Dillon Lamb (aka Dilz) has been active as an artist since 2012, and hip hop has most certainly taken him on a rollercoaster ride over the last 10 years. His first album ‘Metamorphosis’ went to #2 on the NZ hip hop charts back in 2017, and Dilz subsequently moved to Sydney with his partner in order to be closer to producers and other artists. Returning from Oz to help care for his sister badly injured in a car crash, he’s had to again face up to the challenge of being a creative artist fighting for recognition out of small-town Aotearoa.
“There is an established scene in the big cities, but I’m the only one doing this in Foxton,” as he told local media. In 2021 Dilz has released a stirring new single tilted Resurrection, a song that bravely gives listeners a look into his personal life, with a message he hopes might provide some comfort for others who have experienced similar lows – the kind that too often come with music’s highs, as he revealed to NZM.
I started my first national headline tour in February 2020. During this time I was introduced to the sex, drugs & rock n roll lifestyle that you hear about so often, which inspired the lyrics behind the first verse of Resurrection. At the same time as this tour was kicking off, I was experiencing a messy break-up with my ex of six years, which inspired the lyrics of the second verse. A producer I had never worked with before, Buddah Stixx, happened to send me a beat titled ‘Dilz 2020’ that he made specifically with myself in mind, and for the first time ever it was like the production spoke to me directly. I knew I wanted to get some of what I was going through off my chest, and this beat provided the perfect place for me to do it.
Originally, I laid down a demo of my two verses and then sat on the track for the entirety of last year as I wasn’t sure if I wanted the public to hear such personal lyrics. Eventually, I decided to continue piecing the song together by re-recording my verses and reaching out to a female artist for the chorus. At this point, I would usually rewrite portions of the lyrics, however with this song I didn’t want to stray from the raw emotion expressed in the original writing sessions.
Unfortunately, because it took me so long to bring the song together, the producer had lost the original files for the production before getting a chance to back them up or send them to me… Quality was something we were worried about due to only having an mp3 file of the original production to use in the final mix/master. LA-based engineer 5MITH and I went back and forth on multiple phone calls and message exchanges to get a final product we were happy with.
I used a Facebook page called Bars Now to find my female artist, putting up a post in search of the right vocalist to bring this song to life. After sending the song to a number of people, I found my one. I was able to communicate openly with He Rā to capture the essence of this song and create the concept behind the beautiful chorus she delivered.
I knew I wanted to create something interactive for the listener to really capture their attention and assist them on the journey we were trying to take them on with Resurrection. I feel as though we succeeded in doing this by adding small elements to the song, like the sound of breathing in and breathing out behind the chorus section and the whispers used throughout my verses which reflect the battle I was facing within my own mind.
With myself and the featuring vocalist both live in different areas of the North Island we had to shoot the music video separately. Whenu McKinnon Videography was able to shoot He Rā’s parts in Rotorua and Charlie Higgison of Runner Films covered the shooting for my parts in areas around Palmerston North and Foxton. I presented the concept I wanted to capture for this video to Charlie who then helped add to it with the help of Whenu through their amazing videography and creative editing skills.
A simple summary of the song is that it’s about finding light at the end of the tunnel. I tell an emotional story whilst expressing trauma from my personal life, but the song and video ends with a message of hope. My music has always been based on my real-life experiences.
‘Truth is, she was the abusive one, physically and mentally.’ Writing these lyrics and allowing not only the public but also my closest friends and family to hear them was daunting to me. As a man, it is very difficult to admit that you have previously been a victim of abuse, but I felt the need to share my story in the hopes that it helps others to share theirs. With Resurrection, I have provided my listeners with a deeper insight into some of the hurt in my life, in the hopes that it resonates with some and will provide some form of comfort – and a reminder that they are not alone and there are better days to come.