Dego exploded onto the scene early in the 1990s as part of the group 4hero – who pioneered and progressed the jungle and drum n’ bass sound while drawing on and exploring a wide range of influences.
The collective turned out a slew of albums – among them 1994’s ‘Parallel Universe’, the Mercury Prize-nominated ‘Two Pages’ in 1998 and 2001’s ‘Creating Patterns’ – each one a thrilling statement of musicianship and a shade ahead of the pulse for Britain’s modern black music.
We had a moment to ask Dego a few quick questions and below is what he has to say about his studio setup, creative process and background.
Red Bull Music Academy is bringing Dego to our shores this month for a tour of free performances across five capital cities – Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane. Free RSVP here.
What music has been on high rotation for you the last 12 months?
I have been listening to the Kendrick Lamar LP as I think it is a very important step in the right direction for black music. The energy and spirit of black creativity is in this LP of a high profile artist and has been sorely missed over the last 10 years. As for old music….hmmm Ryuichi Sakamoto’s advert and incidental music.
Talk us through your studio setup – how different is the setup you use now compared to the setup you used 20 years ago & 10 years ago?
There is no real difference to my setup twenty or ten years ago. I’ve always used a logic sequencer and analogue keyboards, bass guitar and percussion. The one thing that has changed is that I am a better musician now than before and better equipped to make my sonic dreams a reality.
Beyond the music gear, what else is important to you about your creative space?
I must feel comfortable and I prefer to work in the daytime. I have never been one for all night lock ins.
How have you acquired your most valuable musical knowledge along the way? have there been important mentors / collaborators that challenged you or imparted wisdom in particular?
The best practical lessons I have learned are from my crew Kaidi Tatham, Mr Mensah and Matt Lord. The best musical lessons are from all the records I have bought from the 60’s 70’s & 80’s. If I had to pin it down, James Brown & the Mizell brothers would be the most influential.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice at the point when you started getting more serious with your music-making, what would it be?
Learn to play the game regardless of how much it disgusts you.
Dego (4Hero / Black2000) September 2015 Australian Tour Dates:
Thursday 17th: Brisbane – Woolly Mammoth
Friday 18th: Perth – Jimmy’s Den
Saturday 19th: Adelaide – Rocket Bar
Friday 25th: Sydney – Goodgod Small Club
Saturday 26th: Melbourne – Boney
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