DIAL UP is a Chicago creative collective that’s carving out their own musical niche, with a healthy injection of multimedia prowess. In their short careers, all 11 members (Dave Prime, Magic Williams, Link Wolfe, Bria, Jack Crackstone, JEFF, Harsimus, Slim, Archie Blocka, Lazy Anwar, and Teah) have displayed boundless potential and versatility.
The DIAL UP podcast, The Lazy Anwar Show, and a slew of singles have led up to the release of their debut project “DIAL UP CD: (Side A)” on March 26th.
I had the opportunity to speak with members Jack Crackstone, Dave Prime, Archie Blocka, Bria, and Link Wolfe.
Bo: Take us back to ’14-’15- how did DIAL UP come to be?
Archie Blocka: We all kinda just randomly met. Me, AJ, Dave, and Jack were cool. We started doing radio shows and DJing. We wanted it to be more than that . Next up was the magazines. We threw some parties. Fast forward- basically, we kept doing shit, and we realized we wanted to more shit outside of that. Fast forward- more DJing. We started making music. Dave, Lattimore, and Bria all already produced.
Bo: Y’all each have to choose one. Name your biggest artistic influence?
Dave Prime: I love Pharrell, and he’s one of my biggest influences. But he’s also lowkey dumb, bro.
Archie Blocka: You shootin’ at everyone today.
Dave Prime: He’s just dumb. I think Tyler[, the Creator] and I think similarly about a lot of sh*t. So, I’d go with Tyler.
Archie Blocka: I’m gonna cheat a little bit. As a person, overall, plus their art, I’d say Jay-Z. Just what they make, I’d say Roc Marciano. I’ve just been speaking out for the past three weeks like since his album dropped, damn bro, no one should be this good anything. It’s mad unfortunate. This n*gga is a God amongst men bro.
Link Wolfe: If I could be anybody, I’d be Hiro Murai. He basically makes fire-ass music videos that are like movies. People be making shaky camera angles and shit, and he’ll be like- nah, we need to make it cinematic.
Jack Crackstone: Short music films, do you know what I’m sayin’? In life, I look up to James Harden. He’s my guy in life. My savior. I try to attack every day the way he does.
Bria: I guess Amy Winehouse.
Bo: The Joyride video and a little bit of the Promo video feature some scenery familiar to me- Greenway Farm down in Columbia, TN.- How did that environment play a role in the creative process of the videos?
Link Wolfe: Joyride was loosely based on the opening 3 minutes to Donnie Darko. That was our inspiration. Dave and I watched that movie, and we knew that scene and those shots were beautiful. Dave actually pitched Greenway because we needed to find a forest. Illinois is mad flat and has mad corn, which is not really a look. We went down, location scouted it on spring break, I think. The hardest part wasn’t, ‘what’s going to work’ it was ‘what part of this beautiful ass land do we want to shoot.’ Every spot was better than the last.
Bo: If a Dial Up movie were to occur, how would you approach the script?
Link Wolfe: We are actually currently in the process of writing the script. It came to me last night. Then, Dave and I started to put something together. Think of it as The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie of Dial Up. It’s us in the movie, everyone acting in it. The whole gang is always involved.
Bo: Bria, you can rap and sing R&B. What other genres do you want to explore?
Bria: I wish I could sing jazz because I think jazz singers are some of the most talented musicians out there. I wish I could get to that level. Gospel is fire too. That’s how I started singing.
Bo: Even though cable network television is falling off, what channel would you want to pick up The Lazy Anwar Show?
Dave Prime: I feel like Comedy Central has fallen off.
Bria: FX would be sick.
Jack Crackstone: Yeah, FX has some good shows.
Link Wolfe: I feel like the closest replica of our sh*t is Eric Andre Show.
Archie Blocka: Adult Swim is fire.
Bo: Do y’all accept the label of creative collective?
Archie Blocka: We’re the only well-rounded collective. In most rap groups, most of them rap and one or two n*ggas do videos. I fuck with Brockhampton- they inspire the fuck out of me and all of us. We have n*ggas who rap, n*ggas who produce, n*ggas who really make films, n*ggas who really code, n*ggas who make podcasts. We have our hands in mad different pots.
Jack Crackstone: The reason creative collective as a term is annoying most of the time is because it’s usually not accurate. They’re usually just a music group or visual artists. While some people want to dodge that term, it makes sense for us.
Bo: Who are some Chicago acts, contemporary or classic, that y’all listen to?
Archie Blocka: Shoutout Jasper.
Dave Prime: Bria fucks with Ravyn Lenae
Bria: Just her latest project really, but I do like some of her earlier stuff
Archie Blocka: Shoutout Valee.
Bria: It’s pronounced Valee.
Archie Blocka: We listen to enough sh*t where we all like something from Chicago.
Link Wolfe: It’s cool because everyone has learned about music from each other’s cities. Our influences span the nation.
Bo: Thanksgiving- Yes, No, or Maybe?
Dave Prime: Super yes.
Bria: In the south, we got everything at Thanksgiving.
Jack Crackstone: They all came down to Greenway for last Thanksgiving. It was fire.
Link Wolfe: Stuffing is fire.
Bo: What’s up next? Is DIAL UP CD: (Side B) in the works?
Dave Prime: Side B is coming soon, but that may not be the title. It all depends. Immediately next up is a Dial Up streaming service, headed up by Jack and Harsimus. Other people will help build up that vision. After that, we’re trying to get our feet wet with live shows.
Archie Blocka: Big ass warehouse party soon.
Jack Crackstone: Big sh*t. Mad sh*t.