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Interview: Diggy Dupé Talks About New Album 'That's Me, That's Team'

Interview: Diggy Dupé Talks About New Album 'That's Me, That's Team'

Liam K. Swiggs / C.C. / Thursday 10th September, 2020 10:50AM

Fresh from the release of his long-awaited debut album That's Me, That's Team, Tāmaki Makaurau's Diggy Dupé got on the line with Ōtautahi producer Liam K. Swiggs, aka the Belfast Bottlestore Bandit and founder of The Big Fresh Collective, for an in-depth chat. Widely acclaimed as an instant classic, featuring a stacked lineup of guests and collaborators including SmokeyGotBeatzRizván, Christoph El’ Truento, IllBaz and AP, you can join Diggy Dupé celebrating his new record's launch at Karangahape Road's Whammy Bar in September and Pōneke's Moon in early October. Grip the details here and scroll downwards to read his conversation with Swiggs, who has been tearing up student radio charts in 2020 via his collab with And$um 'Every Other Week' and just this week received airplay on BBC Radio 1Xtra for his track 'HEARTLAND VIP'...

UPDATE 14/09/20:
Due to Covid-19 restrictions Diggy Dupé's Auckland show has been postponed to October...

UTR proudly presents...

Diggy Dupé 'That's Me, That's Team' Album Release Shows 

Friday 2nd October - Moon, Wellington
Saturday 24th October - Whammy, Auckland

Tickets available via Banished Music

Liam K. Swiggs: Big ups to the bro; Diggy Dupé — Central AK’s finest — up The Warriors. Just wanna say a big thank you for taking the time to sit down and have a yarn with me on behalf of Under The Radar g!

Diggy Dupé: Yo, pleasure to be here my g!

Alright so straight to the business brother. That’s Me, That’s Team — one of the most anticipated NZ hip hop full length debuts in a decade. It’s been about that long coming too right — tell me about it bro!

This is my first full-length album — That’s Me, That’s Team. My name's Diggy Dupé, born and raised in Grey Lynn, Central Auckland. Since my first official EP K.O.T.I.C (Kids Of The Inner City) released in 2017 I’ve been working on That’s Me, That’s Team, so it’s been a journey over a course of three years. Fuck, even before that I’ve like had to lay a foundation and gather up a network of friends and build a community and learn my craft and really practise it before all of that ever even happened. So you know by the time 2017 hit I was already well on my way…

And so those other years in-between the EP and now was still me, still doing me and still perfecting my craft, but within that time frame of three years, everyone started to notice… Coz I was always that guy that could rap his ass off but no one would know. I was always just Melo's mate who would jump up for one little verse and everyone would be like “who the hell's that guy!” and I’d just go back and drink with the boys at the bar you know - I was just that guy for so long… But I felt like I built such a solid foundation and core following from all those little one-off verses, when I’d jump up with Rizván and Melo and stuff like that. People would branch out further and be like “Oh yo, who was that guy? That’s Diggy, you dunno? That’s Diggz g, he’s like everywhere in Central”. It took a long time, but I’m glad I went the route that I did, because I feel like more core listeners really care about the music that I make and the moves that I make. I’d rather have that than you know, like a couple million shallow fans that don’t even know much about it you know — It’s really organic.

I checked the credits on the album my bro and this motherfucker is stacked man!!! Got the who’s who with the homie Rizván mixing the whole joint. Got AP, Spycc, INF, Rizván, and some more of the homies on the features alongside with beats produced mainly by the man SmokeGotBeats, but you got tracks with IllBaz, Christoph El' Truento, SFT, Haz Beats goddamn man! How’d you go about rallying all that together man, it must have been quite the process?

Man it’s crazy because I’ve been working on this for so long. It’s just kinda gathered — snowballed together over time. A lot of these boys I know personally you know it’s just the industry it’s how it is and also like… Someone else would like co-sign me to them like Christoph. I think Tom Scott must have mentioned me while they were recording or something, my name must have popped up in their conversation because then Chris messages me like “Bro I’ll send you a pack of beats”. And from that, it’s where I got Cup of Tea & Toast (CT&T) and built a relationship from there. The bro Choicevaughn down in Wellington like crazy small story; his first cousin is like my bro JC (Jordan Cherrington) that directs everything... it’s just like this little web… and at the end of the day that’s like New Zealand.

