Dusty Pickup and other dope stuff

I was wondering how to best start an introduction for this cat, but after a while I realized that I can actually sum it up in one sentence: "Symmetry is a sick artist." Back in late '06 when I got the tracks that were going to make up the "Dusty Pickup" album, I was impressed by how this one cat carried a whole album with variation in subject matter and delivery. I was also impressed with the production, recording and mixing of the album, and how much these cats knew about the recording & mixing process. I stem-mastered the album but Dox (who produced the entire album) and Symmetry were not yet sure about the order of the tracks on the album, and asked me to also sequence it (a task that typically used to be part of the mastering process but seldom is these days because artists tend to do that in addition to everything too). There was this cut that I knew needed to be a hidden track on the projet, a little gem named "$5,000 microphone" and I remember thinking to myself "Wow, here's a little joint that can bury a lot of singles by most heads I hear on the radio wearing a billion dollars' worth in jewlery on their videos, and it's the hidden track." The first two cuts on the spotlight player are new joints that he's doing for an EP, and the last two are off the Dusty Pickup album, here's my convo with Symmetry:

What’s good, Symmetry. I’ve read some reviews online on “Dusty Pickup”. Everything I’ve read is very positive, but they make a point to say that you’re from Providence, RI almost as if it’s crazy that someone from RI could be a rapper. Are you a tired of people being in a way, surprised that you’re not from say, NYC, Miami or LA?

Well, I feel pretty lucky to have gotten such great feedback for dusty pickup. I have found that the people reviewing the album are taken aback when they find out where I'm from. I imagine I would too if I didn't live here! I feel like Rhode Island will always catch people off guard in that way. Shattering people's preconceptions is one of my favorite things to do so I haven't gotten tired of it yet.

Is this the subject behind “Hater” on the “Dusty Pickup” album?

The subject behind hater was more directed toward the local scene. Being from such a small state, there is much less diversity. I felt like this hindered me for a long time. I wanted nothing more than to tell them I wasn't a part of any scene. Although I can now see the bitterness behind it, I made my point very clear.

How long did it take you to write the material for “Dusty Pickup”?

The album took me about a year and a half to write. In that time, I wrote over 120 songs. Maybe about half of them were for Dusty Pickup. We cut out most of them and were left with the 18 songs on the final album.

One of the things I’ve noticed while listening to your tracks is that you have an almost effortless way of “story telling”. Do you sit down and work through different lines that rhyme and settle on the ones that make the best sense or do the rhymes simply come out that way?

Thank you! I don't really know how I write the way I do. I can tell you that every time I hear it back I'm confused I that it's me. It takes me a long time to write. I can sit in place for many hours at a time once I get lost in writing.

Do you write rhymes to instrumentals you might have gotten from other producers or just as rhymes that you try to fit to tracks later?

I have always written to some sort of instrumental or music. I can write without music but that, to me, is poetry. I write a lot of poetry too. I feel like writing words and then trying to fit them into a beat is missing the point. I let the music guide me. Once I hear it, the words come to me like they had always been there.

How's it going lately on the live show tip, and where do you usually perform if not in your home town?

Right now live shows are more local. I have been working with a band for all live application. I won't ever rock off tables or a cd again if I don't absolutely have to. We have been doing some shows. We're working on fresh material as of late. We will be doing more shows after we get it together.

Liner artwork for Dusty Pickup:

While working on your album, one of the things I thought was real dope was that you have this hidden track (after the last track on the album, “Kill It”) where you rhyme about a $5,000 microphone. The rhyme and flow of that is just crazy, and it ends the album real well. What would you say is the overall message behind Symmetry?

I wanted to end it on a high note. The overall message is that I am simply all about the music. The idea about 5,000 dollar microphone is my obsession with nice microphones and my frustration that I can't afford one yet! I'm in love with the entire music making process.

What are your influences?

My influence is my environment. It's what is going on in my life at the moment in time that I begin to write. It's the soundscape the producer places me in to express that.

I understand that the relatively small scene up in Providence is made up of a collective of people, who do you build with and how did that scene build up?

There may have been a scene here some time ago. There's not much of one anymore. I'm friendly with most but I keep to myself and my family. I'm so driven that trying to build with other people usually slows me down.

I understand now you are also producing, how is that going?

I am producing now. It's amazing! I am able to create the exact music I like and kill it. I am very particular about my music so a heavy load is lifted off me knowing I can tweak any little nuance of the music. I'm nothing short of ecstatic.

What gear have you picked up and are thinking of picking up for making beats?

I still pretty poor so I haven't been able to afford much gear. I would like to get some vintage synths like a minimoog or something. I would like a small console. Some good converters would be helpful. A set of ns10's and a set of genelecs would be nice. I would beat up an old lady for an aurora GTQC (kidding). Right now find that with my computer and a midi controller, I can do what I need. I don't plan to work without musicians and instruments for too much longer.

Dayum man, I hope no senior citizens that own vintage Neve joints come around you, hahaa. What's good with the musicians though, these newer joints I mastered for you sound like there's live stuff going on, talk about that for a little bit; do you play any instruments?

On that particular album there isn't any live instrumentation actually. It's the last you'll hear me say that about. I have been learning some instruments. I play violin, trumpet, piano, guitar and harmonica. That is not to say that I'm good at any of the above. But I do own them and play them!

Do you think it takes away or enhances your rhyming?

That's an interesting question. It changes my vocal ideas a lot. Now I'm thinking "how can I make myself part of the production as well?" I think it's all for the better.

That's good, it sounds like you're getting into production to enhance yourself as an artist, and not for the typical reasons some cats have, like when they can't get beats quick enough from a friend that makes beats or whatever. Do you get beats from producers still though?

My production has definitely helped me grow in that way. Especially seeing as I never sample. Every part of my production is played. I work with Ryan Lewis who is a producer from Seattle. We actually finished an album a little while ago and are strategizing right now. That is set to be out by spring 09'. It's going to be a monster. I will usually work with anyone. I tell anyone who wants to work "email me something". If it's dope, I write it and record it. I don't find many people with production that sparks me these days.

You drew the cover for “Dusty Pickup”, are you deep into the drawing/painting thing?

I used to be. For me the two had gone hand in hand for a long time. However, drawing was my main thing a few years back. They have switched around these days. I think as I age, I will return to my art. Right now I have a lot of noise to make! That cover was a lot of fun to create.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a self produced album. It will be my best work yet hands down. I'm shooting for fall 09' to release it. I'm also working with a live band these days. Overall I'm working on breaking new ground and making things that ring true and original in a time where that is rare.

Any last words? Where can heads learn more about Symmetry and keep up with you?

Thank you! is the best place to know whats going on!


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