Hello Skope readers all over the globe on this fine Tuesday. Skope management has asked me to mention that Skope has a really sleek mobile site at http://m.skopemag.com for your tablet & smartphones. I was on Drudge Report today and they had a headline on Justin Bieber’s new CD sales decline. Can the industry please phase out the CD and keep innovating the digital download, it’s over guys! My guest today has got me really excited coming out of Hollywood, FL by the musical alias Dig Dug Disaster. Dig Dug Disaster is about to release his debut EP ‘Stars Burn’ on Full Effect/Rescue Records and he has a video for the contagious single “Don’t Ask Me.” This song has been in my head since Sunday night! Join us today as DDG speaks on everything from the new EP, who he is beyond the music, and check out the cool video to “Don’t Ask Me.”
Stoli: Where are we talking from today and are you excited for summer in hot Florida?
DiGDuG: I’m in Beverly Hills, but it’s nothing like its’ California counterpart, it’s full of New Yorkers down here… and ‘snowbirds’. As far as the weather goes, I think I was built for it, being from Michigan I’ve learned to appreciate year-round summer.
Stoli: How long have you been involved with music and how did you get the alias !DiGDuGDiSaSTeR!?
DiGDuG: I’ve been a guitarist since age 6 or so, but I didn’t really start playing seriously until I was about 18. A bazillion bands later, I’ve come to the realization that as much as I love playing in ‘bands’, I seem to do my best work as a solo artist. I took a long hiatus from music and got back into it just a couple of years ago. The DiGDuG was a nickname some friends in highschool used to call me, throw in some disaster, which best describes most of my adulthood and it all just makes sense somehow. Anyone that knows me understands that I’ve spent most of my life in chaos.
“Don’t Ask Me”[youtube 1B7h-v39cPg]
Stoli: I just listened to the ‘Stars Burn’ EP and I am loving it. How long have you been working on that and how did you choose the 5 songs for the album?
DiGDuG: From start to finish it took me almost 2 years to get it the way I wanted it to sound. Some of the song ideas I’ve carried with me since I had lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which was nearly 3 years ago. Normally I have a streamlined approach to songwriting, but there were alot of distractions involved and hopefully those ‘chaos moments’ helped me create stronger material. I really wanted to create something that sounded fresh to me, combine different genres together into something that would be at once fun to listen but also carry a cohesive theme. I didn’t want to get too dark, I’ve exposed that side of me enough where I felt I was starting to get redundant. I also don’t take myself too seriously as a human being, and I thought that rings truer for alot of people. The ones with no sense of humor about it all are annoying.
Stoli: I love the song “Don’t Ask Me.” What is that song about and when did you write that?
DiGDuG: Believe it or not, that song was in my head for months but it only took a few days to record it. I initially had other plans for it, with a guest singer coming in, but once I laid down a vocal track, it felt right for me to do it myself. DZ tha DoK, an upcoming producer, helped me with the chorus beat and it really helped turn it into something memorable. Like an old Beastie Boys beat. The song is about just humming along to something that breaks yourself free from the trappings of mankind… you know, politics, war and so on… It is also a glimpse into my belief system and what I do and don’t care about. I dig people, I hate politics… it brings out the worst in everyone involved.
Stoli: This EP will come out on Rescue Records. How do they help an independent artist like you with sales & marketing?
DiGDuG: The funny thing is, Rescue Records told me that I can do whatever I want with the record, but they are the publishing arm… what they do is pitch my songs to media and into film projects, television shows and places I couldn’t reach on my own. It’s also a door to get into film scoring. As an independent artist, that is a crucial part of creating a revenue stream as well as getting yourself exposed to new and varied audiences. As far as a distributor label goes, it looks like I might go through Full Effect Records, they are distributed through Sony, so I’ll be on iTunes, Amazon and of the major outlets.
Stoli: What is your perfect mood & enviroment to sit and write or record new music?
DiGDuG: Usually I’ll start with something that sounds good in my head, and I go from there. I mull things over for a while in my brain before I lift a finger to record. If I still remember it a few days or so after the initial idea, I give it a go. When I’m on a creative streak, I come up with dozens of song ideas almost daily, but only a few make it through the filters these days. I’ve learned ALOT the last 2 or 3 years about the recording process and production. Stars Burn is the accumulation of that, combined with a desire to create something memorable, not just for me, but to be able to share the experiences with others in a more meaningful way than my earlier projects. My ideal situation is to tinker around with my guitar and put a few beats together and see what I can come up with. But, more than anything, I love surrounding myself with other musicians and just getting creative. It’s a great release.
Stoli: You do alot more besides music. Speak on Bassment Bangars your graphic/web design skills and how readers can reach you for your services?
