Who’s a harder drinker, soso 2005 or soso 2007?
I think soso 2005 was on some reckless, self-destructive type shit and the 2007 version is on some refer to myself in the third person and have a few beers everyday with a semi-weekly binge type shit.
Colin (Maybe Smith) and I knew each other through a mutual friend and frequently we would play on the same bill. We had kicked around the idea of collaborating and in 2006 I recruited him to interpret songs from tenth street and clarence for a live performance and subsequent tour. He agreed because he has bad judgment (or low self esteem I’m not quite sure). I was really pleased with our live performances and collaborating on an album seemed like a natural progression.
In the early stages of our collaboration I would present samples to Colin with the expectation that he could build some magnificent song around them. That was kinda naive on my part and that approach was abandoned — I don’t think it was particularly interesting for him and a bit silly to restrain such a capable musician to the confines of a guitar or piano sample. It wasn’t a true collaboration. So he started working on melody bits and would send them to me periodically. Over the course of about a year the songs started to take shape… they were beautiful and expansive and noisy and expressive and they worked well with the confessional qualities of my lyrics. I approached a couple of friends for some support on the drum programming tip and got some great stuff from Maki and Scott da Ros. I chipped in some drums as well and did a bit of Fog-esque sloppy turntable drumming. We mixed the album together and I am really happy with final product.
Was this a one-time project or do you see yourselves working together again?
We haven’t really discussed it but I think once Maybe Smith gets really famous – not just CBC famous but REALLY famous — I’ll be bugging him all the time for guitar solos and the like… I enjoyed the process and can imagine myself working on more collaborative projects in the future…
Whatever happened to that production collaboration you were working on with Khela (fka Kutdown), I think it had something to do with laundry?
I just listened to our rough mixes last week and I think we have a good foundation. We need to make some decisions to determine where it will go next to make it an album… we have some good ideas not related to laundry but maybe related to whales and sea travel.
Tenth Street and Clarence was a reference to where you were living at the time, is Tinfoil on the Windows the same?
Ya … a good portion of the new album chronicles a transition period in my life. Part of that involved a move from tenth street to my new home. I might have another move coming up soon… The only good thing about moving is drinking beer with your friends.
Do you fit in with the Saskatoon hip hop scene more now or more say 5 years ago?
I can say with complete confidence that I no longer recognize my own music and have taken it upon myself — as the person who single handedly invented the hip hop scene in Saskatoon — to revoke my own ghetto pass. I’m not sure Chaps will even let me make rap posters anymore. I’m kidding of course. Chaps will always want me to make posters. But seriously, I’ve always belonged in a strange way… through my commitment to the Saskatoon hip hop scene and contributions on the artist and business levels I’ve earned the right to make whatever kind of hip hop music I feel like.
After touring both Europe and Japan recently, how would you compare the two?
They both have noticeable western influences and a proliferation of crappy American-brand consumer goods (including terrible rap clothing stores). Japan seemed to integrate and hybridize this influence… this was not limited to things like shoe design but extended to food, music, etc. We played with some really interesting bands there… ambient electronic stuff, whispery female vocalists, indie pop stuff… One of the bands we played with had a string section, a dj/mpc player, a famous drummer, a death metal vocalist (attired in a suit and kilt, he would “play” his handsaw by cutting a piece of lumber in time with the violins), a transvestite guitarist/opera singer, another writhing vocalist… it was a crazy spectacle and thoroughly enjoyable.
The people who came our shows in Japan and Europe were similarly musically engaged and excited by alternative music practices (I guess… or why else would they be there right?) Japanese fans were eager to get autographs and pictures but there was little socializing after the shows. From my understanding everything winds down around 11pm because the trains stop running at midnight. We had sound checks in the afternoon… it was really different from what we normally encounter here. They were generally a bit more reserved than European fans but really attentive and respectful.
Each region or country in Europe seemed to have it’s own unique characteristics. I detected a distinct electronic influence in France, for example… One of the recurring things we encountered was this celebration of dj culture. The enthusiasm for djing seems to be on the decline in North America but in Europe it remains vibrant. They love vinyl and beats… we felt a kinship with a lot people we met there.
It seems like these days there are a lot less indie rap artists touring Canada then there used to be, why do you think that is?
I think all the independent rap artists came to the same realization that hip hop is simply not economically feasible. The cost of renting a vehicle and paying for gas is enough to sink a tour let alone new hardships like declining CD and record sales, a lack of suitable/interested venues and promoters (who also realize that independent rap is not feasible)… once you factor in additional expenses like food, accommodation and booze you’re fucked. The logistics are impossible…I think you’ll see an increase in little regional tours, weekend trips and an old fashioned exchange of rap favours (of the kind that built our scene here on the prairies).
We have a good chunk of the album recorded. I am really pleased with everything thus far… I think we have a song or two left to record. Ness’ has a really personal approach to music making and I think he’s a nice addition to our little roster. He’s a multi faceted dude… he’s both a maniac and a really thoughtful, open minded guy. We have great rap talks.
You’ve been considering going back to university to get your Masters in Fine Arts. Is your music part of your artwork or are they completely separate?
Well I think there is a bit of cross-pollination happening but I haven’t quite figured out how to formally integrate rap into an art practice. I guess some of my video projects have been used/reworked for music videos… I’ve started thinking about using text in my art work and that could be also be a potential overlap.
Why do you ride a girl’s bicycle?
hahahaha…cuz I’m hard as fuck noyz! We miss you dude… come back to Canada!