The last time we linked up with established Toronto artist Dyces Trench he spoke on everything from payola (pay to play) to his own writing process.
This time around we discussed his upcoming EP, some legendary Canadian hip-hop videos, as well as his take on the transition from CD sales to streaming services and how it’s affected his craft and business.
Q&A: Dyces Trench
HipHopCanada: For those asleep at the wheel or haven’t had their ear to the street, who is Dyces Trench?
Dyces Trench: Dyces Trench is an artist in the purest form who believes in the lyrical form of the art, a sucker for bars, punches as well as the newer forms of hip-hop. A fan of the culture altogether.
HipHopCanada: Where are you from?
DT: Toronto, born and raised. Grew up in downtown part of Toronto, Regent Park.
HipHopCanada: Are you still residing in Regent Park? How has the “condo era” or gentrification, for lack of a better term, changed the park and affected your life and musical content?
DT: No, not living in Regent Park anymore, not for years now. My mom dukes moved out of Regent when I was in public school but she kept me and my sister in the same school till I graduated. In terms of the whole rebuild and “condo era,” looking at it from the outside and not living in Regent anymore, it’s the same area but its not. It’s different, not seeing the school I went to or the parks that I played in, seeing different businesses in the middle of places I wasn’t used to will definitely take time to get used to.
In terms of music, it doesn’t change my content because everything that I was seeing around me indirectly played a part into me wanting to start making music of my own. What I see would help me with topics of what I would want to rap about. Walking around with a notepad going to the studio to actually shooting my first video, called hip-hop featuring Brotha J, in Regent Park all came in steps I guess.
HipHopCanada: You seem to have a distinct east coast (NY) sound. Reminiscent of the likes AZ, Cormega or even Nas. Who were some of your main influences emcee wise?
DT: They were listed in the question, I gotta say bingo when it comes to Nas. I always joke around and say Nas helped raise me (Laughs). I took pride in grabbing my favourite rap record and studying every aspect of it. With that being said, there’s a handful of artists that I can say I gravitated to, Mobb Deep, JAY-Z, Biggie (of course), Pac (of course). I was a kid that also enjoyed R&B, reggae, and soul. Also was interested in the breaking, graffiti, DJing and hip-hop fashion aspect of it all.
HipHopCanada: The Point Blank (Regent Park JUNO Award winners) song “Born n Raised” is one of my favorite Canadian cuts period… Can you name your top 3 Toronto jams of all time?
DT: Funny you said that cause I actually attended the video shoot for “Born and Raised.” Very dope song and video. Really hard to pick a Toronto top 3 of all time. There’s been so many different eras of Toronto music. There’s too many to list, we could start it off with the pioneers like Maestro, Point Blank, Ghetto Concept, Rascalz, then go current to Drake, The Weeknd. I could even be biased and name Trench, That’s us (Laughs). It’s endless, just too much music as a whole.
HipHopCanada: “To Live and Die in T.O.” has been on repeat for me from time. You’re definitely an emcee’s emcee and an artist that paints a clear picture of what you’re trying to get across. Your verse on that cut has the “rewind” factor a lot of artists just don’t have anymore. What is your take on the state of the game today and do you think lyricism is making a comeback?
DT: Thank you, appreciate that. When anybody says “hit the rewind button” on a song they heard or a certain part of a verse, chorus, etc… that can all depend on opinion on why they thought it was hot or worth rewinding. For me, when I rewind something or pull it back, as they say, I pull it back because I look for witty things that could have been said straight forward one way but the artist took their time to deliver it in such a way that amazed you.
I don’t think lyricism ever left, I think other styles of rap became popular. I wouldn’t say lyrics are overlooked but more so different rhyme patterns or melodies are more popular to some. Music evolves and keeps changing. Because of the massive amounts of artists that are born everyday you just gotta search through that much more content to find what you are really looking for, but its out there.
HipHopCanada: What is your relationship to Turk from TnT? He seems to be doing great things for the city and giving back with the Turk Foundation and Kids Boxing Programs. Big ups to Turk and TNT and #FreeTyke
DT: That’s the broski, that’s my brother, fellow RP artist. RP artists doing big things in the city. Shout out to The Turk Foundation, of course, for giving back by doing Christmas drives, boxing clubs, helping kids that are interested in music to record their first song, shoot their first video, etc. Hopefully it encourages other people to come up with their own foundations. Kids are obviously our future. Anything that helps the kids should be a priority. We had programs when I was younger. I was a part of a youth group that raised money for trips and things of that nature. Just imagine the limits it can go to. The more programs and foundations we have for kids the better, anything to take a kids mind off of things that could lead them in the wrong direction is a plus.
HipHopCanada: Where do you see yourself in five years musically? Still rhyming or playing the background? Something tells me you have the attributes of a great A&R or manager. Is coaching something that’s on your radar post rap?
DT: Five years? You know, sky’s the limit sort of thing. In terms of rapping, sitting with a nice catalog of quality music that I’m proud of. That’s the thing, leaving something that you’re proud of and making music that can be timeless. 10, 20 years, still playing. As far as the role in the background, hell yeah, that’s always been one of the things I do behind the scenes. Talking with people on new music that we like, new talent, new fresh hits and songs that we enjoy, who got skills, who got bars, that sort of thing. So yeah, looking for talent I’d definitely be into, maybe some sort of podcast, management, etc.
HipHopCanada: This isn’t your first rodeo so if anything you’ve watched the game go digital. How has streaming services and the Internet affected your business model and do you view it as a positive or negative thing and why?
DT: Definitely not my first rodeo. But watching hip-hop grow to what it is now, as being a fan of hip-hop first, I’m grateful to be apart of that transition. If you could get your feet in and solidify your spot in it, it could be more rewarding than accolades. There’s a difference between an award and the inner reward you get when you make a great body of work. You can use tools such as the Internet to reach a lot more people.
The Internet is a great tool. Seeing it progress to being digital; being able to reach fans on a worldwide scale right from your fingertips; being able to target people who are fans of your work. Being able to make money off streaming and direct to consumer business helps independent artists build their brand much easier than you waiting for a major label to push you in this day and age. It’s not that type of story anymore. What it did for me personally is pushed me to be a little more Internet savvy. It helped me get into the project mindset and the need to be more consistent because people’s attention spans are much shorter.
HipHopCanada: Can we expect a full Dyces Trench full body of work anytime soon?
DT: Hell yeah, I’m currently working on a project as we speak. Probably be a EP first, shoot some videos for that and then probably hit you back up with another EP following. In the mix of that, there will be singles, freestyles, and remixes, stuff like that.
You can follow @DycesTrench on Instagram.
Written by Uncle Buck for HipHopCanada
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