We are starting a new project – monthly playlists! Our team is full of people with lovely taste and we would love to share some of our favourite tunes with you. This playlist is smooth listening and pairs perfectly with a study day or walk through the leaves.
Written by: Antonio Velarde
All photos by: Antonio Velarde
Favela is a monthly event inspired by music deriving from the slums (referred to as ‘favelas’) of Brazil. It’s seen as the youth movement down there. Each event is hosted at a local favourite known as “Apt. 200”. The non-stop traffic at this venue fuels the movement in Toronto and it’s been getting a great response since they’ve started.
However, this isn’t new. A lot of reputable DJ’s have been entwining it within their sets for the last couple of years. Needless to say, a lot of the influence comes from afro funk, batida, and kuduro which is also prominent in the beautiful country of Angola.
Let me introduce you to NOY and TEO NEO, two of the resident DJ’s for this ongoing event. Firstly, they’re both from Angola. Additionally, Nilton (NOY) has also resided in Brazil, illustrating the importance of this music to him.
As mentioned, TEO and NOY are resident and they tend to have a third DJ in rotation every time. At the latest installation, they featured SADA (newest member of New Wav Radio), who’s been making huge waves in the city recently.
The recipe to success? They mix favela- tropical afro sound- with new hip hop and trap music to easily integrate it into the Toronto scene. Nonetheless, this steamy genre is undoubtedly gaining worldwide popularity.
Here’s some shots I took at the latest event:
Missed out on the last one? Stay in the loop by following me on the ‘gram and I’ll see you at the next!
Written by: Antonio Velarde
Who doesn’t love good vibes???
Five of ten designs were released at the “Hen-T” launch party which were all instantly iconic!! Click here to browse + purchase their collection!! (Join the mailing list for further updates)
As always, the New.Wav team had the function booming with only the spiciest tracks of them all.
Here’s the shots I captured:
Written by: Antonio Velarde
Free concert? Favorite artists? Say no more.
Long story short, I had such an amazing opportunity to be a part of this year’s Manifesto 11. Following the house party that took place at The Drake Hotel, I knew this weekend was definitely something to anticipate.
Now unfortunately I missed Isaiah Rashad’s performance due to my late arrival. However not to worry- as I entered Echo Beach, the jazzy, groovy and euphoric opening melody sounded all too familiar… the rest is history.
Highlights of the night: The Internet, Syd, Steve Lacy, DVSN, Roy Woods
Enough of my boring words. PEEP THE CONTENT BELOW!
Skynation is a Vancouver based digitally creative brand intersecting technology, entertainment, and design. CXXLAID is Skynation’s latest project. It is a hip-hop showcase that puts a spotlight on “Vancouver’s underground hip-hop scene.” CXXLAID is in its first season and about to do their third show this Saturday at the Rickshaw Theatre. The headliner is Quentin Miller, supposed ghost writer of Drake, and Skynation will be producing his first music video.
Grounders sat down with the Kayode Fatoba and Victor Tochon, respectively Skynation’s co-founder and VP of Sound, to find out more about their project CXXLAID.
Tell me about Skynation? How is it related to CXXLAID?
Kayode: I’m the co-founder of Skynation the other is Jerry Agudogo. He’s really the inspiration behind Skynation. He wanted to be a programmer and a lot of people were coming to him to hack into and jailbreak their Iphone 3. I told him he could make money off it and we should start a business. Then we came across the South African government who paid a lot of money for their government website. We decided to service individuals and Skynation started as a web development company to create affordable solutions for the African design community.
I love event planning and I see it as my mission to bring people together. So I said “dude we can bring technology and events together.” I’ll handle the design side and expose people to Skynation and you can handle the tech. We realized we were doing a lot for the event from ads to music for the ads and sourcing artists. We pivoted so much that we became a company that creates solutions intersecting technology and entertainment and design – like TED. We have a ton of creatives and projects in the pipeline. Our company has started to grow into this complex thing and we became responsible for a lot of projects. We produced SFU’s fashion show, African Business Forum at UBC, we pioneered the African Descent Festival and we have produced a couple of applications ourselves. CXXLAID is this concept that we are producing as our own project.
Victor what do you do for Skynation?
