At the age of sixteen, Damià Rodríguez –also known as Lildami, Dami boy or Imparabla boy– was at a concert of the Terrasse music group of the moment, Matador Rockers. Who was going to tell that adolescent Damià that twelve years later he would be publishingo “Dummy” (Halley Records, 23), his third studio album.
“Dummy” has come after “Flowers while I live” (19) y “Spiral Journey” (twenty-one). Who was going to tell that teenager that this moment would come and that, twelve years later, one of the members of the Matador Rockers, Puto Chen or Sr Chen, would produce and sing songs from this third album with him. “Dummy”a word of English origin, can mean anything from “silly” to “replica of a human being.” Lildami he does not opt for one of the meanings, but intentionally plays with the combination of all of them, together with the homophony of “Dummy” with his own name Dami. In this way, she explains the origin of the idea of the title. “In the automotive world, there are ‘crash test dummies’, which are the dolls that go inside cars when they are being tested to see if the car is safe.” In this sense, the Catalan rapper traces a certain identification that he feels towards these dolls. “With all the humility and saving all the distances, within the urban scene in Catalan for different reasons –because I was there or for whatever reason– I have had to act as a ‘crash test dummy’ at times”. This is how he describes it, and mentions the shock it was to hear one of his rap songs in Catalan on the radio in 2018 or that “a rapper in Catalan being on a TV3 prime time program was hard to imagine”. He feels grateful to have been, in some way, a forerunner in a genre that was still developing in Catalan. “It has the cool part because it serves as a precedent for the people who are now pressing hard”. However, he does not deny that, as with everything, this fact has had its downside: “The bad thing is that as a ‘crash test dummie’ you get hit”. often to Lildami He is described as the rapper who leads the urban Catalan pop scene, but the artist himself reiterates that this sentence must be qualified and reminds rappers such as the PAWN Gang or At Versaris who had a long career before he appeared on the scene. However, he highlights a differentiation that distinguishes him from his predecessors: “At Versaris were the dick twelve years ago when they came out and they had a lot of people who listened to it, but maybe they didn’t reach that media point of sounding on the radio or depending on what festivals.”
“We live in a society where there are as many diversities and as many ways of understanding life and living it as there are people”
In this sense, it is inevitable to recognize that the rapper from Terrassa has reached a vast and mainstream audience, as he himself defines it. The fact that the music of Lildami is heard on some of the country’s leading radio stations or has access to environments where rap music in Catalan had not been seen before, is due, as he explains, to “the themes that I play and the way in which I do it”. Some themes and a form that are not the product of a strategy, but rather “Obligatorily because of the type of person I am and the environment in which I was born, I don’t talk about taking drugs or passing drugs. I am not talking about according to what things are talked about in the genre because they do not represent me and are not part of my life and I believe that this, in the end, what it does is bring us closer”. In this sense, this approach underlines the role of letters and the importance of the public connecting with them. “Music is about connecting with the gang and it’s easier for people to connect with me if I’m telling the truth”. What is this truth? Well, as he himself enumerates, Lildami He is a boy who has gone to university, who has worked and who has his problems like anyone else. For this reason, he argues, it is easier than “People connect with me so if I say that I have a kilo of farlopa in the sink at home. Instead, people will empathize more because it is a social reality shared with many more people.”. Talking about the topics he talks about and doing it the way he does comes naturally to him. “I talk about what I know or what I live, and how I have an average life…”. We debated a bit about the meaning of “average”, since it is not very common to appear, for example, in a television program that has broken audience records, and he laughs. Lildami He comments with a smile on the feeling of seeing among his audience a thirty-five-year-old father with his ten-year-old daughter and, in the next row, a seventeen-year-old boy drinking his first Cubata. He says seventeen cautiously, looking around him, waiting for a reaction from his manager who has a son that age. They laugh and assume that the first cubata is probably drunk at the age of fifteen, and the rapper continues: “You realize that music really is transversal, that it serves to communicate and is intergenerational, and I think that’s great.”
