posted: 11-10-04
interview : tadah
photo: matthew salacuse
Okay, please introduce yourself.
I'm dub-L, producer, DJ, artist and MC.
Any crew affiliations we should know about?
Daybyday Entertainment, Ground Original, Cass&Dubs, Baby Show, OverGround Crew.
Let's cut to the chase. You already have a couple of records out this year and now "The Day Of The Mega Beast". Tell us about them and how come so many at the same time?
Gotta keep hitting them you know. "The Claimstake" - that's me and DJ JS-1 - album came out early this year with features from Jeru, J-Live, Common, Fivefeet:Perspectives, Tribe Star and others. I also did the Chase Phoenix "Cut To The Chase" album, which also came out early this year.
The other stuff was just a few tracks on people's albums here and there. I did two tracks on C-Rayz Walz new album "Black Samurai" and I did two tracks on MF DOOM "Viktor Vaughn 2" album.
"The Day Of The MEGA BEAST" is the first solo producer album for me; I had complete control over every aspect and didn't allow any room for error. I was really able to get the songs where I wanted them this time and make the album a cohesive piece of music.
Considering the list of people you worked with: How do you achieve that?
Just be good at your craft. People will take notice and hook you up with things here and there. It's a lot of work.
It's best to show people that your really serious about what you're doing cause they'll see that you are and treat you that way.
Nevertheless: nothing in life is free. So getting all these rappers to rhyme on your record must cost a fortune.
No, most of them do it for trades; we'll hit 'em with a beat for their album and they'll rock a song for us. In the end most MCs still love to do it and aren't so tight when it comes to money for a verse here and there.
Any other people that are still on your list to work with?
Sure, tons. Mostly not hip hop artists though: The Cure, Morrissey, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince.
How would you describe your style of beats?
I would say I have a lot of different sounding things. Not really one style. The "The Day Of The MEGA BEAST" is a good example of that. I can get real dark and gritty but then real poppy and clean. Who knows? I guess I just want to do everything.
You also mentioned DJing and rapping. Where do you DJ and where do you rap?
I DJ all the clubs in NYC mostly: Halo, Lobby, Crobar, Marquee, Ciprianis, Capital, Serena, Falucka, SOB's. Mostly trendy spots where I play a lot of poppy hip hop. I rap also, I have a vocal album out called "dub-L's In Town" you can pick it up at some of the finer stores. Also check out the last song on the "The Day Of The MEGA BEAST".
You say you make poppy stuff and play poppy stuff in the clubs. So that must mean you also like poppy stuff. But is there one kind of rap that is still your all time favorite?
No, I can't really say there is. I find I like a lot of different things. From "Sucka MC's" to "How I Could Just Kill A Man" to "Cry Me A River".
You've done some work with DJ JS-1 in the past. What's the main difference to do something with him and to do something by yourself?
There's good and bad things with both. With JS, he handles most of the set up stuff with artists. He also comes up with most of the song concepts, cuts and hooks and I usually handle most of the music arranging. Sometimes it's all my beat, sometimes he makes something and I just tighten it up. He gives me full control over the mixing and sound elements, which is how I like it. This works well but I don't feel completely in control of the out come of an album because I might not do everything on every song. And some songs and skits I might have nothing to do with at all. If there's something I don't like I don't have the ultimate decision to diss it.
When I do my own records I feel they come out exactly like I want them to. But you miss the other person giving you support and being there to vibe off the joint. You also have to deal with every aspect of everything from the artist to the mix. All I know is that I'm a big control freak but I also like to make music socially. I'm confused.
So how did you start working together as a team?
I met JS through Percee-P. P brought JS-1 by this studio I was working and recording at. And JS was tracking some scratches for Percee. I was working on the "Controls…" album at the time and I was looking for some one real nasty to do cuts. The timing was just perfect for both of us. That's how things happen; you never know who you might meet and vibe with.
He began touring with us and did most of the cuts on the album. Later on he called me about the "Ground Original" idea and we went from there.
What got you started in this type of work to begin with?
I guess it was just something that I had a natural feeling for. I never really came at it in a 'want to do it' way. I just did it, it was fun and creative and inspired me in every way.
It's not just hip hop to me. It's all music; whatever people want to classify it as. The feeling someone gets when they rock in a band is the same feeling I get in the club rocking the crowd DJing or in the studio programming a perfect drop. I guess I also like to show off a little.
Moving away from the music, where are you from?
