Your patience with me for not having a new artist to highlight last week will be rewarded with today’s double feature. Both artists are from Seattle and made a name for themselves in the music scene. David Ansari was part of Vallis Alps, an indie-pop duo that played a number of festivals, while Sol Moravia-Rosenberg has independently released five EPs and three albums since 2008.
The two collaborated on the brand new track “Not Me,” which is the latest single off of Ansari’s debut solo EP (it drops today). Ansari made the beat shortly after moving to New York and quickly came to the conclusion he wanted Sol to rap on it. The product is a single featuring distorted beats and a frenetic big city vibe. Listen to the new single and watch the video here.
Name: davey // Sol
Website: notdavey.com // www.solsays.com
Socials: twitter.com/no_davey, facebook.com/notnotdavey, instagram.com/notdavey // www.twitter.com/solzilla, www.instagam.com/solzilla
Song to know: Not Me (feat. Sol)
What is your relationship with Seattle currently?
D: Seattle’s where I grew up. I’m living in LA now but the town will always be home.
S: I was born and raised in Seattle and live here currently.
How did you guys meet and what spurred the collaboration?
D: I was hanging out in the studio with my friend Budo in late-2018 and showing him some beats I was working on, and at one point I mentioned that I wanted to reach out to Sol to rap on this demo I had just made. Budo’s been making beats for years and knows everyone in the Seattle scene, and he immediately was like, “you wanna ask him right now?” and put us on a text thread. Sol listened to it and sent over a verse idea, and a few months later we met up in-person over coffee in New York (I was living in Brooklyn at the time) and walked over to my studio, where he recorded the whole song in like 3 takes.
Why do you think Seattle’s music scene has always been so vibrant?
D: Honestly, Seattle’s music scene always gets overlooked, and I feel like being overlooked by outsiders ended up being helpful, because it’s given Seattle the space to develop its own music culture without the hype and commercialization that comes with widespread recognition. I remember in the 2000’s and early 2010’s, while everyone was calling Seattle a grunge town years after the grunge scene had died down, the city was developing this super dynamic rap scene under the radar, and there was this new wave of electronic artists and producers that were redefining Seattle. People aren’t sleeping on Seattle as much anymore, but there’s still this straightforward DIY mentality among artists here that I find really unique and inspiring.
S: I think Seattle’s music scene has had to be vibrant and diverse because we were entertaining each other long before anyone outside of the NW took any notice.
Favorite venue in Seattle you’ve played? Favorite Seattle venue to see a show at?
D: New Neumos, old Neumos. just neumos in general.
S: My favorite venue I’ve played is also my favorite venue to watch shows. The Showbox at the Market!
How would you describe your sound individually speaking?
D: It’s like if you gave Rachmaninoff an MPC and asked him to make rap beats out of samples from Pantera records, and then you played the resulting beat tape over Bluetooth 1.0 on a broken car stereo.
S: I usually leave the descriptors to the listener. For me, I’m just trying to make something I would enjoy listening to myself.
What was your collaboration process like? Did the lyrics exist before the beat or were they made together?
D: The whole thing was pretty effortless – I made the “Not Me” beat and knew pretty quickly that I wanted to reach out to Sol to rap on it. So after our mutual friend Budo connected us, I sent the beat over to Sol and he started writing immediately. So technically the beat came first, but the song itself didn’t really exist until Sol had done his thing.
[For davey] What made you decide to go solo?
There was a point in 2017 when I was burned out from a year of touring with Vallis and losing sight of why I enjoyed making music in the first place. So I decided to actively put aside time to just make beats for fun, without any expectations of polishing them for release. I ended up spending a lot of time messing with radios and synths, and seeing how far I could distort and stretch sound before it became grainy and unusable. Eventually, I had a folder full of ideas that were starting to form an EP, and at that point, it was a no brainer.
[For Sol] Can you talk about the lyrics like ‘Too many young Black G’s screen printed on tees’ and ‘Don’t talk to police, they just kill in the streets,’? You said you wrote this back in Winter 2018 but there’s a new sort of relevance to them right now, why’d those lyrics come out then?
Plain and simple. These issues are in no way new. We are frankly just in a different moment as a society where the collective consciousness is thinking more directly about race in our country. I wish more than anything that lyrics about these issues would be dated but the reality is we live in a world poisoned by racial bias and institutional racism and I don’t see these issues ever going away in my lifetime in the current “modern” society we live in. With that said, we have to keep confronting these things and pushing forward towards progress. That’s what those before us did and that’s what those after us will have to do. It’s an intergenerational, global struggle against oppression so when I talk about these things I am simply referencing the reality of this struggle. I don’t have the answers, just a bit of a platform and a consciousness I can’t keep quiet.
Who are some of your musical influences?
D: Bad Brains, Meshuggah, Dog Blood, Swet Shop Boys and The Walkmen are the first few that come to mind.
S: My biggest musical influence is life itself. I always try to keep a healthy balance between the dedication I have to the music and the energy I put into my relationships. The people in my life and the experiences we share are the greatest influence I could ask for.
COVID has stopped all live music for the foreseeable future, do you all have any ideas or plans for what these next few months might look like?
D: I’ve just been trying to double down in the studio all throughout 2020, so that 2021/2022 can bang. But who knows if the world will reopen by then? In the meantime, I’ve been getting into making video art, and it’s ended up becoming a major part of the davey ecosystem.
S: I personally have been very creatively prolific during this time and am now shifting into a period of finishing the ideas I started and sharing with the world as much and as often as possible. What I have to offer is music. I can only hope it helps.
Where can people find your music? How can they support you and other local musicians during this pandemic?
D: You’ll be able to find my music in all the usual spots online. I would say the best way of supporting me at this point is following my socials – I know it’s a boring answer, sorry – because I’ve got so many exciting things in the pipeline for 2020-2021, and that’ll be the easiest way to keep up. There are some great Seattle-based funds that support artists financially through the COVID-19 crisis that people can give to.
S: Support your favorite artists by buying their merch and music from them directly! It goes a long way.
Favorite song from a Seattle area artist OR about Seattle/the PNW?
D: “Southside Revival” by Blue Scholars
S: “I Just Wanna” by Jarv D
Anything else you’d like to add/promote?
D: If you donate to either tahirih.org (legal support for immigrant womxn & girls) or your local Black Lives Matter chapter, I’ll send you a free copy of my EP when it comes out later this year