Touring seems to be the most fun aspect of being a working musician. Heading out on the road for weeks at a time, neglecting concerns for personal health and indulging in excess at every turn, seems to be part and parcel for most artists; but as I sat down to chat with Sydney MC Dialectrix, I started to realise that not everyone has it so easy.
‘Whenever I tour, generally it’s a Friday-Saturday affair so they fly you out; they fly you back in and you have to make bread in between, so all my experience of touring has been that kind of situation – touring all weekend and coming back to work Monday to Friday. I was sick for eight weeks after the last time we toured. I got bronchitis’.
It can’t be an easy slog playing to thousands of fans on the weekend and then being confronted with the stark reality of a full week of work, but Dialectrix seems resigned to the fact that passion and work go side by side. ‘I basically live to make hip hop and everything on the side just makes me get fed and clothed and washed’ he explains, before listing the myriad ways he’s endeavoured to ‘keep the hip hop lifestyle going’.
‘I’m a roof plumber; I’m a cookie baker; I’m going to start helping out Soul Clap records. In the past, I’ve been a sheet metal installer for air conditioning companies. I work to live, not the other way around’.
Already this year, Dialectrix has pushed his frantic schedule on tours with Chasm and the Obese Block Party. ‘Side by side, the two tours took their toll. I got to learn a lot about touring and got a feel for it. I loved it. Honestly, it was the happiest time of my life’. I’m starting to realise this is an MC that’s doing it all for the love of the music, not just chasing the duckets. ‘What can I say? Touring is great’, he muses as a police siren echoes outside.
Somewhere between all of this, Dialectrix has found the time to write and record his first solo LP, Cycles of Survival, which he tells me benefited from a staunch deadline aiming for release this year. ‘I wanted to follow up on Chasm’s LP and strike when the iron was hot’. Quite literally, the album was written over the top of his other commitments. ‘There were a lot of late nights when it came to the writing of it ’cause when I was writing it I was on tour, so on the weekends I was away and when I came back I was working’.
This frenetic momentum has produced an album where ‘some parts are a bit raw and some things we could have come back and refined’, but Dialectrix seems to think this helped the feel of the final product. ‘I think the fact that we didn’t go back and re-record and re-produce things gave it a rawness which I quite like’.
‘For an album that I wrote so quickly, I couldn’t have anticipated that I would have liked it so much. It gives it something that I probably wouldn’t be able to pull off if I sat there and scrutinized it for a year or two years, which is what I dig most about it’.
Reflecting on the nature of a solo release and the autonomy that brings, Dialectrix says ‘It’s quite a personal thing and quite an introspective album ’cause it’s the first time I’ve ever had total control over the music and lyrics’.
‘After the last six months that we’ve put in to it, I’m quite proud of it and we’re gonna tour and take it to the nation, and hopefully everyone likes it’.
\I can’t help but be impressed at the passion and enthusiasm Dialectrix expresses as he discusses his work as a hip hop artist, so I ask him when I can get the chance to see him spitting his lyrics on stage.
‘The next Sydney show is with the Thundamentals at the Annandale hotel on the 14th of November and it will be hosted by The Tongue. It’s gonna be a massive show so I hope the people will love it’.
With three awesome acts on the same bill, I for one think I will.
Photo By Jim Skouras
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