Introduce yourself, your crew, affiliations and your region…
Factor G, Side Road Records / Fake Four Inc. Saskatoon, SK. Canada.
What kind of “legitimate” music training do you have?
So how did this kid from Saskatoon hook up with all of the high-profile, west-coast legends?
I met AWOL, Circus and Busdriver on my 1st tour across Canada with the hip hop bear “Big Time Hip Hop Productions” circa 2001. That tour is what really started this whole road warrior thing for me. After that, me and AWOL did a 7″ together in 2002/2003 called “Try,” it did well and got us some attention, as well as a full album opportunity with the label Cornerstone R.A.S. We created Only Death Can Kill You; since then we have probably rocked roughly 100 shows together and have almost finished our 3rd full-length album.
The 1st song I worked on with Myka9 was for my album Chandelier. I had this trippy beat and I couldn’t really picture anyone else except possibly Myka, who I didn’t know at the time. Honestly I was ready to leave it as an instrumental, but Ceschi had just finished a song with him and he was putting out Chandelier on what was a brand new label at the time (Chandelier was Fake Four’s 2nd release), so he connected me and Myka on a track and we made the song and video “Good Ol Smokey (My Kanine).” From there, we caught a good vibe and rolled with the 1969 theme for our full length album 1969. I have always been a huge fan of Myka, The Freestyle Fellowship and Project Blowed, so the opportunity to do work with M9 and Fake Four on a project was a blessing.
How long have you been involved in the rap scene in Saskatoon?
I have been going to shows in Saskatoon since 1997. I started out Djing. I mean there are so many stories and good memories it is tough to start breaking that info out but a couple things that come to mind… (Airliner Hall, Third Verse, mix tapes, Release Parties, Really just the Evolution of the scene in such a small city has very interesting)
How much of your production is sampled vs. composed?
The older stuff was mostly all samples and a bit of synth., but now I would say depending on which album/project probably, 50% maybe less, who knows? It varies depending on what sound I am going for…[I do] lots of editing, session players (synth. and field recording), etc.
Your move away from samples, is that an artistic choice? Was it done out of necessity?
Both. I am just trying to make whatever fits with the vibe or feeling with the project/song. Samples are still the shit to me…I will always sample something on the track, somehow, some way.
Is it hard to find records in Saskatoon, what with it being a little more isolated?
Saskatoon gets a pretty steady flow of new/old records (Shout Out to Vinyl Diner, Vinyl Exchange and The Gaff), but I am on tour so much I usually pick up gems [and other] ideas along the way!
What kind of equipment is in the studio?
Korg M3, Korg Micro, Tech 1200’s, Rane TTM57, Pro Tools, Cool Edit, Plugger Inners, percussion stuff, field recorder, Bleep and Bloop Box (Otem Rellik design), tons of vinyl and whatever other instruments are kicking around in the studio. [I got] microphones, drum machines, FX pedals etc.
I’ve seen some of Otem Rellik’s tweaked out designs with electronics, how did you get linked with that box?
Hell Yeah Otem is sick, he does all kinds of circuit bending/sound altering kinda stuff. Yeah, it works kinda like a synth, check him out, he makes awesome music as well!
Saskatoon is a hip hop Mecca in Canada these days…why is that?
Saskatoon is the best, [there’s] lots of support and shows. I think it honestly has a lot to do with the fact there has been the longest running independent hip hop radio show (“Third Verse” on CFCR 90.5) every Wednesday night between 9 and 10:30 (M.S.T.). As well, there are indie hip hop/skate/music stores that help out with selling cds/promotion.
Have you found any “negative-nellies” (i.e. overly egotistical rap artists)?
I mean shit, they are people like that everywhere, but you don’t need to worry about them or they will just suck all your creative energy and everyone loses. Emotional vampires.
?What was it like working with Myka9, he’s dope but I hear he’s a bit of a space hippy…
Myka9 is one of the coolest people out. He is next-level, you won’t meet guys like Myka every day.
?Factor’s always got a new release it seems, how many projects have you released to date?
I think we are looking at 30+ releases. As far as making music, when I am home, I am always trying to make some new songs, demos, ideas…but I tour half the year, so I have had to really start trying to learn time management skills. I get side-tracked easy, it has hard to get me into the studio, but once I am there it is on!
Is it difficult to get the jump-off on your career being in Saskatoon? Have you ever considered moving?
I love Saskatoon, but if the right opportunity came up, you gotta roll with the punches right?!?!?
You mentioned bringing in some session players for some songs, who did you put on?
They are all in the credits for the albums…I work with lots of different people who play all kinds of instruments, so it really just depends on the vibe of the song. Usually [it’s] Gregory Pepper, Enver Hampton and Levi from Volcanoless in Canada.
You’re on Ceschi’s label Fake Four, how did you link with those cats?
The 1st song me and Ceschi ever did together was for my album Chandelier, the song is called “Pray” and at that time the label hadn’t even had a release yet. So from there we just connected on a bunch of things and I ended up releasing Chandelier on Fake Four. It was a brand new label so I wasn’t sure how everything was going to go down. I respected Ceschi a lot as an artist and his vision for the label. I was honored that he wanted me to be a part of it! From there it has been steady building dope release, artists, tours…everything. Fake Four is the shit! Just wait – a lot more awesome stuff is coming soon.
Could you give a mini-history of your label Side Road Records?
Side Road Records started as Offbeat Productions in 2001 and now we have well over 25 releases. We started the label so we had something to release music on and rep as a crew/label. We really didn’t know what we were doing business/label wise…we just rolled with it. I handled all the production and really started working with my homies and people I respected musically. It has come a long way since the early days. Side Road is still going strong – focusing on more tours and promotion. We will be releasing some new records from the crew this year!
You just did a stint at the Western Canadian Music Awards, was this your first nomination?
Def 3 and myself were nominated for best hip-hop/rap recording of the year (for the 2009 release of Drumbo) [and] yes it was the 1st nomination!
How often are you out on tour? Is it a necessity of the business?
It seems like I’m on tour for a bit less than half the year. Nowadays it is definitely a necessity, it is the best way to get out and make new fans/connections. I have been doing a lot of touring in Japan, Europe, USA and Canada, so I get a chance to meet lots of new artists and musicians.
The cover for your new album Lawson Graham is super dope, who is that man and what is the significance of putting him on the cover?
Word up! Thanks…that is my grandfather on the cover of the album. The record was dedicated to him and I really wanted to have a prairie feeling on the album. He worked as a station agent at the Bengough station in Saskatchewan for many years. I wanted the album to have vague elements from his life/time period and also stories from people traveling through the station. He was a great man!
What are you working on right now, what’s good in 2011?
?Word up…I am working on a bunch of new stuff this year. The first releases you can expect will be Widow’s Creek with Evil and the third AWOL One and Factor album titled The Landmark (February 15 on Fake Four Inc). I am also working on a Factor Singles project with a gang of talented musicians. Also in the works is a new Paranoid Castle album with Kirby Dominant. There is a bunch of other stuff going down that is really too early to say. Stay tuned!
Any last words or shout outs?
YYYeeeahhh! Big Shout out to ugsmag.com and noyz319 for holding this dope website down for so long, Chaps, Third Verse, All the Side Road homies, Fake Four, Ceschi, Alz, Pirate, Saskatoon, Rap and to all the people who listen to the music I make. Thanks!