The mixture ofe “Dummy” has been run by Genís Trani, a music producer and sound technician with whom Lildami He has been working for some time now and in which he has blindly trusted again. And he has done it looking for a good refinement of the sound and a certain general cohesion in the album, which happens when a product is mixed by the same person. “I wanted the entire record to be varnished with the same touch.” Although, Trani has not only been in charge of mixing “Dummy” but has also produced two songs on the album. And as we said at the beginning, among the producers of Dami’s new project, her faithful companion, Mr. Chen, could not be missing. She smiles and looks towards the back of Bar Calders in the Sant Antoni neighborhood where we are, when she recalls her story with Chen. He remembers when, around 2010, Mr. Chen belonged to the Matador Rockers and Lildami went to see him in concert. “I must have been sixteen and he twenty. They are those things in life that you never know where you will end up or with whom. Eight years later, Lildami and Chen would meet through a mutual friend. “We met one day to make music, super cool, many things in common and that summer it was like: ‘let’s make a record’”. “Pussy Song”, which belongs to “Flowers while I live”, was the first theme of the duo and initially Chen had to take it out. However, “There was such a good vibe that we said we’d do more things, we got involved and made a record in a week.” Dami ended up bringing out this song that already has more than 150,000 views on YouTube and that was the driving force behind a duo that is currently hard to conceive of separately. “From there, we have experienced many things and we have done many songs, many concerts together.”
“Music is transversal and intergenerational, and I find this very beautiful”
Four years have passed since “Flowers while I live” and two from “Spiral Journey”. He speaks of them as photographs that capture the vital moment of him when he created them. “Now I look at the two previous albums and I know where I was perfectly, what was happening… I’m very happy on this one, everything is going super well and I’m very focused.” Hence, it is an album that transmits motivation that is also reflected in the diversity of genres that are played on it: from bachata to modern country. “I love the risk of risking it in this sense.”
“Dummy” was released at the end of February but “Supermarket”, the most listened to track on the album, was released last June. Immediately, the song became a summer anthem. In it, the rapper sings that he has fallen in love in a supermarket. However, he comes clean and confesses that he has never really fallen in love in any strange place. “I was in the supermarket with my partner and I had a flash: why don’t I make a song about falling in love in the supermarket? So it was”. Although the idea behind the lyrics of the song came out of sudden inspiration and is not based on his personal experience, he explains that after releasing “Supermercat”, talking to his parents, “They told me that they had met in a supermarket, touch your eggs.”
As for the current moment of the artist, the pink color adds the brand of the house. We hardly see the singer from Terrassa without a touch of pink, or some other striking color. “In the end the appearance, the clothes, the glasses, the nails… they serve to show on the outside how you are on the inside. So, I think that inside I am a very happy guy, of many colors, like the rainbow “. The singer states that it is not something he intentionally chooses: “If I want to wear braids and put little figures in the braids like years ago, I do it, because I find it fun. I don’t think about it anymore.” An aesthetic that has become an imaginary of colored t-shirts, painted nails and heart-shaped glasses that define Lildami. It is an aesthetic that deconstructs certain outdated stereotypes that associate a color palette or certain accessories with the feminine. Lildami defines that he does not care what those conservative people think who go against how he dresses. “If the only thing someone can say about me is that I wear a lot of pink, crazy.” Lildami claims that we sweat everything and that everyone does what makes them happy. “We live in a society in which there are as many diversities and as many ways of understanding life and living it as there are people”.
Transparency, confidence, tranquility and color define Lildami, and also her latest project “Dummy”, It is already available on all platforms. For this last record, however, Lildami proposes a new conception: the idea of the non-record. With two albums already published, the singer realized that he did not have a disk drive to listen to them: “very few people listen to the physical disc, having Spotify or Apple Music doesn’t make much sense.” For this reason, the artist has made a record that is collected in a wooden model: “I wanted to make a product that had the same content, but without being a physical disc as such… I started to investigate the issue of demos and decided to do it.” It is an interactive activity: a self-assembling wooden model to create your own Dami and that, once assembled, turning the Dami’s nose, reveals a QR through which the disc can be accessed. As if that weren’t missing, the model includes two wooden wrenches that can be used as earrings, for all those who want to learn how to “sweat it all”