So, introduce yourself and crew affiliations.
Chadio of the almighty Imaginations Treetrunk, The Quoted Motives, This Dance Dance Revolution Will Not Be Televised, & Ephin–all from Van city…and the 50 fingers (Side Road Records) project which consists of: Kaboom, Azrael, The Gumshoe Strut, Factor G on the beats, and myself.
For people who’ve never heard of Chadio or Imaginations Treetrunk, what can we expect?
Good question. Well the name leads most to believe we are a very down to earth crew with great ideas, which is totally true. The beauty of Treetrunk is that everybody has their own individual style, we all sound different. We don’t rap about things most people don’t have. If you are looking to get into some shit where they know exactly how you feel…buying our music will be money well spent.
Your main crew is Imaginations Treetrunk, who’s in that and how did you guys develop?
Yeah, Imaginations Treetrunk is the main crew/label, starting out with our producer, Aalo Guha and 2 rappers, Azrael & Cle. Those guys were a group called “CastHeadWork” and they put out a disc in 2002 called natural patterns. Cle moved to Toronto and sort of fell off from rapping and those guys still wanted to make music so the 3 of us knew each other mutually as well as some other people Guha was working with at the time: Kaboom (Ink Operated, Low Pressure), Aspire (Main Offenders), Shay Faded (Dance Dance Revolution), Mike Murder and Guha’s brother Mars. Basically, Guha, Aspire and Kaboom were all living together at the time, we were making Tapwater and we were all working on different projects with Guha and just decided to do it as one unit.
Why Imaginations Treetrunk? Is it because B.C. has mad trees?
Hahaha no, but it should be…I just like the way those two words sounded together…I had a whole list of shit I thought was dope: Underwater Farmers, Roller Hockey Helmet, Channel Surfers, Short Skirt Perverts, etc.
Listening to your music and you guys sound like you’re from Vancouver and when I think Vancouver, I think rainforest, ocean and marijuana…
Well we are all born and bred here, Aspire is from Brockville, Ontario and he moved here in 2000-2001 I believe. We all smoke weed lots, so naturally I think people would make that relation.
Does weed hinder your creativity? Can you only write when you’re blunted?
Music and weed have always been big things for me. I’m actually puffing a pancake blunt while we do this! I can always get the writing done, that’s the easy part…weed definitely helps the creative process for me. I like to go through a blunt or 3 when I’m writing. It keeps my thinking free and willing to try new things.
What about the bottle? The sauce? The brew?
I don’t drink. Azrael is fond of Crown Royal. Drinking makes me feel like an idiot, and I talk way too much.
Are there any straightedge people in the group?
No, everyone smokes weed. Guha used to be super-straight edge except for smokes, but we all have our vices. We got him smoking weed again a few years ago. Put it up there with the rest of my crowning achievements.
Haha! So Branching Out was your first album by Imaginations Treetrunk? Did you guys structure it? Or was it just a mash of different shit?
Officially yes. There is more structure on Branching Further because it’s all produced by Guha. Branching Out is more a showcase of the individual artists and songs we made together at the time whereas Branching Further actually showcases more of the fluidity between the labels mainstays and the diversity of Guha’s intricate instrumentals. Kids all over Canada today still say that Branching Further is one of the best albums to skateboard to. Branching Out and Branching Further were both released in 2005.
What would you say about the state of Vancouver rap?
Vancouver rap is just like the rest of Canadian rap: it had a stronger following 5 years ago. A lot of people across Canada have paved the way for groups and artists like myself, but one thing that Vancouver has always had a problem with is having support. You don’t see the big crowds at every rap show because it’s usually that rapper or group’s friends coming to watch them and then when their set is done, those people leave. Vancouver has a real tough time getting behind something that could potentially be big, mostly because its rainy 80% of the year and everyone smokes pot which makes them lazy. And there’s a thousand–if not more–rappers in Van.
Are any of them tight?
No, most are terrible, but they think they are the next innovation in Rap and its just discouraging really. But there’s an audience for every genre and there’s a sucker born every minute.
Who has your endorsement?
The only crews in Vancouver that matter and that actually strive for bigger things: Camobear Records, Low Pressure Records, Freshcoast and Ephin. Word to Killing Time & HouseHold too. Throw POS crew in there too.
