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We spoke to Melbourne rapper Dyl Thomas about his new vinyl beat tape and life

04 Sep 2015 spotlight words by Terence Ill
We spoke to Melbourne rapper Dyl Thomas about his new vinyl beat tape and life

We're kicking of the artist spotlight series on HIPHOP.melbourne with Pang Production's Dyl Thomas - producer, rapper and 100% human being. Get familiar!

For those who are new to Dyl Thomas; a long time ago you used to go under the name Urban Monk. Why the name change? Was it a case of trying to distance yourself from your old music and start fresh?

Dyl: Not at all. I still use that name sometimes. I feel its still a big part of who I am. It was a period in my life where I was still trying to find out my sound and what felt right to me as an artist. People still to this day call me Urban Monk and that's all good.

The reason for the name change.. well there was a couple reasons really. Now I dont want this to seem strange or crazy but some people will probably find it kinda weird. I went through a pretty big personal spiritual awakening some years ago when I was using that name. now I dont mean 'spiritual' as in religious. It was much deeper than that, I dont really wanna go into it here cause we would get so deep it would be hard to crawl out of the hole we would fall into. So, lets just say something during that experience made me face everything in my life and what i stood for. So i came to the conclusion that I am 'ME', Dylan Thomas Truscio.. So I decided to use my real name.

Most people would know you as a rapper, but you also produce. How do you approach beat making? Do you make beats for yourself in the first palce?

Dyl: Its funny cause some people know me as a rapper, some people know me as a producer and some know me as both. Ive been making beats longer than ive been rapping. Not much longer but I started making beats first, thats what drew me into hip-hop. I approach beat making totally different to writing lyrics. It depends what mood im in and this leads to what piece of equipment I wanna use and what style of shit I feel like making. I make beats for myself and other crew yeah. My whole first solo record was produced entirely by me. I helped with the production in Polo Club (an old crew of mine), I produced a beat on the Milwaukee Banks EP 'Rose water' and Ive got 2 beats on the new Milwaukee Banks Album. So I guess im a bit of an all rounder. Id like to do another solo release produced entirely by me someday. Im into collaboration on different things so a lot of the time that ends up someone else on the beats and me on the raps, like the Idol Hands 12'' (Flu on beats me on raps).

Have you ever made beats that you like, but wouldn't be comfortable rapping over because they don't suit your rapping style?

Dyl: Not really TBH, Ill give anything a go. I make beats that are more like instrumental tracks that I wouldnt wanna hear anyone on, and then ill also make beats just to rap on. Ill try anything out and if it then sounds shit it wont see the light of day hahaha.

How did you find working with Flu on "Idol Hands"? How did that collaboration come about?

Dyl: Idol Hands was dope to make man. FLU is from one part of the scene and Im off in another part - people didnt see it coming. I respect what he does and he respects what i do. so it was easy to collab. he would just send me beats and I would rap my ass off and send it back to him and BOOM, before we knew it we had some solid songs. It wasnt meant to be anything super pro and organised but we liked what we had done so my homies at Pang heard it and wanted to press it to wax which was dope. Ive known FLU for some time and he started sending me beats to check out and they got better and better so i started spitting over them and he liked it so it kind of grew organically.

It's probably fair to say that the sound you create is rather dark. Is that just a sound that appeals to you on a musical level, or would you say that it reflects how you percieve the world around you?

Dyl: Yeah I would agree with that to a degree. I see it more as emotion. I tend to gravitate towards music that is deep with emotion and has a twist towards topics that make you think. I look around this world and I see happiness and sadness, Id like to get rid off all the sadness but then we wouldnt have happiness, so i like to bring the darker feelings to the surface to balance everything within my soul into balance, cause im a pretty happy dude most of the time so i guess its all just balance.

Congratulations are in order for your new project, a Pete Rock inspired beat tape called "A Tribute to Pete Rock", which will now be pressed on vinyl by Wax Museum. You made the entire thing on an MPC 2000XL and only used vinyl samples. Though, you said that this is not your usual process. What is your usual process, and why did you change it for this release?

Dyl: Thanks! I changed it for this release cause thats what Pete Rock uses to make beats and I wanted to be true to that. I own a bit of equipment and MPCs, and the 2000xl isnt something i use a lot cause I got the 3000 and the 2500. Again, it all depends on the project and how I feel. At the moment were working on the Milwaukee Banks album and I dont use an MPC for that, well, I do sometimes just to run drums through but I dont sequence in it for the MB stuff. i usually use Pro Tolls and ableton along with some synths and things like that. If Im making loops and straight rap shit then Ill usually pull out the MP, it all depends.