INTERVIEW: Dante Rapper

Hi Dante Rapper, welcome to VENTS! What have you been up to so far this summer?

Thanks for having me for real. This summer, I’ve been working on finalising my tape, “Sick of Living / Unwilling To Die”, which is a two-part project. It’s actually named after a poem written by the Zodiac Killer back in the day and the title hit me. It’s the place that I’m in right now and have been in for a while and I think that position in between giving up and fighting back perfectly categorises the music I’m making and the place that a lot of people are in. So I’ve just been consumed in that environment for the last few years, let alone this summer… On top of that, I’ve been working on the release of my upcoming project “600 Horses” which is coming out July 19th so getting everything ready for that has been a huge focus.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “600 Horses“? What was the inspiration?

I wanted to create a mainstream track whilst talking about being apprehensive of the mainstream itself and the whole lifestyle portrayed with being “mainstream”. It’s really about the contradiction and juxtaposition that exist in us as humans and I tried to characterise some of the contradictions that I’m dealing with in the song itself. So the hook is really cocky and confident, while the verses are about the hesitation I have in understanding the difference between fantasy and reality and the distractions that come with attention, like interest from girls. Essentially, I want you to feel the juxtaposition, if the track is blasting in your car or at a party you’re dancing in, I want the lyrics to catch you and hit you, but I’m sure that the bass will distract you.

For 600’s visuals, I wanted to make a music video that was more like a short film and something that you wouldn’t expect if you listened to the song. I actually creatively directed the video alongside director Arya Ardavan and the video is quite dark and pretty shocking, but we’re inspired by guys like David Lynch and John Cassavetes, so that would explain some of that, haha. Like those directors, everything has a meaning and a purpose, it’s full of juxtaposing themes and everything from the colors to the angles to the clothes were chosen with this purpose at the forefront. I won’t get into the meaning too much here – I want people to come to their own conclusions. It’s my first project as a director and we just found out the video was awarded as a finalist at the Indie X film festival in Hollywood and selected for another so that’s really cool.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

That’s actually a pretty funny story for me, I was actually chilling with one of my best friends one night and he was telling me that he thought I should make something more commercial, something that could play at a club. People have always told me my music is pretty dark or sad or angry and I get that – it’s very stripped back and raw. So when I got home, his words were playing with me and I thought, fuck it, let me make a track that’s commercial but contradict that world in the verses, and when when it was done I loved it.

How was the recording and writing process?

It was pretty quick actually, after getting into that mindset, I came up with the chorus when listening to the beat and the rest followed. The whole writing and recording process was probably done in like 20 minutes.

Is the track from a wider project?

Not in the sense that it’s part of an album or a tape or anything, it’s a standalone release. But it’s part of the Dante Rapper project as a whole. The contradictions, the juxtaposition and everything I’m describing in the lyrics and portraying visually in the video is part of me as a human and my story which will come to an end like all of ours will. But whilst it hasn’t yet, I want you to see all the sides of the story, like I want to see all of yours. Haha, pretentiousness aside of course.

Which UK artists are you championing at the moment?

That’s a cool question, especially as someone that has been raised in both New York and London. I love all music with real expression or pain – and there are a lot of artists from the UK, past and present that do that for me. Currently, I’m really feeling slowthai and his visuals and I’m fucking with Scarlxrd a lot. But I can’t wait for everyone to hear hereisgrey’s stuff, he’s a dope producer and artist from London that I’m blessed to work with everyday – we are both part of Hideout Music Group, a label we started. You can hear him on the chorus of a song I did called “Bad Times”, and he’s working on his own project. I think when it comes out, there will be a lot of people that will feel his music like I do.

What are your plans for summer?

Haha, essentially to continue feeding from that weird place in between being sick of living but unwilling to die. Sometimes, I feel sad as fuck and sometimes I feel like I’m raging to go, so I’m just channeling that into the music and the completion of the tape. All my energy is going into that and into 600’s release so we’re going to take that energy to the stage too and do some shows.

What else is happening in Dante Rapper’s world?

Other than the music as a whole, I don’t really know – actually I started reading again – it has been a while, haha. My boy gave me a book called “Disgrace” by J.M.Coetzee, which is really funny and dark, I’ve given that to someone else now so I hope he’s not expecting it back soon. Also I’m learning to play guitar because I want to get better at being able to actualize melodies that I hear in my head.

What song do you have on repeat currently?

Honestly, all I’m listening to right now is Elliot Smith. I’ve been listening to him for a while, and now I’m just drowning in his world. I’m listening to every song and all the live shows on repeat so it’s hard to pick one particular song, but the song I listened to last was “The Biggest Lie”, it’s beautiful.

How can fans keep up to date with you on social media?

They can hit me up on Instagram which is @dante.rapper or Facebook which is @DanteRapper. But I can’t wait to do shows ‘cause I want to speak to them face to face, we have a lot to talk about.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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