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interview // dert


Praised Tunnel Rat producer Dert, whose 150 plus song discography includes work with: LPG, New Breed, Sev Statik, Zane, Raphi, Propaganda, Mars Ill, Pigeon John, LA Symphony, 2 Mex and LMNO of the Visionaries, Micah 9 and Self-Jupiter of Freestyle Fellowship, Wordsworth, Ahmad, Listener, Sup the Chemist, Remnant Militia, Mass Reality, Playdough, Shihan the Poet, Sekou the Misfit and Acid Reign. Dert is undisputedly one of the best underground producers, and he proved just that when he broke new ground with the fresh beat tape entitled Fledgling.


How did you begin producing and who was your inspiration?


I actually rapped first. I mainly started producing to provide beats for myself and my crew in high school. After I got pretty confident with beats, rapping became less interesting. Besides it doesn't really fit my personality to be on stage entertaining people with me being the loner, introvert I am.


What types of equipment do you currently use?


I started with a Boss Dr. 5, then an Akai s2000, a Roland mc-303 sequencer, I had a Roland MS-1 for a minute, and then I got an MPC-2000 in '98. So now thatís pretty much it, and my beloved Apple computer in which I have various sound programs. I want to want to pick up some vintage synth gear, the computer stuff just doesnít sound fat enough.


How did you hook up with the Tunnel Rats?


Actually I met Red Bonz about 2 years or so before everyone else. It was a chance meeting in the front of Magic Mountain (a Southern California amusement park.) I was freestyling with a friend and fellow McDonaldís co-worker and Red came over and joined the cipher. He gave me a 'Jesus' business card...haha...which I still have today. I later met Dax through a mutual friend and eventually just started hanging around. I, like most people didn't really like them at first because they came off as arrogant and never having heard of them or Christian rap it didn't seem worth my time. But I got to know them and identified with what they were doing I started hanging around and here I am.


Which artists have you produced for?


Sadly, not that many other people, I am trying expanding right now and by next year I will have done some more outside stuff.


The definition of a fledgling is a young bird that has just acquired its flight feathers, why did you decide on that name for your album?


Well Fledgling also means a young, inexperienced person and thatís what I took from it although I did use subtle bird references in the album art. This was my first instrumental album so I wanted a title that represented that. Maiden Voyage is already taken...ha ha.


What influenced you to put out an instrumental album?


I really love the genre but mainly, to make something that is all me. A lot of the Tunnel Rat stuff is Tunnel Rat influenced. They pick the beats they like and sometimes I donít really like them but they have already heard them somehow. This album is me not being concerned about anyone having to rap or sing on it.


What will listeners hear on Fledgling?


Someone who is continually trying to expand himself and grow in his gifts I hope. There is a wide range of musical influences but I don't think it is too inconsistent. The album has a nice flow to it. It's mainly music to vibe to for those who enjoy music.


Are there any plans for a follow-up album?


Definitely, I want to do a compilation album as well. We will see what happens first.


Where do you get your inspiration for your beats?


Other rappers that are good, other forms of music, going to Maui, various women whom have broken my heart...pretty much anything in life, good or bad. I just react to however I am feeling emotionally at the time, consciously or subconsciously.


On an average, how long does it take to create a Dert beat?


10 minutes to 2 months.


On another note you also do graphic art, how did you become interested in graphic design?


I always used to draw and stuff as a kid so by the time it came to college it seemed like a logical choice to make a living as an artist...or at least something creative and not a 'normal' job. I am not really a visual artist that expresses himself though art. Design is more functional for me although I try to make it pretty.


What can we look forward to in the near future from Dert and Tunnel Rats?


From the Tunnel Rats, they are working on a series of EP's called the 7 Series (they will all have 7 songs or something.) I am not really hands on with that; I may have a beat on a few of them. Dax and I are working with a group right now and are pretty close to a deal with a prominent record company as well as having a Tunnel Rat Music imprint. I personally am slowly building material for a new album and working connecting with other emcees to expand myself.


Any last words?


A lot of people should really stop making music. They are over saturating the market and polluting our aural environment. They are like big corporations globalizing our world. Please stop, trade in your equipment and take a vacation. I would say something positive and inspirational but that would only encourage the wack even more. Also, stop making music to be a star or make money. You are not going to, well you could make a little money but you will have to hustle for it, but only because you love music. Stop trying to make hits because you are missing. Oh, and you music equipment manufactures out there, stop making gear so inexpensive, it only makes this sport more accessible to those who shouldn't be playing. No Bush in '04....No Kerry in '08!


For more information on Dert check out http://www.isolatedmusic.com


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