Tuesday, November 2, 2010
5 Questions with Playdough: Dallas-based MC mashes lyrics from different genres on free "Writer Dye" album
Today, deepspace5 member Playdough drops his free Writer Dye concept album online. I recently connected with him for this quick Q&A.
Sketch: What inspired your new project Writer Dye - a concept album where you take lyrics from other bands and genres (including The White Stripes, Kings of Leon, The Violent Femmes, and Nirvana) and turn them into hip-hop songs?
Playdough: I usually put a lot of thought and effort into my hooks and song concepts. I knew this album was going to be a freebie so I didn't want to spend too much time conceptualizing these songs. I played with the idea of using other bands and genres lyrics and making them my chorus. I tried it and certain songs worked great. Then it became really fun and somewhat challenging to find a piece of someone else's song that I liked and try to make it work on another song that was totally different than the original.
If you think about it, it's the same thing as sampling when you're making a track. I took the part that I thought would work best and squeezed it into the place that I wanted it to go. I'm already used to doing that when I make beats.
Sketch: My perception is that Christians often have a limited music diet. As an MC who is known for your faith and has experience in the Christian music scene, would you agree with this statement? If so, why do you think that is the case?
Playdough: I think that's a fair statement for some Christians that are more casual music listeners. I tend to know a lot of musicians and people that are passionate about the arts. The Christians who are really into the arts have a very diverse musical pallet.
The more casual listeners seem to only have knowledge on what they listened to before they started following Christ. Or at least until they've gone through the phase of throwing away their music collection after hearing someone preach about how it's wrong to listen to worldly music only to buy it all again years later when they're a little stronger in their faith.
Sketch: You’ve given this and your last couple of projects (The Bible Bus and Who Is Harry Krum? mix and beat tapes) out for free. Why is that?
Playdough: I gave my beat tape away for free because I was doing it to promote my production and sell a few beats. The Bible Bus was a mixtape with beats that had been spit on by some of rap's greats, there's no way I could charge for that.
But honestly, the goal for The Bible Bus and now Writer Dye has been very strategic for me. It's been four years since I released a full length solo album. I realize there are a lot of people who don't know my music yet I can honestly say that when most people hear my music, they like it.
I wanted to gain as many new fans as possible. I wanted to do a mixtape to show fans I'm still on my game and still getting better while making new fans at the same time.
Writer Dye is supposed to be a step up from the mixtape, but still free so that people who are unfamiliar with me have nothing to lose by listening to my album. All of this is done as lead up to my official, real deal, you-have-to-buy-it album called Hotdoggin coming out in the Spring.
Sketch: You’re mostly known for the hip hop music you’ve released with collectives like Phonetic Composition and deepspace5. But your ill harmonics group has also released acoustic worship sets like Modern Heart Exhibit. When people find out about this side of your craft are they puzzled? How do you explain it to those who might be skeptical of such a dichotomy?
Playdough: Actually, more people know about my ill harmonics material than anything else I've done. As crazy as it sounds, the trickiest part is getting them to connect that ill harmonics is me.
People come to my shows and are blown away when they find out that the ill harmonics stuff is me. Folks will spend a lot of time telling me about how much they love ill harmonics, but have no clue what Playdough music sounds like.
To answer your second question, I've never felt I had to explain it and have never really been asked to. I hope my musical taste and body of work speaks for itself to the point that it's not surprising. I'm a very musical cat and always try to keep my hip-hop music with good song structure and good writing.
Sketch: Although you’re from Dallas, you don’t have the typical Texas rap sound heard on local radio. Is it a challenge to find support for your style of hip hop and have you ever been tempted to do something that may be more commercially-viable?
Playdough: It's challenging to find support on a large scale. The masses love the dirty south, "D-Town Boogie" dance music. A very small percentage of them like to think about life and eternity and knowledge and wisdom. I've flirted with some more southern style production that's a little different than what people are used to from me, but still very much my steez.
Honestly if I haven't sold out yet then I never will. I've been doing this too long to just now decide I want to get some real cash off this thing.
Download your free copy of Writer Dye right ‘chere.