Editor’s Note: A couple months ago Dead End Hip Hop partnered with Everybody’s Hip Hop Blog to conduct Facebook interviews with some of hip-hop’s biggest names. Due to my busy schedule, this interview and another with Substantial got lost in shuffle. However look forward to more interviews and collaborations with Everybody’s Hip Hop Blog in the future.
Dillon & Paten Locke make some really great Hip-hop music. They also have a great sense of humor. Their last full length album “Food Chain” incorporates a rapping lobster, upper echelon guest appearances, rewind-worthy lyrics, and some of the best production around. I was able to catch up with these Hip-hop cats recently and this is what happened:
Everybody’s Hip Hop Blog: Greetings Paten Locke & Dillon Vaughan Maurer, Thanks for joining us here tonight. How ya’ll feeling?
Paten: Wadaaap….coolin…how u?
EHHB: Feeling lovely, thank you.
Dillon: yoyoyo thanks for having us! I’m hungry lol What’s new?!
EHHB: haha, you can eat while we chat!
Dillon: That’s probably gonna go down. lol
EHHB: Before we dive in. Let the world know something about you. What are you guys passionate about?
Paten: Hmmmm….just trying to be a good, productive, and fulfilled human out in this bitch.
Dillon: Born in Ann Arbor, MI, raised in Jacksonville, FL and ATLien for 11 years. For me my greatest passions are a toss up between music & food.
EHHB: How did you two meet?
Paten: I’ll let Dillon answer that… How did we meet Dillon?
Dillon: I’ve known the name DJ Therapy (Paten Locke) since I was a teenager. There used to be this part of the newspaper in Jacksonville called The Times Union & they had a teen portion that would talk about music, clubs, DJs, etc. This was in like 97, 98.
Dillon: So I knew the name DJ Therapy from that – long story short, DJ Basic from Paten’s group, Asamov had played my 1st self pressed single on their radio show, ‘Skill Center Radio’
Paten: btw I used to go by the name DJ Therapy when I was in the group Asamov and the group The Smile Rays
Dillon: Paten heard the joint and said ‘Who is this dude from Jacksonville rappin like this? I need to meet him & tell him he’s wack. He”s aight but he wack tho. So this was like 2004. I was going to school in Gainesville at UF, we did a gig together & one day I went back home to Jax and went to his crib, built with him, got a beat from him and that was the beginning.
EHHB: Can you confirm this?
Paten: ha! That’s how he tells it. I don’t remember thinkin he was wack….ha!….never that. Yeah, he came to the crib and we just started from there. I thought he was dope, and I knew I could provide some sort of direction?….idk
Dillon: Truth be told, I think Paten was lookin out – he thought I had potential but knew I needed some guidance with my young thirsty ars.
EHHB: Okay, so you release your sophomore album, “Food Chain” earlier this year. Did you go into the recording process knowing what you wanted to do? Or just go in and go with it?
Dillon: Yeah I would say for Paten & I we have our own chemistry & sound that works for us. We went into this just sticking to what we do and trying to elaborate on the themes from the first record.
Paten Locke: I think we definitely had an idea from the first record of where we wanted to go musically…we just expounded on the formula and sound we came with on the first record….but I make a ton of beats, for my groups, other artists, myself, but often along the way I’ll make something that I just hear Dillon on, and ill send it, like I know what he’ll sound great over or be able to vibe with…sometimes
EHHB: You have some dope features on the album. Dres from Black Sheep being one. How did that come about?
Dillon: I’ll let Dillon chime in on this
Paten Locke: oh, Dres is my brother, honored to call him a friend. I did some beats for his solo lp and I did the beat for his last single as Evitan (with Jarobi) so we have a working relationship and I just asked him to jump on the joint and he crushed it…that’s fam right there
EHHB: Does he ever not crush his verses? I think he is one of those emcees that always comes correct
Dillon: Also aside from his smash appearance, he also rocked the Atlanta release party with us, performed Humdinger & even did a short set on the strength and CRUSHED it of course. It was an honor to share the stage with the legend and he was so cool & humble.
