When I first heard this track (2018) on hype machine. My curiosity stirred from the intro of ‘PlayStation'( a sample is taken from one of the most iconic game systems start-up theme ever) I have listened to this track at least 80 times since finding it on hype machine..
*The inspiration for the track came following a break up with an ex-girlfriend and Dee went into his studio, let all the creativity and emotions pour out and the result was this.
I’ve been listening to a few of Dee’s tracks over the past year. I particularly relate to his introspective approach to his lyrics and subtle wry humour.
I decided to get in touch( and after many months of sorting out how we would go about doing it ). I’m so grateful for Dee’s patience in helping me gain the courage to do my first feature interview on my blog.
So who are you?
I’m Dee Wallz one of the best up and coming rappers lol
Yeah man, I love your optimistic attitude. You do have a great flow and rhythm, and a distinct voice that has developed over the last 2 years.
How old are you? ( little ice breaker haha)
I’m pretty old now lol I’m 22
Yeah, you are so old. You come across as rather driven and focused for someone in their 20’s. No offence Though one source I found claims that you were 25 in 2017! )
*To clarify Dee is 27 & still young.*
Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Memphis, TN but I’m living in the great city of Houston Tx .
What put you on the music path?
I actually started writing with my cousin Jarvis in Mississippi, I did it for fun but I really became dedicated to it in my hometown of Memphis, at the age of 13. And I’ve been writing ever since.
That’s pretty cool. Memphis is a hub for musical talent. So many great artists like Wendy Rene, Aretha Franklin come from Memphis. Its a place with an intense political history. And it’s where civil rights activist Martin Luther King was assassinated. You have that MLK track. It is a place where many iconic artists such as Louie Armstrong have gone to perform and been well received and perhaps been inspired by politics. You rap with so much depth & soul. There is nothing ugly about your rapping style.
Why do you continue to do music?
To me it’s therapeutic for me whether talking about my life experiences and/or it allows to express my creativity with my wittiness and wordplay.
Who do you look up to in the industry?
I definitely look up to guys like Jay Z and Nas, I love their growth, being just great artist (s). And now seeing how successful they are in other business ventures inspires me.
What influences your music?
My musical influences are from all over the place. From J Cole, Nas, Lil Wayne, T.i, MF DOOM, Big KRIT Jay Electronica, Jay Z, Elzhi, Royce da 5’9 and Phonte are the few that come to mind. Basically all of the top tier lyricists.
Have you ever released an album/or intend to?
Not yet but very soon so stay tuned. Right now I’m just releasing singles.
watch this space!
I know you’ve done a few collaborations with other music artists. It’s a great way to get into the industry.
I’ve collaborated with one of the dopest females rappers out of Cali by the name of MaCita on a remix of my song “Sorry, I Don’t Know You” and I’ve collaborated with my boy out of Memphis Capo Montana and my guy from New Orleans, King Studio Best.
Who do you believe would buy/listen to your music?
I believe my music has widespread appeal. So I think I’ll connect with all races, ages, genders and everyone around the world of different cultures. I’ve actually had my music streamed in 16 countries. So I truly believe that.
That’s cool. I too truly believe that music transcends language. It is the one common unifier and music brings people together.
What newspapers, magazines, tv shows, trade papers, or blogs have you been featured in?
I have been featured in The Word is Bond, EAR MILK which is two of my favourite blogs and I hope to be featured in a lot more.
Why should people care about you and your music(it’s a cutthroat industry to get in to)?
I feel like I give my story and life experiences in music but also provide comic relief with my punchlines. Or sometimes I’ll have my moments of doing both.
Yeah, I do appreciate being humoured when I listen to hip hop. It’s a great skill to have especially when you are rapping about serious issues.
What genres of music do you like to perform in?
Primarily rap & hip-hop but I’m for sure down to collab with musicians of other genres.
I think it’s vital to our creative growth to push ourselves out of our comfort zones in music or whatever we do
One track that comes to mind that demonstrates your versatility as an artist is ‘Fuck Mozart ‘track. It demonstrates (to me) you aren’t afraid to experiment and push the boundaries of your usual style of music while still retaining the essence of who Dee Wallz -the artist is. Your strength is in your flawless vocals. You have a distinctive sound.
Do you write your own music?
Of course, I consider myself a lyricist so I feel like that’s a must.
What do you do in your free time?
I’m a be honest music is my life (lol ), if I’m not doing it .I’m thinking about doing it or how I further my status in music.
What are your other hobbies though?
I would say the gym and video games. Those two are great stress relievers, and it helps just give me a restart before I pick up the pen and pad again.
True, it’s important to have other interests. Its a tough industry to be in and looking after your physical and mental health is vital to staying focused. Yeah, I can see how committed you are and how hard you train using different voice technique reflected in the tracks I’ve listened to
What are you trying to do in the industry?
I’m trying to make the biggest impact I can while being me and making the music I genuinely want to make.
What do you want to be known for/known as?
One of the greatest
😀 baht of course. A G.O.A.T. Indeed.
Make the best of Life. Make it count.
What do you hope to get out of your involvement in the music industry?
