Ethnofusion [INTERVIEW] High Dude – Withstanding EP with VALE

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Long-time Outtallectuals collaborator and overall dubstep rebel, High Dude, released a new EP through the dastardly dark VALE crew, tackling emotive and introspective realms of deep 140 music. High Dude’s signature foleyful sound is highlighted in these 4 tracks, however it was the two tracks, Shaman’s Weeping & Artless which caught the ‘ethno’ focus. They have High Dude departing from his majorly abstract sound into a more melodic direction, with a much more overall defined and polished techy sound.

Knowing that he always has some mad-meta details to his releases, we caught up with High Dude to dig deeper into this EP’s details. Here’re some thoughts we exchanged back n forth:

Q. What was the concept behind the title ‘Withstanding’?

The overall concept of the EP was to talk about being in a higher state of consciousness and growing in a different way than the one promoted by the dominant capitalistic ideology (which is a slavery system and had nothing to do with growing up). This is a common paradox for artists as they are somewhat idealistic, and with the understanding that ‘music is pure love’, they want to transcend their imagination of how the world really is and help to shift that paradigm.

Meanwhile, music and art in general is almost like a personal diary for an artist, and I believe this dialogue with the self helps for personal development and becoming honest to oneself, subsequently helping people to develop empathy. If you lie to yourself by not being true to yourself, you are likely to lie to others as well. It is this contagious acceptance of who we are that helps us become a part of the opposite of a vicious circle… a righteous circle perhaps?

I have a similar feeling towards the poetry I write and its power to accept the deepest feelings within myself and help to accept others’ emotions.

Q. What prompted the more melodic approach with this EP?

A. Previously, my aesthetic approach to music could have been described as ‘anti-melodic’ experiments where I used abstract sounds without any catchy melodies for the listeners. At some point, I got to the argument that music can’t be defined to require melodies so the average listener could demand whether this even counts as “music”. At the same time, I also didn’t want to just put 3 notes and consider a basic melody as a good one, and my main focus was on technical production. I have now reached a point where I feel confident about what I’m doing technically, and I want to incorporate more melodies into my compositions.

I can also perceive my evolution as an individual in my releases. I remember my mom hearing one of my early releases, ‘State Interests’ and asking me if I felt OK, as I believe my existential depression cycle was quite obvious for some in the non-melodic side of my music. Now, I feel to have a better comprehension and acceptation of myself and that may be noticeable with the more melodic aspects of this EP.

Q. Can you tell us the backstory to any of the songs on the EP?

Artless exemplifies overcoming a sense of naivete; this song was composed last summer after the final breathes of a 6.5-year relationship, yet we had to live together for a month after the break up. During that time, I realized how artless I had become, and after a one-month dark period of acceptance when it finally ended, I produced this track in a 1-week session, using the naïve introduction, hard scratchy drop, introspective bridge and sorrowful melodic acceptance sections in the track.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background? I know that you are studying a PhD and teaching?

A. Yes, I’m studying a PhD on Hip-hop History and its social, political and philosophical evolutions from the US across the globe.

I was teaching Middle School children for a while; however, my radical methods of teaching were not accepted in the conservative education mechanism provided by the State and I wasn’t able to continue on this path. For example, I don’t think there is a need for kids to always raise their hands and for the teacher to need authority through his hierarchic position to get respected. I believed in honest conversation and respecting each other as equals which seemed to work very well in class as well. If my students felt like painting or being creative in the classroom, I was completely happy to allow this to happen, because I know they could follow the class at the same time, however this was not OK according to the capitalist state rulebook on education (or indoctrination).

I believe this is a weakness of authoritarian people who are usually depressed because they don’t feel that they can achieve control without hierarchical authority and want to deny kids from asking the right questions. This clash of my anarchist critics and the bureaucratic system in classroom politics is kind of representative of my wider critical system as well.

Q. Any final comments?

A. If I would have one message in my music it would be: “accept who you are or you will wake up n find yourself dead inside (still maybe that is only my perception)”