Randomly finding another dope artist on Spotify, I happily stumbled upon poet, DJ, visual and music artist Def Sound. Painting the alt hip-hop subgenre lane a neon color with circles, triangles and squares, reminiscent of 90’s predecessors Digable Planets and Jurassic 5, his 2008 Something album caught my attention and never let go. Visiting his Bandcamp site , I merely scratched the surface of his fresh eclectic creativity. Reaching out to Def last week, peep his answers to my slew of questions I threw his way about his various art mediums and roadmap/canvas for 2013.
Would you call yourself a Renaissance man?
A: Nah I just get bored easily…
Who are your favorite musicians?
A: My favorite musicians at thee moment are James Blake, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala and a bunch of bass players like Chris Squire, Thundercat, Olugbenga of Metronomy, and young musician Zack Sekoff. I love musicians that really are their own genre.
10 PM of any day, you can be found doing….
A: Ummm Showering and mumbling some new lyrics to an invisible beat in hopes I still remember it by thee time I get out.
One of your poems was featured in Saul Williams’ Anthology. How did your work come to that project?
A: Yes! That was all a blessing really, I don’t think it has even sunken in yet fully. CHORUS is an amazing book / experiment I can’t believe I was even a part of. A friend of mine Aja Monet who is an amazing writer and unicorn (I love her to life) was working with Saul very closely on an Anthology of today’s writers and asked me to submit a poem. I had no idea I was going to be chosen, but I knew I needed to write something new. At the time I was in London and I missed soundcheck because I started writing this piece in a coffee shop and finished it on the plane home. I turned neon when I got the news 2 months later Saul liked it and was going to use it in his book thee only change he asked me 2 do was to change thee title from “Portrait of a Poem” to “Portrait.” who was I to say nah?
What’s your favorite poem you’ve ever written?
A: I would have 2 say my poem titled “Imagine.” because it’s something we forget we can do at ANY time. “Imagine.” was a piece I wrote right after I left court and all I wanted to be was somewhere else doing anything but this! When I used to read this piece publicly I would ask thee audience to trust the person next to them and close their eyes so they can be there w/ me so we could exercise our imaginations all @ thee same damn time lol…
What do you normally draw inspiration from?
A: Conversations mostly, I don’t REALLY know what I really think till I let thee words hit thee air so I love bouncing words w/ other minds. Most of my lines are either bad tweets or just things I thought while rambling with someone who found my rambling interesting.
I love the (A)Gain video! How long did it take it to shoot? How many outfits did you have on? Were those your favorite albums in the background?
A: A special thank you to Adam Tillman Young who directed that one! That entire video was his idea and I sent him a song that he could really run with. I had no idea people would like it so much. I kinda enjoy that not knowing though. It was a 15 hour shoot with 24 complete changes of clothes. Those records were all a part of the producer Shani’s collection but I love those records, shouts out 2 Stevie Wonder!
How was it opening for Dom Kennedy?
A: Funny thing is my first rap show ever was sharing the bill with Dom at an event called “The Spliff” in 2007. I was so nervous but all I truly remember was it was popping and I passed out glow sticks and it was so packed no one could breathe in that piece. Who would have known?
It seems like you have a strong creative partnership with J*Davey. How do you like working with them?
A: J*Davey has been such an influence on my music for quite some time now (I still have my original copy of Beauty In Distortion). So working and touring with them has been a dream come true for me. Now they are like my big brother and sister in this thing. Miss Jack Davey is a true transcendental queen who is beyond genre. I’m low key still nervous and don’t know what to say around her because what do you say to someone who wrote “No More”, “Queen of Wonderland” and “This One” ? Brook and I are actually working on a joint project called “kISSING*gIRLS” every song is like a picture so we are still in thee sketching stages of thee project. I never felt PRODUCED till working with him, his attention to detail and meticulousness are insane! It’s like he can hear a humming bird wing flutter. He is one of those producers that has microscoped and arranged and every sound, you have no idea how many hours he will work on a snare sound. I only want to work with people that I’m a fan of truly..
You now have a radio show with Jack Davey? Where can folks check that out?
A: phDradio is a weekly show she hosts and I DJ every Thursday night on gvbradio.com. It’s currently on a young hiatus till Feb. It’s really us just hanging out and inviting our friends to listen to music and connect with our supporters, btw i hate thee word fans it feels so boof by our next interview I’ll figure out something else to call them but yea they’re awesome!
Your collabos with Nikko Gray are so dope. How did you first connect with Nikko Gray?
A: Thank you ten trilli ! She is such an instrument, I love coming together with someone so gifted.
Thee connection was made through thee founder of thee entire Pronounced Love (▲❍▼❏) movement. I was a fan of her work with Afta-1 already so once Imani introduced us I just started out sending her songs like “look i’m trying to sing, i know it’s weird and not so good yet but what do you think?” Thee first song I sent was “Bird(s).i.View.” and she asked me to sing under or over it (whichever depending on thee mix) I was hyped that she even liked it so who was I to stop her? She was thee exact instrument thee song was missing.
Who would you love to work with in the future?
A: Man! How much time you got?? I would love to work w/ Lil B, Hudson Mohawke, Cee-Lo, Basement Jaxx, Hologram Tupac and or BIGGIE, The Neptunes, Michel Gondry, The guy who designed The Glow in the Dark Tour stage set, Toro y Moi, Nabil, Kanye, St. Vincent, Ruff Mercy,Metronomy, Mos Def, Whoever mixes Drake’s shxt, James Blake, Cudi, diplo & switch, Melo-X, Hit-Boy, Thundercat, Dwele, even Azealia Banks would be fun 2 flex on a beat w/ ya know ? I could go on forever and a few days w/ that list but really I am interested in working w/ those that create thee interesting.
What are your plans for 2013?
A: Thee plan is to paint thee year neon! Expect more DJ mixes, even more visual art, songs with Blu, Vince Staples, Versis, Speak!, Nikko Gray, J*Davey, and Sonnymoon. This year is about refinement. I am focusing on fine tuning “∆∆∆’s.of.Neon.” (pronounced Kings.of.Neon) thee first installment in a trilogy series of neon projects. I plan to have it out by thee top of thee summer. I feel like every year we are getting closer to the Mike Judge film Idiocracy. I was inspired by how everything out has such dark under tones in music these days, it feels like thee dark ages again but I understand that neon is only bright because of thee existence of darkness. I can’t wait to share my new sounds with thee world; so until then “Welcome to Costco, I love you.”