Dalek no longer ‘absent’ from Cleveland

Robert Taylor

Socially conscious rap duo embraces a new style

Will Brooks, left, aka Dalek, and Alap Momin, aka Oktopus, make up the rap group Dalek. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAG TEAM MEDIA

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Hip-hop group Dalek is coming to the Grog Shop Monday to promote Absence, the group’s fourth full-length album.

Dalek’s sound is different than most hip-hop you’ll find in stores: more sinister, more politically open and darker. Because of the group’s openness to tackle controversial issues, its work has never achieved much commercial success, except for a devoted group of followers from both hip-hop and experimental rock circles.

“My hip-hop comes from where I grew up and what I listened to,” said Will Brooks, aka emcee Dalek. “When I was growing up, there was a ton of socially conscious hip-hop, but not anymore. It was saying something. Hip-hop has gone back to party-run mentality, and that is just boring to me. There are more interesting things that I want to write about, so I do.”

While Dalek’s first albums had a much more diverse sound, the group’s fourth album has a more consistent sound, he said.

“It’s definitely our most focused album,” Brooks said. “Stylistically, we were all over the place before, and now we are focusing on one sound the whole album. It’s more threatening, confident and more in-your-face than what you’ve heard from us before. I think we achieved what we wanted to accomplish with the record on every level.


Playing with Meat Beat Manifesto, Jugoe

Where? The Grog Shop

When? Monday, 9 p.m.

How much? $14 (in advance), $15 (at the door)

“I am most proud of the cohesiveness of the sound,” Brooks continued. “We got to a point in our careers where we don’t want to make the same record over and over, so this is just one sound and our next record will be completely different. All in all, I’m happiest with this album.”

The new sound has gone over well with fans and critics, who have embraced the album and subsequent tour.

“It’s been phenomenal,” Brooks said. “I couldn’t be happier with the response we’ve been getting to the record and at our shows. People seem to be connecting on it at a different level than our earlier stuff: more emotional and much deeper. It’s been bananas.”

The group said it is excited about returning to Cleveland.

“We played Cleveland before and it was amazing, and the crowd has always been good so we are definitely happy about being here,” Brooks said. “I like doing the recordings, so it’s always a different experience to do shows, but I think people have been very supportive of us.”

As for what is next for the group, its members are well on their way to releasing their next album.

“We have the rough tracks to our next album done, so we just have to get back into a studio after the tour ends and work on the mixes,” Brooks said. “We hope to have it out by October. I’m also opening up a recording studio, so that’s great.”

Contact ALL reporter Robert Taylor at [email protected].