you shouldn't
sound this way for this album' ...Basically, they trust us with putting
together the albums that we want to put out. Having that kind of artistic
freedom, I mean - why would we ever want to go anywhere else? Although,
Patton has always said, if we got the crazy advance from the major label,
he would force us to go. And then after they dropped us he would
just take us back...
ORGAN - Mike Patton's
been around, he knows the score..
DÄLEK - Yeah,
no doubt! ...Another thing, the flip side of hip-hop right now is, just
'cause it's underground doesn't mean it's good, know what I mean? There's
a lot of people in hip-hop who go, fuck the mainstream, I'm underground,
I'm underground - but just 'cause you’re underground and you're wearing
a backpack doesn't mean that you're making better music... I still want
to hear the great albums, I want to hear albums that move me. I rarely
hear them but there's still some people out there that are doing it.
ORGAN - Anyone that
people don't know about that you can recommend?
DÄLEK - Well,
I think a lot of people know about them, but I'm a big champion of Immortal
Technique. I think lyrically he's like our age's KRS-1... music-wise, I
like some of it and I have some problems with some of it: I think if he
got someone like Premiere behind him doing his production it would be ridiculous...
that's just thinking off the top of my head - but I think his voice, his
delivery and his lyrical content would be incredible over some classic
beats like Premiere makes... but that's just one MC's opinion.
ORGAN - When you're
listening to rock music, are you listening to it in terms of the textures,
the beats that could be...
DÄLEK - Regardless
of genre, I just listen to things that I like - things that move me; at
the same time, yeah, I'm always trying to hear what's going on production-wise,
what techniques are being used... But I think that's also a problem in
music today - everything is about the gear, about what Pro-Tools system
or software or whatever, or what sample you had... I don't think any of
that shit matters. It's nice to have toys. At the base level I don't give
a f*ck if you just grab that oil can and start beating on it - if you make
something that sounds ill, that just works... that's what music's about.
Music isn't about who went to the best studio or any of that. I mean, I'm
not going to bullshit, I like having nice mics and nice equipment, but
to augment a good song... I'm sure you know the whole thing - there's people
out there that got every piece of equipment on the planet who can't put
a song together.
ORGAN - You said
it was a while since you were over here: how long ago was that?
DÄLEK - Two
years, maybe more...
ORGAN - Is there
a lot of difference in the reaction since then - in fact, what was the
reaction when you first started?
DÄLEK - From
when we first started? Yeah. We used to clear the room. (laughter) People
used to run out screaming, 'why are you doing this?' And we thought,
woo, yeah, it's out there!
ORGAN: Who were the
people screaming, though - would that be the traditional hip-hop people
who were a bit confused by it or the rock music fans who...
DÄLEK - It would
be across the board... too noisy for traditional hip-hop kids, too hip-hop
and black nationalist for the rock crowd, know what I mean (laughs)...
ORGAN - But now there's
more of an acceptance of bands mixing genres, more pushing boundaries and
being more experimental...
DÄLEK - Everyone
feels like we don't fit into one genre - I feel like we've almost
created our own little spot, where people that are into us come check us
out, buy our records and that's fine! I never started making music 'cause
I wanna be famous. I just make music cause this is what I do; I mean, when
I'm home and I have free time, I'm working on beats, I'm writing lyrics:
that's what I do. On my days of I do that for fun - that's what keeps me
sane. The fact that I can make somewhat of a living out of it, that's just...a
bonus - 'cause I would have been doing this anyway!
ORGAN - But would
you be doing it in such an out there, daring experimental way if there
wasn't a labels like Ipecac to support you?
DÄLEK - We were
lucky to find a home like Ipecac ...definitely lucky 'cause we've always
had a mentality of 'f*ck the world' anyway, so it's lucky for us that we've
found a home where we could release this stuff and actually somewhat pay
our bills. We'd probably be grinding it out working nine-to-fives and still
putting out the albums that we really believed in... I don't think we know
how to make music any other way that the way we make it. I don't think
if, y'know, Def Jam showed up and said 'I need you to make me a record
that sounds like whoever's on the radio' - I don't know if we could!
I could try it (laughs) but I know that at some point it would always be
too f*cked for anyone to really think of it as mainstream! And...
I'm fine with that! I think that there's a lot of musicians in the underground
that are bitter that they can't be mainstream. There's a lot of people
in the deck circle, hoping that some major label's gonna pick them up and
they're gonna be rich, and they're gonna have all the cars they want and
all the ho's and all the gold.. and that to me is just ridiculous... You
got to know why you make the music you make... you've got to know your
trajectory and what you're doing with your life! Like I said, I don't
do this to be famous, I don't do this because I wanted to have a number
one hit song. I just do this because this is what lets me be a normal...
somewhat normal, even-keeled person in my regular life. And I'm having
an incredible time playing in front of people... I never thought that would
ORGAN - It must be
good travelling round the world, I mean you’re half way around the world
sitting here in London talking about your music because people like us
want to know...
DÄLEK - At the
end of the day - if it ended tomorrow, well, we've had a ridiculously amazing
run, we've traveled the world, we've played music to people, gotten to
meet people, make friends all over the world that I never would have met
before in my life... When I was a little kid, man, New York and New Jersey
were the only states that I knew! I hadn't even gone anywhere else in America,
let alone anywhere else in the world... just from that aspect, I think
it's amazing that you can do that, just with music, you know? It's cool!
And suddenly it was
time for one amazing gig...