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21 Dec 2017 // An interview by butch181
Ahead of the upcoming release of his debut album Metamorphosis, Dilz, along with his producer Sswahh, managed to have a quick chat with Chris and Alex, the Inside the Music crew:

Check out the video below:

Alex (interviewer): You are a rap and hip-hop artist. What got you into music?

Dilz (artist): My dad bought me a guitar when I was 5 or 6, and played through primary and college. I think it was about Year 11 when I was studying music, and I decided to try something different. I’ve written lyrics from the age of 10, and I’d get into rapping when I was out fishing with the cousins and I’d get bored so we’d start dissing each other. From there I started writing other songs

Alex: Was there anything specifically that pushed you away from the guitar?

Dilz: Not really, I just wanted a change. I was learning what my Dad wanted me to learn, or what my teachers were teaching me, but I’d often teach myself things from online sources, so I thought why not learn something completely different.

Alex: What sort of music influences you?

Dilz: I love lyrical music and the poetic nature of hip-hop. How much it speaks to you and is relatable. I was good at English in school, and learning about similes and metaphors, I always wanted to make up my own original metaphors. And rhyme schemes capture me, learning different ways of rhyming in between sentences, and expressing yourself with wordplay.

Alex: Any specific artists that have influenced you?

Dilz: Eminem is a given. There are very few people that know Eminem and don’t like him. I love a lot of underground hip-hop artists as they can say what they want and they say what needs to be said. Like Hopsin, who was the artist that motivated me to be who I am now. He did it all himself, recorded beats in his basement did vocal engineering, and shot his own music videos. Encouraged me to go out and buy a microphone, knowing I didn’t need a fancy setup. I listen to J. Cole, a bit of Kendrick Lamar, and Australian hip-hop artists like 360, Kerser, and B-Mike who is on my album. I’m not a huge fan of the New Zealand hip-hop scene. I’m quite stuck in the hip-hop genre, when I hear a song I’m listening to the flow, their bridges, the differences, to see what techniques I can use.

Alex: How much time do you spend writing?

Dilz: In a way, I’m always writing. Whatever I’m doing, I’m thinking of things, and I’ll jot it down, and when I go to the studio I’ve got a collection of lyrics to get me started. I don’t really put time aside to write, as I’m always writing.

Alex: Your songs have a lot of lyrics involved, you’re telling a story. How important is expanding your vocabulary? Do you research words?

Dilz: I’ll sometimes hear something and it’ll stick in my head, and when I’m writing that word will jump out and rhyme with whatever I’m trying to rhyme with, so then I’ll go back and Google the word to ensure I’m using it in the right context. I’m not purposefully trying to expand my dictionary, I just pick up words from my surroundings.

Alex: How long does it take to finish a track?

Dilz: About four years ago I started Falling. I wrote the verse and chorus back then. I got an artist on it called Flawless, an underground artist with crazy talent, and it was cool to get him on the song. We still haven’t finished that song. It’s on the album, but we’ve recorded several newer versions and tried to recreate them. We are still trying to finish and recreate that song. I went to Thailand recently and the night before I went, we were in the studio, he created a beat that night, I wrote a verse and chorus, the next day before I flew out I wrote the second verse. In those two days, we had the full beat and lyrics all recorded and then it just needed mixing. So times vary.

Alex: Do you end up with many demos that you’ve scrapped? Or is everything a work in progress?

Dilz: I’d never say completely scrapped. I did lose some older material when my laptop crashed several years ago. But I’ve never had the heart to delete anything, you never know when you may need it. I have files, and folders, and books of lyrics that I haven’t yet used, and I probably never will use, but I may come back to them.

Alex: You mentioned liking underground artists because they can say what they want. You have a couple of tracks Heal the Wounds, and Ill Lies of Foxton, where you talk about self-harm and domestic violence. Is there a reason you chose these topics?

Dilz: Heal the Wounds was one of the first songs I put out, and it went huge on YouTube, and it wasn’t supposed to, I didn’t think it was that good. It has reached so many people, every year the lyrics and the video are being shared, and I’ve reached out to a few of the people that shared it and thanked them. B-Mike did a song called Baby Don’t Cut, and I could see that song helping people, so I thought maybe I could help people too. My flow on the song was horrible, but it still did well. A big part of the song was the message. Ill Lies of Foxton was a personal song at the time, I wasn’t too impressed with something that was going on at the time, so as an artist I voiced my opinion.

Alex: Tell us about your friend here with you

Dilz: This is Shane. He goes by the producer name Sswahh. I met him on a security course in Palmerston North. He was a classmate, and I saw him buying a mic, and it all started from there. I would drive to his place, and he is the first person that I’ve had proper chemistry with. We make a lot of music, and while it isn’t all released, it’s still practised, as it builds our skills for other things. Even when I moved from Foxton to Rotorua, we still worked together online. And we’ve writing towards my debut album Metamorphosis since then. I think this album is going to make some type of impact on New Zealand hip-hop. I don’t care who listens to it, but I want it to hit home, and I’ve worked with a lot of New Zealand artists.

Alex: What’s it like working with Dilz?

Sswahh (producer): He’s alright, it’s not too bad. That’s all. Most of the times when we get into the studio, I’m not very focused. When we’re meant to be mixing a song, I’m already working on another beat.

Dilz: This album probably would have been out a year ago if he’d stayed focussed. But as I mentioned earlier some songs we crank out really quick, and a lot of the beats we wouldn’t have on the album if he didn’t get sidetracked. We have heaps of material.

Alex: Tell us about your album. Is it coming out early next year?

