When I first listened to IRIE, I$O INDIES┬áfirst album, I realized that I was listening to a gem. IRIE is living proof that┬áartists can curate and develop a sound that remains true to them without conforming to what is mainstream at the moment. This album contains a boom-bap, nostalgic sound mixed with classic island rhythms and grooves, a sound truly unique and specially made by underground producer Jahb Less. I was offered to listen to it early before it dropped in late 2015, and I took my time to listen to it in its entirety before putting this interview out. As a journalist, I vowed to myself to only give interviews to artist that I feel deserve their 15 mins of spotlight, and I$O INDIES deserves that and way much more.
Check out my interview with I$O INDIES (Dillmatic and ConchezYout) and their album below! Also, make sure to go to their listening party on January 23rd (flyer below)┬áto see them perform some of┬áthese awesome┬átunes live and direct! (pun intended).
Photo taken by Danny Caicedo.
Pia: The definition of “IRIE” is used as a word of approval, it’s the same as saying something is “good” or “nice”. Why name the album IRIE? Is it the key word to how fans should perceive the music?
Dillmatic: Yeah, definitely. I think that the definition of the word IRIE is to have no worries, and while we were making this music, we had no worries because everything was just flowing. Like, we were in a very good space, we were growing. We had just met our producer Jahb Less and we were just creating music. This project definitely gives a good feeling, it’s very vibe-y. IRIE is something that we started and really finished together.
ConchezYout: IRIE (the project) is just a compilation of vibes created ON POINT, like at every given moment. We really created this music after each encounter with one another; we would link up and this music would be made on the night that we linked up or on that morning. There were a lot of long nights put into this project and this process.
P: What is the significance behind the album artwork?
ConchezYout: The concept behind the album artwork is based on the pictures we used from our AfroPunk “Battle Of The Bands” pictures from June 2015, and basically put it on the album cover. If you notice, our faces have different colors (Dill’s face is yellow, my face is green, and Jahb Less’s face is red). We wanted to use those colors to represent the flag of Ethiopia (referencing Rastafarians). We wanted it to basically relate to the meaning of the word IRIE.
Dillmatic: We didn’t really have a set idea, we went in with the same mindset that we had with creating the project, we just had a free mindset. We made everything flow and come together. We were very patient with the artist that we were working with (Paula Jackson), and we let her vision come to life as well.
P: The intro “When We Were Kings” contains sincere voice messages from what seems to be loved ones. Shout them out, and who is the most important person on the intro to the both of you?
ConchezYout: The first person on the intro is Dill’s brother, and the second person is my aunt, the third person is Patience (my fianc├®), the fourth person is Jahb Less, the fifth person is my grandmother, the sixth person is my mother, and the seventh person is Dill’s mom. I wouldn’t say that anyone is more important than the other, but Jahb Less is really important because he made this project with us.
Dillmatic: I would agree with that too. He has to be the forefront inspiration behind everything. He’s the cornerstone of everything.
P: Prayers both┬áopen and close the album. Is this something you guys listened to as reassurance during the process? *Dill’s mother is in the beginning, Conchez’s grandmother is at the end*
Dillmatic: Definitely. My mom lets me be the artist that I am, you know? She never judged me, she lets me be creative throughout this musical process and she lets me grow as an artist and a person. She definitely supported us 100 percent.
ConchezYout: Same goes for me. I don’t live with her now (grandmother), but growing up I lived with her. My grandmother is a very spiritual person, she was very determined for me to go to church and I basically started in church. She’s been there from the jump. When she prays for me, I feel blessed as if my prayers were already answered. She is the reason why I am the way that I am today as far as believing in God and always having faith. Without our faith, we wouldn’t have made it this far.
P: What was the most difficult part of making this album?
ConchezYout: I wouldn’t say it was THAT difficult at all. The album is called IRIE, we had no worries. Even if anything negative came up, it was nothing to worry about. The only difficult part was recording the music while Jahb Less was away at school. He wasn’t there for majority of the recording process. It would have been dope if he was there and to hear his input, but we did what we had to do.
Dillmatic: Word. To piggyback on that, I think that┬áwas the most difficult part also. Most of the time when we were all together it was just magic happening. That chemistry we built together translated to the studio as well. So that was another thing that really solidified our chemistry together, of us being a holy trinity. We built this whole foundation last summer, and we were so free and fluid to let the music happen.
ConchezYout: Majority of the songs that were on this project was created on the spot. Jahb Less created every beat from scratch, we were that inspired to make a song at every moment that he made a beat. That’s how this project came together.
P: What are some of your favorite tracks from the album?
Dillmatic: “Run”, “Adrenaline Rush”, “Live and Direct”, “Stress Free”, and “Spread Love”. That’s a top 5 from me.
ConchezYout: I’m gonna say “Puffin La” because of the concept of the song and how we came up with the song. It is also the first single off the project which we did a video for. It’s basically a story about us coppin’ from our bud man, and me and Dill are having a conversation while I’m on my way to his house, and I’m asking him if he has herb and he’s angry because he didn’t get to cop and our bud man was giving him the runaround. We wrote that song from a real life situation (laughs).
I also like “Run” because that was the last song that we performed at Afropunk’s “Battle Of The Bands” in June 2015. The reaction we got from the crowd when we performed that was unbelievable. I also like “Come Tru”,”I$O Warriors” which is inspired by my father who is incarcerated and it has a reggae feel to it, and “Stress Free”.
P: The song “Spread Love” definitely resonates with me. I feel like it is needed in these troubling times with all of the terrorism and police brutality that is going on. Are there any personal events that happened in your lives that inspired you guys to write this song?
Dillmatic: For me it was just like placement, you know like who are your real friends, and who you see yourself chillin’ with, and little things like that. Just knowing exactly where you’re heading. It was all about the passion that you have for your journey.
ConchezYout: Yeah, he basically just summed it up.
P: You guys have some anthems on IRIE such as “Yes Yes Yall” and “Run”. Do you guys feel like these are the singles that will expand your career?
Dillmatic: Hell yeaaaahhhh (everyone laughs). Those are like the heavy hitters, you know? The ones that you throw on and the beat just catches your attention, like it’s a head bopper.
ConchezYout: I fuck with everything on the tape from start to finish. This project is a classic. It’s not something that we did before, and it’s probably something that we’ll never do again. But like he said, those two tracks in general are like heat rockers.┬áThose tracks┬áare easy listens and easy tracks to perform to that people would gravitate towards. So, I agree.
P: What can your fans look forward to in 2016 from I$O INDIES?
ConchezYout: There’s SO much more. We’re trying to drop a video for every song on the album.
Dillmatic: Within this project it’s already a storyline, but now we’re trying to create our visuals. It’s going to be so vivid and visual now. It’s going to be crazy.
ConchezYout: We are also having a listening party for this album, it’ll be a big event that all of our fans can come to support us as artists and to support the album. It’s something that we’re very proud of. Also, a lot more shows and visuals like we said, and hopefully some good news from someone out there that’s big in the industry that fucks with this project. We’re just looking for great vibes and good luck. Everything is still IRIE though.
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