um.. might look like a just hesitation in typing, but those privy to their music know what a huge statement they actually make through sound!
My first moments of Shambhala Music Festival 2017 were spent high tailing it to their set, because I knew I wanted every lick of it. That’s my sad attempt to use dog puns by the way, because that’s also what um.. did (much better might I add) as the focus of their collaboration-driven [a dog’s tale] EP which dropped earlier this month.
Start to finish, um..’s set felt especially daring and creative, as those two Basshounds worked the decks. It’s honestly a little hard coming up with the right words to describe it because nothing had blown me a way like that in recent memory… It was pawsome.
Ok, I’m just gonna stop with that.
There was no better way to kick of Shambhala than their fun and wacky set… So, my tail started wagging when — I mean, I was super happy to get the opportunity to interview them about the creative process of their new EP and other random things!
How did you guys form your [a dog’s tale] concept?
Ben: Originally we wanted it to be the Dog EP or some derivative of that, because we were making music with homies — like dogs. [or dawgs if you prefer]
Dylan: I like dogs!
Ben: And, dogs are a big part of our brand so that just kind of made sense. Then at one point we decided we wanted all of the track names to be dog puns. And, then we thought of a better dog pun for the title.
Dylan: It worked in different ways. Anything that’s ambiguous and uncertain about it — it’s like, “Wait, do they mean it like that?” or “Did they spell that right?” Anything we do like that, it’s always fun to mess around with people.
um.. x sumthin sumthin – farfetched
Ben: We actually didn’t know Conrad before we collabed — He went to Icon Collective where we also went. We basically had a bunch of mutual friends and someone linked us up. And, we’re like “Yo, we’re playing Shambhala, and we’re making an EP, etc. etc.” But, as far as the process went, it was pretty solid.
Dylan: Personally it’s my favorite one on the EP.
Dylan: He came in and we listened to his music, and we knew what it was. But, then he came in and he was like, “I’ve been listening to stuff like this.” It was some deeper dubstep that kind of reminded me of Truth. I was super down with that. It has those vibes to it, but it definitely has more experimental inserts and turned out really cool.
Dylan: I would say probably expect more from us. I think our flows compliment each other.
Ben: And, we’re just becoming closer and closer friends. We’re on the same booking agency. We went to the same school together. We’re just always around each other.
um.. x great dane – off the leash
Dylan: We got in the studio with Dane. Dane just sat down and was like “[Mr.] Carmack does this cool thing with the sub,” and he made this cool sound. Then, he just went for like 45 minutes and wrote the first half of the track.
Ben: He just dove in. He started going and never stopped.
Dylan: Really fast. I’ve never seen someone work that fast. Then, there was people there doing an interview for Team Supreme at the same time in the studio so he was like, “OK, I’m gonna go do this real quick. Here, you go work.” Then he went to Asia, and we finished it. He wanted to call it “Sleepyhead” — and he didn’t know about the dog thing — and we had to pull the plug on that, and call it “Off the Leash.” That was awesome, getting to work with someone from Team Supreme.
[a dogs tale] um.. x yunis – kibbles n bitches
Ben: That one was interesting because [Yunis] lived in Germany. It was weird working with someone on another part of the world. It was a weird dynamic, considering there was a 12 hour time difference or something. So, communication was super slow. And, we’ve never met him before. So, that was a weird one, but I think it came out out pretty good.
Dylan: He’s a really cool dude. We tried to explain the name to him because there’s a language barrier and he was like, “Kibbles? What is that?” And, we’re like, “Bitch is a female dog.” And, he was like, “Uhhh???” He had no idea what was going on.
um.. x yheti – beautiful [dog] vip
Ben: We sent Yheti an idea pretty organically a while before this whole EP started. He was down, and then 6 months later he sent us back basically a full track. We wanted to keep working on it and he had been playing it out for 6 months so, we were like, “OK, we’ll make a VIP.” And, kind of made another track which is what we put out. I think his original version is coming out this month.
Dylan: I think he was the first person to ask to work with. After we saw him at Emissions we were like, “Yo, we really vibes with your set. That was a lot of fun!” We thought it was our friend [WoolyMammoth] playing, but it ended up being Yheti because our friend’s computer broke and he filled in.
Let’s play the word association game starting with um..
Ben: leash *rolls eyes*
Dylan: tale — Not killing it. I am not killing it.
Ben: You’re trying too hard. We do this all the time, I feel like. He’s good when he’s not on the spot.
How much do you guys hang out?
Ben: Too much.
Dylan: Until recently, like 90% of the time, honestly. Because, we lived together, we do um.. together, we didn’t have jobs.
Ben: It was 90-plus% of our lives.
Dylan: For the last 3 years ever since I moved in… Oh!
Suddenly, a walkie talkie drowned out our conversation and thoughts…
“…IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN ORDER WHILE VACATING WE WOULD ASK OUR GUESTS TO BEGIN TO PACK THEIR VEHICLES, REMAIN SOBER, DESIGNATED DRIVER, REMAIN CALM, BE WELL RESTED, AND PLAN YOUR ROUTE HOME! END OF TRANSMISSION, PLEASE COPY.”
Things got weird, we were so bummed out and distracted by the news, but we attempted to finish the interview…
So… How do you guys feel right now about Shambhala shutting down?
Ben: I wish they waited till after after our back to back to do that…
Dylan: That’s so sad.
Ben: We heard that like 30 minutes ago and that just bummed me the f*ck out.
Dylan: I’m really grateful we got to be here and experience it.
Ben: I’m sooo glad we got to do our set!
Dylan: This was like our dream festival.
To lighten the mood, I asked a question random question provided by our Editor In Chief, Matthew Meadow…
What’s with your weird fascination with Steve Buscemi’s eyes?
Dylan: Yeah probably not many people know this but —
Ben: Should we make it public or not?
Dylan: I’m down.
Ben: Well basically, in all of our artwork there are these two dogs… Sometimes it’s hard to see, but it’s in there.
Dylan: They’re always transparent or hidden in some way…
Ben: And, they have Steve Buscemi eyes.
Dylan: They’re 2 golden retriever puppies with Steve Buscemi eyes, so it just looks weird. It was just a subliminal thing we’d always put in our artwork. It’s not going to accomplish anything or do anything, but maybe one day someone is like, “What the f*ck? Why are all these weird dogs in their pictures?”
Now, ask each other an interview question… And, we can be done!
Dylan: What’s your favorite camping food?
Ben: I call it the Trail Mix Taco.. It’s wheat bread with peanut butter and trail mix, and you fold it in half. It will sustain you for all of Shambhala. I eat like six a day.
Ben: If the world was ending next week what would you do? Money is no object.
Dylan: Oh man, I’d want to gather up my closest family and friends — which would be really hard to do because all of my friends would want to be with their family, too. I’d get everyone together and go somewhere beautiful and look at scenery. I am not a drug person — but I’d probably just do all the drugs I’ve never done before — enough to forget about the world ending. Just silently go out, or chaotically go out, but not worrying about the world ending, just more in my own world of these drugs that I’ve never tried before. Now I sound like a drug addict.
Note: I was surprised to find out these guys don’t have dogs of their own, but do enjoy watching them! Yay dogs.
Photo by @chaneneveling