“My favorite song ever is “Thin Line” by Fermented Reptile… The best part ever was discovering the song while fucking my girlfriend at the time.”
So is Vancouver developed enough to have it’s own sound? It seems that a group like the Rascalz tried to sound east coast.
It’s personal perception really. I’m sure people that hear our music associate us with Vanity whereas other people may think a completely different thing. Personally, I think the Rascalz may have portrayed the Vancouver sound, but their albums were so inconsistent that they just became almost obscure for lack of a better word.
Did they play a part in your rap development?
Somewhat, but not really. I went to the same high school as Red-1 and I had his locker in grade 11. He etched “Ragga Muffin Rascalz” on the front of that shit. Kilocee & The Incredible Ease’s “Krispy Biskut,” J Swing & Flipout’s “The Show & Digestive Trax,” and Ebony & Kemo’s “No Mercy On The Groove,” radio shows played a huge role for me in wanting to be a rapper. Big shouts to Lauren Burrows from “Insomnitrax.”
Are you into Peanuts and Corn?
Funny you ask, not only were they the first thing I got into with Canadian hip hop, I probably have more of their cds than any of the other labels. My favorite song ever is “Thin Line” by Fermented Reptile. I never knew who the song was by ‘cause I dubbed it off a radio show and bought the cd months later. The best part ever was discovering the song while fucking my girlfriend at the time.
Haha, dirty. What about Birdapres?
I went to school with Bird’s brother in grade 7, he would bring by flyers of shows Bird was doing with Moka and Sichuan and that’s what pretty much what got me into him. Birdapres has been holding down East Vancouver longer than anyone and it’s a shame he lives so far away now. We got a bunch of Treetrunk/Birdapres songs he’s supposed to finish, if he ever gets around to it…
Birdapres is one of my favorite underground Canadian rappers.
What do you think of the prairie scene?
The prairies are dope! I love to come out there whenever possible even though traveling to and from can be quite strenuous at times. People there know how to have a good time at the shows and I think you see a bit more support for rap there opposed to other places in Canada.
I was a little unclear about that blunt story…
Basically I had just finished my set that night and went outside to puff a blunt, came back inside and Touch was rapping! He was supposed to rap at another show that night, but rolled through to do a song. I went up to say peace and he spotted my blunt roach and asked for a pull. I gave it to him and he sparked right in there! I said ‘what up?’ to Nato and he handed it back to me and left. I went over to the merch table when the bartender started shitting on the Intelligentlemen for smoking in the venue!
Do you think that Canadian thug rap is relevant?
All forms of rap have their place. I think Canadian thug rap is what it is, I don’t knock stuff just because I don’t listen to it, and I respect every body’s hustle.
Good answer, you passed the test! How much has your style developed since you started rapping?
I think my style is always improving. I like the fact that music is something you can always get better at. I find with every verse/album we grow as far as topical things and style and delivery. We all keep each other on our toes.
Tell the people about the new album.
We have a brand new album out at the moment called This Dance Dance Revolution Will Not Be Televised. All production by these two really dope guys who go by Killing Time. Raps provided by: Azrael, Shay Faded, Cons, and me. We are also in the middle of getting on board with a digital distribution deal with Camobear Records.
Right, you guys just signed to Camobear Records, which is Josh Martinez’s imprint. That means more distribution, more shows and more bitches?
Everything is in the works right now, nothing is finalized quite yet. We think it’ll be a good way to go, all three of those things would be exactly correct in a perfect world, but most of the details still need to be finalized.
Do you want to tell the people something?
Nothing that they don’t already know. I feel like a pissed off spouse or something, but there’s so much dope shit out there that’s slept on, it doesn’t make sense to me (but then again nothing really has since I was 14). I think Kanye West used to be good but now he’s horrible. Kay The Aquanaut’s new album is great. Lots of great rap in Vancouver is moving away. I am the illegitimate son of Ira Lee. Big shouts go out to the Treetrunk, Camobear, Rhek One, Fatt Matt, Sueme, Side Road Records, Decline, all the homies in Edmonton, Maple Syrup Kingpins and Ugsmag for putting a cracker on.