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[INTERVIEW] Seven Pillars - Dylan Dili

Photo Credit: Artist

It's said that true warriors not only endure and rise above
whatever has been handed to them in terms of strife, but
they extend their wisdom to those willing to hear so that 
they can do the same. Some do it through certain sciences
and business professions. Others do it through the arts, in
particular through their music. Joining the legion of those 
with a potent message through their music is Dylan Dili. You
may know him through his stint on the MTV series "Making
The Band" that led to some infamous moments. But in this
interview and with his new album, Dylan demonstrates how
much more you and the world don't know about him - but
should. Sit back and read on about the talented musician who's
a son of Grenada and Brooklyn and learn about what went
into the making of his recent album, Pain 2 Power.

Manifesto: So, Pain 2 Power - a strong title for a strong project.
What compelled you to name your album that way?

Dylan: Man..I think a lot of people feel that because you're on
          television, the radio or have a business - any kind of business   
          at that, they think you're successful and that you're doing
          great. If they don't see the blood and the sweat, they don't
          believe it and they don't care. So there's been a lot of pain
          that's been built up with the beginning of my career and life
          in general. I have a lot of pain that I was built up with. And
          at times, the pain drowned me. I was literally dying and drowning
          from that pain. I realized that you could really take every ounce
          of the pain and flip it and turn it into something good. 

          Even something as simple as the jokes by Dave Chappelle, for 
          example. It went so viral, made top five lists, and so forth. That
          joke in the beginning was the cause of every single label saying
          no to me. Every single DJ not playing my record. But everyone
          knew me from that - it got so that something that painful, where
          you stopped checking for me as a result of it I had to look at in a
          different way. Like, "Hold on - he may be known by about 50 million
          people." That's powerful. You're going to know who I am for the 
          rest of your life. That's power that I had to learn to appreciate, and
          I had to appreciate the pain that was in that lesson. So this album 
          is not just for me y'know, It's for everyone, everybody who will feel
          that. That pain to power is transformational.

Manifesto: You've mentioned in other interviews about the business side of
                things being overwhelming from the Making The Band Days. What's
                the difference in your perspective now?

Dylan:      The difference was, at the time I didn't realize it was just business.       
                I remember carrying my emotions on my sleeve. I wore my emotions,
                which was good for TV at the time. (laughs) It was great for TV but 
                I came from a street mentality, or a roadside mentality, when ya 
                out there 'pon de road, you know? Out there on the road, you have 
                your crew, and certain values that we go by. Street laws that we go
                by, certain values that we go by. Loyalty is a big issue on the street
                so if you're rolling with me, we go to the club together, we came in
                together we leave together. You got beef with somebody? I've got               
                beef with somebody. Those are just simple laws that we go by on the
                road. Now when you go into the music industry with that mentality
                and you realize that they don't really care about you, (laughs) not 
                realizing that it's not personal then you start to get mad, you go like
                "eff that person", you're flipping out!! Not realizing that you're on 
                contract, relax. This has nothing to do with emotions, this is a business
                relationship. So that illustrates my view of the difference between
                now and then, then I didn't know it was business.

Manifesto: So, going back to an earlier point you made about loyalty, that leads
                me to the next question. Being a son of Brooklyn and of Grenada, how
                do those experiences hone not only your persona but your music? How        
                is that the fuel?

Dylan:     Being a son of Brooklyn and a son of Grenada is what really made me.
               Because I lived in both places. I went to high school in Grenada, grew up
               in Grenada as well as doing my thing being in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. It's
               the best of both worlds. To know the country life of taking care of cattle,
               sheep and goats...I remember living with my grandmother and to bathe at
               the time (laughs), we had a cistern that caught the water when the rain fell.
               And we had to carry the bucket and catch the water - it was best to do it at
               noon when the sun was high because the water would be cold but at that time
               the sun warmed it up. So that would be the best time to bathe. Now knowing
               that, and living in already know how Flatbush gets down.

Manifesto: Yes sir! (laughs)

Dylan:     In Flatbush, you'll never be cocky, you'll always be humble. I don't care how
               far you go, if you get a Grammy - "man you bathed in a bucket." (laughs) You
               are aways going to be one with the people, to show love to the people.

Dylan Dili - "It's OK"

Manifesto: With the album, there's a constant vibe that's all about rising above. What
                was your reasoning for gettting producers to help you create that vibe? 

Dylan:      With the producers it was a matter of being picky as hell. (laughs) The man            
                dem would send me about 10 riddims at a time and I'm like, "naaaah." But
                I was recording a lot, however. I was recording to a lot of different riddims
                but when it came down to choosing it was deep and I didn't know what to         
                do. We already had done about 100 songs, and I told my brethren 3MP - he's
                our master engineer - I told him, "You know what? You're going to have to 
                take the job of cutting it down and making this a Pain 2 Power. You're going
                to have to take these last 30 songs and make it 12. 'Cause I don't know what  
                to do." And he did that man, he did the arrangement and it helped due to 
                preparation. Before we would have sessions, we would listen to a lot of  
                classical albums like Ray Charles, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke.
                And in other sessions we would listen to Tenor Saw, (Mighty) Sparrow, we 
                would listen to Bob Marley so that before we even got to recording we would 
                have a good time just listening to the greats. And knowing that we would be
                the next one up to be in that pantheon.

Manifesto: That's what's up. How did you link up with VPAL Music?

Dylan:      Well, a friend of mine was one of the heads of VPAL for years and I didn't know
                that that's what she did. (laughs) I knew she (Jeannie Seranno) had some job
                but I wasn't aware of what she did. After I came back from Grenada and doing
                the album, I got a notice from Instagram that said "your friend Jeannie is now
                under the account of VPAL Records" and I went "wait, how is that?" And so I hit
                her up like, "Jeannie what's good?" And she let me know she was involved, her
                and Donovan. So I went "ah, well mi have somethin' for you." (laughs) And we 
                went forward from there.

Manifesto:  After Pain 2 Power, what do you plan on doing next musically?

Dylan:       After this, the power! (laughs) We are gonna toast up!

Manifesto: I'm with that. (laughs) So my last question is, for anyone who is aiming to
                  succeed from a similar road like you have, what would be your advice?

Dylan:       Prepare to go crazy. (laughter) Prepare to go crazy, absolutely. Because you have 
                 to understand, you're sacrificing your whole f---king life. You're sacrificing 24/8 and 
                 and that's the only way you're going to be great. Just giving your all. You have to  
                 have faith, you have to have full faith. You have faith and action, and it's a huge 
                 sacrifice. Just know that it's huge, it's not regular. I'll finish off with this - it wasn't
                 about how much work you put in and how much studio time you could do, it was 
                 more about mentally how much can you take from all of these different souls and 
                 energies and different people. If you can take that mentally, you're all right. It's a
                 lot people you have to meet, it's a lot of people you have to talk to. It's a lot of vultures
                 out there you know. It's a lot of snakes. And some are dressed as sheep are. But 
                 it takes having a strong mentality.

Pain 2 Power is out now through VPAL Records on iTunes









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