Asaan “Swamburger” Brooks
Solillaquists of Sound’s saga comes to its natural conclusion
‘The 4th Wall’ completes the group’s epic listener’s trilogy
Published: January 8, 2014
“I thought [it would be] more. In all honesty here, it’s great; I don’t want to be ungrateful for what we do have. But you see so many balls dropped in the hands of others. So many things where it’s like this coulda went this way/this coulda went that way, so easily that, to me, I see so much more opportunity for us to be really successful, you know? And I think a lot of people look at our level of success and say, ‘Yeah, they fuckin’ made it.’ But for what we had in mind, we didn’t really get to where we were shooting for.”
But right as he’s on the verge of expressing frustration with the game, he takes a turn toward naked emotion that is too surprisingly in the moment to be premeditation and too raw to be affectation.
“Having said that, I really …” He trails off, the dam of his face straining to contain some internal surge. He continues, mostly composed. “Another side to that coin, right? I’m happy, personally, that whatever success we didn’t get – that I was shooting for – we didn’t get. Now, I’d still like it. But I don’t give a fuck anymore; because the things I was able to learn with this group, I’m … phew …” He starts to crack again. “I’m a fucking millionaire, you know?” That’s when he breaks, eyes welling with tears.
In faltering voice, he continues, “It’s fucking amazing, you know? I know if I would’ve gotten the dreams I constructed as a 14-year-old – wide-eyed, looking at the industry like it’s all it could’ve been – I know I wouldn’t have had the growth that I had this way.”
DiVinci next goes into an impassioned discussion of values and how the systemically flawed music industry can seduce you from your compass.
“I would’ve been totally caught up,” he says. “I know I would’ve. I got caught up in the level of success we did have … Thankfully, I’m in a group that would never allow [any] one of us to really go in that direction. We have great pillars of people and great pillars of reasoning that have helped keep us in line.”
As a result, he says, “I’m a quadrillionaire in substance, as far as what I’ve gotten from this group. Because of not being able to get immediately what I wanted through the industry, through the dreams I built as a tween, I was able to really have to look other places to find out what I needed. And I totally got it, in spades.”
But even amid all the fanfare surrounding their big public unveiling of The 4th Wall (Jan. 11, the Social), the looming fact is that the album is a finale. What happens next is a very real question, one that I ask DiVinci point-blank. He reads me the concluding passage in the liner notes of the new album – the batch of which had just arrived in the mail the day of our interview – and it staggers me. Besides rolling back the curtain with this magnum release, they’re also bringing it down.
“With this album, Solillaquists of Sound, as people know it, as we know it, is dead,” he drops. “What this means now is that, all this structure we built, fuck it. … We’ve done all we can within the structure, within the industry, within the crazy structure of this trilogy. … These things that had been written years in advance playing out years later; that’s structure like a son of a bitch. That takes a lot of discipline … and we’re so ready to just leave all that structure behind and just be really free.”
But, as with all things Solilla, things are always more than what they first appear. True to their theatrical storytelling style, the parting message in the album is filled with ciphers that may not make sense for months – possibly years – to come, or at least not without some inside information. And that’s something you’ll have to dialogue with them about.
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