Music Q&A: Dirty Dike

The Cambridge rapper releases his fifth album after a three-year hiatus

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How would you describe your sound?
A firm authoritative slap to the back of the head? Rap music? No, to be honest I don’t like to do that. Everyone digests music in their own way, and it would just be patronising for me to decide what it sounds like for other people. That’s up to the listener. I could give you some boring generalisation of the rough sound I’m going for or something, but what’s the point in that? It wouldn’t be accurate. I just can’t describe it without feeling uncomfortable.

What informs your music and songwriting?
Mainly stupid things other people say, drugs and uncomfortable, dangerous situations I like to get stuck in, you know? Outdoors, long horrendous rainy walks following train lines for miles at night, one way tickets to places with a bag of tricks, cooking in the woods, breaking into things, etc. So I guess a lot of it comes from all that.

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?
Well, I mean I was just a naughty kid shouting about drugs and his cock but now I’ve produced entire projects for the likes of Ocean Wisdom, Rag’n’Bone Man and Lee Scott. So I guess I picked up a couple of new passions and developed new skills. I always wanted to actually make the music I make, if you get me. I can never be one of those people who just accept things work without knowing how and having a go. Aside from that a bunch of tours worldwide and four sold-out solo albums. I’m having fun and forever learning more about the creation and business side of things.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
This new album called Acrylic Snail. Taking a lot of photos and painting. I’ve actually been working on a 16 page book that comes with Acrylic Snail full of flicks I’ve taken whilst making the record. I used film and arranged the prints with lots of little stories and objects amongst them, kind of building the pages physically out of my photos, then lighting it and re-photographing it. Real analogue book making page by page, ha! Other than that I paint a lot. Painting was there for me before music. It’s like my safety net. When all runs dry, there’s always shit to paint. I can be anywhere in the world and I will meet people and create opportunities by painting in the street. I travelled about Sri Lanka on a moped eating for free and getting offered accommodation for painting bars and restaurant walls. Drawing on shit is the most secure thing I’ve ever known. It’s always there.

What’s on your rider?
Two litres of gin, one litre of sparkling water, one fresh mint, one elderflower cocktail, one cucumber, one bunch of flowers, four kilogrammes of basmati rice, cooked.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
It’s not embarrassing at all but really surreal. I once pissed in a frog’s mouth. I was taking a piss in a grave yard and this frog hopped over to the yellow cascade and, I kid you not, it tilted its head back, opened his mouth, lent in and gargled the piss before hopping off over the headstones and into long grass. Nobody believed me and we all went to the pub.

Photo: Harvey Williams-Fairley

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