Introducing: Dimps Tfg
We had a chat with our good friend Dimps Tfg, who makes his second appearance in the HiFi basement this weekend alongside his rapping/beatmaking comrades Dr Syntax and Pete Cannon. The Leeds based hip–hop head has just self-released his second full length record, One Loud Noise. In this quick Q&A, we cover matters as wide ranging as V for Vendetta, John Cooper Clarke, noise music, gardening and more…
For the benefit of readers, what is your link to Leeds and the HiFi Club?
“I moved to Leeds in 2011 and my first job was glass collecting at HiFi’s sister venue Wire Club. It didn’t take long until I was working shifts at HiFi too. I’ve been around for a bit; I remember working the first Mixtape Project night at Hifi and the first Butter Side Up Up at Wire. A night out in Leeds isn’t complete without popping into Hifi!”
Where does the name Dimps come from?
“High school nickname – Dimples (because I have dimples!), shortened to Dimps. The Tfg is a mystery and changes day-by-day.”
What was your introduction to hip-hop music?
“Probably MTV. Tony Hawks on PS1. Before that, the first single I bought (cassette) was ‘Boombastic’ by Shaggy. When I tried to buy Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP on CD from Woolworth the sales assistant said I was too young. I was also massively into Napster/Kazaa and other file sharing sites and hip hop was popular on those too.”
When did you start making music?
“My sister was given a guitar for Christmas and I borrowed/stole it. I would have been 13/14. My dad taught me G major and E minor and I was on my way! I moved onto computer sequencers/samplers and released a rap EP until the name Tinfoiled in 2006ish when I was still a wee lad. You recently released your One Loud Noise album.”
What’s the overarching concept behind the tracks? How long have you been working on the release?
“One Loud Noise is the sequel to that 2006 EP. The first one was “Silence is a Fragile Thing”, then there’s “One Loud Noise”, and I’ll conclude the trilogy at some point with “And It’s Gone”. The whole sentence is a quote from V For Vendetta, that graphic novel was a big favourite when I was a kid. The theme is frustration at the late capitalist millennial experience – you get told to go and do a degree and it’ll lead to a graduate job, but then there’s a recession and nine years of austerity! I try not to get as overtly party-political as I did back in the day, I aim to keep it to personal experiences – waiting for the bus, looking at spreadsheets, anxiety about the future. I like to be observational and I want my lyrics and instrumentals to paint pictures. I’m aware that a lot of the time I’m painting in a Jackson Pollock style drip-drop approach, with words scattering on, off and around the beat. I used to speak with my university (Huddersfield) composition teacher Bryn Harrison about the idea taking one object and viewing it from every possible angle. While that discussion was around contemporary/experimental music, I bring that approach and mentality through to rap. Inbetween 2006 and 2019 I never stopped making music. I did a Masters in Noise Music. I made 100+ instrumental tracks and lost the project files when I knocked a hard drive off a table. So the other theme of One Loud Noise is time, how it passes in the blink of an eye and how things we hold precious can disappear.”
You do not hide your Yorkshire accent in your raps – it’s incredible, at times hilarious and others very poignant. I get serious notes of John Cooper-Clarke from it. Do you think there needs to be a greater diversity of voice in the world of rap?
“Technically it’s a Lancashire accent, but i’ve been in Yorkshire for the majority of my adult life so I’m sure it’s shifted a bit! That’s a kind comparison to John Cooper-Clarke, thanks. I don’t listen to John Cooper-Clarke that often because I feel like I’d end up stealing his ideas. Rap is already the most diverse genre in the world. People are sometimes surprised when I tell them I make rap music, but I think that says more about them than me. As Young Jeezy said (on Twitter years ago) “if you’re fake, be fake, if you’re real, be real, just be you”. I’d encourage anybody to make rap music – frustrated office worker, Cantonese grandmother, city living young person, rural living old person – your voice is waiting to be heard.”
Also would you say that your work is made with a tongue in cheek at times? Do you think music needs more of this humour? Yes, humour is a big part of my work.
“We live in a pretty absurd world and I try to reflect that in my music. The encouragement to go down this direction came from the joint influences of Odd Future and Sleaford Mods. If being serious is part of somebody’s art then i respect that. However, some artists think that being serious is an essential part of being an artist and over do it. Chill ya beans!”
You are a producer as well as rapper. What do you use to make your beats?
“Ableton or Bitwig as my main software. MIDI keyboards always and an MPC for playing drums. I like pure/stable synth sounds. I follow trends when it comes to drum sounds. I moved away from using samples in order to get things onto Spotify without any sample clearance problems.”
As well as a rapper, you describe yourself as a gardener. Where does your interest in horticulture come from, how green fingered are you?
“Gardening puts things into perspective. We have a now-now-now click-a-button two-hour-delivery society and gardening isn’t going to work that way. I was proud of my foxgloves this year, they grew six feet tall, but it took two years from growing them on a windowsill to them flowering in the back yard. Like many of our generation I’m big on house plants. I still don’t own the ubiquitous Leeds-favourite cheese plant, but I’ve got about 20 aloe vera plants, and various cacti and other bits, dotted around the house. They’re great for cleaning the air.”
How was your last gig at HiFi?
“Incredible! I’ve cleaned vomit off the HiFi Club stage, so to be rocking it with Kyle McSparron on the decks felt well earned. The sound quality was incredible so shout out again to Matt Wilde on the mixing desk. It felt like coming home and I can’t wait to play it again this weekend.”