Dikembe Interview

Posted: by Henderson

Listen to some Dikembe while you read!

Listen to some Dikembe while you read!

Ryan of Dikembe took the time out of his busy life to answer some questions about their new LP Mediumship, the Florida music scene, Magic The Gathering and other stuffs. Take a peek!


I’m feeling a darker vibe to Mediumship. Do you feel like that’s accurate, and was there anything specifically, musically or within your lives, that you feel inspired the songs on this record?

I’m not sure I’d say the record is darker but we definitely set out for a more restrained, downtrodden mood throughout compared to our past releases. Musically, we really wanted to pay homage to some of our favorite bands and just sort of be unafraid to wear any influences on our sleeves (hopefully) without aping anyone.

Every band has a different process for songwriting, how do you guys go about writing new tracks?

For Mediumship, pretty much every song was originally brought to the table as a single riff or a really loose skeleton of a song, and we would proceed to flesh it out together. Once we were mostly happy with songs, we started slipping a couple into sets during our tours last year so we could get a feel for how they sounded live, which is how we ended up recording it.

How was the recording process for “Mediumship”? Was it a change from your last few recording experiences?

It was the first time we’d ever recorded live, all together, not to mention our first time recording in an actual studio. It was also the first time we brought in outside help for mixing, which ended up being a friend of David’s from college. Most of the changes in recording were incidental. We recorded in the studio because our friend who owned it happened to have just set up his new space that weekend and wanted to work out the kinks. And it wasn’t always the plan to bring in help mixing but it was taking a long time and we really needed some fresh ears.

Florida has become a great state for music and has produced a ton of great bands (you guys included). What makes Florida a good place to produce music? Do you ever feel like you draw inspiration from your state?

I think Florida is a place with a lot of punks/DIY types that is very regionally isolated from happenings on the rest of the east coast and the Midwest. A lot of tours don’t make it this far south so if people want to see shows regularly they have to create music themselves and build communities to support it.

I have definitely been influenced by Florida and the music that it has produced. I remember making a huge order from No Idea records my freshman year of college that got me really into stuff like Strikeforce Diablo and I Hate Myself. Look Mexico was very active regionally at the same time, and my friends and I all worshipped them. I probably saw them a dozen times before I knew about Algernon or Snowing or any of that other stuff that ended up culminating in where emo is at now.

You’ve played the FEST music festival in Gainesville multiple times. We at The Alternative have only heard tales of its awesomeness and are making the adventure to attend for the first time this year. Since you guys are FEST vets, what’s your take on what makes FEST so special?

I’m drawn to the lack of pretentious attitudes and politicking bullshit that is prevalent at similar events. Fest brings together a lot of bands that aren’t commonly associated with each other but that often times share a lot of common ground and audience. It’s okay to like The Melvins and Mineral and Fest embraces that better than most other fests. Fest is also almost impeccably run which means people have yet to be soured by mismanagement, which I see happen with a lot of long running fests.

With that last question, for a first time attendee of FEST what is some stuff I definitely want to see/bring/do while there?

Not particularly. Just don’t get caught up in having rigid plans and go with the flow of things. Make sure to rest. About half of people seems beyond Festing by day three.

Dikembe was one of the first bands in the world to have an interactive 360 degree music video. That’s not a question I guess, it’s just cool. Thoughts on being an industry leader? What was that filming experience like?

Ha. We can’t take any credit for that. Our friend Jeremy, who has done all of our video work (I think) was just trying to demo that panoramic lens for a You Blew It! video he ended up doing. We were writing that day anyways, and he just set up his camera in the middle of the room while we demoed what ended up becoming Hood Rat Messiah.

If you guys get Billboard famous off the new album how would you celebrate?

As I tend to do in my life, I would probably scour the rest of the list for some source of disappointment, and realizing we were still being outsold by Creed’s Human Clay while in our prime, my enthusiasm would dwindle. I would then try to convince the rest of my band that it’s something they should feel miserable about too.

You guys are noted Magic The Gathering players. I know this is a hard question, but what is your favorite card?

Mine has to be Doom Blade. It’s a classic that has been infuriating opponents for generations of players. Simple but effective. No flavor text necessary.

Do you play any other card/board/video games or is it strictly a Magic band?

We all play Munchkin on occasion. I’ve dabbled in D&D and Small World. Steven plays some card game with space ships. As far as board games go, I’m a huge fan of Risk and Balderdash. We all enjoy various video games.

You guys have a tour upcoming, what are some of your favorite cities to chill in while on tour? Do you guys tend to enjoy the time on the road?

Denver is unanimously our favorite city. It’s beautiful and everyone we met was incredibly hospitable. We go out of our way to play Virginia Beach because we have been so warmly welcomed there. It feels like a second home. We enjoy mostly everywhere though except NYC (sorry, it’s not you it’s us).

Least favorite thing about Florida tourists?

They are terrible drivers.

As a fan, what is some music that you guys are listening to now or looking forward to?

I love the new LVL UP record. The record I’m looking forward to most this year is the next Pile LP. They are the best rock band in the world right now. Older stuff I’ve been jamming heavily is the later era Karate discography, and I recently discovered King Krule who is fantastic. I’ve also been bumping a lot of post-bop jazz and DJ Screw.

Alright that’s all I have to ask. Anything else you guys feel like mentioning?

Can somebody please parody the Born to Run album cover but with Stone Cold, titling it Born to Stun? Tweet it to @DikembeDudes and tumblr the shit out of it. Thanks.