Victor: I am the Vice-President of Sound in production services. I manage artists and take care of music production. I produce anything to do with sound like music videos and events. In terms of CXXLAID I am managing relationships with all the artists performing. We have Quentin Miller coming and I am going to be managing him and the crew. We will be doing a couple of videos here in Vancouver.
Victor Tochon – VP of Sound
Do you hava timeline for those?
We can’t say more on that, there is a lot in the pipeline.
How do you balance CXXLAID being “underground Vancouver” while bringing artists from other places?
Kayode: Quentin Miller is relatively underground in that if we didn’t bring him out nobody would. The headliner from show two was from SFU and the artist we brought from Toronto for show two was not the headliner. Where else do you have that?
Vancouver is difficult because there aren’t many new places to perform. Are you going to try and change that?
Victor: Vancouver is different because it has a really strong folk scene. Which isn’t a bad thing we just have to compete with their infrastructure, also EDM. We need to find ways to highlight the underground hiphop scene in Vancouver.
Kayode: Historically it’s going to be written that CXXLAID started in Fortune Sound Club. Part of what we are doing is not trying to limit the showcase to that specific spot. If I’m trying to see an EDM show I can go to Caprice or Venue there are so many options. We want to build our brand then move around. But it depends on what we are trying to present. Hiphop is not just rap we are just using that to commercialize CXXLAID. Hiphop is more than that it’s music, fashion, dance, djs, graffiti, and more. We have live painting at all our shows and a dance battle in show two to show that we are not limiting ourselves.
Where do you want CXXLAID to be in a year?
Kayode: We have three year plan.
Should I jump to the end of the three years?
Kayode: Haha nah I can’t say but we have a lot of plans. We are in a lot of talks with management and a lot of growth is being associated with our platform. After the third show we are going to have a merch section where you can buy posters of the artists and whatnot. Those proceeds will go straight to the artist. We are also developing partnerships with radio stations. Because it’s hard for them to curate music to a genre they don’t listen to.
So are you becoming a brand development agency + platform?
Kayode: Yeah because we are cross marketing all the artists for this huge stage where they are getting a quality production. We are trying to get partnerships with different blogs and magazines that would be able to have that exposure too. There are a lot of community stakeholders who want to purchase from our platform because we are curating locally but have an international feel that helps them step their game up.
What do you get out of that? How does Skynation benefit?
Kayode: Revenue from tickets. Our shows are not free and we pay all of our artists and production crew. With sponsors we also reinvest back into the platform and keep going.
So why “CXXLAID”?
Victor: Do you ever make yourself some Kool-aid? You know where on the blender it says one cup of water and the Kool-aid pack tells you to put in two spoons of sugars but you do three because you do what you want? I be jamming all night on that sugar high. Kool-aid is a culture thing.
Kayode: Adding to that. There is not a lot of black people in Vancouver
Victor: I was trying to hit that
I have no idea how that was going to happen but you did not.
Kayode: Vancouver is one of those cities which has practiced gentrification so well it is so normalized. Ecological gentrification is something that a lot of people speak about. But, rarely do they speak about the appropriation of culture from gentrification. Basically, the aspect of commercializing a culture is something that for me can be seen growing up with Kool-aid in Toronto. There was this stigma “oh you drink Lool-aid, you drink purple drank, you don’t drink normal juice.” I thought “that shit hurts.” As I grew up I realized that Kool-aid is actually a normal brand.
Victor: I mean every white kid drinks a Capri-Sun why don’t they get shit about it?
Kayode: See what I mean? We thought why don’t we pick something that symbolizes what we are trying to do without us explaining it. So [CXXLAID] captured the culture. What is actually interesting is that it is Canadian culture. As much as Africans listen to hip-hop they don’t drink Kool-aid. Us in Canada we are very diverse so how do you curate for a subculture who lowkey likes Kanye but your mom doesn’t know who he is? That frequency is who we are trying to target with CXXLAID.
So you are trying to target Canadians? Recently OVO, XO, and So-loki are making a name for Canada but people don’t understand that the reason that is possible is because of the Canadian environment.
Kayode: Yeah like Juni Kim is this rapper who is blowing up in Korea but we don’t know about that and he’s Canadian. It’s crazy because the question becomes how can you pick a name that isn’t generic but is encapsulating of individuals who consume what was black culture but has become a sub-culture. Because what is black what is white? We start to talk about colourism. So what I’m more focused on is something that is able to bring everyone together for the love of hiphop without it being trashy.
