For nearly 20 years Edsel Dope has been a creative force and a bit of an eccentric personality, as the frontman of his band Dope. From hitting it big at the tail end of the nu-metal 90s, the band built a following, made albums consistently, and toured like crazy. Prepping for the release of their new album Blood Money: Part I (eOne), the band is on tour with Motograter and Flaw, getting fans hyped for what is to come. We chatted with Edsel recently about the new album, the ‘Blood Money’ video, his relationship with his record label, and being able to manage all the aspect of his career.
Let’s talk about Blood Money Part 1. It’s a concept record just for the music and just for everything that’s been coming it so far visually and lyrically, musically has been pretty tight. I wanted to just ask you just if you can walk your way through the concept of the record.
Edsel: It’s just a Dope album, man. The only real difference with this one and ones in the past is that this is a larger, a little bit of a break from us from touring as heavily and releasing albums but I’m still very active being in my expression. That is why ultimately this is going to be a two-part album rather than one because I have a bunch of larger things going on in my life that this content was written in that makes me feel like it should be categorized as the same thing. Blood Money will be a two-part album and there’s a boat load of songs in there for it. Part one was put to bed recently, and part 2 is in the works and a good bit of it is done. I don’t know that I feel like there’s any big difference between this and any other Dope records. It’s the next step in evolution. I feel like our records have always been very broad in the content as well as every record I think in the past progresses in being, I hate to use the word modern, but relevant and not feeling as if we’re too stuck in the past so our sound could continue to evolve.
It seems like there’s a concept at play here, and maybe there’s some trigger word song titles in there too.
Edsel: I don’t think it’s really a concept album. I think again that it’s just another Dope album. I think the visuals of the ‘Blood Money’ video and the visuals that you’ve seen so far I think that’s just classic Dope. I think the energy and the branding of Dope which has always been important to me. I like to make sure the visual elements aren’t beyond the audio. It’s always heavily developed and heavily on showcase as well. To me it’s just another day at the office. I really love the ‘Blood Money’ video. A lot of work and effort was put into it and I think its very “Dope”. As far as it being an inner-threaded concept or anything of that nature, it’s really not. If anything I think because this record, it is reflective of the larger chunk of my life, and because I wasn’t on tour for a great deal of the time that this record was made, it was probably a bit more of a human record even though you might think the concept of Blood Money would be, there’s probably a little bit more of a human record. Even the lyrics for the song ‘Blood Money’, I think people would interpret it in their own way. For me, i think this is all very personal. That’s probably a better word than even saying human. It’s a very personal record for me, a very, what’s the word? Uninhibited record.
When you’re on the road it’s not the best environment to work on new material but I always had the feeling that you work pretty constantly, and basically you have a new record out every year and a half, two years anyway or most consistently.
Edsel: It just depends. Back in the day when we were touring all the time and really rebuilding the brand after we left the major label, we were one of those very early bands to take on producing records on the road and having those tools with us. The whole American Apathy record was made on a tour bus. At this point I think, I don’t see a lot of writing happening on this tour. I feel there’s enough content already in the works to where when I leave for this tour, it will be nice to get out of the studio for a little while and just get back to playing live. These days there’s a lot more responsibility with touring than there used to be as well because you’re in this heavy mold so much that now you’ve got meet and greets, listing parties and all these scheduled events that didn’t really take place in the past. You just played a show and then hang out by the bus, but things have changed a lot. I anticipate making less music on this tour and just soaking in the experiences, and getting back in the studio when the tour is over.
Edsel: Yeah I think it will be a pretty fast turn around especially because we took such a long break between No Regrets and Blood Money. yeah, I don’t want to say a date and be held to it, but I would say definitely sooner rather than later.
What is your partnership with eOne Records like?
Edsel: I’ve been with eOne for many years now. They put out No Regrets. I put the deal together with them for Blood Money after No Regrets, even though there was a big gap between. eOne also administered the rights to American Apathy and Group Therapy. At this point, I feel that we have two record labels, that’s me for the first two albums and then E1 for everything else. The good thing about me is that I’m a one stop shop because I do produce the records myself and because I do direct the videos myself, ans I executive produce the records and handle all, I’m the creative director for all intents and purposes. It makes it really easy for them because unlike most bands that have to go find a producer and that have to go find a studio and the have to travel to them and then find a mixer, ans hire somebody to do their videos. I’m a one stop shop. The label says, okay we want to do a deal with you. Come to the agreement of what that is and then they know that whatever date is agreed upon, all the touring goals are going to land on their desk, and they’re very happy with that. For me, it works because I have all the creative control to do what I want, but at this point, the band has been around for so long and sold so many records and has enough of an established fan base that the record company doesn’t want to interfere in any way. They’re not interested in trying to get in my business and my creative process. They know I know what I’m doing, so it’s like grown ups, as opposed to having to babysit the kids.
That’s great, because again at this point in your career, like you said, you’re so hands on with every element of the process, you wouldn’t want them trying to interfere. It wouldn’t work.
Edsel: Yeah, true, ans I would have a hard time with that probably. Again, who knows Dope better than Edsel Dope? Exactly. I’m interested in the opinions of the people that I am in business with, but I’ll hear their opinions after the content is done. Again, I like to involve the people that I am working with as much as possible, but there’s a certain trust factor with this and rightfully so, just like I don’t tell them how to do their job. I don’t tell them how many records should be the best buy or to have my record up on iTunes. They know what they’re doing. we all do what we do. It’s a team effort.
The new Dope album is out October 28thth from eOne.