Talk Talk: An Interview With Drugdealer

With past aliases including Run DMT and Salvia Plath, Michael Collins now operates under the moniker Drugdealer and also produces music as one half of Silk Rhodes. Having produced music through his past projects over the years, Collins released Drugdealer's stunning debut LP 'The End of Comedy' last year which features collaborators including Weyes Blood, Ariel Pink and Sheer Agony. With a comedic narrative to it as well as revealing a deeper perspective of himself, the songs shine through consistently throughout the LP, with the collaborators giving their own distinct touch to it. Ahead of his show at Moth Club earlier this year, we got to speak to Collins about the new album, his travels and his upcoming projects.

You’ve talked about how comedy plays a role in your life. Did this shape the album in any way?

Of course. It's hard to fully understand how omnipresent comedy is in every culture, its like trying to figure out how many foods have sugar incorporated. We use comedy to run away from truth in some instances, and other times to reveal it. I know in my life it has manifested itself in both ways at different times, so now as I get older I find it extremely useful to try and reflect on the different nature of either side.  

I guess I could say the most fulfilling aspect to completing this album was that it took much longer than anything else I had ever done, and there was a purposefulness to it that I needed to move towards.  Instead of trying to finish a set of music in basically one sitting as I always would manically strive towards in the past, I just let nature take its course, and through that, ended up focusing a lot more on myself and the deeper meaning of where I was at.

On the note of comedy, how do you think the Trump Presidency will affect musical creativity?

So far, I don't think satire has gotten any better. But if things get much worse, say, if we lose the food stamps program or other catastrophic blows to daily life, humour as a weapon will hopefully take action.

How has it been working with a number of collaborators on the album? Ariel Pink, Weyes Blood and a number of others. In what way did they contribute?

Everyone I collaborated with was amazing, and people that I genuinely look up to.  Ariel and me wrote a song together, "Easy to Forget," which he sang; and he also contributed the amazing baselines for the single "Suddenly." As far as with Nataly, I've known her for almost a decade as peers, and like everyone else I'm completely enamoured by her in every way. She inspired me to write a lot of this material so obviously I wanted to work closely with her. We really like creating together and will continue to do so on this second LP.

What role has your hometown played in your choice of career path? Were there many opportunities out there?

My hometown was Boston, where I felt no opportunities or any cultural base for things I wanted to do or be. But, in turn, that did push me to explore my creativity because I generally loathed the post puritanical society there and I guess it forced me into myself.

Do you have any key figures who have influenced your view on life be it musically, creatively and artistically? 

I would have to say Dylan, Carole King, the moody blues, and J Dilla. Also the skateboard companies Alien Workshop, Habitat SkateboardsFoundation Skateboards, and their whole teams.

You’ve also mentioned how you’ve travelled a lot for many years. What have been some standout moments for you and did you happen to learn anything new about yourself throughout your travels?

I can't really get into too many specific instances because i'm going through them in a podcast soon.  But my major lesson from traveling without a destination for a long time was that in order to fully grasp who I was I needed to fully immerse myself in a wandering state where I had to focus step by step all day of where I was going and how I was getting there, in order to lose the constant focus on who I wanted to be.  I guess what I'm getting it is that when you are at that age in your twenties (or whenever) when it seems like the world is asking too much of you (regarding what you are meant to do in life) I think the right move is to put yourself in a situation where you completely sidestep those quandaries for a while and let the movement of life wash you ashore to your own place.

Do you believe travelling can lead people to a deeper perspective on life?

Without a doubt.  Its like a trap door to humility, in the best cases.

Do you plan to still release music from your other aliases (Run DMT and Salvia Plath)?

No.  Im gonna do Drugdealer here on out until I focus on filmmaking - which eventually will likely take over all my endeavors.

Do these separate projects give you an outlet to explore different avenues you might not be able to under one moniker or is it a simple case of progression?

Its not only fun to create new characters, but it also all feeds back into the original projects. I have a private disco pop project where the character is a girl named Ruby, and I can already see those experiments lending some things into the new Drudgdealer.

MusicElina Adibin