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Interview with Dave aka Trugoy of De La Soul

“It’s just a good feeling sitting in the studio with Vincent and Kelvin…”

– Trugoy, De La Soul

Earlier this month, I received an email from De La Soul [I’m on their mailing list] informing me that they would be putting out their first album in a decade. It’s currently available for preorder on Kickstarter in digital, and physical format – there’s also vinyl for all of the real heads out there. Tiered levels of support come with perks that range in price/sophistication from De La Soul USB keys, shoes, and limited edition shirts to toy shopping with Dove, and savoring a dinner with the group. Needless to say, I’m excited to receive my copy of the album in the mail and review it here for all of you; although, I wish I could’ve afforded the dinner perk.

Last week, I was lucky enough to chat with David Jude Jolicoeur, also known as Trugoy the Dove. He dished on the project itself, the timeline, the process and how he feels about giving up his 3 Feet High platinum plaque.

Check out the whole interview below:

What made this the right time to return with a new album?

Things just fell into place. We’ve never looked at our calendar or looked at our track record and stated “We need to put out a record or we’re slipping in the public eye.” We’ve never put out any records that way. When “we feel a vibe”, we go to it. It’s as simple as that.

What initially prompted you guys to go completely independent?

When we were released from our contract back in 2005, it was the most liberating thing ever – not being tied to any corporation, company or label just felt right. I think from that point on, we decided never to partner up with some other entity like we’d done in the past. Over the years, we’ve been offered the chance to sit down and talk about deals (label, distribution & production); however, nothing was ever really felt right, in all honestly. It isn’t to say that we wouldn’t take anything shortly, but for now we’re comfortable.

Interview with Dave aka Trugoy of De La Soul

What made you chose KickStarter to do this project?

It was something that was floating around in conversation for a long time. Maybe three years ago a friend of ours mentioned it to us. He was like: “You guys should check it out, it’s a cool place to get funding – the fans who are in love with you guys will back you”. Over the last little while, there have been some large projects/people on the platform, like Spike Lee and most recently TLC. It just became one of those things that came up over and over again – and then we did some investigation and decided this was something we wanted to go for. We didn’t have any preconceived ideas of how it would perform.

Were you surprised by the responses that you got pretty quickly?

Yes! That was overwhelming, we did not anticipate it happening that fast – it was nice to see that, and it felt good! It gives you confirmation that the people have faith in what you’re doing. The appreciation was an incredible motivation to get this project going. It was a good thing.

How far along are you in the process?

We’re at the stage of recording music and completing some songs. We’re still digging into the hundreds of hours of source music we have – but at this point we have like six/seven songs performed. It’s midway, and hopefully we’ll be able to finish a lot of the recording in the next three weeks, with possible tweaking in the next month and a half.

You mention the artists you’ve collaborated with (or going to) on your KickStarter page. Are there any others you’re willing to share with us 

I wish I could. There were a lot of songs that called for a  particular voice or artist. So we’d kick around ideas like: “We’d love to have Willie Nelson on this one or Raekwon of Wu Tang on that one”. There are a couple of those – we just don’t want to spoil it until we receive a complete confirmation. We don’t want to talk ahead of ourselves, but I will say it’s a diverse cast. I mean we already have David Byrne of Talking Heads, for example, who blessed us. Also, 2 Chains. He came on board and did some amazing work. I think we’re going to recruit some more people we respect to come on board and do some great collaborations with us. But to speak of it now. Well, I’d prefer not to spoil it, especially if it doesn’t happen the way it’s supposed to.

Did you guys come up with the rewards together?

Yeah, we did. We have an incredible team working alongside us. We all sat down and thought about these rewards. They’re cool because we tried to make them accessible to the everyday person, as well as add some cool premium stuff that we thought people would love to have if they could afford it. We sat down and tried to think of things we could offer fans who just want to get something and be a part of the process, without having to think about getting banged over the head for hundreds of dollars. We tried to get creative – some of them are a little out of our comfort zone, but I think it’s cool stuff that people would like to do. I enjoy toy shopping, and I would love to spend the day going out toy shopping. If somebody equally enjoys it, I’m up for it [laughs]. We do as much as we can to get everybody involved and not feel like it’s out of their reach.

I think toy shopping was one of the rewards that went quickly. The one that was the craziest though is you give your actual platinum plaque.

Oh yeah! 

Were you surprised that one got snapped up?

I was surprised, but I mean, I knew that a fan would want it obviously. Because it’s dear to me, our team thought that it [$10,000] was a great price point. Did I think anyone was going to be able to afford it or would want it? No, but it’s a blessing that somebody wanted it that bad. I’m honored to have a fan that dedicated.

Lastly, its been 26 years since 3 Feet High – so what keeps you guys motivated? What’s your driving factor?

The idea of creating new music that’s the bottom line. We take breaks because we just don’t feel like doing anything, not because we break up or anything like that. It’s not like we continue this hip-hop thing for the sole purpose of making money; although, we earn a living and are actively supporting our families with this music. It’s just a good feeling sitting in the studio with Vincent and Kelvin – this is why I started this. They’re honestly my best friends, and we connect like no other. I couldn’t  replace them and without these two I could not get [metaphorically] high. That’s what gets us going, whether it’s sitting down and designing sneakers together, toys, or possibly shortly writing a book and directing a movie. It’s just the idea of the three of us coming together and the way we connect and begin to create – it’s an awesome feeling and I think that’s why we’re still here.

Riley About Author

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns