After a rousingly clandestine set in the suitably underground Corsica Studios we decided to delay Will Brooks of dälek from enjoying his dinner by throwing him a few questions as to everything dälek – and everything that’s not. It’s an exciting time to be a fan of dälek, what with their Molotov flamed resurgence, with a fascinating chat about plentiful new material, the importance of a rallying call and the necessity to fuck Jimmy. But first we join Mr Brooks on his thoughts on remote interviews…
MC dälek A lot of questions don’t translate right. When they send me questions by email a lot of the questions sound like an essay. At least if you ask me a bullshit question I can call you on it!
OneMetal It keeps me on my toes – the impending threat of possible assault.
MC dälek That’s a good point man. I feel that journalists are getting a little brave because they are behind the computers so they think they can say what they want. But I guarantee that you wouldn’t be saying shit in front of me. Or maybe I’m wrong, let’s find out! No pressure!
OneMetal You’ve had an amazing comeback album in Asphalt For Eden, but I heard that you immediately went back into the studio after the release?
MC dälek We’re wrapping up these dates and then after that we’re in the studio finishing the next album. We probably won’t be on the road again until we drop the next album; we’re hoping in April or May 2017. Musically it’s about there, but I’ve got to just lock myself away and write the lyrics that are inside.
OneMetal It was quite a long time between Gutter Tactics and Asphalt For Eden
MC dälek Yeah it was a long time but it wasn’t like I stopped doing music. I did the iconAclass thing…I just constantly work on beats anyway. I have a backlog of tracks that date back to 2005 that every once in a while I dig through just for inspiration. Sometimes they get used and sometimes just listening to them sparks a new idea. So we have libraries upon libraries of tracks to listen to and I’m not bullshitting when I say they are in the thousands of songs. Not all of them are fleshed out – but thousands of ideas at least. I’m not going anywhere.
OneMetal You released ‘Molten’ just before the elections…
MC dälek Yeah it felt like that one had to come out right away. That’s a little teaser to let people know the direction we are heading in. The new album has that kind of flavour…not completely but it’s in that world. It’s heavy and it’s noisy as fuck…so I guess typical dälek.
OneMetal It’s definitely a lot darker and denser then Asphalt For Eden which at points was a little bit ‘pop’.
MC dälek I’d definitely say that Asphalt For Eden is our most accessible album. It’s about as pop as we can get, I suppose. It’s funny, we were talking in the car ride whilst listening to some rough mixes and some of them aren’t as heavy as they needed to be; I feel like the things I want to say about the direction the world is heading in…I need the beats to be heavier and the noise to be noisier.
OneMetal I feel like it’s the unfortunate circumstance that the world is more in tune than ever with dälek’s sound.
MC dälek I remember when we released Gutter Tactics, which was around the time Obama got elected; a lot of people were asking me what I was going to do now we were living in a post-racial world – to which I laughed. If you believe that then let me work with your idea: If we are living in a post-racial world and if everything is fucking rainbows and everything is great then I’ll stop writing angry music because I won’t have anything to be angry about…but I have a sneaking suspicion that isn’t going to be the case. Here we are eight years later and I hate to say I told you so but…
OneMetal I feel like that new age thinking always happens after an election. We are currently living in the post-truth era.
MC dälek We’re in a fucked era, that’s where we are.
OneMetal ‘Molten’ is very much a rallying cry for the deadverse. Bringing everyone together who still thinks and who still questions.
MC dälek I feel that in this kind of climate the most you can hope to do is surround yourself with like minded people, people who share your beliefs and convictions. You have to move forward with them. I said right after the elections “Talk is cheap man.” I don’t even like talking about the elections because it happened; it’s done with. What matters is what we do from this point forward. If anything, I hope that it will shake the complacency of Americans and maybe people will wake the fuck up and start giving a fuck about what happens. Most people only care when it affects them. Americans are shocked that there are a lot of racist people in America…that’s never been something that shocks me. I’ve dealt with that my entire life….Black and Latinos…you deal with that. That’s not brand new news for us; it’s not like “oh shit, a little less than half the country is racist? Oh my!”. Fuck talk, it’s cheap. Action is what matters.
OneMetal Do you ever feel that you are preaching to the converted?
