First play: hear songs from the first Death Protector Collective mixtape

Dikembe, Prince Daddy & The Hyena, Henrietta, and Expert Timing have teamed up to release a four-way split

First play: hear songs from the first Death Protector Collective mixtape

By Conor Mackie

Jan 17, 2017 18:05

Dikembe are on a mission. Since self-releasing their phenomenal third LP ‘Hail Something’ last year, the band are intent on making themselves as self-sufficient as possible. Having just built a studio in drummer David Bell’s house, the band also formed their own label, Death Protector Collective, in an effort to increase their independence.

“It’s something we have always tried to do, because we’ve found that the less people involved the better. It’s a sad/hard truth we are learning. Sad in that we sort of figured out no one cares about our band as much as we do, and hard in that everyone seems to be fine with that situation regarding their bands” says vocalist/guitarist Steven Gray.

Self-sufficiency is not the sole objective of Death Protector Collective. “No doubt we started DPC as an outlet to get our music out, but the goal has always been to make the scene better and, for us, that means using whatever little platform we have to just be like, ‘These bands are great! You’ll probably like these bands!’ because we love them. I just feel horrible when I see bands get taken for a ride I guess”, Gray explains passionately. It’s also not just about changing the way fans access music, though. Gray and the rest of Dikembe want to “show the bands we work with like, ‘look how awesome this is! Everyone here loves everyone as people and there is no competition or anything. Let’s just make great tunes and everything will be fine!’ I guess I just get upset when I don’t see bands using their platforms to promote their friends and bands they like.”

In a time when America feels more divided than ever, when many challenges feel insurmountable, Dikembe are doing what they can to foster a sense of community, a symbiotic relationship between bands and fans. Money isn’t what drives Death Protector Collective, but Gray isn’t naïve. “There are bands who survive on being a band, but that requires great sacrifice. And most of the times it doesn’t seem like the business side of the scene appreciates hard work and sacrifice. Just which tours will do well and get everyone paid, or which record is going to recoup and get repressed and things like that. I feel like focusing on that aspect is harmful in the long run. You end up sort of tunnel visioning into, ‘our band is big now, time to act like it’. But the thing is, no one has mastered anything in regards to the music business. There are more ways to do it than the current status quo. Especially now.”

Throughout our conversation, one thing is clear: Gray cares. He cares about his band, his friends and the scene they’re part of. He cares about seeing that scene succeed, and also understands that the way Death Protector Collective runs may not be for everyone. “I also don’t want to sound like I’m faulting anyone. People are just doing what they know how to do and what works for them. But the problem is that it doesn’t work for everyone, and the people it doesn’t work for should know that. I guess it’s a whole ‘be the change you want to see’ thing haha. We just want to help how we can, and this mixtape is the big first step in that.”

“It was a pretty easy process, aside from wrangling all the songs, so we’ll definitely do another! It’s a great way to get the word out on awesome bands we come across that are either just starting out or don’t get to tour that much. We’re just going to do them as and when we feel like it, I think. But who knows? I guess eventually I would be stoked to make it a regular thing. For right now, we are taking everything a step at a time” Gray continues. As well as streaming the split for pay-what-you-want on Bandcamp, there will also be a limited run of 100 cassettes. “Most of the getting the word out part is digital, so we figure it makes it cool for collectors to get a pretty rare physical copy, too. And, I mean, once Prince Daddy & The Hyena take over the world you can flip these bad boys for like 50 bucks. I’m just secretly stock piling rare P Daddy material to retire early and finally buy all the action figures I’ve ever wanted.”

Featuring songs from Dikembe themselves along with Prince Daddy & The Hyena, Henrietta and Expert Timing, the split will be released on a limited run of 100 cassettes and can be pre-ordered here.

We have the first four songs for you streaming below and you’d be wise to check them out.