To avoid it being gentrifying?
Kayode: Exactly, so that is where we are coming from. A lot of artists are really pushing for it and there are return artists.
I know you have only had two shows but is the audience you want coming out?
Victor: That’s a good question. The audience we had come out for the first show has been hitting us up about this show so I would say they are committed. I spend a lot of time meeting the people coming to these shows and a lot of them are artists, photographers, musicians. I tell them to keep coming and sharing so we are hitting the people we want without caring about things like background and ethnicity.
How many shows do you think will happen this season?
Victor: Better to burn out then fade away. Every couple of months we have one so like three shows.
Kayode: Then we will have a wrap-up networking event. All the paintings from the shows and the photos from the shows we will put up on the wall. It might be at SFU Woodworks and it would be a 24hr showcase to see what Season 1 was.
How do people get involved?
Artists are hitting us up on Facebook. We are in the process of making a website which would have an application process. Right now our goal is to build concept pieces with potential partners.
Do you have anything you want to say?
Victor: Not really – you guys are waiting for me to say something – I got a business degree. I’ll start my album off like that.
What is your name going to be?
Victor: I’ll probably go with Foreign Sun but he doesn’t like that much. He like’s Fear of God more. I don’t think I’m into it anymore because I’m not as hard anymore.
Kayode Fatoba – CEO of Skynation
Your turn, Kayode, what’s your name?
Kayode: I’m just myself – Kayode Fatoba.
Victor: That’s the dopest thing you can be – you aren’t hiding behind anything.
So why do you have a stage name?
Victor: Yeah because I’m pretty weak. I’m strong enough to admit that.
Kayode: I was like that, I went through phases where I was picking artist names. What happened is I tried my first large scale event in Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the headliner was supposed to be K’naan and the project was $70,000 and my team raised $65,000. We were $5000 short. He pulled the plug so I had to go up on the stage and tell everyone. That was SFU’s first event, in 2010, and the articles were all full of who’s fault is it. I fell into depression and I went back home to Toronto. Everyone was stoked and like “you got a $70,000 scholarship and then you raised $65,000!” It was trippy. Back here everybody was saying I failed but at home everyone was excited about it.
Did you try again?
Kayode: I just started working on different events. SFU got talent, fashion week, a number of conferences. I got elected as the first VP of student life. Frosh, week of welcome, and then events in Skynation. Because of that mental need for me to overcome what was a “public failure.” Now I don’t see it as that because it was SFU’s first concert and I created the infrastructure for that on the mountain. I pushed myself to rewrite my name because I was scared that if I give my resume, they pop my name on google, and I won’t have a job. I redefined myself to have a lot more positive and then the community that came around me came around Kayode. So it makes sense to go by name.
We are excited. Hopefully we meet our targets for the next year and Show 3 is just the beginning.
Don’t miss CXXLAID’s third show happening April 29th in Vancouver, BC.
Mr. Stee’s latest EP deja vu is full of deep tones and exploratory keys. Infused with conversational samples and mainly instrumental, this project is the perfect soundtrack for spring mornings.
“Mr. Stee (Stefan Raupach) is a Vancouver based producer and guitar player focused on creating chilled out instrumental hip hop music that bridges the gap between traditional sampling and live instrumentation. He collaborates with his brother Torsten Raupach on bass, to compliment his guitar work and give an organic feel to the music that is unique for the hip hop genre.
déjà vu is a collection of experimental beats that are both contemplative and introspective. They aim to bring the listener into a dream like state while still maintaining drive and motion. This release is in anticipation of a full length collaborative album with with R&B and hip hop features.”
Mr. Stee on Spotify
Mr. Stee on SoundCloud
Coastal Break on SoundCloud
Through his new project, Sepehr Rashidi is bringing RnB to the Vancouver scene.
Like Indigo District’s Facebook page to keep up to date with future gigs and his upcoming EP.
Tell me a little bit about yourself!
I am a third year marketing student at UBC and I have a pretty unique upbringing. I grew up in Iran, lived in Toronto for some years, and then found my way back to Vancouver.
