T. Amore – Good and motivated thanks, busy balancing life, music, work promotion and future planning.
So how did you come up with the idea for your new soundtrack, What Is dIGIHIRO?
T. Amore – Over ten years ago we had the idea of deliberately trying to create art to change moods positively. Our only field then was music, so we built our concept around albums, we tried to create a story, a film to go with it and fell along the same lines of a comic we were trying to get off the ground. Because creating a film usually demands a substantial budget, we went down the route of securing funding however over the years we’ve worked out that if you want something done…you know the rest! We became cleverer at being resourcefully creative. Also, our message become more and more mature, the script became better, the message stronger, the lyrics deeper, the music, the beats bigger and the genres more diverse. We also appreciated our love for creating music and just being creative more than we did 11 years ago, our end goals with music were slightly different.
Was this always meant to be a soundtrack or did you just evolve into it?
T. Amore – We are always evolving and originally it was going to be a non-visual story, like an audio book to go alongside the music. As time went on it made so much more sense to make it visual. Unfortunately, most people form instinct are only truly influenced by what they see and so if you have no visual you have no influence.
Did you approach this two installment as two individual soundtracks or a fully conceptual record?
T. Amore – It is a 100% a fully conceptual record however the format coaches the listener to listen to it how we intended to, while they are in certain moods. If you want to feel ambitious the red album “To Live” is the joint for you but if you want to feel grateful or satisfied with life, then without a doubt “The Life” album will hit the right spot. Together you have two conflicting yet positive emotions with a visual that’ll truly take people on a journey.
How was the recording and writing process?
Sub Low – Really interesting, we actually never recorded our vocal’s together at the same time so we sent each other our lyrics before we recorded them or we sent the odd voice note. Every time we went to the studio it was like Christmas, a totally new song with vocals you’d never heard before every session was epic.
T. Amore – It was built around our concept, we required 20 tracks. Two each about Life, Money, Hate, Trust, Love, Faith, Addiction, Pain, Wisdom and Death. However we needed the music to represent two emotions. We listened to beats first that we already had, then we thought about melodies we already had, then we looked at older songs we created from our past to see if we could sample them and build a beat around a vibe we created previously. Two songs we updated, our title songs “To Live 2.0” and “The Life 2.0”. These were the original pitch songs we created to support funding for the project all those years ago but we added to them, “To Live 2.0” contains a mid-section and singing with added words about ambition and “The Life 2.0” had a complete beat restructure to fit the film more, in terms of a dreamy, trippy feel to suck you in to the emotion.
How A Tribe Called Quest and Outkast has influence your writing?
Sub Low – Well TCQ was the first hip-hop group that took my breath away and made me want to dream to be an MC, their subject matter and Jazz influence just blew my mind. I remember just ridding my bike listening to my Walkman, “Midnight Marauders” on repeat saying to myself this is how I want to sound if I could rap. Outkast – They just came through the gate and changed the game, they had everything and to this day I don’t believe two mcs of that calibre have come together and made magic like that.
T. Amore – We grew up listening to both, I’m not sure if it’s fair to say I was more an Outkast fan and Sub was more ATCQ, either way we loved them both. Outkast are crazy creative and unique, coming from Atlanta they had to stake their own claim on the game, Big Boi and Andre 3000 are so different, or they become so different but they still worked so well together, that’s like us, they even dipped in to film and double album’s during various points in their careers. ATCQ for me again are crazily creative but their vibe is something else, they almost lead a whole cultural movement. Personally, I was inspired by their latest album ‘We’ll Take It From Here, Thank You For Your Service’ as they seemed done as a collective and yet they come up with an album I think on par with their best ‘Midnight Marauders’. It sounded like nostalgia but also sounded new and fresh, how did they do that! Amazing.
Did any particular film composer you guys draw inspiration?
T. Amore – Not really, I love lots of composers like Hans Zimmer or Quincy Jones but I doubt we’re really influenced by them. There are people we looked at that from a musical side who dipped in to film and owned an entire project from start to finish to see how they fared, ‘what went well’ and what would’ve been ‘even better if’.
How did you get to blend both the cinematic with your hip hop roots?
Sub Low – This is a really easy one, speaking for myself I am a total musician at heart and don’t have a clue in regards to the cinematic world even though I can appreciate a great film, strong acting performance or some very clever filming techniques. Tony on the other hand again is a 100% musician at heart but his lyrics and song ideas have always had an cinematic feel or edge to them so making the jump from musician to writer and director was progression for him. When both of us combine you get a perfect fusion of film & Hip-Hop/Music.
T. Amore – For me this came from just being ourselves. So may people are trying to be anything other than themselves, I’m guilty of this when I’m not writing but when I write, it’s authentically me, when I perform in a booth it is authentically me. We both grew up listening to rap from our brothers so naturally us is hip hop, we are more than just hip hop but everything is wrapped up in a rap wrapping paper.
What role does Bedford play in your music?
T. Amore – It’s just home, we wouldn’t be us if it wasn’t for Bedford, Bedford has held us back but also made us better like a strict parent but we’re ready to spread our wings now.
Sub Low – A massive part, this entire project was recorded and filmed here this is such a small and diverse place you couldn’t make it up and we love it here, the love and support of the people, local radio and the Football club has been immense. Bedford is the main influence an inspiration to the entire project, it was created here but made for the world to embrace.
What aspect of your life did you get to explore on this record?
Sub Low – Me personally I explored and spoke about the death of my uncle Luke (Paddy) and the loss of other family members, some close and personal relationships which either deteriorated over time or new friendships which blossomed over the same time period. The search for inner-peace, inner freedom, self worth and most importantly self love which is one of the biggest aspects we all as people should spend more time on.
Also I wanted to showcase how as a father of three young boys my feelings and how I want the world to be a better place for them to grow up in and for the entire younger generation. I really wanted to shine a light on to all the controversial aspects i.e. Trump in power, the Brexit exit, the mis-treatment of refugees and the inequality shown to women.
T. Amore – Sorry for being short but all of it! The darkest to the brightest moments but I looked at it with an adaptively optimistic viewpoint.
What other themes did you intend to touch on this material?
Sub Low – 10 emotions, Life, Money, Hate, Trust, Love, Faith, Addiction, Pain, Wisdom and death plus the ambition vs satisfaction side of things was the core. We also wanted to prove music changes moods but after a few people listened and saw part of the project the mental health angle grew organically. So what I’m trying to say is we originally set out with the above themes in mind but so many different themes like Self Care, Mental health, female empowerment, trying to encourage people to invest their time in there families and away from the screen all started to sprout out from this project. Finally the one reoccurring theme was positivity.
Any plans to hit the road?
T. Amore – Only if the people want it? What do the people want? We’d like to know.
Sub Low – Not as of yet but when we do it’ll definitely be more of an experience than a standard music gig. In a dream scenario we would preform both albums and interact with parts of the film playing in the background so this will be more of an unique experience than just an vocal performance.
What else is happening next in dIGIHIRO’s world?
T. Amore – The feature film! We have to release it! Do a private viewing then unleash it in 2019. We’d really love to do a special edition package in the future too. We’ve got a designer “What Is dIGIHIRO? To Live The Life” sports t-shirt to go with what we’re doing and our message of changing moods with music for the better. The shirt is supposed to represent a team, a club, a movement. If we package that right with the film and the album, the lyrics and the poems then we’ve got some even bigger for the future!
Sub Low – We have some top secret plans for the next project dIGIHIRO 2.0, it will definitely be in the works for 2019.