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
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
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
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
What influenced you to put out an
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
Definitely, I want to do a compilation album
as well. We will see what happens first.
Where do you get your inspiration for
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!
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