Dictator – Taped Up (Track Premiere)

Listen to Taped Up, the gritty, determined new single from Edinburgh four-piece Dictator

Article by Tallah Brash | 19 Feb 2020
  • Dictator

In their press notes, Edinburgh four-piece Dictator describe themselves as “a group of best mates doing whatever they want”, and if the rest of their music is anything like their latest single Taped Up we reckon they could be onto a winning formula.

Still very much in their infancy, having only just released their first single last November, the four friends – Michael Campbell (vocals), Zach Tarimo (guitar), Joe Murty (bass) and Allan Ramsay (drums) – have big ambitions. They're set to headline Sneaky Pete’s at the end of this month (28 Feb), with some shows already planned south of the border in Newcastle, where they play Head of Steam (14 Mar), and Manchester where they'll play YES (19 Mar).

The Skinny are delighted to be premiering Dictator's brand new single Taped Up ahead of its general release this Friday. We know it sounds like a bit of a cliché, but as soon as we finished listening to it for the first time we had to go straight back in and listen again. It’s moody, gritty and sounds full of determination as mirrored in both the song’s lyrics and the band themselves. Listen to Taped Up in the below SoundCloud player (click here if it’s not displaying correctly); we challenge you not to want to listen again as soon as it finishes.

Of the track’s inception, Campbell tells us: “One of our mates started a boxing podcast called, would you believe it, Taped Up. We were massive supporters of it and wanted to contribute to it in any way we could. The original music was a cool little jingle but for me it lacked the grittiness and swagger you would expect a boxing-related podcast to have so I pretty much started trying to think up little 90 second jingles to see what angle I could make for it. The actual crux of the song was written on a flight to Bahrain as I had plenty time on my hands and the booze was free flowing. After a bit I sent it to my mate and he liked it enough to make it the intro to the podcast.

“Fast forward a few months," he continues, "due to some work commitments the boys had to tail off working on the podcast but that little intro was stuck in my head big time. After a while I started just naturally singing a little melody over the top until I gradually created an entire song around this 90 second intro."

Of its lyrical inspiration, Campell says: “The whole thing to me is synonymous with boxing so naturally that’s where the inspiration came from. A lot of people performing in the upper echelons of their discipline seem to have an unwavering determination but sometimes the blinkers go on, they say they’re 'risking it all' for a better life for them and their family but in actual fact it’s the selfish love of the craft that’s driving them. I don’t see that as a bad thing I just feel that it’s sometimes played on too much, that they’re not in it for themselves and at least try to be the best they know they can be.

"The way that transpired to me is having an internal itch to keep going, the 'Beat', it’s an immovable force that can’t stop and won’t stop. For me sticking to that is where you can truly find out about yourself and where you’ll reach your limits, not by pretending you’re sacrificing because you have to for other people.”

Taped Up is released on 21 Feb; Dictator play Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, 28 Feb; Head of Steam, Newcastle, 14 Mar; YES, Manchester, 19 Mar