Straight from NYC. Down Town, you know.
How is life there?
Cool, nice neighborhood. Rents are getting to crazy though. There's a lot of good food here and bars and girls.
To many, New York understandably is the hip hop Mecca. Does the city still live up to its reputation?
Well, I guess, considering it's saturated with MCs, DJs and producers. It kinda sucks here in ways because everyone does something 'cool.' It's hard to stand out when there are a million guys who dress, talk and do the same thing that you do. You almost have to be twice as dope here to get recognized.
Is there still something you could call a 'hip hop community,' or a 'hip hop scene?' What I mean by that: around the time Fondle 'Em, Rawkus and all came up, or even before that, it seems like everybody knew everybody and was down with everybody.
I wasn't down with anybody at that point. That's the stuff we used to go out and buy as teenagers. Back then most people that where out where getting some run on Stretch & Bob show or had videos and you kinda knew who they where. Now, I think, it's just very saturated with MCs, producers and DJs. With the availability of recording equipment and CD burning it's gone nuts and every scrub has a CD out.
I was right in the middle of that whole change; we were using 4-track cassette records and mixing it down to cassette! Within a year or so CD burning took off. But I remember when CD-Rs where like $15 a CD!
Anyway, there is a lot of hip hop scenes in NYC just far apart from each other. You're either at SOB's with Common and Talib or your at Marquee with P.Diddy and Fat Joe or your at the Lions Den with Poison Pen and C-Rayz Walz. They very rarely intertwine.
What do we need to know about you?
You need to know about yourself and you need to try to listen to people and learn. You need to know that I'm a big supporter of making high quality memorable music and I'm so serious.
Any fun facts about you?
Sure: I can smell and recognize hundred of brands of perfumes when on girls. I love it; girls don't even know how much some of those scents do for me.
Oh and I can basically memorize and mimic with my voice any guitar solo of a song I hear a couple times.
We touched upon this, but going further back: how did you get into this lil' culture we call hip hop? Or is it even possible to not get into hip hop when you live in New York?
Yeah, it was easy to get into hip hop in NYC. I guess for me I could kinda relate in a way to what I was seeing early on in the hip hop world. It was sorta unknown and a little bit dangerous and kinda scared the regular white people I knew. I must have been about 5 or 6 years old. I have that rebellious, 'look at me' thing built in, so hip hop looked like my kinda music. I also love some hard-hitting drums.
Don't get it twisted though: I listened to just as much rock and pop music but hip hop was new and was changing. The rock look was old then and still is. It's done; been the same for a long time. It's funny how groups like The Strokes and Jet just look like old 70's and 80's groups. That's rock but it ain't new.
Now, you produced "Music For Earthworms", the legendary Aesop Rock debut record: tell us why that record will never be re-released.
Who knows, Aesop really wanted to but I said no. I released a limited edition Instrumental version last year that has also been a real hit with the fans. The real classic songs on that album can also be found on The Controls "One Hundred" album where they first appeared.
I thought that the engineer or someone ran away with the masters?
No, that would have been funny though. Since I engineered it.
So you guys still have the masters somewhere?
Yeah. I have them.
But why not re-release it? You can make fans happy and make money?
Yeah, well money ain't everything. I like that it's rare and legendary. I've seen it sell for $300 on ebay. I think that is more that it's weight in gold; if you weigh the CD itself.
The word 'classic' is tossed around far too often. So lemme ask you: do you consider "Music For Earthworms" a classic?
Yes, it's really dope. Aes was much rawer and not so abrasive. I love the guy but "Boozoka Tooth" was garbo and I told his so. He got progressively worse.
You must have a website, right? What is it?
So, before we wrap this up: what's next?
My main work is with DJ Cassidy right now. We're really focused on our new production team and are totally developing a sound that's unique. Cass&Dubs is the team name.
I'm doing a lot of stuff with LoDeck also. We are working on a bunch of projects together for release in the summer and next fall.
Then there's going to be a new Controls album and a Tribe Star album.
Other than that I think my next album is going to be instrumental.
Oh I'm also part of the group MONSTERZ with DJ JS-1, Rahzel, Breez Evahflowin and C-Rayz Walz. Make sure to pick up "The Day Of The MEGA BEAST" to check out the MONSTERZ debut track featuring Professor X.
Any final comments and or shout outs?
Shouts go out to the Dogone Gorillapuss and the Short-faced Lolo bird. Oh and peace to my moms. MEGA BEAST out………
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