EHHB: Dillon, you have a line on the title track that says “the songs they sing could stop a child’s breathing” Can you elaborate on that line? Who are they? What are the songs?
Paten Locke: Hold up now!
Dillon: Lol! That was P tho!
EHHB: Paten Locke, same question, now to the right person!
Paten Locke: yeah but I don’t know I guess I was referring to people singing songs with toxic messages….it filters to the societal consciousness and then filters to the kids….toxic messages shorten life spans
(Robert Campbell: That’s deep, but spot on)
EHHB: It seems there are a lot of people who really dig songs with toxic messages. Would you agree? Why do you think that is?
Paten Locke: Well society has promoted it harder and harder more intensely every year I’ve been on the planet….so idk,
Dillon: I think it’s just the accessibility & the seemingly endless amount of marketing dollars that are behind them. The more you’re exposed to something, the more you want it.
Tyler Palmquist: Alright if I may- a question for Paten. How did you get down with that Fabreeze Brothers project?? Man you got some wreck on that ‘Heroes from the East.’
Paten: Interesting….well I’m a record digger cat….kinda first and foremost…and Phill, well I’ve known of him and studied his diggin knowledge since he had a article in the rapsheet in the 90s….basically, at some point he heard what I was doing, maybe with Willie Evans Jr, or with Edan, and he asked me to get down, and I obliged very happily, like I’m a huge fan of Soulman for real, so I was honored, and I met up with Paul and he’s a legend and a dope cat, so yeah….I’m now working on a record to come out with that label that put out the Fabreeze record…great feather in the cap, lucky to get called on by those brothers. Thank you for the kind words on the verse.
Tyler- Shit man- you got some of that. “Memorized all of Phil’s rapsheet articles” took me. I sEHHB have a couple of rapsheets. No bullshit.
Paten: Dooooope…then you know…I was in Chicago back then and it wasn’t no internet, so diggin articles were important to my young diggin self.
Tyler- Dj PNS and them. I know the time.
EHHB: Okay, lets see if I can accredit the next line to the right person on a more serious tip!!!! Dillon, you talk about losing a friend, Thomas, to cancer. First, I’m sorry to hear that. Can you expand further on that experience?
Dillon: Yeah man shout out to my brother, Thomas Allen, who I grew up with. We were literally Peanut Butter & Jelly in the 2nd grade school play.
He was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in 2nd grade, fought it, came back for 5th grade where we had the same class again. He spent the night at my crib and we watched the OJ Chase then watched x files. It was the last day of 5th grade.
Then in middle school the cancer came back – we went to different high schools but always kept up. He passed in 10th grade.
But anywho, what he taught me was to soak life up & enjoy it because he did maaaad shit in his life with the amount of time he had. He maximized his experiences on this planet with the knowledge he was leaving soon & it always left an impression on me.
EHHB: How did he cope? Did he share how he was feeling with you?
Dillon: nah he always kept it straight faced, no pain, no problems, don’t worry bout me.
EHHB: What a lesson to learn. That hit me kind of hard when I first heard it on the album. My wife struggled with cancer not too long ago. Chemo and all that. It was hard. May we all live life to the fullest. It is almost like we owe that to those we’ve lost
Dillon: much love, big homie.
EHHB: Thanks. Same.
EHHB: Right out the gate on “Food Chain” I heard references to presidents and a reference to the ‘Howard Dean Scream’. You guys follow politics?
Dillon: Ahh yes shout out to Malkovich on the ‘Howard Dean Scream’ tip. I definitely follow politics in that I keep up with the news and what not.
EHHB: Any thoughts on the current presidential race?
Dillon: Yeah no doubt it is clearly one for the ages and has set a new bar for Presidential races & politics in general. At this point- anybody can run for office…
Paten: Sure, I do (follow politics), always have, don’t speak on my personal views much if ever outside of my home.
EHHB: Why not?
Paten: hmmmm….well, I guess I generally don’t like to go back and forth with people unless we are friends, which means they are at my home, cus I don’t go out all that much
EHHB: I feel that. It seems people pick their teams and that’s that
Paten: Yeah, see and that’s where I would probably point out things that I think are foolish…I’d say I identify as human before anything else….a lot of folks ain’t on that.