Back to Vancouver?
When I first came from Iran I lived in Vancouver for one year, then in Toronto for a bunch of years then back to Vancouver for high school. I really want to go back to Toronto though.
What do you like about Toronto?
I feel like it’s the mindset of the young people as well. It’s more diverse, not diverse ethnically but diverse in what they are willing to tolerate. I was very involved with the indie scene in BC, doing session work, and a lot of my mentors are as well. And I feel like there is a lot of genre bias in BC relative to Toronto, where you can see a rap show and then two doors down a crazy rock show in one evening.
What is the genre bias in BC?
There are much fewer RnB artists.
How did you get into RnB?
I was playing session music for indie, funk, jazz, whatever I could play.
What is session music?
Someone has a project, all the music written, and they just need someone to play it live. It’s like a job, very stressful.
I realized after a while, the artists that really resonated with me were guys like Anderson Paak, James Blake, the Weeknd. While I wasn’t playing it, because I was in indie bands, I thought “why can’t I do a spinoff of that.” And that was the RnB direction. I like the idea of the RnB vocalist because they can talk about things that aren’t necessarily acceptable in an indie scene.
What do you talk about in your songs?
I find I often write about certain settings in my life, certain moments, and I blast them into two songs. I was briefly homeless, for a couple of weeks in October first year.
I was living at home, in Richmond, and a bunch of factors, mental health was definitely one, a bunch of different shit happened. I’m at the 99 bus loop it’s three in the morning and I’m sleeping in the bus shelter. It was crazy, an insane time.
Yah, that time, that couple of months really informs a lot of the moods and imagery in my music. That “I’m seventeen, what the fuck is going on.” That definitely is a big lyrical thing, especially on my song Poland. It’s about being in that state but still being a business student and having to the business student things.
Will you try to combine music and marketing?
Somewhere in between. The way I see it, it’s a race between the two, that’s why Toronto is so appealing to me. During the daytime I can do marketing and in the nighttime I can do music. Ideally in 20-30 years I would be doing brand managing for Sony music or something like that, lofty.
Why the name “Indigo District”?
In second year I realized marketing is what I wanted to do and I wanted a platform to trial out ideas. To see how far I could take a seed of a brand, of an idea, and see how far I could push it. I really wanted to do some smooth silky, RnB, dark, moody, kind of stuff. I was brainstorming with my friend, and it was a joke. “What if we took the most douchey words and put them together?” And we got Indigo District which really resonated with me.
What is a douchey name you didn’t go with?
Ah man, I don’t know. There were some names based off weird, psychedelic drugs that were twelve syllables long.
Glad you ended up with Indigo District. Is it just you?
It started off as me being a producer, a hiphop producer for Traffik. Then I realized I can learn to sing and I have ideas. It’s my project, but I do collaborate with other musicians. The very essence of what I do is collaboration. I think it’s pretty dumb to keep everything in house if you have these great opportunities at your fingertips
Do you have big projects for Indigo District?
Yah, I’m in the studio really redefining the sound and feel.
Where do you want it to go?
First of all it comes from me being a much more solid and confident songwriter and signer, so more of a vocal focus. I want to write two new singles that define the alt/RnB essence I am trying to get and an amalgamation of my influences which sound unique yet familiar. Basically I want to synthesize the indie and rock influences I have and put that into RnB.
What instruments make this sound?
I play keys, bass, guitar, sing, it’s an obsession you know. It’s not healthy, I don’t sleep much. The heart and soul of this project is the roads, the keyboard. Something about that instrument really sticks out to me, it’s the backbone.
Do you have a timeline?
I don’t know, maybe Spring 2018.
Do you have any advice for people?
I think the best way to get good at anything musically is to plan. I
n my life 30% of what I do is planning. When I write and practice I’m on the bus, on the 99, planning how I want my practice session or what I want Indigo District to look like in a month.
What is your ultimate goal?
My goal with this project is to introduce a lot of East Coast dark moody RnB sounds into the Vancouver sphere. That’s my ultimate goal.
Then you have to stay in Vancouver!
I’ll be here for a couple more years at least. I feel like it is hard to find people doing stuff similar to what I’m trying to do. Which is good in certain ways and really bad in certain ways. I feel like I have a very unique niche and something to contribute within the scene. And that’s why I’m really excited and putting so much into this project right now.
