Hip Hop artist, Dynamics Plus and his recent album, “Rocket Science” has been making the rounds. Along with the raps and production, Dynamics Plus been crafting music videos that really spell out his message. We thought he caught a nice spin with his previous release, “Phase Shift,” but now his second video, for “Gear Lust,” is proving to be just as captivating. We sit down with this instrument collector and find out more about studio life and technology, and how the big music retailer Sam Ash got involved!
Entertwine: Could you tell us a bit about your musical background? What originally inspired you to create music?
Dynamics Plus: I think, like most, there was a moment when you loved music that spoke to you and you felt like you also had something to say that wasn’t being said. You keep asking How come no one ever…and eventually you see yourself as the person willing to try something new. I took piano lessons as a kid and hated every second of it! For years, Wednesday was a depressing day because it was ‘lesson day’, but now years later, I am so glad I had that foundation to build upon.
ET: How many albums have you released and how long have you been pursuing and living your dreams?
DP: If I count everything together, probably ten, but rap alone, maybe five. Well, the dream or dreams keep changing. At one point I wanted a record deal and I spent all my energy working on being viable. Then one day, after years of frustration, I just gave myself a record deal. Yep, I made a record label and signed myself. It was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done. I no longer had to worry about every little thing being catchy or how will this group or that group respond and I didn’t have to make music for imaginary suits. I didn’t even need to worry about commercial radio- I could rock out for the headphones!
That lead to me make whatever I wanted and people would hear my music and say “Oh, I don’t think labels would…” and I would answer with: Well, I only need one label and I already found one that digs me…mine.
ET: What can you tell us about the music scene on Long Island?
Are there any venues or locations in Long Island or in New York City that you frequent as a guest or a performer?
DP: Long Island is bar rap. It’s a talented rapper appearing before a crowd and being brand new every time he hits the stage. The audience just rotates so much, it’s hard to be a regular anywhere. Right now in Amityville, in my area, there’s a showcase called the Ear Waxx Sessions and that’s really getting it in as far as spots to perform at.
ET: Are there any acts out of New York that you’ve recently been impressed by?
DP: Recently I’ve been surrounded by these new cats and some rap veterans. I’m seeing the youthful energy and the trend to load the stage with homies. On the flip side, I just saw Craig G and Buckshot rock out and they bring that experience. No gimmicks or looks, they just perform with that energy and take over the room.
ET: What does Dynamica Music represent and mean to you? Can you tell us about some of the advantages having your own studio (The Fallout Shelter) affords you?
DP: Oh man, they both represent the freedom to explore, experiment and create on your own terms. I started out recording at different studios and trying to get other people to make my beats. It was not a good working system. That’s why I started doing it myself. It was the same liberating moment of working on music and no longer watching the clock. The space to create songs other than ‘the big hit that’s gonna do it‘. It used to be my fantasy to have a studio so ill, I could make a record at home. With technology changing the way it has, it’s possible right now and I am surely taking advantage.
ET: Tell us about The Fallout Shelter; do you do all your own engineering and producing? Is there a particular process you have for working on a song in the recording studio?
DP: When I’m working on music, I just make whatever I feel and it usually leans a certain way. I hear it back and think, like ‘this might be a story joint or this one might be nutso’ then I push the track harder in that direction. Sometimes I get the idea first and then try to imagine what kind of track fits the concept. What I try to avoid is making music based off sounds, like searching for inspiration by previewing patches, presets or samples. Inspiring sounds don’t always lead to inspiring music.
ET: What life experiences and events inspired the writing and recording of your three most recent albums?
DP: Rap-wise, that would be CHAOS Legion, followed by Battlestrux Year One followed by Rocket Science. Story telling. It was the realization that I wanted to tell stories. I want to place you, the listener, someplace specific seeing an exact thing in your mind. Rocket Science becomes the real-world stage for that desire.
ET: What can you tell us about the writing and recording process for Rocket Science?
DP: Easiest album-creating experience I’ve ever had. A very pure process that was just about gathering some of my favorite music and making records that fit the zone. I’m really on some ‘Let’s stay here a while’. So expect more. It’s also the most not-totally-me album yet. I have guest appearances by R&B performer Nae B, SheaDoll and Anthony Michael Angelo on guitar. Plus, I had lots of ears along the way checking out the songs to make sure what I wanted to convey was presented as clearly as possible.
ET: Who are your biggest musical influences and why?
DP: Sci-fi and anime and now the stuff I’ve been doing, personally. Well, it spills over. Sometimes it’s hard to focus on just being creative when real-world stuff is hitting you so hard, emotionally and sometimes physically. Making music used to be an escape, but sometimes it needs to be a vehicle to help you face a situation or deal with what needs dealing with.
ET: What went into the direction and filming of the music video for ‘Gear Lust’? What about the video for ‘Phase Shift’? Tell us about each experience.
DP: Okay. I have a list of ‘wouldn’t that be crazy if I…‘ and generally those ideas get shuffled around for different songs. For the mechanic workshop shots in “Phase Shift” I could have built a woman and it would have fit another song about dating. The best metaphor, in my mind, was building a rapper, like the industry does, and performing for- and with him on an empty stage. It parallels the kids playing with dolls like his life is a game for children, hence the toys.
“Gear Lust” started with the idea of wouldn’t it be crazy if I filmed a video about gear at Sam Ash? I knew I wanted to at least film the line about going in to Sam Ash that opens the song. So we planned to just go gorilla style and film that opening sequence. But then I thought about how many of my music connections and collaborations have sprung from Sam Ash employees, how often I’m down there- how I literally built my Fallout Shelter studio with their help. I just decided to approach them directly and make an official request at the Huntington store. They said cool, long as it doesn’t violate their policies and has a positive message. What could be more positive for a store than a musician’s obsession with amassing studio gear?
ET: What do the remaining months of 2014 hold in store for Dynamics Plus?
DP: All my industry mates tell me to get in line with their calendar and stick to quarterly thinking. Right now, I just want to enjoy Rocket Science, keep making videos, performing and sharing my music. I will keep going where I’m going- long as you’re willing to take this trip with me. And so far it looks like we’re heading into deep space with this one. Thank you for the interview.