EHHB: Paten Locke and Dillon are running for President. Who would be the POTUS?
Dillon: NEIL DE GRASSE TYSON
Dillon: Neil x Jon Stewart that is the ticket I want to win.
Paten: Dillon would be (president), he wears suits anyway, I’d play the back and talk him down from bombing fools.
EHHB: What would the Dillon/Locke platform be?
Paten: “Don’t Monkey with the funky”
Dillon: Nailed it.
EHHB: Going back to Hip-hop… Hip-hop has seen many different eras. How would you describe the era we are in right now?
Paten: post drake era
Paten: seriously, I’ve been calling ears since the post tupac era, then the post Eminem, post 50, etc…
Dillon: the post-indy future era idk
Dillon: but yea, we live in a post j-dilla/doom ear
Paten: post future era, just getting into that one, I agree
EHHB: if you guys had to go back to any time and location in Hip-hop where would you go?
Paten: Always forward.
Dillon: Damn that was slick tho. Ummmm 94?
EHHB: There seems to be a gap between some older hip-hop heads and younger cats. You guys get caught up in those discussions at all?
Paten: No way jose.
EHHB: you are a wise man.
Dillon: Ha, only for the sake of conversation.
EHHB: you are not as weise, but still wise!!!
Dillon: I think its important to understand both sides just to be able to navigate but yeah, only so I can prove the point that… eff all that!
EHHB: I like listening to J-Zone rap about this topic.
Paten: J-Zone is a good friend, and he just remixed our song “hammsammich” off ‘Food Chain’ for us!
EHHB: Who do you guys like in Hip-hop right now??? Who is really making you play songs/albums again and again and again?
Dillon: Mostly Marvin Gaye over here. Elzhi, Roc Marciono, Homeboy Sandman, The Difference Machine, Yamin Semali, Willie Evans Jr., Malkovich, FABREEZE BROTHERS (Phill Most Chill x Phill Nice) That record goes!
Paten: Hmmmmm, I’m partial to the music my friends are making…but I’m lucky cus my closest friends are very very inspiring to a lot of people. Willie Evans Jr. and Edan are two of my closest friends and they make genius level shit every time to me…I’m checking for them.
EHHB: What are your top three favorite spots to look for records?
Paten: Florida, North Carolina, and Helsinki
EHHB: are you finding that record stores are easier or more difficult to find these days?
Paten: Kinda nonexistent these days. But there is more than one way to skina cat, not that you should skin cats or any animal of course
EHHB: Always found that expression weird. Well, if you guys make it up to Cincinnati we have a few spots
Paten: I will hold u to that my man.
EHHB: What is the future of your record label, Full Plate?
Dillon: Welp it was an idea P and I had long in the making
Paten: The future is bright.
Dillon: It was always based on the idea as a home base for our fam & finally we’re starting to get some headway. It started with P & I getting the rights back to our 1st Lp, ‘Studies in Hunger,’ – we decided to re-release it under our own imprint and we took it form there. We followed with Food Chain which got us linked up with Fat Beats and gave us physical distro so that gave us confidence to keep pushing. ‘Side Dishes’ the companion EP to FooD Chain is due around Thanksgiving. Right now we’re talmbout the Clean Plate Club – a beat tape series. Vol. 1 was Paten and is out now. Vol. 2 is Willie Evans Jr. dropping at the top of December. We also have multiple projects on deck from Paten’s production/rap works and my projects produced by Diamond D + Batsauce + a Lobsterdamus LP…
EHHB: Speaking of Lobsterdamus. Dude is a rapping lobster correct? How did you guys meet? And is it accurate to say Paten hates on Lobsterdamus?
Dillon: I met Lobsterdamus at Octopus Bar here in Atlanta, GA. He’s a jerk but he smooth tho. I mean, Paten kicked us out of his studio so…
EHHB: Why he have to go and do that? Lobsterdamus is nice
Dillon: Nah he was smelling like seaweed tho so I feel that.