MC dälek I guess but the converted need to have rallying cries, they need to be reaffirmed that challenging the status quo and the norm is the right thing to do. You don’t have that many voices that tell you that. You have a million voices that tell you to be like everyone else. You have a million voices that tell you “Oh how come your not like Jimmy from round the block?” Fuck Jimmy from around the block! You need those voices that say fuck Jimmy! If I can be one of those voices…and I’m not the only one; there are heads out there. I feel like the people who think have to stick together.
OneMetal To make things slightly lighter from the world being fucked…YOU’RE GOING TO ROADBURN BABY!
MC dälek I’m going to Roadburn unless my passport gets taken away and I get put into some form of camp or something! I’m just bullshitting! I’m really excited about Roadburn – that line up is crazy and we are humbled as fuck to be playing alongside all those people with a lot of old friends too. Kevin Martin, Earth and SUMAC…it’s going to be like a family reunion.
Mike Manteca We’re looking to add a surprise to it too.
MC dälek It’s going to be no pants. That’s the surprise.
OneMetal Fuck it, I’d see it.
MC dälek It’s going to be ill man. That’ll be when we come out of our self-imposed hibernation with new material and our new album shortly thereafter. I’m pretty sure we’ll be debuting some new stuff as well as Asphalt and older tracks as well. We’ll have some tricks up our sleeves – it’ll be good.
OneMetal I feel that it’s a sign of how dälek is getting larger. You signed on to Profound Lore records of course…do you feel like you are finding different crowds?
MC dälek I enjoy that man. It’s funny, you say we play for the converted but at the same time we find ourselves in front of audiences that may not even be into hip hop or claim they are not into hip hop. But then if they say that they like us, I hate to burst your bubble, but you are into hip hop. I think its cool to bring our type of music to people who aren’t familiar with it. Even though we are preaching to the converted, we are converting some people along the way. Maybe people who think the way we think but just didn’t know we were out there. It’s also cool to bring people in from all types of genres and it makes our lives interesting because we get to tour with so many different types of bands. I’m a music fan so for me the best thing about it is to meet incredible musicians like my man GOTH-TRAD from Japan over there who I did vocals for on his records. The friendship that I can build with different genres and musicians just enriches our music in general – for us that’s the ultimate thing right there.
OneMetal In a bizarre way you are a gateway band.
MC dälek We’re like the marijuana of music. Next step after us is crack cocaine! I guess we let people say it’s ok to like rhyming. I let metal heads say “I like MCs” so that’s good – bringing everyone together. It’s not like we’re not metal fans but we are fans of everything you can imagine. It doesn’t seem weird to me. Good music is good music.
OneMetal You’re actually quite a classical hip hop band.
MC dälek Well just philosophically and the way we approach music – it just so happens that our tastes are different. We are creating music the same way that A Tribe Called Quest, Boogie Down Productions and KRS-One did. It’s just our take on it which was what hip hop was all about, having your own take on things. It wasn’t like everyone sounded the same, everyone was trying to be different and have their own style – I try and stay true to that.
OneMetal For maybe anyone who isn’t so knowledgeable on modern hip hop, who may only know bands like you or Death Grips, are there any shout outs you want to make to people changing the game?
MC dälek Absolutely. There’s the MC Ka. He’s one of the illest MCs out there now. Musically it’s deceptively stripped down and slow. But it’s the most hypnotic, most amazing story telling and lyricism I’ve heard in a long time – he’s one of my favourites. There’s Joell Ortiz, Immortal Technique, Shabazz Palaces and Clipping. The new A Tribe Called Quest album is fantastic. My own people like John Morrison is an MC producer from Philly who I put out on my label, D.L.E.MM.A is another along with Hprizm and Oddatee. There’s mad heads doing shit, you’ve just got to look through the mainstream bullshit and dig deeper and you’ll find a lot of things.
OneMetal After the election you said you were very interested in seeing how America had changed during your tour…
Mike Manteca We visited the Midwest.
MC dälek We went into the belly of the beast and then we got to see what an amazing democracy looks like in Canada. The major cities are fine…it’s just everything else. It’s hard to judge going to shows because 9/10 people who go to music shows tend to be open minded, so you’re not really seeing what’s going on at the local PTA meeting. I feel the same way when I come to Europe. I go to my shows and I get to meet other musicians, people who come to see me at shows and people who work at venues so you are not really getting what’s really going on. I’m just seeing music fans points of view, so we are really in an insulated bubble which I love. I hope to stay in that bubble forever.
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