RR: There’s an awful lot of Monolith on The Book of Daniel. Sure there are some solo cuts, but most of the tracks appear to be featuring one or more of the members. My question is with the fact that Monolith wasn’t releasing group material past this point, yet had just previously dropped The Long Awaited…, was any of this material meant for an upcoming Monolith joint? If so, How much?
Dan-e-o: In fact, seven of the eighteen tracks on The Book of Daniel feature members of Monolith. And yes, some material was originally intended to be part of a full-length album by the entire group. During the process of putting that album together, things fell apart so I decided to focus on my solo joint.
The only cut I can remember transitioning from the group album to the solo album was “Peanut Butter Danish”, a track Nish Raawks produced and featured on.
Little known fact: The title comes from the fact I had recorded “Danish” with Nish Raawks and wrote another never-to-be-recorded song called “Peanut Butter” with Rishaard (then Shamon Harage). I just squeezed the two titles together for the joint the three of us did together. There’s no other rhyme or reason for the title.
RR: You actually produced a fair amount of the songs on this record. Where did you learn your production chops from?
Dan-e-o: Yes, I produced eight of the tracks on The Book of Daniel. During the summer of 1998, I worked a job that helped me to buy an MPC 2000 which I used to make the beats for the album.
I first learned my production chops in the mid-90s working with Scam and DJX, who both used SP-1200s. But I never actually got my hands on one until I started working with Shaun Persaud a.k.a. Drac a.k.a. Arch Angel. He managed me in the latter half of the decade. I produced both “So Deep” and “Son Daze” for the Dear Hip Hop project using his SP-1200.
RR: Page Music distributed this. They had done a lot for work in the indie Toronto hip-hop scene in the mid to late 90s. From Frankenstein, Ghetto Concept, Madlocks, etc. Who was running that? What impact did Page Music have on the Toronto hip-hop scene?
Dan-e-o: Page Music was owned by Victor Page, father of Steven Page of the Barenaked ladies. It was run by Victor’s other son Matthew and Chris Gayle.
But my main contact at the company was Darryl Rodway, who currently owns and runs URBNET. In addition to the artists you mentioned, Page Music also distributed projects by Citizen Kane, so they’re independent hip-hop catalogue ran deep for a while there.
In the late 90s and early 2000s, Page Music was known for its support of underground hip-hop artists from Toronto so they definitely deserve credit for helping get a bunch of careers off the ground.
RR: Do you have any stories associated with the recording of this album or the immediate promotional run of it?
Dan-e-o: The Book of Daniel was the definition of independence. It was released on the Monolith imprint, One Rock Records, which was founded by the group shortly after we realized that having two singles on the Beat Factory Rap Essentials Volume One compilation (“Sunlight” by Wio-K and “Dear Hip Hop”) wasn’t going to lead to much more.
I remember the album release party taking place on February 10, 2000 inside a place called 360 on Queen St. in Toronto. There was heavy snowfall that day and I thought it would have ruined the party. The place got packed though and it was an amazing launch for an album I basically did with the help of no one else but my crew.
I’m also proud of the fact that my father appears on this album. He’s the Spanish announcer at the beginning of “Corrida De Toros”. I used the Spanish title for “Bullfight” in his honour. Without him, I wouldn’t even have known how to translate it. The song ended up becoming the first single and video from the album. With my Dad now gone, it’s become one of my fondest memories.