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D-Sisive dissects Jonestown 2: Jimmy Go Bye Bye

Submitted by on March 8, 2011 – 9:15 pmNo Comment

Derek Christoff is at a crossroads. Better known by his moniker, D-Sisive, Christoff is considering a stage name change to “Derek from Northcliffe,” a track off his new album, Jonestown 2, and a nod to his Toronto roots. Martyr’s Devin Size caught up with the man this country (for now) knows as D-Sisive to talk about the possible name change, his affection for puppets, fear of the Anvil fate, Russell Peters’ success story and the parallels between pop music and poison Kool-Aid.

I’ma sell my soul for a song that will sell out the (Sky) Dome.” What realistically, if anything, would you be willing to barter for a “#1 Record?”

(Laughs) I’d sell my soul. Yeah, probably sell my soul for a lot of money, and maybe my Blue Jays World Series coins (a commemorative coin set of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 1993 World Series win). I’d give that up too [and] that’s my prized possession. I’m actually getting necklaces made out of them.

Where does your affinity for puppets and masks stem from?

I’ve always found strange things, or things that people deem strange, to be interesting. I’ve always liked and been equally frightened by them – I guess I’m attracted to puppets and masks.

How does Jim Jones tie into the overarching theme of Jonestown 2?

I guess it’s – not to sound shitty – that the music is like the Kool-Aid: If you believe in it, then follow me. There’s no difference [between] the Jonestown massacre [and] anything that is popular – they went for it. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it is what it is. From the first Jonestown album, I got angry e-mail [from] people calling me insensitive for using the metaphor. I’m not trying to disrespect or anything, or anyone that died; if you feel that way, I apologize.

Derek from Northcliffe” is a nostalgic track. Was it difficult encompassing 20 years of your life – since the Vanilla Ice concert you saw with your Mom – in a song, even at a run time of 8:45?

Not at all. My goal with that was to keep it simple and not go so deep. It was easy because a lot of the things mentioned in the song are just things we used to joke about. I’ve done covers of “Ice Ice Baby” at shows, and it’s no secret to my listeners that I grew up listening to Vanilla Ice. I mention him in a lot of verses and, in a strange way, he’s been a major influence. “Derek from Northcliffe” is all about just taking it back to the 90s, when I was 10 years old and I didn’t have a care in the world. I actually wrote that one very quickly; I just had to take one quick walk through my old neighbourhood, and it all hit me.

The theme of the uphill battle faced by Canadian rap stars from the north permeates Jonestown 2. Are you bitter with the state of the country’s hip-hop indust…err, scene?

No, I’m not really bitter – not towards the Canadian hip-hop industry, or scene. I’ve never been one to care, or be interested in the rise of the “Canadian hip-hop scene.” It’s a silly thing to focus on, being an artist. I don’t think there really is a hip-hop industry in this country. Since I was a kid, growing up listening to hip-hop, there was an attempt at an industry, or scene, but I feel the wrong moves were being made, and the wrong artists always got signed and got exposure.

A while back you wrote a song about Anvil. Do you personally relate to that band’s struggle and anti-hero status?

Definitely. I saw that movie (The Story of Anvil) a while back, and it struck a chord with me. Not to insult those guys, but it’s totally something I don’t want to become. It took until the end of the film for me to realize that the lead singer of Anvil lived a block away from where I was living at the time! It kinda just made it that much creepier for me. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God that’s so close! So close!’ They’re dudes that stuck it out though – they’re still making records, and they never popped. They were pioneers of a certain sound and people ran with the other, and that shit happens all the time in music. I’m afraid to be that guy. I don’t want to be playing small bars when I’m 50.

OnRussell Peters” you talk about a Q&A with him in Reader’s Digest, and reading the quote about his father passing – “a quote you could relate to.” How did the unfortunate loss of your father affect your “paved road to making your name known?”

My father passing was kind of the green light to everything in a way. It made me realize I had a lot to talk about, as opposed to the old days [when] I was more battle oriented and just has no substance at all. It wasn’t until I started writing about me and getting personal with my music that things started to take off. Russell’s a really good friend of mine and I remember reading that, and knowing about his father passing away. For him to put that out in an article that it wasn’t until his father passed that he really started blowin’ up, I could relate. That’s why I wrote that song, because I felt like I had to pay tribute to him and that quote.

As an artist who never fails to surprise his audience, do you ever surprise yourself?

I don’t know about surprise – no I wouldn’t say surprise. I can fully enjoy something when it’s done. Me and (producer) Muneshine put so much work into this. We have two moments: One when we come up with the idea and we brainstorm, but then comes the gruelling hard work. When that moment comes, when it’s all done and mastered, we just sit back and smoke cigars. We smoke cigars on skyrises or balconies, and just look at the city. That’s what we fuckin’ do! Besides being working partners, we’re best friends.

At the end of Jonestown 2, you sign off with “Jimmy go bye bye” – gunshot, silence. With that shot, did you kill the D-Sisive moniker?

WE SHALL SEE (laughs) To be determined. I’m leavin’ everyone hangin’… just hangin’…

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