DiGDuG: email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set you up. I’ve been doing graphics forever, it’s a great skill to have when you are a DIY artist. I was actually a cartoonist as a kid and had a few minor things published and some sketches on display in galleries. For a while I thought I might become that type of an artist and get into comics. I inherited graphic design from my parents, who still have a graphic design company in Kalamazoo, MI. I learned alot from them in the beginning. From there, I moved to Chicago and worked at a web company where I learned to mix code and creativity, I met a kid named Carl Rajkowski and he taught me alot about the coding aspect. He and I actually ran our own company there for a brief period. It’s a fun way to stay creative while in between gigs and such… I even designed a site for Martin Atkins’ Invisible Records back in 2000 and Zim Zum from Marilyn Manson. Bassment Bangars is a background music library, it started off as a way to create beats for hiphop artists, but we’re relaunching it soon to be much more out there and present more varieties of music, we may even change the name… lol… someone commented that it sounded like a porn site name. SO there you have it. The goal is to eventually do soundtracks for film projects as opposed to just having a single used in one.
Stoli: How do you find new music these days and any indie bands you can suggest to check out?
DiGDuG: I find out the way everyone else does, internet… I have a ton of friends in bands so I tend to check them out before I head into the Billboard realm, NME, CMJ, etc… Reverbnation is a mixed bag, just like YouTube… you just wade through the crap and every now and then you find something really special to you. Music is so quick and disposable these days that it’s hard to find anything more than just a single or two before an artist disappears. As far as personal tastes go, I’m all over the map… I dig Galaktikon, Pelican, A-Tone Tha Priest [who I discovered on Skope btw and we collaborated on a single], Wiz Kahlifa, Liars, Eagles of Death Metal, Colin Bradford, The Hovering Lights, Bassnectar, Dead Mau5, How To Destroy Angels, Fratellis, Super Robot Party, sn0re, the list goes on and on… as far as classic artists go, I pretty much adore them all, from glam to glitch, metal to muzak, I’m just a fan of anything that is done well, I’m a sucker for good movie soundtracks! Danny Elfman really trailblazed a path I want to take.
Stoli: For those readers just finding out about !DiGDuGDiSaSTeR! how would you describe your sound & personality?
DiGDuG: People describe me as a bit weird, since I was a kid… so that’s going to reflect in my music. Everything I do veers a little bit to the left of center, without being overbearing. I guess some people have described it as electro rock, though I think it’s more of a collage of indie pop and rock sensibilities, sprinkled with a modern electro vibe mixed in with some funk. It’s the last 30 years of music packed into 3 minute songs. I purposely avoided metal, punk and a few others that I felt took the fun out of what I was trying to do. But I’ll always be a metalhead at heart. *raises fist*
Stoli: After you have completed a song how do you test it out to see if it’s quality?
DiGDuG: Generally I’ll sit with it a while, and send it to a few friends for feedback… If I like it after a few weeks, I hold onto it. I’m a bit of a hoarder actually, when it comes to my songs… I have so many that will never be heard by anyone other than me. They just don’t fit whatever I’m doing at the time. Most of my songs have gone through several mixes before I’m happy with it. I’m getting better at production… besides writing and recording, I’m also my own producer, so it takes some time. My last project”DeadCityRadio” was too rushed and the production suffered. So I’m learning to be patient and selective in what I do, in ALL aspects of my life actually.
Stoli: Your look and sound are very unique and that is what I like about you. Who would you say inspired you to not follow the rest and do your own thing?
DiGDuG: I did some work for Mr. Martin Atkins [drummer NIN, Ministry, Killing Joke] the owner of Invisible Records, and he was very inspiring to be around in certain ways. He definitely has his own ideas about how things should be for his company and he’s very insightful. I have only been into playing music again for a few years after taking a loooooong hiatus to do drugs and become a criminal, so once I got back into it, I decided that I would only do something I really wanted to do and not worry about consequence. If you’re not honest with yourself, why bother? There are so many phonies out there that just want to be famous without any sort of substance attached to anything they do… and it’s obvious to me at least. I guess it’s because I really DO love music, doing it so you can meet girls is okay, but doing it to truly inspire someone is a much greater reward in itself.
Stoli: Alot of your songs deal with the harsh reality of life. What global issue is one of major concern to you?
DiGDuG: I deal with real life, because I’m stuck in it most of the time, and to be honest, I’ve done alot of crazy crazy things in my past which in turn has given me alot to think about. I try to bring out issues that matter to me but to also show a light at the end of the tunnel, that no matter how bad things may get, or how far you fall, there is always a way back. Being on the brink of war at any given moment is something that concerns me, knowing that there are people sitting at desks around the world with the power to destroy me on a whim that I’ll never meet grabs my attention. I hate that people feel compelled to rule over others, that egos are so important to so many and it ruins lives. Greed and power corrupt the soul and I just don’t understand what drives a person to be that way. Fame whores are like that too. I mean, Paris Hilton really opened up a door that should have been locked away forever. What I really want to share is love, compassion, faith and mutual respect with one another in a real way, not as a bumper sticker slogan.
Stoli: Whats coming up for !DiGDuGDiSaSTeR! and where you @ online?
DiGDuG: You’ll find me @ http://digdugdisaster.com. I have several things going on, a baby on the way, a guitar endorsement deal being worked out, a guitar instructional video and an instrumental guitar rock record of some sort. Of course, in between that, I’m going to do some gigs here and there because I love performing in a band, there’s nothing else like it. When it’s on, it’s REALLY on, when it’s off, you want to crawl under a rock. Everyone should try it at least once.