Sunday, 4 December 2011

Interview: D'lyfa Reilly

Other than being a dab hand at picking a pun ridden alias, D’lyfa Reilly has been perfecting his art of relaying tales untainted by sugar-coated commercialism. A comradeship with fellow Red IQ lyricists Bo’Nidle and C Aye Monk is partly to thank for his progress, but the pivotal point in his short history as a solo musician arrived earlier this year on the digital release of the Sewing Seeds EP. Adopting the stylistic immediacy of hip hop, the record is unafraid to confront the insecurity of youth. Reilly writes about himself and those around him by putting his soul on show through lyrical delivery ranging from laid back and thoughtful moodiness to sharp-tongued scythes.

Even as a solo artist, D’lyfa’s path isn’t totally lonesome. The credits for his EP nod towards Riddle, who mixed and mastered the tracks as well as co-producing the artwork with Bo’Nidle; his video library is slowly swelling thanks to collaborations with northwest filmmakers Chris Wrench and Daniel Entwistle (Shtuffs Productions); he’s shared bills with musicians both local and beyond from The Natural Curriculum and Sparkz to Ghostface Killah and Jehst.

D’lyfa fills in the gaps by answering Now Then Manchester’s questions ahead of this Thursday 8th December's show at Dulcimer in Chorlton.

Now Then: What does hip hop mean to you?

D’lyfa Reilly: A narrative of the emotions felt at one particular time, then captured once recorded.

NT: Who inspires you lyrically?

DR: Lyrically, I’m inspired by Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Jim Morrison (The Doors) and from an early age SkinnyMan, after I heard Council Estate of Mind when I was about 12. Just because I make hip hop right now, it doesn't mean I’m completely inspired solely by hip hop artists. But if anyone really inspires my writing daily with their presence it would be Bo'Nidle & C Aye Monk, my Red iQ amigos.

NT: ‘Moment of Soul’ dabbles briefly with the big questions of life and death – are these questions important to you or is it all about the here and now?

DR: ‘Moment of Soul’ and the rest of the Sewing Seeds EP were written around the end of 2009 to early 2010 when my mind frame was in a different place, as 2011 went on I was learning more and more about myself and for the time being my thoughts are definitely on the here and now.

NT: You say you want to carve your name in the tree of life; when will you feel you’ve accomplished this?

DR: Truthfully I don’t know how to answer that, I guess I will know when I know. I hope I never stop carving to be honest!

NT: Do you change your approach when writing music with Red IQ? If so, how?

DR: When we write together, we just jam; on-the-spot tracks, etc. At most times with a lot of inspiration from Riddle when he’s churning out them badman beats in studio and more recently I’m getting so much energy from the beats I’m hearing from Bo'Nidle!

NT: Do you prefer performing with others or as a solo artist?

DR: Definitely better performing alongside my brothers - I couldn't hack standing alone! And it’s always a big boost when Konny Kon is behind the decks; Manchester legend and all round don.

NT: Who has done your EP artwork for Sewing Seeds and what are your impressions of that?

DR: Bo'Nidle & Riddle actually threw that together for me, immediately after I mentioned the EP title. And I thought it captured the image in my head perfectly.

NT: Your videos for ‘Concrete Safari’ and NT: ‘The Path (Walk On)’ have a distinctive, stop-start animation style – who have you been working with on those, how much input do you have and what do you think about the results?

DR: ‘The Path’ was filmed and directed by Chris Wrench and co-directed by myself, and ‘Concrete Safari’ was filmed and edited by Daniel Entwistle. Both are immense and I wouldn't really want to have worked with anyone else on them, both are actually top geezers – look out for more of my work very soon with them both!

NT: Who are you listening to at the moment and which of your peers would you recommend?

DR: Right this second I’m listening to Lauryn Hill - I find it hard to say! Tune! But my favourite tape at the moment is 'Ab-Soul - Longterm 2: Lifestyles Of The Broke & Almost Famous'. The guy is absolutely gripping my attention right now. But as far as my peers are concerned I recommend you all go out and listen to and download anything from Bo'Nidle, C Aye Monk and Riddle (goes without saying really!) and Dirty North (the best band doing it right now in Manchester!), TNC (killing every show I see from 'em!) and outside of Manchester go listen to R kid More 1 (West London) and BLG (a cold collective in Leicester).

Words: Ian Pennington
Video: Daniel Entwistle (Shtuffs Productions)
Posters design: Max Peake (Hurtdeer)
Album art: Bo’Nidle & Riddle

D’lyfa Reilly headlines the next Now Then Manchester show on Thursday 8th December at Dulcimer bar in Chorlton. TNC regular Bill Sykes is lined up to support while Mind On Fire DJs fill in the gaps with their usual taste-making tune selection. Will Not Be Televised co-promote. Entry policy is pay-what-you-like; £3 suggested.

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