Beats: Interview with Dussel Has Friends

Almost two years ago I was on twitter having a conversation about Hip-Hop with my favourite rapper of all time, Chuck D from Public Enemy and Rich who was operating the Dussel Has Friends twitter account weighed in on the conversation. We started talking and he gave me the link to one of their tracks “The Way I Like It”. I was impressed. Genuinely impressed. The conversation I was having with Chuck D when this occurred was actually about how shit most modern day hip-hop was. This track confirmed my beliefs that there is some awesome stuff out there, you just have to find it; well, in this case, it found me.

Dussel Has Friends are a hip-hop band from New York. Yes, a band; this means they actually play instruments. This is not over-produced bullshit. Dussel has friends are a bunch of actual friends who make kick ass rock music with rap vocals and lyrics that actually say something.

So, last week I commented on a link that Rich posted on the DHF fan page on Facebook and Rich replied “So, Nate, when are you going to interview us about our love of beer?” and they instantly became my guinea pigs for my slightly non-musical interview process…

Who are Dussel Has Friends?

James Donald (Vocals)
T.J. Rowe (Guitar/Vocals)
Rich Nardo (Guitar/Vocals)
Sid Nicolas (Synth/Vocals)
Ricky Cody (Bass/Vocals)
Matt Larson (Drums)



What are you currently drinking/last thing you drank? If it’s not booze, you better have a bloody good reason...

James: Vodka Cranberry
TJ: Whiskey Diet
Rich: Jameson Ginger
Sid: Water because it’s fucking good for you! Keep the kidney stones away, hydration; beat the heat, that sort of thing.  It’s been heat wave city here in NYC and the alcohol does no one any justice in extreme heat. So I might be lame in that aspect, least I'll still be alive which is always cool. 

What was your first ever alcoholic drink? How’d that go for you?

James: It was Jack Daniels... Warm and straight from the bottle... It was pretty intense, slightly traumatic but in a good way.  
TJ: Beer (coors light?) I was playing flip cup with my mom so kinda weird.
Rich: This is embarrassing but some friends and I shoulder tapped outside a Mobil Gas Station and the dude brought us out a 6-pack of Zima.  We drank them in a parking lot and talked about how wasted we were… I’m still trying to make up for that inauspicious start to my drinking career.
Sid: Ummmmm beer. Not good. Drank a shitload of budweisers on an empty stomach except for some brownies therefore I threw up brownies everywhere and fell down a flight of stairs and passed out. Oh to be young again.

One beer. One Spirit. One Non-Alcoholic drink. Go:

James: Corona. Jack Daniels. Green Tea with lemon
TJ: Shipyard Pumpkin Ale. Jack Daniels. Stewarts Root Beer
Rich: Brooklyn Pennant Ale ’55.  Lagavulin (Scotch). Arnold Palmer Half & Half.
Sid: Prestige. Johnnie Walker Black Label.  Water.

What’s the most absurd thing you’ve done while drunk?

James: Maybe when I tried to get this female NYPD officer's phone number at the gas station. She almost went for it too, she was smiling hard. 
TJ: What if my mommy reads this?
Rich: This list is endless.  I’ll save this conversation for when you make it to NYC for some drinks haha.
Sid: A lot of things come to mind.  I did 110 mph on the parkway but the funny thing is when I was going the opposite direction, I got pulled over doing 75mph. The irony.


The boring one: Why’d you get into the music industry?
James: I'm not sure I'm in it yet... 
TJ: Because music is magical, it can control your emotions, clear your head pump you up. . . Music is really the only thing that ever made sense to me. . . also chicks dig guys in band. Right?
Rich: An unfortunate combination of blind idealism and naivety.
Sid:  I love music. Making it. Listening to it. Collecting it. And I figure it was a way for me to make trillions. That last part has not happened yet though.

What’s the first ever musical artist you remember enjoying listening to?