How do you imagine your audience listening to your music?
One of my biggest influences, River Tiber, has a quote where he says he “writes the soundtrack to a moment.” That’s my process exactly. It’s 1am and you have class the next day and you are by your keyboard thinking of a certain image you want to synthesize. So if I were to consume it, it would be a late night contemplative thing. It’s very nocturnal music. It’s moody, and distant, and jazz, but that’s important and genuine to who I am.
Suicide Capital has been a constant source of impeccable production over the last year. Esqxr, one of the founding members, sits down with Grounders to talk about the collective and life.
How would you describe Suicide Capital?
It’s me and three other members. At this time I would call it a collection of creatives. Myself, and my partner Zain, we both rap. Another friend, Logic, he’s our producer slash engineer. And we have another traditional artist, Gunna, who puts together our mood boards, photoshoots, and video stuff. It started out with just me and those two music guys and then I added a fourth member to help us expand on the visual aspect.
Suicide Capital is a collection of creatives based out of Mississauga and Toronto. We’ve all known each other a couple of years so we are all friends.
Is there an ideology behind what you put out?
In terms of an ideology, our thing is we just want to produce dope content. On a basic level, as long as it is thought provoking, something that has depth. A lot of dope interesting content, good music, good photography, good videos, something that makes you stop and think.
How do you make something that has depth?
You definitely take your time with it. Put a lot of thought into it, think about what emotion you want it to be. When we did the COM.RAD photoset, it was inspired by a conversation between Zain and I about things we had both gone through where we had helped each other out. We decided to expand on that. We try to put a lot of thought into everything we do and make sure it comes from something honest. A lot of the music we are making write now are about events that are very recent.
Is Eastern Promises your first musical project?
Eastern Promises is my … eighth?
Where are all the others?!
They are in various places on the internet. Most of my discography is on Bandcamp. Eastern Promises is the second album that I produced entirely. The first was EVE: The B Sides. Eastern Promises was inspired by the girl I was dating at the time. I was living outside of the GTA and I visited my friends one day and I met her. I always had to go back but I would tell her that I would move back and we would be together soon. I was getting a job and we were together for a year, that was the premise of the album.
Is she the girl on the cover?
Yeah, her voices are the interludes and stuff.
Me, Zain, and Logic all went to the same university in Waterloo. We would always make songs and then we thought “lets just make an album”. So Zain used to live in this place we called the Whitehouse and it was across from this club called Caesars and there were literally birch trees in front of the club. We were sitting at his house high and I looked out the window and said the album name.
That album, majority of it, was produced by Logic and one of the songs by myself. We were just having fun, it wasn’t really a conceptual piece. It was the first album that Zain was on and it was a really special project for the both of us.
Did you see Zain grow through the process?
Definitely. It was cool since I had a bit of experience and could coach him on some things. And then we produced that body of work and a lot of people fuck with it.
Do you have any new projects?
We are working on our next album it’s called Havana. I was hoping to release it in November but we just had a studio session and it looks like December. But it’s really really good and we are talking to a bunch of people to market it properly. It’s going to be a big one.
Do you plan to make music or Suicide Capital your career?
Suicide Capital is an entity. I want it to become an organization like the Group of 7. I just want it to be a renowned, creative collective. After this album my plan was to go to Amsterdam and work on an album with my friend. A lot of my old music was very sensual and I want to get back to that. As far as producing music as a career I am moving away from that and toward podcasts.
I have a really dope podcast opportunity coming up and it’s looking very good. It is going to be around pop-culture, fashion, stuff like that.
Do you ever feel weird hearing recordings of yourself talking?
Initially, but you get used to it. I’ve been a rapper forever so I know exactly what I sound like. It’s always interesting seeing new people record themselves because they always go “OMG I sound so different!”
What about music videos?
Music video … Me and Zain put out one called Yoko Ono. That is our first video. The second one Ethiopian Jawns is coming out soon. It’s more of a short film rather than a music video. It’s a very in depth project that I’ve been working on for a while. I was trying to do a Solange thing with the look book and the album and videos. It’s basically a set of murals depicting blackness. Creativity, strength, diversity, colours, just different things. I’m shooting six different scenes and putting them into one music video.
