Why did you call the album The Darke Bros.?
Wonder Brown: Performing and continually writing and recording with the other Idiots, both Cas and I seemed to gravitate to the “darker” side, Anakin style. We both were motivated by an eclectic array of sounds and concepts, but if you were there, you might hear either one of us mention, “Oooh, that’s darke!!” I think those similar motivations are how two artists can become homogenous – so, basically, crew up and create dopeness. The concept started simply as we both liked a darker thread of beat or sound; later, it became a similarity in testimonial approach to lyrics and concepts – where light would come from our darke-ness. Dig?
How long did it take for you to finish the album?
Cas Metah: We worked on the album off and on, whenever we could link up together, from 2006-2008. In 2010 Wonder Brown did a new hook for “Famous Lovers Pt. 2” because we weren’t sold on the first one. We also did two new songs that year, “Drowning Man” and “She’s Gone”. Brown then did three different versions of the mix and finally it was mastered that same year.
Where did you record it?
WB: We probably recorded this thing in YOUR closet! Seriously, Cas’s old Guest Room, my mother’s basement, my old spot in Clifton/Cincinnati, JustMe’s old-old crib, Theory Hazit’s house in Cincinnati. We GRIND fool!! “Fool,” by the way, is a term of endearment amongst the Idiots.
What are your favorite tracks?
WB: All of them? I’m conceited enough to believe that every piece of art I’m a part of – because I take minimal supply and maximum effort to create carefully crafted masterpieces – is worthy of my affections. That’s probably not a popular answer, is it? I like every song, but I’m in a chill mode right now, so I’ll say “The Way I Cry,” “Hold On,” “Drowning Man,” and “Winding Down.” Tomorrow I’m gon’ need a pick-me-up, and I’ll listen to some “I Know,” “In or Out,” and “The Struggle.”
CM: I’m with Wonder on the fact that if it made the album, then it’s a winner in my book. We did several songs that got cut. So I like it all too. Obvious standouts to me are “Drowning Man”, “She’s Gone”, “Famous Lovers Pt. 2”, “Mind Bender” and “Nan Knew” though.
For the song “She’s Gone”, is there a story behind this song. Btw…I have to be honest. When I first read the title, I was expecting the “Hall & Oates” sample
WB: The struggle of man and woman: trying to find the “right” mate, dating, complications from American expectation/entitlement, a million other things that, in our youth, we don’t foresee. Once the “passion” of something new becomes aged, where does love “lie.” The word “lie” allows for such a dramatic ambiguity, that I couldn’t help myself in ending the song with those words exposed by the repetition of the hook and the drop of the beat. So many times you hear “what happened to us,” or “where did our love go,” and some riveting thoughts can occur if we allow ourselves to go down that dusty road – usually we find that we were the ones who neglected this, or ignored that. My point was that if things don’t end in unconditional love, then “she” really is “gone.”
I love Hall & Oates, but I wasn’t even thinking of that song; otherwise we would have called this one “Maneater.”
Who are some of your featured artists and producers?
CM: Holmskillit held it down on 3 tracks. He’s a friend of ours from Cincinnati. Copywrite and Elias are featured on “Drowning Man”, which is produced by J. Rawls, he’s most known for making the beat to “Brown Skin Lady” by Black Star (Mos Def & Talib Kweli). Theory Hazit, Vintage, JustMe, Fab da Eclectic, DT (of Clan Destined) and MattmaN did beats too. Other emcees on there would be Freddie Bruno, JustMe, Soul P, Ruffian, Mouth Warren and Lyriz.
Are there any tracks from the album that were left off that will be used on another SI project?
CM: Like I said earlier we did several songs that didn’t make the album. A few of them we already used during my Cas Metah Monthly EP series a couple years ago. There’s also one we did called “Everything Was Perfect” featuring Ilyas (from Tanya Morgan) that I ended up being greedy with and keeping back for my next solo album “Old Fashioned”.
Will you be shooting any videos for the album?
WB: Yes, “Drowning Man” for sure.
Why did you pick “Drowning Man” for your music video?
WB: I’m glad we’re doing “Drowning Man” as the vid, because if I had to pinpoint a sort of theme for our work, it would be this song. As artists, swimming in our ideas, swimming in whatever madness our sunken nature might find, swimming, as I said, in the “black tears” of my ink pen; and the epitome of it all is the hook, the words of an honest man. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Who created the album cover?
CM: An artist/friend of mine named Heather Paul. She is an incredibly talented artist with many styles. If anyone is looking for quality work, look her up on Facebook or Twitter and say I sent you.
What would it take for SI to go mainstream? Or do you even want to go mainstream?
WB: You know, we used to beat those thoughts to submission, wondering if we were the next Wu-Tang, or the next Native Tongues, but, as an artist, I don’t think you ever really come to a conclusion. The concept of “mainstream” is a mystery to me, and it’s only when I’m done with a song that I might think, “should I have used a shinier sound?” Imagine your painting a picture. You’ve got your easel, you’ve got your canvas, and you’ve got your paints. You get to painting. You add this, you add that, and you manipulate something upon what you’ve manipulated until you create some sort of effect – the effect becoming the affect. At some point you say to yourself, I could add this little detail, or that extra effect, but otherwise I’m done. That’s art, and that’s the way I see my music; and I also know that the older I get, the less I want to manipulate my art and the more I want to be a vessel for what needs to come up and come out.
CM: Realistic answer: It’s not really in our capabilities to go “mainstream”. Mainstream just means you have more money behind you, and most likely your music sucks. Maybe I’m a prude but 85% or more of my personal music collection is all underground stuff. I’m a purist making art for the people in my reach. That said if we ever had the arsenal to cross-over, yeah, I’d give it a shot. But I’d only do it to gain more fans and then go right back to being independent. Ideally where I think SI wants to be is at the top of the underground food chain.
Are there any plans to do any songs with other artists like Masta Ace & T-Mo?
CM: If you mean those two artists specifically, no current plans, but I’d love to work with them both again if the opportunity presented itself. I do however already have some other “legendary” collabs. already done that you’ll hopefully be hearing soon.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
WB: Cassie Magnotta, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Eddie Vedder, Dave Matthews, Danger Mouse, Rick Rubin, Puff Daddy, James Mercer, Theory Hazit, JustMe, Mouth Warren, MC Forty, Elias, Sean Little, MC Till, and a few other Idiots. Actually, one of those isn’t true – but yeah, those guys!
CM: Wow Wonder, I hope the Puff Daddy one isn’t true haha! I’d love to work with anyone from Slaughterhouse, Sha Stimuli, Alchemist, DJ Premier, Sid Roams, Evidence, Nottz, Big K.R.I.T and Planet Asia. I’d like to keep working with my SI fam, Sheisty Khrist, CunninLynguists, Audible Doctor, Defizit, Afaar, Mellow Drum Addict, Ruffian, Shaw Bihl and the other homies I already get down with, too many to name!
Lastly, what would you like to say to the fans that have supported you throughout the years? How can they continue to support SI?
WB: Every single time that I’ve thought, “I can’t do this anymore,” or have had thoughts of quitting, there’s been this random person from who knows where who will find me on Twitter, Facebook, or what-have-you, and give me that boost to keep me going. That’s not a “fan,” my man, that’s a friend.
Check out releases from Cas Metah and Wonder Brown at SphereofhiphopStore.com.