James: Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation
TJ: Michael Jackson. I was a little kid and would not stop listening to Beat it. (oh the irony) Also there is a CD of a bunch of Rock artists like Springsteen and Little Richard playing children’s songs like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Grandma’s Soup Surprise”.  I was also raised on the Beatles and Clapton.
Rich: Billy Joel “Goodnight Saigon”.  Long Island pride! haha.  For real though, my dad is a Vietnam vet and has always been the person I looked up to most.  I remember being at the age when you first realize that there was such thing as war and that it was traumatic and this song made me think of what it might have been like for my father. It just created vivid imagery and storylines in my head that I kind of inserted my father into.
Sid: It would have to be the Wu Tang Clan.  I grew up in the time of cassettes and walkmans so the first tape I ever dubbed was Enter the 36 Chambers. I was probably 8 or 9 yrs old. Needless to say that shit didn’t leave my walkman for a very long time.  Plus being from NY, growing up in the 90s and loving hip hop and having been influenced heavily by it, that album or artist(s) stands out for sure.  My parents also had a beastly vinyl collection so there are others but my shit was hip hop and that was definitely one of the first albums/artists that did it for me.

If you could only ever listen to 3 musical artists again, who would they be?

James: Amy Winehouse, Nirvana and 2pac 
TJ:  The Beatles, Green Day, Buddy Rich
Rich: The Beatles, Amy Winehouse, John Mayer.
Sid: Tough question right here....I'll just tell you who I'm listening to right now....OhNo....Big K.R.I.T.....Joey Bada$$

Why the hell is your band called that?

James: It's a long story... 
TJ: Because she really does have friends.
Rich: Really long story.  I will tell you the essential elements to the story are a late night jam session, snow, tacos, talking to Gary, a bunch of Tecates, Facebook, and a lovely young lady named Katherine Dussel.
Sid: That’s a funny little story.  It involves a select few of us being on "cloud 9" and going out for some tacos...Someone else please elaborate because I suck at telling the story

You shouldn’t really feel guilty about any of your choices in music, but really, what’s the one musical artist you feel really embarrassed about telling people you listen to?

James: R. Kelly 
TJ: Any band I’ve ever been in . . . It always feels kind of conceited but I really enjoy the music we make.  
Rich: Oh man, this could get ugly.  It’s a toss up between liking that Carly Rae Jepsen song and a wide array of Disney Soundtracks…
Sid: Almost everything I own is weird!!!...I consider myself a crate digger so...I did buy this Iranian Middle Eastern type record in a Philadelphia vinyl spot when we played our last gig.  Soo maybe that’s it???  I love weird shit! It’s out of the norm.  Breathe of fresh air. You don't fall in line with the rest of the robot music listeners out there. You feel like the weird shit, is simply, the shit! 


What are you currently eating/last thing you ate?

James: Curry chicken, rice & peas
TJ: Turkey Burger gotta watch that girlish figure.
Rich: Wish I could say something more interesting here, but the truth is a bunch of buffalo wings at the bar last night.
Sid: Street meat. Yeah man. 

Can you cook? What’s your signature dish? Will you make me a sandwich?

James: Yes, turkey lasagna and only if court mandated 
Kinda yeah. Chicken Parmigiana.  I will. I call it the “Good Idea” I thought of it in math class sophomore year of high school. Hero with turkey, roast beef, bacon, melted mozzarella cheese, mayo, lettuce, crushed cool ranch doritos and sour cream and onion chips.  
Rich: I love cooking.  My girlfriend and I always try to one up each other (she usually wins).  My signature dish would probably either be my Grilled Lamb Chop Lollipops or what have been deemed “Nardo Shrimp” (shrimp w/ a slice of fresh mozzarella in the middle wrapped in bacon and doused in bbq sauce and then grilled).  I’m also a big fan of pickling things…I’ll make you a sandwich if you bring me a beer.
Sid: I dabble. I can make omelettes, pasta, chicken, steaks. Sure I can make you a sandwich.

One Fruit. One Vegetable. One Meat. One Cheese. Go:

James: Pineapple. Broccoli. Turkey. Mozzarella
TJ:  Clementines. Cucumbers. Beef. Mozzarella.
Rich: Pineapple. Avocado (or is that a fruit? If so Asparagus).  Pork.  Cotija Cheese.
Sid: Mango.....Asparagus......Steak/beef.......Brie....I LOVE BRIE.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

James: Cow tongue taco. Was fantastic 
TJ: One time I was walking out of the store I worked in and my friend who was walking in took his gum out of his mouth and threw it at me. I caught it and put it in my mouth in one swift motion.  Also raw octopus.
Rich: I love eating weird shit. I’d have to say Lengua (Beef Tongue), Sea Urchin, Kangaroo, Rattlesnake and Crawfish Brain are all towards the top of the list though…
Sid: Well here in the US, probably escargots (which is snails) but I love escargots. Cow liver....My family is from Haiti and I used to go there a lot when I was younger....Used to eat a lot of weird dishes when I went there but all that stuff was delicious!!!


