In 2015 Defron released his debut EP Invalid. We caught up with him and chatted about the process, and found out that two years earlier, a day before the EP was to be mixed, the hard drive and laptop containing all session files was stolen! Upon remaking the EP from top to bottom only two songs survived. The rest were lost. Until a few days ago. Defron discovered these five demos deep within the folders of his back up hard drive. The session files are still missing but this at least will paint you a picture of progress, and why some times when you get bad news all you need to do is go back to the drawing board.
Defron says that “These songs are barely mixed. They are rough. They are flawed. And they are nothing like the music I make today. So this isn’t me saying hello to new unreleased material. This is me saying goodbye to the last frustrating few years of my life and saying hello to the future.”
We got Defron to break down the old tracks and reflect, so have a read, sit back, and join Defron by raising your hands and waving farewell to the past.
1. Just Bleed (prod. Mdusu)
Like Midgutter Night’s Dream from the final EP, this track was mainly just me getting a lot of ish off my chest. It was intended to thematically set up the entire concept of the EP by detailing my personal history with illness but also detailing where I was at the beginning of writing this EP, working I job I despised and trying to juggle several passions because I thought that was what I needed to do. And I know now that it was all bred of a fear of mortality and running out of time. It’s not much of a song to be honest, more of a glorified rant basically. It was written during an unhappy time in my life and I still find it difficult to listen to. A lot of these first draft Invalid tracks share the same illness which is front & centre in this track: lyrics were the only focus. That’s fine and all but my artistry has evolved where I write songs now, not just jot verses down. And this “song” is just one long verse. It’s a painful listen but that’s what was at my core when first making the transition from a kid who grew up rapping and free-styling to becoming a man who can write songs whose primary instrument just happens to be rapping.
2. Snow Globe (prod. Vince Van Go)
More of a song than Just Bleed but this joint still showcases the transition I was making when first writing this EP. I was yet to fully define my hook writing muscles. The lyrics were there but the tune and melody were flat and lacking something. But again the content of these lyrics made focusing on musicality especially hard. Continuing on with the opener’s morose subject matter, this song was an exploration into my depressed mind state at the time. Steeped entirely in dense metaphors and imagery, instead of telling a story like Just Bleed this song was more pleasurable in the way that I just embraced depression and anxiety when writing and just sat back and watched what visuals my heart and mind were evoking when they felt flat and worn down.
3. Feet Will Follow (prod. Geko)
I had this beat for yeeeeears and never laid anything down to it. Which is a shame because it was such a burner from Geko and more soft in its mood than you’d typically expect from the Crate Cartel head honcho. When I finally started writing it was top of the pile but it took me a long time to complete the writing. I would pen a few lines of a verse, work on other songs then come back a week or two later. This song contains probably my favourite hook at the time but like Snow Globe it still lacked something to make it knock melodically speaking. And as you listen to the verses you can hear the same problem presenting itself as a theme on this initial draft of the EP. These lyrics were more about writing for the sake of writing rather than wanting to tell a story and write a song. On paper I imagine any emcee would enjoy their idiosyncrasies but as music the cadence is rushed because I was trying to squeeze as many rhyme schemes as possible in each bar to the point where your speakers are overflowing with words. I’m all for getting lost in the density of a song but listening to this feels like drowning to me.
I’m sad to say that it took me so long to write to this it can only really exist as a demo as I only had the original session wave Geks had slung to me as a reference and as such he never got to tweak it. Which is entirely on me and my failed balancing act of trying to write when working a 50 hour week. By the time I’d finally penned something the session file got lost in the nether and I felt guilty enough that I took so long to use it let alone ask for it to be reworked. So I just chalked it up as a lesson in being on my own case and using beats when you have them.
4. Breaking Point (prod. Mdusu)
Possibly the only “upbeat” song on the original record, this one still deals with some dark feelings but in an attempted light-hearted manner only to bring the scope back to blackness with the final line. I definitely find the most enjoyable element of this track to be Mdusu’s boppy but brooding beat. And while I loved it when I first heard it and the verses were a cakewalk to write in terms of rapidity, the hook really challenged me here. And it shows. Just like Snow Globe I was still a mere apprentice in that crucial element of songwriting but it was failed tunes like this one where I needed to master the art. I’m still nowhere near the hook writer I want to be but I am glad to say I’m a far cry from the confused back and forth switching from rapping mixed with singing on display here. There are still days where I try to rework it in my head actually, as some sort of Sisyphean exercise in futility.
5. Will Not Go Gentle
This is actually the oldest song from the original draft and the only song to have been previously released on another release. From Blazin’ Marty’s Emerald City LP, this tune became a fan favourite during two solid years of performing live and I wanted to rerecord it and have it on my debut mainly as a narcissistic urge because I was very proud of it at the time and thought it fit the concept of the EP. Listening back to it although the lyric density irks me like all these old tunes, I can remember the passion and the head space I inhabited back when I wrote it some five or six years ago now.
You can grab the new EP Invalid over at www.MrDefron.com/
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