To create a lasting legacy and hopefully influence the general(?)in a positive way
What is your favourite quote?
It takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. I feel like I’m currently at 9,999
*A quote from the author of ‘how to achieve mastery in whatever a person does in life, by Malcolm Gladwell. It is a classic perfectionist quote. in my humble opinion.
What quote/sentence would you say best describes you and your music?
Introspective, Catchy and Witty
What kind of music do you listen to?
I know everyone says this but- all kinds (lol )but primarily hip-hop if I’m being honest…
What are your 3 favourite songs ?
- Lil Wayne- I’m Me
Nas- It Aint Hard To Tell
How does music affect your mood?
It can literally change my mood in an instant. That’s why if I’m feeling down I like to listen to something from my childhood to lift my spirit.
Nothing wrong with indulging in a moment of nostalgia. Music has a way of putting me in a different mindstate.
What is your perspective on the current state of the industry?
I love it, we’re in a state of independence and self-empowerment. I also feel like there is a balance musically.
I agree that music artists have more opportunities to self promote on different music platforms and access to information on the internet has made it easier for some ways to get your music out to the public.
What do you think will help the industry survive/what do you think the industry needs in order to thrive?
I think just embrace artist genuinely wanting to be themselves and not change them and jus accentuate what talent they already have.
Yeah, I agree that we should work hard to stay true to ourselves as well as being inspired or influenced by different artists/sources.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m just dropping songs at a steady pace and perfecting my craft more and more as I go so stay tuned…….. (quoted in 2018)
This track is interesting too
What inspired it?
It wasn’t anything too deep. I just wanted something more upbeat and fun (lol). I like to try new things with my creativity.
Thank you, for taking the time to do a feature. You have been so cool, helpful and it’s been a pleasure collaborating with you.
Dee Wallz’ last released track was this classical hip hop , his with lyrics full of passion and a still waters deep soul soundscape .
I'm looking to gauge interest from creative people who live/ work or spend time being creative in U.K., Yorkshire and globally) to be a part of a project called 'The Creativists Hour' Up until now I've focused on mini music reviews and interviewing Musicians - the majority of the talent I've reached out and who've reciprocated are not from the U.K. I focused on gaining confidence by writing (unusual) music reviews and "hounding'" people to do a Feature for my blog. I knew this was a huge risk to my blog and readers because I was trying something new. I was willing to lose certain readers or win them over. My angle on doing these reviews and Features included finding artists who aren't afraid about talking about mental health - their or other peoples or even sharing personal experiences- the good, the bad. -the ugly? My experience writing features showed more readership engagement with people open to talking about themselves and their mental health issues without feeling it would compromise their aspirations/career. The next part of this project is to extend my (unusual) reviews, research/interview people from the entertainment and arts industry writers
Scriptwriters for radio/film or stage
animation artists and organisations who support local talent in Halifax and the U.K. & globally)
The AIMS of this project
Share authentic and relatable stories and personal narratives to readers to inspire them, to see that being creative is not something that has to be measured by success /money/experience or fans.
Focus on the community closer to my current home in Yorkshire and on the U.K. creative scene
Keep promoting artists and creative people from across the globe.
Interview/Chat to individuals about:
How,Why and What led them to have chosen their creative outlets, hobbies or careers.
understanding how using their creative outlets benefited/Improved their life in a holistic sense: Mental health, physical health, social lifestyle, values, perspectives, challenges, moments of achievement
How have their creative outlets led to negative experiences and how they overcome them/ intend to. The Outcome for asking people to share this is: Inspire people & be real.
What creativity means to an individual
How (if at all) has their community helped or hindered their creative passions.
How can they encourage or signpost other local community members to feel inspired/ confident to get involved with their community and creative arts scene to express themselves? I believe even the most "successful & talented people have moments of doubt.
How I aim to achieve this:
Interview individuals/groups/organisations on social media/emails/Skype/face to face recorded interviews /meetings/gigs etc.. and then use my blog as a medium to merge our agendas.
Why my blog?
I love music and I love writing and I love people with a story to tell. This gives interested participants/people both a platform and voice to promote their talent and own agenda. It's my blog and my risk. It might be a success or need tweaking. I enjoy changing things up. Writing out of my comfort zone. My agenda is to use this project as a platform to pass on other peoples experiences in the Arts/entertainment industry to the reader by being real and be comfortable talking about mental health -good and bad. Giving people resources, ideas, self-confidence, inspiration and hope that they can also be creative & challenge the definition of creativity. Use my blog as a data storing place where I can record my research/findings/photos/transcripts of interviews Spread the word on what is creative talent/opportunities there are in, West Yorkshire , the U.K. and around the globe. Email if you want to take part
This was my first feature interview. I asked for this interview and boy, did I get it. I was unprepared, I didn’t record it & I spoke a lot. It was a huge learning curve for me about how to prepare for future live interviews.
Cornelius Ferguson (Corky Traxman) can talk-a lot. He is opinionated, emotional, passionate & open.
