DillanPonders is healthier. Although you wouldn't quite know it after simply hearing the eccentric and excessive Toronto artist's latest EP RETOX, the long-awaited project composed of eight thunderous trap ballads directly conveying late night drug-fueled outings and an outrageous fast-paced lifestyle, the man behind the vivid intoxicated imageries has slowed things down following the manic project's completion. Produced entirely by SmashMouth Music Group comrade and Toronto beat-machine M Mac, RETOX has been finished for close to a year now, yet despite its timely sonic cohesion, DillanPonders took time with releasing it to accumulate a sense of moderation in his own life that's been necessary to take his craft and career to the next level this time around.

M Mac and Dillan are opposites sitting on opposite sides of the room. While M Mac arrives early, Dillan saunters in a bit after. Mac's black and white casual Sunday outfit directly reflects his unobtrusive and humble demeanor, while Dillan's technicoloured dreadlocks, nail polish, and pot leaf-patterned pants announce his entrance before we even greet. The two could not be more different, yet together their sonic energy is a productive medium.

"We both tend to work in isolation. I'll make the beats at my crib, I'll send it to him and he'll have something recorded in two days usually. It's all about going back and forth and picking out songs out of the whole bunch. We both enjoy our personal spaces. I know the type of stuff that he needs. We just work," M Mac casually states, sitting directly in the middle beside their SmashMouth manager and Dillan's girlfriend. All three look on with support as Dillan picks apart the layers of his new music and even newer course.

DillanPonders is healthier. And it's clear to see why.

Tell me about the year you've had?

It's been good. Health-wise, it's been better. I haven't been as deep down into the rabbit-hole as I've been in the past. Creatively, I'm in a great place right now. I've got a lot of ventures I plan on doing after this RETOX drop. Overall, it's been great, just growing as a person and a musician.


People don't know, but I finished recording this EP about eight months ago. There's eight songs on the project and I recorded them within a month and a half. With RETOX, the reason why it's going to bang so hard is because me and M Mac have been sitting on this project for about a year. These songs bang. Every time I listen to the project, it's like I just made it yesterday. It has that timeless trap feel to it. It's trap brilliance. I think that people are really going to have some head-bangers to nod out to for the next few months.

Why is now the time to drop it?

A lot of things had to come to fruition. When it comes to dropping projects, timing is everything. You can drop a great project at the wrong time and it just won't get the ears and the kind of love it deserves because the timing was off. RETOX just has a Halloween, darkish late-night, go fuck yourself type of vibe. The timing is right.

Tell me about the process of putting it together.

It was easy to work with M Mac, because we have a similar type of work-flow. I work in isolation, as does he. He really got the sound. Just the heavy bass-ed out type of bangers. Working with someone like that is awesome, because I'm not the type to sit in a studio and deal with someone and strategize and try to make a concept. I'm a walking concept. I just make stuff. Give me something that sounds good to me and I'll add some magic. And M Mac is just a perfect producer to work with when it comes to that shit. He's in isolation all the time just dishing out bangers. These eight songs are the most cohesive. When it comes to a project, I'm all about a cohesive unit. Even if it's just eight songs, these eight songs work. It just goes. It's just a fucking story right here.

'MORPHINE' is my favourite track on the EP and sounds like a real symphonic peak. Where did that peak and the inspiration behind that song come from?

The hook on that song was actually the first time I brought that 'Don't make me call my ni**as,' thing out, because I got into a big hoopla with a few people in the city. I was by myself and I basically got my ass whooped by like 10 people so I started building this concept like, "do not make me call my ni**as. Do not make me stoop down to your level and bring you some more." The hook on that song, that's where it all started. "What the fuck you lookin' at. You ni**as ain't looking back. Ain't no ni**a like me." That triggered that song. That's what sparked the fuse. The rest of it, I felt like I was making a diary entry.

You can literally hear that energy. And Retox. As a word, what is your experience with that process of retoxing.

It started with my buddie Robbie. He's the dude that works on my videos and he's my go-to "let's go get fucked up" partner in crime. We always made a joke about Dr. Dre's Detox and how people who have fucked up weekends are like, "I have to detox this week." Me and Robbie are like, I had a fucked up weekend, let's retox and do it all over again times four. The whole project is everything on steroids. I'm hungover and I'm going to drink twice as much as I did yesterday. The concept behind RETOX is excess. More.

And it's ironic, because you said you're in a healthier place in your life.

When I recorded this project, it was at the peak of realizing I had to slow down and relax. I am, right now, a lot healthier than I've ever been in the past three years. But when I was recording, I was not.

Did you have a breakthrough moment where you realize you needed to slow down?

It wasn't like a particular day when I realized I had to slow down, but I just knew that I had to or else I wouldn't be able to live. I realized I can't do 20-minute sets if I'm not in shape or my nose is full of blow or my lungs are black from smoking. Just the excess that I lived in. I want my artistry to take me somewhere. I want that to be it instead of getting excessively fucked. I love getting high and drunk, but I have a better sense of what moderation is in this part of my life.

The way you describe your excess in your music is done in such a fun-loving way. But do you have demons that also play a role in that?

I think everyone does. In my music, I like to make it like a double-edged sword. There is a turn-up, but there's the opposite of that. I have bipolar tendencies and things I probably should have been medicated for at a young age. I have that kind of shit. But my personal demons more so refer to that want to be the best that I can be. I'm always in the way of becoming the best that I can be. I know what I could do to take over the fucking world, but somehow I'm always in my way.

Who is the best DillanPonders to you?

Me, now.

Congrats on that. And you on social media, you had tweeted that if you had one wish, you would use it to put the entire world on acid. Why is that and what would you predict that outcome would be?

On acid, you are completely incapable of the modern day structure that your life is. You don't care about 9-5 stuff or rent. There's a spiritual zen that doing acid puts you in, regardless of whether you're spiritual or not. Just the idea of seven billion people being on a psychedelic wave and energy, I feel like the world would change immediately. Energy is so real and when you're on acid, you can literally see the flow of energy. If someone stays beside you on acid and they aren't, they will be high in ten minutes based on contact. Energy is very real. Imagining the whole world on the same zen is just magic to me.

You've always been an insane performer. What has the live-performance reception of the new work been?

I've been performing and it's been received really well. The kids be liking it. But it's funny, I did want to talk about this. I got a write-up in Noisey one time and one of the writers came up and saw my show and I happened to get really drunk before that show. I still put on a good show, but I was stumbling around and fell off the stage. I was kind of a mess. They wrote about my performance and said, "Dillan gets fucked up before every show" and then there was this perception that I get entirely smashed before my shows, slurring my words and spilling my beers. And that couldn't be further from the truth now. I have a beer a two, have a bump or two or smoke a blunt or two, but I don't get entirely fucked before my shows. Before my shows now, I like to drink a lot of water, smoke a lot of cigarettes and give the best show to the people that I possibly can. I think the perception of me is that I'm fucked up all the time and I don't approach my shows like that anymore. I've got to be on stage. I love performing more than anything in the world. Being on stage is literally what I'm meant to do.