By Justin Lee
In this day and age of carbon-copy pop, materialistic hip hop and the same re-hashed slop, T-Dot’s Pocket Dwellers come on the eclectic tip by fusing elements of jazz, hip hop, funk, soul, rock, reggae and drum-and-bass within their music.
On their recently released full-length debut, Digitally Organic, the PDs create a musical gumbo that put them in a league of their own. With a lineup that boasts eight members, including a guitarist, bassist, drummer, saxophone and bass clarinet player, keyboard player, turntablist and an MC, the Pocket Dwellers are definitely not your run-of-the-mill band.
"So far, we’ve broken all the rules," states Sheldon Moore, the PDs’ turntablist. "We haven’t taken the conventional route at all, whether it’s with the music, the business, the amount of members in the band. We truly believe in a certain sound, like the sound we have and we’re not going to compromise that sound."
With eight individual members who each possess their own taste and training in music, ranging from classically and jazz trained musicians to self-taught cats like Moore and the band’s MC Nigel Williams, the task of writing one common musical vision is easier said than done. However, the PDs manage to collaborate their own ideas into a coherent and entertaining blend of musical flavour.
"When we write, it’s not one member writing, it’s all eight members writing so everyone throws their own opinion into the songs," explains Moore. "That’s how we get this unique fusion because all our musical backgrounds are true backgrounds–we’re not just guys that dabble into that [type of music], we’re really into it."
With the advent of bands like Limp Bizkit, Incubus and Korn over recent years, bands with DJs are almost as common as seeing Ol’ Dirty Bastard in a police lineup. However, Moore insists that his use of turntables in the PDs is more instrumental than just background noise.
"As a DJ in the band, I try to be a musical member but not a DJ per se," dispels Moore. "I do a lot of session work as well, so I did some stuff with Snow, Ashley MacIsaac and Wide Mouth Mason. And when you go into the session, they just want to fill in that gap, like ‘yeah, we have a DJ on that so we get a stamp of approval–we’re hip.’ A lot of that music, to me, personally doesn’t have a lot of integrity anyhow–it’s just music that they’re making for today and that’s the end of it."