I’m doing great right now. Things are really picking up for the label and with spring on it’s way, days are longer and the sun is out more!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Let The Music Heal Me”?
I can talk AT LENGTH about this one lol.
This song started as a conscious effort to make healing / feel good music. Me and some friends began researching different methods and usage of music as a healing tool. We came across brain entrainment, hymns, solfeggio tones and music therapy Then and combined all of these factors into this one song. Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Not an event really, just a desire to making some healing music.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
The filming was a lot of fun. It was my first time working with Stuey Kubrick who really had a good idea of what he wanted to shoot. We did the shoot over two days in East Van. We also shot a bit of story line to accompany the video that didn’t make the final cut. There was a scene where my alter ego had left me a note basically saying he cleaned up from the night before and have a good start to the week. the scene was a reference to the previous track on the album “Truth” which is a discussion with my alter ego after a weekend of partying goes off the rails.
We also had a Vancity Legend, Nelson Garcia come out and do some breakdancing for some shots. I wanted to make sure dancing was a part of the video because I know, at least for me personally, dancing feels good. When I am stressed out, I always make sure to schedule a night of dope music that I can dance to for stress relief. The single comes off your new album Truth – what’s the story behind the title?
Truth is the first album in a trilogy – Truth, Lies and Psydeways. The Truth album is really about my truth as a blue collar working class dude trying to make a living off of being an artist. The tracks are laid out as a day in the life of Dubgee but the album plays out over a full week with the Let the Music Heal Me being the daily affirmation as Dubgee wakes up to go to work and ends with getting off work and hosting a house party (Off Duty, Money’s Worth Nothing). The Lies album is about my alter ego trying to be a drug dealer and artist at the same time. It picks up where Dubgee’s work week ends at the house party and goes off the rails all weekend until late sunday night / early monday morning where the cycle repeats itself.
How was the recording and writing process?
Recording and writing was a long process. It took a decade for me to compile these tracks, there have been so many edits, versions etc. I am so glad to have it done and be able to move on to the next stage of the process.
Would you call this a departure from your previous musical work?
This is definitely not a departure. I feel like if anything it’s the culmination of the things I have learned while producing and a good reflection of my art. This is really the album I wanted to make, I didn’t really limit myself to any particular production styles or sounds to incorporate. You can find samples from Michael Jackson (please don’t sue me!), Bill Conti, Dire Staights and Bo Diddley.
What role does Vancouver play in your music?
Well, the label is called “Beast Van Records.” And the biggest compliment that I have been receiving from the music is that people can really feel I am repping my hometown in my music. There is a vibe about the subject matter and cadence that is very regional. Most of my subject matter on past albums, (Our 2011 playoff run and politics) is directly related to the soul of the city.
How does all your artistic background tend to come altogether?
In addition to producing my own beats, I have been a musician for over 30 years playing any instrument I can get my hands on. Currently, I have been performing with a looper and a keytar. At this point in my career, it’s super awesome to be able to produce music live on stage with my beatbox and a keyboard. I am currently practicing to bring some more instruments to the live show.
What aspect of your parenthood and your life did you get to explore on this record?
This album is really all about my life as a blue collar worker working crap jobs for crap corporations. But you will also hear many references to my son on the album – “I send my boy off with my moms, lets take it back to my crib to get it on and poppin,” or, “I command a little soldier, it’s nice he is still small enough to fit on my shoulders”. Being a dad throughout this process was difficult (I wouldn’t change it for the world obvs) as it limited the amount of money I could put in to the record but also I couldn’t make it to a lot of events to be present in the local hip hop scene.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I was totally inspired by all of the references to healing music that I had researched. (see above)
The first method I included was Brain Wave Entrainment which is any procedure that causes one’s brainwave frequencies to synchronize with a periodic stimulus (sound, vibration or light) having a frequency corresponding to the intended brain-state (for example, to induce a trance, dreams, sleep or relaxation.) The stimuli in this case is the hard panning of the hihats and bass. If you give yourself the opportunity to focus on just those parts you can find yourself start to relax and really sink into the sound. Kinda like a magic eye 3d illusion.
The solfeggio tones are supposed to have healing properties (debatable) so of course, I wanted to include them. The closest tone to the musical key the song was originally composed in happened to be 417 hertz which people claim to wipe out negative feelings and energies. Regardless, I wanted to incorporate the 417 hertz tone conceptually as the sound of an alarm waking me up from a dream where I am arguing with my alter ego about their own subjective truths. The tone also serves as a focal point to bring the listener back to the center after having focused on the side to side panning of the other instruments.
While researching chanting and hymns I came across “Just Intonation” which is a slightly different tuning method based on mathematics rather than the “Equal Temperament” tuning that contemporary music uses. Knowing that the farther away a note is from it’s tuning pitch ( in this case 417 hertz) using our current tuning method the more off key it will be. So I retuned every sample in the song by ear to make sure each note resonated with the listener.
The last approach in my attempt to make healing music came by intuition. I know that the song needed something to make you feel like you wanted to dance and sing as the most powerful form of musical therapy. So I added some b-boy breakbeats and the powerful vocals of Tiago Vasquez. Any plans to hit the road?
Yes!! I am just starting to plan some tours this week but can’t tell you where yet. 🙁
What else is happening next in Dubgee’s world?
Beast Van Records has also released an album from veteran Vancouver emcee/beatboxer and battle champ Emotionz titled GEMS this past January and we are currently developing some ways to enjoy our music in Virtual Reality.