What sports do you follow? What are your teams? Do you play or are you a fat bastard?

James: NBA, NFL, MLB. Knicks, Jets, Mets. Medical costs are too high in the U.S. so I stick to lifting weights
TJ: SLAMBALL . . . not really but that was so cool.  I recently decided to be a Brooklyn Nets fan. Figured it be the best way to run into Jay Z and Beyonce. I’m fat.
Rich: Mostly Basketball and American football.  Also love watching baseball, soccer (football), hockey and lacrosse though.  Teams: NY Knicks (NBA), St. Johns (College B-Ball), Mets (MLB), Liverpool FC (Premier), Islanders (NHL) and Loyola College (lacrosse).  But first and foremost the NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS!!  I try to play basketball when I can, it’s been tough lately though so I’ve had to rely on these Insanity Workout Tapes to keep the pounds off…
Sid: Football, Basketball, Baseball...All New York baby..Giants, Knicks, and Yankees...I also enjoy World Cup Soccer...Maybe if the USA got their shit together, they'd win but for now, I enjoy watching the Brazilians play.....I wish I played and No. I am not a fat bastard. I am a sexy bitch!

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve had to take a shit while on tour?

James: I hold my shits until I get back to NYC.
TJ: My pants… that’s not true but it sounded good.
Rich: I had to let one go on the side of the road in New Hampshire once.  I try to block that out of my memory though…all I can say is paper towel is not a fun alternative to toilet paper.
Sid: Hmm... I don’t think I’ve defecated in any weird places while on tour to tell you the truth.

Can any of you do death metal growls? I dare you to record some death metal as a hidden track on your next album/E.P.

James: No and never
TJ:  I can and I have. Only if you put them in your article. 
Rich: I can’t, unfortunately. I start coughing which isn’t very intimidating.  TJ is pretty good at them though.  Challenge accepted.
Sid: Hahaha I'll leave that to some of the other fellas.

What would you do if you came face to face with an antelope? [Courtesy of Jadeski]

James:  I would call Jadeski and ask him [her] the proper protocol
TJ: React.
Rich: Either make a new BFF or dinner for the next week or so
Sid:  I’d probably do the Home Alone Mcully Culkin scream, and then feed it a carrot or something.

How many times can you bounce up and down on Satan’s big old trampoline? [Courtesy of Chris - @ckdsaddlers on twitter]

 It doesn’t matter; you’ll still never have fun.  That’s the torture of Satan’s big old trampoline.
Rich: Have you ever been on Satan’s big old trampoline?  It’s a recurring nightmare where bouncing is not a possibility.  Instead you kind of just land abrasively and it causes a lot of wear and tear on your knees so that when you get to later stages of Satan’s amusement park where the equipment actually works you can’t enjoy them because your knees are shot…it’s sad.
Sid: Oh I don’t know... not a whole lot only because I'd be in hell and it’s hot as fuck down there right? Yeah I wouldn’t wanna exert too much physical activity and pass out from all that heat.

When your music career all goes terribly wrong and you end up more hated than Metallica after they released St. Anger, what’s your fallback career?

James: Sports talent scout
TJ: Copywriter/ pro-wrestler.  
Rich: Writing about tacos ( or opening a Food Truck in Long Beach, NY…
Sid: World Traveling DJ. Although I don’t know if that’s really a fallback but...whatever.. I'll roll with the punches! 

What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve currently got in your wallet?

James: A credit card
TJ: A friend’s fake business card with a quote from when she was sleep talking “That’s a convincing fish sandwich, Mr. Fish.” 
Rich: Random hotel keys
Sid: Bottle opener! 

And finally, where’s that goddamn sandwich I asked for earlier?

TJ: Settle down you impatient little twit. The cheese is melting.
Rich: Where’s my goddamn beer?
Sid: Hey man! Don’t get loud with me! You didn’t even tell me what kind of sandwich you wanted! haha

I want to thank the guys for taking the time to answer my questions and for kindly accepting my request to make me a sandwich.

Check ‘em out on the internet, you won’t regret it:



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