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interview // gilead7

What’s the science behind the name Gilead7? 


Well, this is kinda crazy. I went to a Christian school from elementary through high-school (kindergarden too). During scripture readings, the name Gilead would always come up. My last name is Gill, and eventually the name “Gilead” was attached  to me because it sounded like my last name. I had forgotten about this until college, when I hosted a hip-hop show and was looking for a DJ alias. This soon after became an MC alias, with the 7 added in the near future due to its spiritual significance as completion.


How did you begin rapping and who was your inspiration? 


I kinda got into rapping when I heard Vanilla Ice, but don’t start dissin’ ‘cus it don’t stop there! After a while I realized that there was better stuff to listen to. It was this station here called “The Rap Radio” 950 AM. All they played was real stuff like KRS 1, Eric B. and Rakim, Common, Das Efx, Brand Nubian, etc. There were no coastal biases though, ‘cus you heard as much Cube and Cypress as the East Coast material. I was 11 or 12 then. I kinda left hip-hop alone and immersed myself in the Classic Rock culture, and I did that until I was 16, almost 17 actually. During that period, I learned about the Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Hendrix (The Jimi Hendrix Experience to give all the members credit), Peter Paul and Mary, and all that other good stuff. I was about 16 and a half when Tunnel Rats came out, and that introduced me to hip-hop again. I still love that “Experience” album, the first Future Shock, and all the original Tunnel Rat products. They’ve deviated from the primary formula, but they’re still doing their thing (Underground Rise was really good in my opinion). Soon after that, I started rhyming. I was really bad. This was High School. I s met Wordz, who was then called Zion, in college (actually at a church function a while back). He had been doing shows with T-Bone, Grapetree artists and other artists. Watching him inspired me to continue. That’s when I really began to be serious about it.


How did you hook up with ReServed Records? 


Wordz introduced me to Deftone in like ’98 when I started going to Judson. I stuttered all over myself when I met him (I have a stuttering problem, and I was a bit nervous). I asked him about some beats, and he told me that he’d help me out. Well, I would always accompany Wordz to shows, so of course I’d see Deftone all the time. I had done a few tapes and CDs and would always give them to Deftone to gather his opinions (which is always a hard thing if you know how he is). Time and time again, I’d ask Wordz to put me on some shows, but he never would. I started getting on my own two feet and getting my own sets, and would still run across the ReServed camp at shows we both had been booked at. I started recording at the ReServed studio in 2002, and Deftone talked to me about doing a ReServed album in 2003, and I was like “Sure.” So in summary, ReServed had been family for a while, but just closer family as of recent.


What is the logic behind the title of your release " The Darkroom: An Abandonment of Christianity "? 


My releases in the past have been written from the perspective of a spiritual giant. Even Stories of Sorcery, this EP I put out in ’03 (available at Jydist.com) , had the intent of casting me as a religious critic judging and showing holes in particular traditions. “The Darkroom: An Abandonment of Christendom” is the story of a Christian who has lost his faith due to hardships in life, and has adapted a moral code that lets him basically do whatever he wants to. This is displayed in battle rhymes, insults to God, ascetic views of art, stories, bad moods, etc.  The CD is an attempt to give an overview of  real life situations without any easy answers like “Oh, just hang in there, God’s gonna get you out of trouble.” No, you’re gonna deal with real life head on this one. “The Darkroom” is many things, but the connection of all of these parts is that life contains people that lose faith daily and have questions as to why things have to be the way that some religious book or religious person says they should be. As of now, I’m one of those people…


What will listeners hear on this release? 


Actually, listeners will hear the Listener of Deepspace 5, Wordz, Verbal, Metamo (of the underground legendary crew Rubberroon for those who know the mystery), and Malakh. Production credits have been given to Maker (of Qwel and Glue fame), Deftone, Thaione Davis, 5th Element of Wu-Tang, Avarice of Sound Merchants, Andrew Stewart on bass, Two 1, myself, and some other cats you don’t know, but you will soon enough.


What do you feel is your favorite track off the album?


This one track I did entitled “Festival of Sacrilege” is my favorite. It sums up the Darkroom concept. Any questions about the intentions of the release are answered there. “Flower Child-Neo Hippie” is probably the second, but you asked about my favorite as in singular. See how rebellious I’ve become?

What inspires your songs? 


I’m inspired by a lot of things for music. From sitting in class and hearing an unusual fact to just walking and observing the world. As far as musical influences, I have been enjoying Celtic recently. It was always a pleasure of mine as a child, but its particles are returning to my life daily. People such as Listener, Company Flow, Cannibal Ox, Wu-Tang (I’m all about the clan), Slug, Thawfor, Rob Sonic, Qwel, Vakill, Robust, Adeem (cop that Glue album!) Common,  etc. are also motivators and mentors from a far away land to me. I’ve started doing drum and bass, and this has influenced me much. Even the beats I make nowadays have drawn from that pool a lot. The first Plumb album and Sixpence’s “This Beautiful Mess” are always pieces of music I return to regularly (probably tonight to be exact). Finally, how could I forget Tori Amos! Her music provokes me to reach and carry my art past the norm.


Interesting to know is that you have a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and are currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in theological studies, what made you choose this major over a more musically inclined one? 


I wanted to be able to create my own theological constructs, sit in an office and spend hours discerning ancient texts, and look smart on a rap record. I think this profession meets all of those goals wouldn’t you say ?


What can we look forward to in the near future from Gilead7? 


I’m not sure man. It depends on what direction you’re looking from, and I can’t sit still for long….but really…”The Darkroom” will be out very soon on ReServed Records. An EP from my crew Transparent Frequency is being prepared as we speak. Also, I’m working on a project with an MC from Sweeden named Tactics. We formed a crew called 36 Exposures. Tactics is featured on a U.K. compilation by a label called Beats in Progress to be released soon. Finally, I’m doing a drum and bass experience with my DJ Grand Marquee.  


Any last words?


I won’t be able to give you any last words until I’m old. But I can say check out www.reservedrecords.com for updates and info on other artists on the label, such as Blacksoil, Wordz, Deftone, and myself. Visit my personal messageboard on the site also. www.soundclick.com/gilead7 contains samples from “The Darkroom” for hopefully your listening pleasure. Thanks to Aphire for noticing a no-name in the circle of MCs. Much success to you Caleb in your endeavors with the site.


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