Hear Dälek’s Noise-Rap Return LP, ‘Asphalt For Eden’
They weren’t especially kind for Fantômas, it didn’t work out too well for the Melvins…
I don’t think it’s especially kind to any band that opens for them, man. Tool fans are there to see Tool. It was great, man! I loved it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, man. Honestly. Because we got to play arenas. All you gotta do is do the mathematics on it. They’re playing in front of like, between 12 and 17 thousand people. If even a quarter of those people like us… Like that’s a bigger crowd than comes out to our shows, so it’s great exposure for us! I’m not going to say it was easy. Those guys have been so good to us, man. Not just putting us out on that tour but then, you know every time we have something released, be it Iconoclass, my side project, or be it Dälek, they’ve like posted it on the Tool page! It’s like an event for me, because I can’t wait to see what the Tool fans write in the comments section. Half of them despise us, hate us and are just so pissed off that Tool would post anything other than news on their new album. The other part of the audience is into us and are open-minded and are really digging what we’re doing. It never disappoints, man. Actually this time around, it was more positive than negative, so… I don’t know if they have better filters on their page … or if people actually like what we’re doing.
Asphalt for Eden, lyrically, touches on Michael Brown and Black Lives Matter and Freddie Gray and the whole state the United States is in right now. How do you feel the hip-hop reaction to that has been?
It actually impressed me how much more of a voice hip-hop had with these issues than it’s had in its recent past. I’d say from like 2000 on, the socially conscious voice of hip-hop was strictly in the underground. You wouldn’t even imagine someone in mainstream rap music or anything like that doing anything to rock the boat. I know it’s one name, but a dude like Kendrick Lamar is so important. It’s such an amazing voice, A) because he’s of a younger generation and B) because of the platform that he has, and that he’s actually trying to say something with that, not only lyrically but also musically.
What’d you think the very first time you heard Death Grips?
I definitely heard a little bit of influence. But I thought it was coming from a very much more punk rock background. I thought the vocals were fucking raw as shit. Exmilitary I definitely dug a lot, man. I like that they’re pushing the envelope. I like that it’s noisy, I like that it’s heavy.
What about Yeezus?
I had people calling me like “Kanye must have heard Dälek.” [Laughs] I listened to the record and I was like, “If you say so, man.” Real talk, we didn’t create the sound out of thin air. There was Public Enemy before us. At the same time as us, there was New Kingdom, there was Techno Animal. If you listen to those three groups, you can find the common thread, but I feel like New Kingdom, Dälek, and Techno Animal, you could have thrown in like Company Flow. It’s all so different! Public Enemy came before us, and Faust came before us. My Bloody Valentine came before us…
Yeah, Rammellzee. Like Rammellzee should be really pissed that I exist. [Laughs.] Rammellzee if he was around, would be like, “Yo, what the fuck? Why is he getting shine and I’m not?” I never look at it like that. Like when I saw Death Grips shining, I was like, “Oh shit! People have opened up their ears a lot more than when we were around early on.” Because it’s true! When we started, man, there was no scene for it. I remember playing like DIY basement shows in the middle of the country. There was like a crowd of like 15 kids in this basement show and we’d start playing. We’d be the opening act … and by the second song, there’d be like three kids in the entire room. You could clear out most of 15 people. But those three kids were really into what we were doing. And some of those kids are grown-ass men now and are still coming to our shows. You know, yeah, it’s built, man. And now there’s groups like Death Grips, there’s groups like Blackie, there’s groups like Clipping. I always feel it’s weird when bands get bent out of shape that Death Grips is shining. I feel that them shining is fucking great for all of us! Why would you be mad that there’s an audience for it?