Who is Soul Melody Records?
It is the name of the label we are under. Our manager, Kobe, handles a couple of other artists too. We joined very recently. We are still trying to get little certifications. My thing is I just want to worry about music and Kobe can deal with the other stuff.
Change of topic: Every time the majority of society feels unhappy there is a revolution. I feel that a revolution will happen in the Millennials’ lifetime. What would you want to come out of such a revolution?
My thing is, a revolution is always a good thing if the outcome is productive. If there is a revolution a lot of people will have to die. So there will have to be a lot of loss of life. Revolution is no joke. With all the stuff that’s been going on in the US with all the shootings and stuff… there is a certain tension in the air. And it hasn’t been seen before, it has, but now everything is recorded so it’s being seen on a global scale. So the question is if something happened would we progress?
So what would make a revolution worthwhile?
A specific answer would be police-prison reform in the US.
Is that just the US or everywhere?
Everywhere, but specifically the US. I watched the documentary 13th and it talks about why people were incarcerated in the 70s and 80s. And it’s just one thing, there is so much shit. There is a systemic thing to put a certain demographic in jail.
Do you think something like that would happen?
Honestly no, I’m such a pessimist and I think capitalism is king, so no. This has been happening forever which is kind of sad. It’s part of the human condition. We can talk and talk and people can protest and things will get better. But change would have to happen on such a drastic level for everything to be good. So I don’t think it will happen.
So do you like capitalism?
No, no I said “capitalism is king.” I don’t like capitalism because it’s the cause for all the world’s problems. By “capitalism is king” I meant there is no way the status quo will change. At the end of the day
everything is about the bottom dollar and that’s why nothing changes.
Any last thoughts?
I found there’s been a recent surge in the level of creativity I’ve seen in youthful people of colour. I started noticing it when Solange’s two videos came out and I just want to say this is really the age of being a creative. Anybody out there who wants to do it should just do it. There is no transition between not doing something and doing something. There’s no trying. If you want to make music just do it, make art. Just do – do – do.
Stay up to date with @ESQXR by following him on Instagram.
Talent extraordinaire, Stefan Raupach, is back at it. Featured for his painting in Grounders Issue 2, Stefan is also a member of Coastal Break and produces music as a solo artist.
Stefan’s newest persona is a groovy downtempo called Mr. Stee. “Searching” is the first drop of his four part twelve track album. This album is a reflection of Stefan’s changing mindsets, over the last year. By splitting the album into parts, a new one every two weeks, each era of thinking becomes recognizable to a listener. Stefan’s vision for Searching, and the parts to follow, is to be “equally foreground or background.”
“Space gives more time to digest each part and anticipate the next.”
Check out more of Stefan’s work and stay tuned for his next EP on November 11th
P.S. Check out this cool video of Stefan made by Jerez Challenger
Chamo Rosso, featured in the first issue of Grounders, just released his second project Tomodachi. A soothing mix of jazz and familiar tunes, each song is dedicated to a special person or group in Chamo Rosso’s life. Compared to his previous work, Fremy Volume I, is more nostalgic and pairs perfectly with the fall vibe.
What lead you to this project?
More or less I just made a song for my one friend and the name Makuto reminded me of him so I thought it was kind of suitable. And I followed up with the same theme and it reminded me of Keegan. I figured I may as well make it a whole thing.
Did the song or person come first?
I would make the song and as it happened I would realize who the song was for and model it towards them from that point.
Do you have any plans for a new project?
Right now I am taking a break because of midterms. I want to do something more but I want to find a different style, make it more unique. The style for Tomodachi was really funk and soul based. I want to make that more unique and expand it into a new style.
Will this be more different than Fremy Vol I?
Yeah I hope so. I really don’t like that first project. I’m not a fan, it’s so unrefined. At the time I didn’t have the technique nor ability to fix the flaws but now I do.
Is there a reason everything is Japanese?
I just like it.
Can you understand?
Yeah, enough to get the jist of a conversation. I have a few friends who speak Japanese so I will try to have a conversation with them and get them to correct me.
What’s been happening since our last interview?
I’ve just been chilling.
P.S. “Kuro + Shiro” is Chamo Rossos’ “thank you to the Grounders crew” and our biased favourite