Bloody-Disgusting is excited to bring you an exclusive interview with Doomtree member/published author/spoken word poet/solo artist Dessa! Currently on tour with Saul Williams, we got the chance to ask about the follow-up to last year’s fantastic Castor, The Twin (iTunes) as well as several other bits of interest. Check out the interview below.
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Bloody-Disgusting: What is the status on a follow-up to Castor, The Twin?
Dessa: I’m currently 9 songs into my next album, due in the spring of next year. This one draws on the skills of almost every collaborator I’ve ever worked with–it’s got rap beats, classical piano, weird bleeps, and Paper Tiger playing accordion.
BD: Castor, The Twin mixed several different styles of music, from hip-hop to jazz to trip-hop and more. What other styles of music do you use as inspiration?
D: I don’t often turn to music looking for inspiration. I think my songs would end up being too similar to whatever I was listening to.
BD: The video for “Into The Spin” has quickly become one of my favorite music videos. It’s amazing watching the musicians in the background play with such emotion and intensity and yet to not hear them. For me, that only amplified the beauty of the vocal harmonies, cello and violin. What was the inspiration for that video?
D: The video was conceptualized, directed, and shot by Isaac Gayle. I can take credit only for following directions on that one.
BD: On top of performing as a singer, you’re also a published author, a poet, a spoken word artist, and a teacher. At any point do you feel burned out creatively or that you’ve reached an impasse? If so, what’s your remedy?
D: As I grow older and grow up as an artist, I’m working through all sorts of new, never-before-encountered challenges. Some challenges are technical (How can I get my stupid left hand to play something syncopated on the piano, when all it wants to do is work in unison with my right hand?). Some are more philosophical (What does an adult female rapper sound like? I’ve covered angst pretty well, what should I write about now?). I don’t have any surefire tricks to overcome writer’s block or editorial frustration; seems like every new problem asks for a new solution.
BD: An issue that I hear people discuss is that popular/mainstream music these days is far too focused on a catchy chorus with overuse of auto-tune. What are your thoughts on that?
D: Make no mistake: a catchy chorus is a damn tough thing to write. That said, I’d love to hear some pop tunes with more lyrical substance. I don’t think you have to chose between catchy and well-written, good songs can be both.
BD: Social media has radically changed how music is distributed and appreciated these days. How do you feel about social media and the impact it has made on the music industry?
D: To be honest, I wasn’t really involved in the music industry before social media, so I can’t offer commentary from a removed vantage point. It’s something you gotta do, so I do it. Happily, I’ve found a few outlets that let me participate in social media in a way that feels genuine and even, sometimes, artful.
Photo credit: Isaac Gale