By now, you have probably heard the name Dylan Joel. The Melbourne MC has been climbing up the Aussie hip-hop ranks over the last few years, cementing his name as one of brightest, up-and-coming acts that Melbourne has to offer. Dylan Joel isn't your standard MC though. Shaking up the Australian hip-hop landscape, Dylan stays true to himself, incorporating his acoustic guitar, soul influences, and his crew to produce music with a sense of realness. Dropping his debut LP Authentic Lemonade last year, Prism catches up with the man himself to gather his thoughts on the hip-hop scene, his wardrobe staples, and the aftermath of Authentic Lemonade.
Authentic Lemonade has been circulating now for six months. How have you found the response to you debut LP?
I’ve been real stoked on the response man. I never felt like it was going to change the world of music [laughs], but I did feel that it was going to be a game changer for me. There were a lot of concerns from others with the style of the record. Some people doubted whether it would connect with the general [hip] hop scene, however the record was a huge tick for me. I’ve had a surprising amount of love on every single track and every track was something left of field.
The Australian hip-hop scene has established it’s own style over the years with acts such as Hilltop Hoods and Bliss n Eso defining the unique sound. You however break the mould with Authentic Lemonade. Where do you seek inspiration from in your style?
I definitely have some favourite artists that I think are innovating a whole new pathway in hip-hop, however what I listen to in my spare time is super broad in style. I listen to a heap of hip-hop still, but some of my all time favourite artists range from stripped back acoustic like Tracy Chapman, to soul and gospel fusions like Allen Stone, and then they get split up by dudes like Kendrick, Vic Mensa, etc.
Your live show demonstrates that you’re not the traditional MC. How important to you is it to show the audiences that you’re not just a great rapper, but a talented musician also? And do you make a conscious decision to add guitar to your live show, or is it more organic?
I think the most important thing to get across is just a genuine and authentic performance. People really want to see the real you when they go to a show and leave feeling like they know the artist personally. So for me, it’s not so much about what instruments to incorporate in a live set, in order to show off musicality. It’s to try and create the most accurate reflection of who I am and why my music sounds the way it does throughout a show. So honestly, I have no idea how much more musical our set will get. But the way I’m writing songs and spending time on music these days, it’ll probably keep getting more interesting!
Hip-hop has been a key player in shaping a lot of prominent streetwear styles over the years. Recently though, we have seen a shift of trends, with prominent brands starting to incorporate more rock and grunge influences. What role do you feel Australian hip-hop plays in local Melbourne streetwear, and do you believe there is still a specific clothing style in our hip-hop scene?
Yo good question! It’s kind of tough to call, as I believe hip-hop as a culture has so many different sub-cultures. I think it all depends on what era of hip-hop you grew up in/you listened to. There’s some serious OG’s that will forever rock baggy jeans and kangol caps, and then there’s sub-cultures like your heavily American influenced ones, that [will] be rocking all black everything, with a real clean cut style and everything looking pristine. Because hip-hop originated in The States, I believe that Australia’s style is mostly just taken from different subcultures and respectfully grown over here. And it does! And it’s dope to see people relate external cultures and reshape them to suit their own culture over here. I feel that lucky to live in such a multi-cultural country, as there’s always people re-innovating existing cultures and therefore creating new ones! It’s an exciting time in the creative world!
Describe to us your clothing style. Do you have a particular wardrobe staple?
Something clean, something old; clean-cut pants and an old t-shirt, or old worn pants and a clean-cut t-shirt. Pin rolled pants because the sock game is important and sneakers have always been a guilty addiction. Try to be good by not spending too much on style though. Best way – shop at Savers, find something unique and own it. I generally always rock one item from Savers.
Describe Melbourne in 3 words.
Exciting, innovative and hungry.
May 28 – Big Pineapple Festival, Sunshine Coast QLD
June 02 – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury WA
June 03 – Amplifier, Perth WA
June 04 – Fat Controller, Adelaide SA
June 09 – Transit Bar, Canberra ACT
June 10 – Uni Bar, Wollongong NSW
June 11 – Come Together Festival, Sydney NSW
June 12 – The Small Bandroom, Newcastle NSW
June 17 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane QLD
June 18 – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne VIC
Authentic Lemonade is out now. For more details, head to dylanjoel.com.