Milwaukee area producer Dylan Thomas was once dubbed "Milwaukee's Dilla" by Milwaukee indie music blog Seizure Chicken, a title that carries incredible weight to anyone that celebrates the catalog of the late, great, Dilla Dog.
A title like that is essentially the highest praise that can be doled out to a hip-hop producer, and though many will choose to argue over Dylan Thomas being called it, you'd be hard pressed to create a very deep list of other producers deserving of the title.
Titles of such grandeur aren't necessarily what the veteran beatsmith is looking for. Instead when looking over his catalog, it seems that he's quite content with just putting forth quality music that searches to pull any type of feeling it can get out of the listener through the cleverly crafted sounds.
He's the man on the beat side of the track "Entrepreneur," the song that essentially earned Prophetic the videotaped cosign of a very influential individual in the music industry. He's often the Yin to Haz Solo's Yang. He's a teacher and a newlywed, and he just released a new project called "Stevie's Soul Sounds" free, just for you.
OnMilwaukee.com: It's been a long time since we've heard the name Dylan Thomas in reference to putting out a project. What have you been up to since your joint effort with Mr. Productivity himself, Haz Solo?
Dylan Thomas: Since "All Jokes Aside" I've gotten married, an exhausting undertaking but so worth it. I put the beats and rhymes on the back burner and placed my efforts into the wedding planning. I have a whole new respect for what goes into the planning of something so grand. I also got a new job:
teaching in Kenosha. I hadn't had my own classroom in a little over a year and I was substituting in the Racine Unified School District. It's good to be back with my own students, so, I've been busy with that as well. I did find the time to make two albums last year. I made "Stevie's Soul Sounds" one week in January and I made this untitled reggae joint in March/April. That pretty much sums up the extent of my work. I know ... terrible.
OMC: As the years have passed by, what new things or tricks are you doing to make your music now that separates it from your earlier sounds?
DT: I've gone back to sampling drummers instead of trying to play them out myself. I'm no drummer. I'm not a musician. I've tried to re-focus on the low end. It won't be heard on this latest project, but it'll be heard on the newest project I'm working on. I also went back to sampling records the way I used
to. I was using a USB turntable because I thought it would make sampling much quicker. I found that it stripped the thick sound you get from vinyl, so I went back to the basics.
OMC: Do you have any music on any albums coming out this year? Also, are we going to see another Dylan Thomas project this year?
DT: I'm not sure what cats are doing with the work I've sold in the past two years. I've kind of lost touch with the scene. I'm definitely interested in what the music ends up sounding like but I just haven't been actively seeking out the artists to get updates. They know where to find me, plus I know what it's like to write. I'm a slow writer, so I try not to rush folks. I recently heard some work I did with Jerm One from the Figureheads and I was very impressed with what he ended up doing with it. He ended up using the
work for his Master's thesis. Crazy, right? Dude dropped a dope album for his thesis/dissertation and capped it off with a show. 'Nuff respect due.
As far as Dylan Thomas projects for the year. Yup. Yessiree. I have another beat tape coming out in the spring. It's got a reggae vibe to it. Folks that have heard it, like it. I'm still working with Haz. We have some things on deck. We've been experimenting with our sounds since "All Jokes Aside". I'm excited to see where things end up. There's a weekend/vacation album that is being planned for March and that album will involve Haz, Tom Wood and a couple of other artists that have nothing to do with making music. It should be a riot. The whole concept started with a conversation.
OMC: What do you hope people take from these 10 tracks?
DT: I hope people enjoy the work. I hope they catch feelings of my new joints; both good and bad feelings. I welcome them all. I hope people become inspired to write, speak, share, and create life. I hope people dissect them critically. I hope people don't hold them against me.
OMC: Why did you name it what you did?
DT: The original name of the album was supposed to be "Beats, Beats, Beats..." The original title was inspired by a Dilla tag that can be heard all over "Donuts" and the various projects that he has released posthumously. I gave the album and title to my guy Whaz for him to work on an album cover and nothing came of it. I can't blame him. I truly had no vision for the art, which was a first. I went to Whaz for "And It Was Good" and "All Jokes Aside" with concrete concepts and visions and you see what he did with those.
So, he tried to run with the "Beats, Beats, Beats..." concept and
came back with one idea. We both didn't like it so the album sat for months. The album has been done since last January. I let a couple heads hear the album throughout the year and everyone that heard it loved it. Haz has been on me to release it.
If it wasn't for him it would probably still be sitting. I told him I didn't like the title anymore and asked him to listen to it and see what he could come up with. He came up with the title and the album art which I am grateful for. As far as the meaning behind it, you'll have to ask dude because I don't know.
You can download "Stevie's Soul Sounds" on Dylan Thomas's Bandcamp page, right here after you stream the beat album:
Born in Milwaukee and raised in the Milwaukee suburb of Brown Deer, Concordia University Wisconsin alumnus Poppe has spent the majority of his life in or around the city and county of Milwaukee.
As an advocate of Milwaukee's hip-hop community Poppe began popular local music blog Milwaukee UP in March 2010. Check out the archived entries here.
Though heavy on the hip-hop, Poppe writes about other genres of music and occasionally about food, culture or sports, and is always ready to show his pride in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.