Musicscan: Please tell me a little bit about the creative process for this album? Did you approach it any differently than your previous efforts?
Dälek: The process wasn’t all that different, but it is the first record that was completely recorded and mixed at our recording studio. So in that sense it was a new experience. It was great to have free range without having to worry about time constraints etc.
Musicscan: “Gutter Tactics” is in many ways an overtly political album again, criticizing various aspects of the politics of the Bush administration. How did you experience the first few months of the new presidency and do you think Obama will actually be able to bring about a certain degree of change?
Dälek: Well, first off I am thrilled that Obama was elected. He is actually the first President that I voted for that actually won! I think even the idea of change is something the US and the world needed. I am hopeful that things will change for the better. However, I am a realist. I am not expecting rainbows and puppydogs. I guess we will see. I’m just thrilled to have a man who is can speak be our president.
Musicscan: In how far do you think he will able or even willing to improve the situation of African-Americans?
Dälek: I hope people realise that having an African-American in office as President is just a step. This doesn’t end the struggles of minorities in the US. Its a bit scary when you hear commentators talk about “the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream.” You cannot discount the historical significance of this, but it is just a step.
Musicscan: As touring musicians, I am sure you get into contact with a lot of opinions on America and American politics and culture abroad? What are some of the most frequent stereotypes and clichés about America that you have encountered?
Dälek: Yeah, I think the most prevalent stereotype or chiche, is that people think every American has a gun. People always ask “so how many guns do you have?” Kind of silly really.
Musicscan: Do you think artists have a social or cultural responsibility?
Dälek: People have a social responsibility. Our culture needs to stop putting artists/entertainers on a pedestal. Society as a whole has the cultural responsibility.
Musicscan: The last time we talked you mentioned that you had just reached the financial break-even point with Dälek. What is the situation now? Can you solely focus on music or is that not even something you are looking to achieve?
Dälek: I’m still lucky enough to do this for a living. However, I also run a record label and a recording studio. So it isn’t ONLY a focus on music. We’ve worked hard to get into this position, and I am very proud of it.
Musicscan: Did you have certain musical or aesthetic goals for Dälek?
Dälek: Our only goal is to continue to make the best music we can possibly make, and to continuously challenge ourselves.
Musicscan: Is it necessary to create a certain distance between you and the music in order to get a better understanding of its inherent quality? Or is that even possible?
Dälek: I usually go through a “love/hate” thing with our music. When we first finish it, I’m usually very happy with it. However, I tend to fall out of love with it quickly, which only makes me want to improve on it and record more songs. I suppose time and distance does make me appreciate older music more.
Musicscan: Do you think there are still genuinely new sounds to be discovered or can modern music basically be said to be a recombination of already existing forms and elements?
Dälek: I honestly don’t think that question matters. Sound is subjective and music has always been influenced by other music. Every artist is inspired by those who came before them. Calling it recombination or discovering a new sound is really irrelevant.
Musicscan: What kind of music has exited you lately? Who would you like to work with in the future?
Dälek: Hip Hop. All forms of it. It is still evolving and quite frankly is the only music that keeps pushing forward. Listen to Flying Lotus and you can’t tell me that is a million times more innovative than ANY “rock” band out today! Even mainstream Hip Hop, like the Mims track “Move” is musically progressive, where as pop rock is stale and stiff. As far as people I would want to work with... Flying Lotus is definitely on that list. As are MC’s like Joell Ortiz and Subtitle. Other groups that I love are MSTRKRFT, Scorn, Sean Price, DOOM, Serena Maneesh, Pistol Disco, and Meril Wubslin. Music in general is very exciting right now.
Musicscan: What can we expect from Dälek in the near future?
Dälek: This year, there will be a lot of touring. We have the blueprints for the next 3 dälek records. More releases for deadverse recordings, and more collaborations.
Musicscan: Anything you would like to add?
Dälek: Go buy the Oddateee Album “Halfway Homeless”... Trust me. Oh and mad respect to the De Kruen/Sonic City crew in Belgium for letting us curate an amazing festival!