Sweatshop Union Interview

Last week, I had the honour and the privilege to interview one of the best groups in hip-hop right now. I talked to Dusty Melodica of Sweatshop Union.

This interview is available as a podcast. I thought it would also be a good idea to put up a transcript of it here as well. I’ve embedded some of their videos to the songs we played on the podcast. I hope you enjoy this interview.

Without further ado, here is part one of the interview. I want to start off with a video here since this song is mentioned a few times in the interview. This is The Thing About It by Sweatshop Union.

Chase: “Alright everybody! Dope FM Radio 93.3 CFMU. This is Chase March and we are lucky enough to have Sweatshop Union with us today.”

Dusty: “Yeah, what’s up?”

Chase: “We got Dusty Melodica on the phone. How ya doing?”

Dusty: “I’m doing pretty good. Actually a bit under the weather right now but other than that, I’m doing really good.”

Chase: “I can’t tell ya how hyped I am about having Sweatshop Union on the show ’cause I’ve been a fan for years.”

Dusty: “Thanks.”

Chase: “This is really exciting for me. I first saw you guys on a video on Much Music, I think it was Humans Race. Was that your first video?”

Dusty: “I think we shot Truth We Speak before that one but that was definitely one of our earliest ones, yeah.”

After the interview I went to YouTube and found their first video. I really remember seeing this one. I thought I’d interrupt the interview transcript and play it here.

Chase: “So I saw that one, I thought “ah alright,” didn’t pay it much mind until The Thing About It came out. That track was awesome. You’ve got a really nice verse in there; I like that one a lot. But first off, maybe we should just give the people out there a little bit of history on how Sweatshop Union came about.”

Dusty: “Yeah, well, basically we all go way back. Some of us have known each other from elementary school. Others since high school and stuff so we have a lot of history together. We were all kind of doing our thing separately and there came a point where everyone was kind of financially tied. No one could put out there album [or] afford to record. We always had to budget so we decided to pool all of our resources together and make a compilation album which was the first album, Local 604. And after the release of that and doing shows and touring and stuff, we just decided to stick with it and you know people were feeling us as a group so we figured we might as well keep rolling with it right. It’s kind of built up from there.”

Chase: “Nice, so four albums later, you guys just released Water Street, which I think is the best album of the year.”

Dusty: “Gee man, thank you.”

Chase: “I’m really feeling that joint. So you’re like basically two groups and a solo artist, that have come together?”

Dusty: “Three groups; Innocent Bystanders, Dirty Circus, Pigeon Hole, and then there’s Kyprios.”

Chase: “And you’re part of Pigeon Hole, is that correct?”

Dusty: “Yeah.”

Chase: “There’s a lyric on your newest single that says, “return of the poor man rap,” so can you comment on that?”

Dusty: “That’s one of Metty’s lines. When we grew up listening to rap music, it wasn’t the way it’s been for the last five, ten years. Ya know what I mean, where it’s all glorifying money and what you got. Ya know, it was just about who you were and where you came from. I find it was a lot more of an honest music form. And so we’re just trying to take it back to that and just be ourselves and be honest with people.”

Chase: “That’s what I love about Sweatshop; your lyrics are just like really real. I mean, I can really relate to them. You guys always have a message, like you got something to say.”

Dusty: “You know, we put our opinions out there and, ya know, at the same time we try not to over do it. We don’t say anything we don’t believe in or force ourselves to say anything. Whatever we feel like writing about we do, and we don’t shy away from doing that.”

Chase: “Awesome. One of my favourite songs is off of your second album Natural Progression I’d just like to play that track now and maybe we can talk about it in a second.”

Dusty: “Okay,”

Chase: Alright so this is Us off their second album Natural Progression. If you don’t got that, go cop that.” (warning – explicit lyrics)

Chase: “I like that lyric cause it kind of talks about how we have the power as citizens , you know, how the power is really all on us.

Dusty: Yeah.

Chase: “So really great lyric and I think that kind of relates back to your lyric on The Thing About It ’cause you say, “Now the ball is in our court while we sit and watch passively.” Beautiful lyric, And I like the way you close that like “how can we be free when the water that we drink is owned by some company.” nice lyrics so I definitely wanted to touch on those.

Dusty: “Thanks man. Ya know, we try to make a point of getting to get it across that it is in everyone’s hands ya know and that’s what the song us is more about than anything. A lot of time when we do that at shows people think it’s an anti-Bush song but more than anything it’s a song to people. Ya know you need to pay attention because it is in your hands. It is in your control you know. You’re voting for these people and you do have a say.”

Chase: “Speaking about having a say, does it ever feel like it’s hard to have say in a group with seven members and get your own shine on?”

Dusty: “Yeah definitely. Sometime being in this group is the greatest thing in the world, and other times when you are only one of seven people ya kind of scratch your head like what have I gotten myself into. But I think it’s worth it.”

Chase: “I’ve noticed too that sometimes you work together in your individual groups or as solo artists even on your album. Is that intentional? Is that because you work with your own group so much instead of all seven that it just kind of happens that way?

Dusty: “Yeah, I think that kind of goes back to what I was saying earlier where we kind of just work on songs that naturally happen. It just so happens that I work with Marmalade a lot more of the time. I meet with him, I link up with him and bounce around song ideas more so than with some of the other guys. They all work in the same fashion as that. So it just kind of naturally happens. Like a natural writing partnership.”

Stay tuned. Part 2 will be posted up here tomorrow and then we will finish off this series with Part 3 on Thursday.