Over the last few months, anticipation has been building for the next body of work from our Brisbane homie Tom Daley, who is better known as I AM D. We got word months back of a project titled Hands Tied To The Sky, which would manifest itself in the form of an EP. We can all rest easy now, as it's out, and it's some of his most fruitful work yet.
Comprising of 7 tracks in total (2 bonus), the EP represents the artists strong progression, through the influences in writing and overall experiences he has triumphed to reach this point of his career. Always one for emotive and thoughtful rhymes, Hands Tied To the Sky offers an insight into D's current status as an artist, as well as carefully constructed, banging hip-hop. We chatted to the man himself, to deconstruct this record as a whole, and pick his brain about his visions as an artist.
'Hands Tied To The Sky' - what was your thought process behind the title, it sounds deeper than just rap?
We're about to dive a little deep..Pause..'Hands Tied To The Sky' came to fruition very much on a personal level. For the last couple of years, I've been dealing with a stomach illness which I can't seem to find much relief from and tends to have a mind of its own. I think in the process of doctors and tests and all the back and forths without finding much clarity, it's allowed me to become a little more spiritually in-tune with this life we are given and what it all really means. So basically for the listener to relate, the title just represents certain situations you may be faced with in life where you just don't have the answer to. It's about trusting, having faith, hoping and believing things are going to work out through something higher then our physical selves. If you asked me a couple of years ago, did i write this response, I would have probably told you you're a fuckin' fruit loop for even thinking I'd ever write something like that. In the words of Brad Strut, "it's funny how this life spin".
So was there a message you were trying to convey with your song choices on this one? How do you compare this release to your last in terms of its content lyrically?
I didn't necessarily make it a full on story which follows the ordering of every track or anything like that. I just wanted to say what I wanted to say and relate to people on a feel good level. Even the darker songs like Midnight Jazz you wouldn't necessarily call a 'feel good' song, but if someone is listening to it and is feeling a certain way, or on that level and can throw a song like that on and feel uplifted from it because they realise other people too feel the same way, then that's how it becomes a feel good song. It's all about perspective - there's definitely no one size fits all when it comes to music. That's why I love it - from how the beat makes me feel the first time i hear it, to the finished product I turn it into and how that makes me feel a completely different way listening back to it. The growth is everything. I think lyrically I'd say and hope, that just by writing and loving the process from working on my last EP to this one, things have gotten better just through pure enjoyment. I'm pretty conscious of my bars and try to write some multi layered lyrics, and I can always feel an off bar if it's in there. If i leave it, it'll just be that one nagging thing almost overpowering everything else that i'm fully content with. until i get rid of it like a bad bitch with a blackhead. You gotta be proactive man..
Speaking of bars, do you have a favourite song off this record - one that just strikes a chord with you, and if so, why is that?
Man, i honestly like them all. Midnight Jazz was cool because it was very different for me. I'm really keen on expansion and seeing where I can take shit and what works for me. I'd probably put the bonus track Right Now in that same lane, just because I hadn't fucked with too many beats of that style before. It lets me know I'm pretty versatile with stuff - as long as I'm feeling it, I'm pretty comfortable to rap on anything. I think my favourite joint is Frame of Mind Part 2 just because of the message in the song and it's easy listening with the chorus, yet layered as fuck in the verses.
How do you feel, sitting at this point and looking all the way back on your very first EP - The Daley Grind - which dropped over a year ago now? Do you still have the same visions for your career as you did back then?
Yeah man, I just want to do my thing with it. I feel a little unique with it, despite how crazy a term like that is these days, with how oversaturated and unoriginal pretty much everything is. I think if you keep making good music and tapping into peoples emotions, eventually they just gotta give it up. One thing that's shifting a little bit for me though is the motivation behind the music. I'm not all the way there yet but it definitely started off for selfish reasons, but the more I make and the more I hear people reaching out and responding to the music, I just really wanna help people feel better about themselves any way I can.
What do you think is the most important thing for you to do, as an artist, to keep moving forward? Now, I'm asking about you personally - what do you think will get you to the next level after this?
Realising we're all here for different reasons. Realising we're all on different paths and there's no blueprint to having a career as an artist. Expanding, growing, trying new things, working with different artists if it works, and just doing what feels good.
Word us up on what you've got in store for the future. Any collaborations or live shows that we need to hear about?
Nothing too hectic right now. Working on it though.
I've got the Brisbane show supporting Drapht with the mighty Funkoars at the Triffid, August 6. Just steady working man - Daley Grind all day.
You can secure a hard-copy of Hands Tied To The Sky, or a limited edition 'Daley Grinders' long-sleeve tee at iamdmusic.bandcamp.com
You can also keep up to date with Daley via Instagram @daleygrinder