EHHB: I guess he had the wrong cologne
Paten: yeah I hate on Lobby (Lobsterdamus) but he aite.
EHHB: Your hatin is softened with love!
Paten: Troo, not really tho, mostly hate.
EHHB: Ah, come on. You know you love the rapping Crustacean!
Paten: Nah he’s good I dig the music, just ain’t trying to hang around him like that. I separate People/crustaceans etc from the music they make.
EHHB: Dillon- did you really cook salmon & scallops for Chuck D?
Dillon: Yeah man bless up that was the illest. I was like 20.
EHHB: How did that come about?
Dillon: I was a hibachi chef all thru college at the University of Florida. I was taking a Hip Hop & Politics class & my prof brought Mista Chuck to UF for a private lecture for our class. We had a roundtable discussion with him, then my Prof surprised the haiiil outta me when she showed up with my restaurant with Mista Chuck after class.
EHHB: Did he like what you prepared?
Dillon: Yeah he went from a FULL PLATE to an empty plate, nahmean! Lol I also made him a spicy salmon roll from the sushi counter
EHHB: So, you fellas have any plans to come to Cincinnati to rock a show?
Dillon: Not yet but, we’d love to!
Paten: Set it up!
EHHB: Let’s make it happen.
Paten: Blogosphere, ya’ll here that? Halp!
EHHB: Speaking of performing… Dillon, I’ve heard you prepare sandwiches while you perform. How does that work?
Dillon: Well basically I just keep this Panini press on deck and then I make them about 1/2 way thru my live set cause hey – rap can get boring and we get hungry for snack time.
EHHB: So, do you break, make the sandwiches, then get back to the rapping? Or rap while you are making them?
Dillon: The latter, my friend. I pre-make them and keep ‘em in a lobster cooler, then press them on stage whilst I rap. Then hand them out and make people feel awkward about not being in the front.
EHHB: hahahaha, I gotta get to a show to experience this. I like the creativity
Dillon: thank you my dude – it seemed like the most natural transition from hibachi chef, to rapper, to dude talking at you & cooking at the same time.
EHHB: Paten Lock, you making’ sandwiches for anyone while you perform?
Paten: Nope, I’ve helped hand ‘em out before tho.
EHHB: You gotta step your game up man. You got rapping lobsters, chefs preparing food on stage!!!!
Dillon: Lol nah tho P is the hardest workingman in rap hands down!
Paten: Ha! I’ll get it together, I do rhyme, make beats, and DJ tho soooo…
EHHB: I was peeping some live footage (of Paten) and I just about jumped out of my seat and started rapping at my wife
EHHB: Fellas, I really appreciate your time and talent. Thanks for sharing your gift with us all. Can’t wait to get a sandwich at a show. Before we sign off, what’s next for you guys?
Dillon: P got so much. For me… Dillon & Paten Locke- Side Dishes EP, Dillon & Diamond D- Black Tie Affair EP, Dillon & Batsauce- ‘On their Way,’ Dillon- ‘The Tails of Lobsterdamus.
EHHB: “Side Dish” is coming around Thanksgiving right?
Dillon: Right. ‘Side Dishes’ keeps up with the quasi-narrative / sound of ‘Food Chain’ and features the honorable yU
EHHB: yU is dope!
Dillon: Fam, one of my faves in rap and a stellar human all around and he’s nasty on the beats too!
Paten: as far as music coming….the upcoming Full Plate releases first! And my beat tape which is out now Clean Plate Club Vol.1 ….lot of projects I fully produced, maybe 6 of ‘em or so coming. I also have 3 active groups I’m in: STONO ECHO, Steam Mechanics, and Dumbtron, all of which are working on records/shows etc…I also have a couple solo records, each has a label home…..and Dillon and I are a good way into our next lp….and other stuff too.
Paten: but next up really for me is my second solo lp “DANCE ON MY GRAVE” which is just about done….fyi
Dillon: LAWDDDDDDD that album…
EHHB: Keep it up fellas. The world will be a better place for it.
Paten: Thank you sir.
Dillon: Biggup man. Thanks for having us. It was an honor and pleasure!!!
EHHB: Thank you!