Month: April 2013

Canadian Tapped Exclusive: Classified Information

It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to hip-hop or R&B music. Classified’s new al­bum has brought me back. His recently released self-titled studio album made its debut at number one on Canada album charts. It’s a healthy dose of reality in a refreshing “makes you think” and has an distinct Canadian feel to it.

Rhyming about real sub­jects and relating to his audi­ence has always been an im­portant goal for Luke Boyd more commonly known as “Classified”, who has remained a staple in the Canadian Hip- Hop scene. A man of many hits, he has had singles reach varying positions on the Much Music Count Down including two platinum and one gold single in the last three years. With a multi-talented voice both on and off the stage he started his own independent label in 1995. Half Life Records has grown to promote not only his own music but other stel­lar Canadian artists like Jordan Croucher, Chad Hatcher and Mic Boyd.

Kind enough to take some time away from the studio, I got Mr. Classified to agree to a short phone interview as he was busy prepping for the up­coming tour starting in March.

Sounding very much at ease the conversation started to flow,

CT: How has growing up in the East coast influ­enced your music?

Classified: (Calling En­field, Nova Scotia home) I’m influenced by my surroundings and the people around me.

CT: Can you give me a tour story?

His recently released, self- titled album, Classified. Ft. Inner Ninja

His recently released, self- titled album, Classified. Ft. Inner Ninja

Classified: I’ve been on the road for about ten years and it’s planned out. Wake up, prep for the show, get to the venue, grab a nap, have a drink, maybe a sandwich, do the show, and fall asleep on the bus and repeat. Sometimes there are a few parties thrown in.

CT: Is there a story behind a tattoo you have that you can share?

Classified: I got my first one about seven months ago and it’s my girls (Taylor and Kayla) names on my arm.

CT: Can you describe the writing process for you?

Classified: I usually start with the music first and work with the beat. I have a home studio where I spend most of my time. Writing one liners while grocery shopping. I talk about real life and my experi­ence. It’s a lot of back an’ forth. So it’s an easy transition.

CT: If you could have a superpower which one would it be?

Classified:  Fly. I don’t like flying so to just pick up and fly out the window would be perfect. And I grew up with superman.

CT: Favorite song you have written and story be­hind it?

Classified: The Maritimes was written after I start­ed touring and lived away from my home for a while. I wanted to explain and talk about many of the Maritime s stereotypes that many people seem to be­lieve. (It’s a fun song.)

CT: What’s the story behind the name?

Classified: I was wait­ing to get in the studio when I was 15 and ended up reading the paper. I had been thinking lately about what rap name I wanted to use. The word Clas­sified caught my eye and I rolled with it.

CT: If you could col­laborate with anyone, who would it be?

Classified and David Miles at the Juno's 2013

Classified and David Miles at the Juno’s 2013

Classified: David Miles, (who hails from Halifax Nova Scotia) is featured on Inner Ninja and I am currently pro­ducing some tracks off his new album.

Most recently picking up the Juno 2013 for Rap Recording of the Year, making a living traveling and doing what he loves, Mu­sic has helped keep Classified grounded along with his lov­ing family. There is buzz cre­ated about the upcoming tour that kicks off March 21st, 2013 in North Bay Ontario. Check out http://www.classifiedoffical.com/ tour for the most recent dates. Frequently on twitter and Face­book he can be found on twit­ter @classified and facebook. com/classifiedmusic

Within Rust “Born” Album Review

Within Rust, a quartet of drWithin Rust bandiven young men from Canada’s West coast began in early 2012. Nolan Scott (Vocals), Mattew Gage (lead guitar), Taj Wheeler (Bass) and Lewis Scott (Drums) are all very talented at their craft and take multiple roles within the band. Writing a three song EP that is heavy in nature but well put together. They balance the heavy with some light in the song Algorithms taking a break from both vocals and instruments to highlight their instrumental playing ability. “Watch Me” boasts lighter vocals and more of a rock sound. This song has been cleverly mixed with electronic elements that continue to pop up throu_Born_ Front coverghout the three song set. Alive with Ease has a haunting quality to it, but of the three this is the one that sticks with me Not the best it could be yet. Through out the EP multiple layering of many instruments works. An interesting first effort, I want to hear more to see if they have staying power and how time and experience will influence their sound.  

