New Zealand rapper David Dallas arrives at Causeway Bar on Wednesday, December 18 (it’s also the EP launch of local rapper, Knoe) to promote his recently released third album, Falling Into Place – a record that has potential to make him the first Australasian MC to achieve success in the world of American hip hop. He chats to JOSHUA HAYES.
Falling Into Place debuted at number two on the NZ charts and has achieved some notable accolades with single, Runnin’ used in the online trailer for gridiron video game Madden 25, as well as the soundtrack for soccer game FIFA 14. “That was one of my favourite things that’s ever happened to me in music, period, because I grew up playing FIFA,” Dallas laughs.
“It’s one of those things that, all my friends that I grew up with that aren’t really into the music scene, they’ll be like ‘Oh, you’re number one on iTunes? That’s pretty cool”, they’re not really that stoked on those sorts of things,” he says, “but when they see the song on FIFA, they’re like ‘oh shit, you’re on FIFA!’”
Dallas first gained attention under the moniker Con-Psy, with a high profile guest spot on Scribe’s Not Many Remix and two albums as the rapping half of hip hop duo, Frontline. However he soon dropped the alias in favour of his own name, and released his solo debut, Something Awesome in 2010. The album was acclaimed in New Zealand and as a sign of things to come, attracted international attention when Kanye West posted the video of Dallas’ single Big Time on his blog.
In 2011, Dallas signed to Duck Down Music – a New York hip hop label formed in the mid ‘90s, with a roster that boasts legendary acts such as Black Moon and Smif-n-Wessun – and put out his follow up, The Rose Tint as a free release. “It was very validating, just the idea that artists like Black Moon and Buckshot – I grew up seeing them on TV as a kid,” Dallas says. “They’re not artists that I ever thought I would meet, let alone work with or that would appreciate the things that I did.”
He continued working his way into the American market in 2012, spending the last four months of the year on a 48-date North American tour with hip hop duo Aer, before returning home to work on Falling Into Place. The album was written, recorded, mixed and mastered in an intense five month stretch, beginning in early January.
“My other albums, a lot of the time my process is quite insular. The producers will send me the music and I’ll be like ‘okay, cool’, and I’ll kick around, go write my own song to it, demo it up myself and get everything perfect how I want it, before I even show (a demo to) everyone else who’s working on the song,” Dallas says.
“Whereas this one, because we were working in a close space and it was myself and my producers Fire & Ice, we were all in there, I had to deal with showing people my ideas in their infancy, while you’re still quite vulnerable, as opposed to having the chance to mull them over and polish them… It was difficult for me at first, that process, but the record turned out all the better for it.”