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We talk with Slaves on Dope’s Kevin Jardine and Jason Rockman with Darryl McDaniels

slaves-on-dopeI recently had the chance to meet Kevin Jardine and Jason Rockman of the band Slaves on Dope (check out my review of their new CD here, it’s killer), and a legend who happened to collaborate on one of the songs on their new release, none other than Darryl McDaniels, ex Run DMC.  A nicer, more informed and informative trio you’re ever going to meet.

As you guys are in, running around the city doing business, I was wondering what your take is on the music business these days. ‘Slaves’ has been around since ’93 so you’ve seen some changes to be sure.  

Kevin: I’m forty-three so you can’t count what guys my age have to say anymore, but I can’t listen to a record unless I sit all the way through it. But these days it’s all  ‘I want this song, I want this song.’ People don’t even know what they are listening for. What happened to sitting down, putting on a record, relaxing and trying to understand what the artist is trying to convey? What the business has become is really weird.

Some would say though that at least social media helps artists, in a way.

Kevin: Yeah, that’s bizarre too. You tend to have to be masters in marketing from NYU to get your art out there.

Jason: You want to put music out, but in 2000 2001 the bottom fell out of the business so now you can’t rely on people, you got to rely on yourself.

Kevin: Then again, some guy in Russia can let you know rather quickly that he digs your song when years ago he’d have to have tried to write you a letter, somehow get it to you, so that’s a cool thing about Twitter and Facebook and all that.

Jason: Yeah, I can put something on Twitter, Instagram then like Darryl comments or ‘likes it’ and we get feedback. But the trade-off is that there isn’t really any rock star mystery like there was years ago. I just went to go see Tears For Fears with my wife, we drove six hours cause they never play Canada, but already somebody had posted the show’s set list, so that takes away from the fun and the mystery.

So, Darryl, how’d you hook up with these guys?

Darryl: It started with an interview. I didn’t even know these guy, but a friend told me about Jason (Jason hosts radio shows in Canada) and how he would like to interview me, that he was a fan.

Jason: Um, of course I wanted to interview him!

Darryl: I just got on the phone with him and told him I’d come up. I don’t like phone interviews, I like face to face.

Jason: Yeah, we don’t have a budget to fly people up, but he did, he came up on his own dime.

Darryl: And then I found out he was in a band, and that their music was really good. Then they told me they had a part for me in one of their songs.

Kevin: We had the bridge for “Script Writer,” but we weren’t even sure it was gonna make the record. We finished it and it was just sitting there, we didn’t want to just solo over it and it really turned out to be Darryl doing something there or nothing at all.

Darryl: I just fell in at the right time.

I think it’s great what he does in the bridge as in the tail end of the tune.

Kevin: Yeah, he wasn’t supposed to do that. He had the middle part written, came up and did it, but then he said ‘We got a big problem, I still got more lyrics.’ So we just had him rap out at the end. He’s not just a guest star coming in, doing his solo real quick and then leaving, he’s an integral part of the tune.

Jason: And of course he was in the studio doing it with us, which was the best part really.

Getting together to record, do you have to get all the managers together, the record companies in line?

Darryl: I’m an independent artist now. I’m not signed with any company or anything. I get to work with really whoever wants to work with me. I just recorded with Miles Kennedy, John Moye of Disturbed, Joan Jett for a project that’s coming out soon. The cool thing, even with the guys who are under contract with management, is that the rock guys are so much more real, they’re like ‘Dude let’s go into the studio, we’re playing the bar down the street, come on lets play.’ All that other stuff comes later.

Kevin: Yeah, the art comes first, then we sort it out, as long as we’re having fun, that’s what it’s all about.

Darryl: My main thing with these guys was I didn’t want to mess your album up. What’s impressive about them is their music is dope already, so when they sent me the song to rap on, my first inclination was, ‘Do I want to rap on this, it’s great as it is.’ But once I got my rhyme, I sang it in the shower, I knew it all would work.

Jason: Like he’s gonna mess one of our songs up, come on!

So are you guys gonna play live?

Jason: We already played live in Wisconsin.

Darryl: I was on the show and they were booked too. We’re planning on some mash-ups. If I am going to play I am going to do some solo stuff, some Run DMC tunes, and we’ll play together.

Kevin: Yeah, expect us to be out there.

Darryl: I’m really into live now, that’s what I am trying to focus on. Chuck D said ‘D, you are an icon, you got to get out and make as much music with musicians as you can before you die.’

To find out more about Slaves on Dope, check out their website http://www.slavesondope.com/.

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