Music is Culture

Skratch Bastid laying down some beats for the crowd at St. Lawrence College Orientation 2012

Skratch Bastid laying down some beats for the crowd at St. Lawrence College Orientation 2012

The first week of school is always crazy. I feel like it’s been a year since summer and school just started. Thanks to our Student Association and Morgan Davis along with a team of committed students who worked crazy hours to bring us a phenomenal orientation week! Included was a comedy night and music night featuring Canadian artists and some home-grown talent. Toronto native Tre Mission, grime hip hop artist. Originating in London England, Gime is a mix of garage, raga, jungle, hip hop, with hard-hitting lyrics. Tre Mission Opened the show along with a current St. Lawrence College student.

The headliner is a world toured DJ who has gained acclaim through hard work and unique approach to his view on music. Skratch Bastid aka, Paul Murphy has spent the last decade honing his craft in DJ Battles, and pumping new life into the scenes of Canada’s hottest clubs. His shows are not just addictive medley of music twisted into danceable beats but a buffet for your audio and visual senses.

CT: How did you start out?

Skratch: I was a young kid really into hip hop music and would collect CD’s and tapes and would make mix tapes with them. Then friends and I found records, I didn’t know they existed when I first started.  We started scratching them. I started practising scratching. My mom convinced me to enter a completion. The next year I won that competition. From competitions I started playing clubs and learning tricks. My show is a variety of tricks, scratching and mixing.

CT: what are your influences?

Skratch: I am a music lover and music junkie for life. I have a lot of influenced as far as DJing and hip hop  goes. DJ Jazzie Jeff, DJ craz, DJ Cash Money, Mix Master Mike. A lot of old school dudes. It’s inspiring that DJ Jazzie Jeff still plays Vages after 15 years.  My music influences stretch to all types of music from the rock greats like Hendricks to the funk greats. You don’t have enough tape on the recorder for me to finish this answer.

CT: What’s your favourite country you have traveled to so far?

Skratch: I have been lucky enough to travel to 27 countries so far and I can’t say that I have a distinct favourite because I think that countries are kinda like food, in the sense that if you go to one too much it may not stay your favourite. Every now and then it’s good to switch it up. Different countries have different cultures and food comes from culture. I love Canada and connect with Canadian people which is great because its home! Traveling to Korea in February and then Vietnam was a crazy cultural experience for me. The one thing I will say is it’s fun to read the crowd and figure out which songs have they connected with.

CT: How is the creative process for you?

Skratch: I have been DJing for 15 years and video DJing is new to me but over the years. I have learned what works. You take the moments that you have connected with the crowd- I have this emotional attachment to great mixes- which helps form the set. I find ways to incorporate new music into my set.

Some DJ‘s believe that you are defined by the tracks you play, I believe that to a certain degree, but for me there is something to be said for the presentation.

CT: What is your favourite thing about touring?

Skratch: The food. My rider is pretty healthy including blueberries, humus, but when I travel like to find the best foods. When I was in Japan I went to the fish markets and had fresh sushi straight off the dock, when I was in Vietnam I ate a fried dove. I feel that music is culture and being from a multicultural family (my mom is from Trinidad) so growing up in a multicultural family influenced my thirst and want to experience different things.

You can currently find Skratch Bastid on tour and playing some home shows and supporting fellow Artists during Canadian Music Week. Check him out on Twitter (@SkratchBastid) and find his Facebook page which has over 240 people talking about this innovative music mixer!

Silvergun & Spleen “Semi-Truck” Album Review

Album Cover

Album Cover

Artist: Silvergun & Spleen

Album: Semi Truck

Released in September 11, 2012

Rating: 4/5 Maple Leafs

No stranger to hard work the members of Silvergun & Spleen have placed their hard earned cash into the production of their recently released EP, Semi-Truck. Boasting catchy- yet sometimes hard beats, rhythmic hooks and powerful vocals to back-up well written lyrics. I can tell they are taking chances this sophomore release changing up their sound and throwing everything they have into this album. There are points of raw emotion that demand you stop and listen. At times sounding very progressive meshing very electronic sound with hard hitting accents. The music sometimes needing no words, For the track “Highway Night Life Intermezzo”, layered passing traffic with the music, paints a vivid picture of late night driving on tour. Silver Gun & Spleen ask thought provoking questions and deal with real emotions such as betrayal and doubting one’s self. This progression of sound does not compromise, but compliments their alternative roots. With a vintage look to the artwork of this album, Silvergun & Spleen members are anything but! Merv, Vern, Chris, and John intrigue me both with the awesome complexity of this album in lyrics and melody; but also showing no signs of holding back. To not be afraid and pull from their many inspirations and create a sound that after the last song makes you want more! With intense energy Silvergun & Spleen are ones you definitely want to keep an ear on, maybe two!