But then think about that and think about Auckland, then think about the Auckland music scene... Everybody knows everybody and I feel that we’re all so close-knit that we all out for the same thing and that makes us more community-based. We all wanna share you know, like help each other progress and grow which is what’s been mean bro. With this album I got SmokeyGotBeatz from SWIDT and then ranging all the way to Christoph El' Truento on the same project - who would have put that together on the same work of art? It’s nuts!

So no label — independent release — no fancy promo but you’re popping off on the socials. Tell me how you’ve gone about marketing itself and the process involved or not involved in that, and why you preferred that method than getting signed to a label?

I’ve been always one of those guys who’s always put the business aside and we can deal with that later. I wanna know you as a person and as a human and what you're about; what’s your characteristics, what’s your values? And then maybe if we’re cool and maybe if I vibe with you, if the energy’s right then we’ll talk like business and stuff. You can’t really do good business with someone if you don’t think that they’re a good person and it’s not really business if it’s more organic and you just vibe and you click with each other. I guess with labels and stuff, I’ve just never really been approached or I’ve never really clicked with the right person. I've always done it with Rizzy or with my boys you know. It’s kind of like, well we’ve got this far like this so why don’t we just keep doing this and doing us. The shoe fits, the formula's good, why would you mess it up?

It’s crazy the majority of the album is recorded at Rizván’s house in like his little room with his like newborn son in his lap, I’m just there recording on a little USB microphone. There’s nothing fancy about this album like everything’s all home made. Shout to Sniffers though I like recorded a lot of stuff at Sniffers studio coz of Smokey, but then for most of it bro it’s like down and dirty. I had to put the cushion inside the thing behind the microphone and close the door again, and then like wait for Rizzy’s baby to not yawn or not get bored of my raps [laughs]. It’s one of those things you know, it’s a mean feat but it’s realistic to all these other young artists out there. You see all these other people, like everything’s there for them and it’s still unattainable. Like bro I did it myself, we did it ourselves, my team, my group of peers. You gotta learn your craft.

Reppin’ Grey Lynn hard and a proud Niuean brother, can you talk to me a bit about where you grew up, your family and your heritage and also how you’ve blended that over into your music?

All day — I was born and raised in Grey Lynn which is pretty much a part of Central Auckland. For the rest of the country I just think people know like Ponsonby, they only know fucking Ponsonby and it has the whole stereotype of Ponsonby Snob. But what people don’t remember in the '70s and stuff it was flooded with Polynesians, so my grandparents were some of those people who came up there to work and it was a slum bro it was a shit hole. I feel like it’s why I always talk about it in my raps. I try and educate myself and educate others about the history of Ponsonby and Grey Lynn, and those hardworking Polynesians that came over to work in all the meat works and all the blue collar hard working jobs, just to get kicked out in the middle of the night when the dawn raids were happening… The police were using Polynesians as a scapegoat and that’s where I feel like I get a lot of my energy from and a bit of my angst. Look inward.

Dear I say it — Covid-19 permitting — you’ve got a couple of album release shows lined up!

Yeah man, lord willing! The first actual performance is gonna be at Whammy Bar on the 18th of September and I keep telling people you have to buy tickets! I tell all my boys coz there’s no door sales! My crowd is like that crowd that will just pay cash up front like they don’t care if it’s $20 or $50 they’re just last minute they’re just drinking in the garage and they’re like oh fuck… let’s just go to the show (laughs). It’s like 100 capacity you have to buy a ticket! Then for the Wellington show, it’s at Moon Bar on the 2nd of October. I can’t wait to go there because all my life, I’ve never been in Wellington! Never! I’ve never gone for a trip — nothing. I’m just stuck in Central Auckland bro I’m just like CA, hard [laughs]. I heard it’s pretty crazy in Welly too!

Gotta say man you’ve come a long fucking way aye and always kept your cool my bro. Congrats on the debut full length That’s Me, That’s Team, it’s a fucking awesome collection of tracks man and thank you for taking the time to talk to me and Under The Radar!

Bro hard all day!

'That's Me, That's Team' is out now for streaming and digital purchase.


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Diggy Dupe Album Release Shows
Fri 2nd Oct
MOON, Wellington
Diggy Dupe Album Release Shows
Sat 24th Oct
Whammy Bar, Auckland