Who are you and where are you from?
Starting with the heavy stuff right away, eh? I like it. I am B. Dolan. I’m from America.
Who are your favorite artists from home?
I live in a city called Providence, RI. It’s small by American standards but there’s an incredible density of great music coming from there. Some bands worth checking out from there are Roz & The Rice Cakes and Dropdead. Two rappers worth checking out from there are Sage Francis and Prolyphic.
What’s it really like touring?
It’s unlike anything else, and difficult to relate to people who haven’t experienced it. Some people think it’s like being on vacation and they’re wrong. Some people think it’s hell and they’re wrong too. For me, it’s a special privilege to travel the world and perform for people who care about my music. At times it can also be punishing, uncomfortable, maddening and lonely. But then you leave France and it’s awesome again.
What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?
That’s impossible to answer. I love a lot of cities and venues. Since this will run in Ireland I’d like to namecheck Belfast, where the kids were so hype they actually managed to crowd surf a 320 pound rapper for the first time ever… and Derry, where the city itself and the people I met made a lasting impression on me.
What’s your ideal festival line-up?
To be honest, festivals have never made much sense to me as a performer or a fan. There’s only a few acts I think I’d like to see with 60,000 other people, and they have a specifically huge sound. People like Radiohead, James Blake, or Rage Against the Machine are kinda who I’m thinking of there. For 99% of the artists I enjoy though I’d rather see them in a club with 300-400 other people. Where they’ve had time to soundcheck and can communicate with the people who are present. As an artist, the festival experience is often a rushed line-check, getting hustled onto a stage in front of a massive amount of people, making only big physical gestures that can be seen from way the hell in the back, playing a shortened set, etc. I’ve never felt the same connection at a festival as I do at a club.
What has been your biggest achievement of the year?
We’ve started rolling out some of the songs from House of Bees 3 in the past month, one of which was the single “THE DEVIL IS ALIVE,” which tells the story of the real Freeway Ricky Ross, whose identity the rapper Rick Ross stole. Freeway Ricky’s story is an important one, which ties into the history of how the C.I.A. helped sell guns and drugs to American gangs in the 80s, essentially creating the crack epidemic.
While we were creating that song I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received, as it addressed some very specific street shit that involved real people. I received a call a day after the song came out from Freeway Rick Ross himself, and was informed that he loved the song and was down to help us promote it in any way possible. That felt good.
What was the worst piece of advice you were given?
“if you shake it more than twice, you’re playing with it.”
What do you do to relax?
I’m currently on tour with Atmosphere and during downtime we’ve been record shopping, which has been a really fun way to sample the local flavor. I’ve also come up on some really exciting records on this trip which I’m excited to start messing with when I get home.
What are you reading?
Generation of Swine by Hunter S. Thompson.
How about TV, anything good on the box?
Been watching NBC’s Hannibal, which is pretty dope. I also highly recommend people go find Black Mirror from Channel 4 if they haven’t seen it.
Do you have a favourite YouTube video?
‘Drinking out of Cups’. Also David Blaine doing a magic trick for Harrison Ford has been making me laugh a lot lately.
What website do you visit most?
That’s none of your goddamn business.
What is your favourite:
Record? Unanswerable. I’ll choose randomly from the iPod. ‘Black Gladiator’ by Bo Diddley.
Song? ‘Everything She Wants’ by Wham, obviously.
Lost classic song? ‘What Good is a Castle’ by Joe Bataan
Record label? Cadet Records. For years I’ve been buying every record I can find from that label, and am never disappointed.
Who is your favourite current artist?
Werner Herzog inspires me all the time.
A new artist that you are most excited about?
Kanye West. Yep. Deal with that.
What was the last great gig you were at?
I saw Erykah Badu DJ at SXSW last year, and I absolutely loved that set. I’d had a lot of edibles though, so I’m not 100% sure it was as awesome as I thought it was? But she played “I Can’t Wait” by Nu Shooz at exactly the right moment for me, and it sort of shot my mind into space.
Mine or others? Either way, KRS-One at Harper’s Ferry in Boston. I’ll tell you that story another time.
What should we expect from your Irish shows?
Bedlam, baby. Bedlam and furious anger. That’ll be the tail end of my tour with the full band and Scroobius Pip, and we’ll be leaving every last bit of energy onstage, Bob Seger style.
Don’t miss your chance to see B. Dolan live featuring Scroobius Pip on the Speech Development in Dublin’s Workman’s Club on November 20th. Tickets are €14 and are available here
Photo by Michael Brown