Step one- How not to interview someone successfully
I dropped Corky a message about finishing ‘the feature’ & then whilst putting my washing in the laundry, my mobile rang, I was unprepared ( no recorder, no pen and a Mr Ferguson on the other line who talks a lot and fast ).
Corky straight away called me out saying, ‘ You tripping’ ( yeah cos I’m unprepared).
Who is Corky Traxman strong?
Corky was born & raised in West Chicago. He’s a self-made D.J. /Music producer & manages a record label He is a Dad to five children & grandpa to two grandchildren.
What Corky says about the origins of the Chicago music scene
He spoke about the Warehouse, this was the first after-hours party venue to stay open after 3 a.m. in the early ’80s.
Corky explained how the Chicago warehouse club was where Corky ‘got a flavour ‘for house music. This was the place where his passion and dedication to the music kicked off. Corky describes it as
One of the finest places to go to.
We touched upon how the disco music produced in the late ’70s/early 80’s started to lose its appeal. And when house music first put down its roots in Chicago, Corky described how it wasn’t 100% well-received for various reasons. Chicago music wasn’t going anywhere.
In Corky’s words
When you try to kill something, it goes underground & comes back harder
Corky went to explain that he didn’t ‘vibe ‘ with the whole disco scene. When he was 13 years old, Corky described his influences
as the kind of nu-wave music that Frankie Knuckles started playing (early 80’s )
This was a time when the LGBT COMMUNITY were being discriminated against.
It was diverse (for example) my uncles girlfriends brother was openly gay in the early 80’s and they used go to the warehouse records. We had Spanish Harlem.
Around that time Corky described how he was ‘blessed ‘ to be in a position to fly back & forth from Chicago & New York. He was able to embrace both scenes.
When I asked if Corky had ever embraced the drug scene
I’ve never done ecstasy.As a kid, I didn’t experience or witness big parties. It was 1981 (I was 8 years old). Then when I hit 13 years old I became the curious DJ I met up with D.J. Slick Rick ‘Da’ master ( the American music producer ) & Steve Point Dexter and through dance mania (records) in 1984, I got a taste for the party scene.
Corky was signed up to the dance mania label ( founded by Jesse James in 1985) who signed up many pioneers of the Chicago house music scene.
In 1987 the door opened and I met up with Slick Rick ‘Da’ master And a body down the projects called D.J. Funk…and we hung out at the House of Jammin Gerald (and) he did something we’d never seen before.
He used a cassette machine to make a beat machine (ie a mixtape by hand ) the Chicago acid soul track ‘No way back’ (by Adonis) became a huge classic UK hit .
Corky also lists the HOTMIX 5 DJ TEAM as creative influences. HOT MIX 5 was Chicago house music first commercial success in terms of radio airtime.
STEP 2 How to interview someone unsuccessfully
Digressing and cramming too much in.
Corky’s views on American politics
From a hood perspective, Trump doesn’t concern us .What he is doing to us-He’s not doing anything to us that hasn’t already been done.
Corky’s opinion of Obama when he was in the White House
FUCK OBAMA! He did something for the American minorities. There were no tangibles.
Tangibles (elaborate please)?
Black people want 465 years of free labour.
How do you imagine that could be achieved?
(LAUGHS) I don’t know yet-grass roots campaigns ? (the minorities) need to hold their own nuts. Black people do not want to harm children & babies .
For more information on this HUGE topic check out HOLD YOUR OWN NUTS campaign.
Can you tell me what your view is about mental health & the music/creative industry?
People need to perk up. People need to be heard. I go through it.
When I asked him to speak about the track he did title ‘DEPRESSION’
yeah, it was just how I felt. It reminds me of this kid from Phoenix who said something compelling. He said he was going through something. Something real serious, like he wanted to commit suicide. It’s serious. I got him to work with me on my footwork on-air project and it seemed to help him.
What other roles have you had in or out of the music industry?
I’ve recently founded my own music label (2018)
When I asked Corky how his label came about
He’s a Robert
( phone signal bugged out at that moment)
He’s a distributor in Germany-you’re really picking my brains…
(To clarify Corky Traxman Strong runs Chicago factory music record label with Dance manias very own, Steve point Dexter).
COOL FACT: Steve point Dexter’s dad used to drum for jazz /piano composer Duke Ellington-he’s most well known is, ‘ It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing.
I tried to cajole Corky into talking about Mr AAARFF?
I can’t . Mr AAARFF is my cat that helps me make decisions. I can’t comment without him being here.
(Corky becomes unusually quieter)
Okay, so Why did you start a music label?
(Laughs) Freedom ( incredulous) I can make my own choices.
DURR (to myself)
Because you’ve transcended so many different genres of music-what kind of people listen to your music today?
I dunno. Ordinary people. You don’t need to be part white or part black or (you can be) even transgender ,y know?
Where would you say your biggest fan base is?
Asia. Japan and Asia It’s not primarily just juke and footwork I play. They even love their reggae
Moving onto your work with TEK LIFE (congratulations for hitting the ROLLING STONE TOP 20 EDM ALBUMS FOR 2017) and the whole footwork movement
For more information about TEK LIFE & Corky’s involvement, you can find more details TEK LIFE