DJ Cosm (DJ/producer) and Teekay (emcee/producer) are hip hop duo, Dragon Fli Empire. From Calgary, Canada, their music is conscious, melodic and jazz inspired. The two just keep on giving, taking hip hop back to the days where the message is key. A DJ and an emcee, the classic set-up. The new album "Banff Avenue" is now available.
What is the philosophy behind the band name? TEEKAY: Dragonflies are the cool, suave, protectors of the environment… since they feed on mosquitoes and other pests. So, consider us protectors of the hip hop world, devouring wack MCs -haha. It also just sounds cool and refers to the fly music we make. How did you meet? TEEKAY: We went to the same high school, but DJ Cosm was a grade older. So, after high school through mutual friends, I remember meeting Cosm to record 4-track joints over beats he made with his ASR-10 and his amazing vinyl collection. DJ COSM: I saw Teekay perform at the high school talent show and I think he was the only performer who was performing original music. Dude had flow. How would you describe your style? TEEKAY: It’s a classic style, heavily influenced by producers like Pete Rock, J Dilla and DJ Premier. Lyrically, my influences are emcees like Q-Tip, De La, Common, Rakim, KRS, Black Thought, Mos Def, Chali 2na, etc. I just appreciate emcees who spit with skill but are relatable and uplifting. DJ COSM: Yeah, agreed. Though I think our style has also been majorly influenced by west coast underground stuff like People Under the Stairs and the Pharcyde. Has your record collection influenced your approach to music? DJ COSM: I’ve always been very passionate about sampling records, especially Jazz. Back in the day I was so captivated by producers like DJ Premier, Q-Tip and J Swift, and then discovering the original samples was such a major revelation. A few years later I was lucky enough to inherit a huge record collection from an ageing Jazz musician. It included a lot of the classics plus a ton of samba records, a lot of which were used to make DFE beats. I still sample some of those records to this day. Listening to vinyl is like getting a visit from an old friend. Do you think it's important to give music away for free? TEEKAY: We’ve never had major label exposure and despite some cool opportunities over our career like getting some national media attention in Canada, putting out albums in Japan, or touring Europe, we’re still kind of under-the-radar. We wanted to remove that obstacle of people getting a chance to know about us by removing the obligation to pay, and instead we gave a lot of music away freely in exchange for adding an email to our mailing list.
We both have day jobs, so we weren’t depending on our music to pay bills, so I guess that was a factor too. Now with Spotify and Apple Music, etc, that model just seems to be the norm. Bandcamp has even removed the stats for how many downloads you get and is just showing you streams. More than being compensated for it, making sure our music hits as many people as possible has always taken priority.