Dilz: Big news with the album. There’s a label called Black Market Enterprise, and an NZ hip-hop artist Tom Francis, he’s working with Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa, meeting with Kendrick Lamar, and got songs with Royce da 5’9” who is Eminem’s other half. His label has picked my album up for distribution. We’ve set a release date for March next year, as we need that time to promote, and I haven’t even dropped a single from it yet. The first single will be dropped January 7th 2018, called Wait On You, which features J. Williams and Ty. That is just a distribution deal, I’m not a signed artist to the label.

Alex: Where does name Metamorphosis come from?

Dilz: It’s a name to symbolise growth. Like the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. I wanted people to see my own growth, where I am now compared to where I used to be. The album sets a standard. Growth, change, and leaving the way I did things, and who I was. This is what I have wanted to evolve into. I’ve set up the track titles, starting with Caterpillar, Cocoon, Chrysalis, Metamorphosis, Butterflies, Falling, and Fly Away, so the titles tell a story as well.

Alex: You mentioned Cocoon was your most emotional song. What would be your favourite song?

Dilz: That’s a hard one. I’ve tried to tackle every aspect of what I think is important to the hip-hop genre. I’ve got show-off songs where I’m showing how good my wordplay is, and then I have deep songs, and radio sounding songs like Wait On You, and catchy beats, old and new school sounds, even me trying to sing on there too, being as diverse as possible.

Alex: No reggae?

Dilz: There’s no reggae in there, unfortunately. A personal favourite is hard. Wait On You, as soon as I heard J. Williams chorus that he sent back, I knew the song had potential. The first instance that I realised something I was making would have so much potential. Scribe was meant to be on that, but he’s jumping on another song, and Ty from Smashproof is on there now. I’m hoping it all fits. The last thing I want is for my own parts to not fit in because it’s my song. I want people to come back and want to listen to my parts.

Alex: You have around 10 artists featured on the album. How easy is it working with other artists? Is there a lot of support?

Dilz: It depends on who it is. I’ve reached out to many artists, and many have come back wanting to be a part of it, but you really have to get the right person for the song. If I had the chance to get the lead singer of Slipknot or Metallica on Cocoon, it just wouldn’t make sense. They have to fit the song and relate to it. Sometimes when I make a song I can tell it’s a “me” song, and I know it should just be me, but other songs you feel like there should be someone else to complete it. But you have to make sure you pick the right person. I don’t want to work with someone who just wants a paycheck. Many artists have done it out of love, some were paid, but some artists who demand upfront money but don’t actually like the song, I don’t want to work with people like that. You do come across that kind of thing. I want the songs to be felt, and whoever is a part of that needs to feel it too.

Alex: Any issues or problems recording?

Dilz: We work full-on, 70-hour weeks, working at the bar, café, managing, cleaning, reception, cook etc. Any spare moment we get is valuable, and I had a spare moment for a couple hours, I was going to lay the vocals down. I had a perfect gap, I went in the studio and I had the hiccups. I was in the mood, I had the lyrics, and I couldn’t record, as I had the hiccups for a full half hour, and then couldn’t back in the mood. Quite often I record in my undies. You have to close off the room, because of the neighbours, all internal and external doors shut, so recording for 3 hours trying to get the verse down, you end up hot and sweating and in your undies.

Sswahh: I got banned from the studio for a couple days. I thought I’d have a few drinks and have a jam. For some reason, the microphone came off the wall and the keyboard ended up a bit sticky.

Dilz: My keyboard for the beats had alcohol spilt on it. This $300 seat that I’m really proud of had stuff spilt on it. The microphone was screwed into the wall and he ripped it off. He might have knocked my guitar over too. And he ended up falling asleep in the lounge. Nowadays the cat has been banned. He keeps trying to eat the mic cords and headphones and rips birds up in there.

Alex: You’re doing a performance for us today?

Dilz: Last night we ended up going to Lava Bar in Tauranga. Ty from Smashproof was there, it was a good night, but I got a bit too drunk. The drive here was horrible. Hopefully, it goes well. The song will be Fly Away. It’s a deeper song going into my personal life, I moved from Foxton to Tauranga last year and it was a big move going to a bigger city. I spent 23 years in Foxton hanging out with the same people, doing the same stuff at the same places. Everything changed, and I wasn’t feeling the best. It’s the last song on the album, and some people may find it odd to end on a sour note, but life isn’t perfect, and neither is my album. The stories and how it’s structured is a reflection of my life.

Check out the performance at Taupiri Sound below:


About Dilz

Dilz is a 25 year old Hip Hop artist from New Zealand with a fresh voice and creative lyrics. Every day he is striving towards achieving his goal of creating the perfect balance between underground and mainstream music.

His album Metamorphosis debuted at #2 on the New Zealand Hip Hop charts and he has racked up over half a million views on his YouTube platform alone. Dilz has a number of accolades under his belt including collaborating with Rhythm + Flow's runner up, Flawless Real Talk and one of Australian's biggest independent artists, Bmike. He has also worked with renown NZ artists such as Scribe, Smashproof, J Williams and Mikey Mayz.

Dilz is no stranger to performing having headlined two national tours. He has also opened for the likes of Sid Diamond, Che Fu, Donell Lewis, Kennyon Brown, DJ Noiz, Lion Rezz, Lomez Brown, and completed a mini North Island tour with The Crusader himself, Scribe.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Dilz


Year: 2018
Type: Album
Three And A Half Seas
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Renovation: Reconstruction
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Word Smith
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Hook Ups
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Wish Me Luck
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Better Days To Come
Year: 2013
Type: Album

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