Conversations: Plato Savana

After years of producing and writing, Plato Savana has finally started dropping his tracks. A carefully crafted sound, Plato’s lyrics are incredibly insightful. They speak to our generation – full of contradictions and people trying to redefine what success and happiness looks like. Grounders had the chance to interview Plato about his tracks Yeshua, Limited all Access, and the philosophy that drives him. 

Since posting the interview Plato Savana has dropped a new single. Check out “Canadian Warm” on iTunes and Spotify

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Plato Savana. What do I want people to know bout me? There’s not that much to say. The music will do me justice. My aim is neutrality. There is no “this” type of person for Plato Savana. It’s an essence – just a feel. It’s who I am. I’m not a rapper, I’m not a singer, I’m not this emotional guy, [Plato Savana] is a human being who goes through every single emotion. And knows how to gauge it, knows how to be optimistic, how to put it into perspective. I’m hoping to connect with people trying to find balance.  

What are you balancing right now?

I’m 26 right now but weirdly enough I don’t find myself getting old. I’m at a point where I’m fully in control of myself. A balance is – how do I stay stable but keep moving. It sounds like an oxymoron but that’s really what it is. Our parents think stability is buying a house, having investments, having a car. I don’t see it like that. I feel like we are in a time where we can run corporations off our cell phones. How do you maintain all that while getting healthy, spending time with your family, making sure your friends are good? We just need to wake up in the morning and not stress.

Do you meditate?

Too much.

Do you meditate intentionally?

I read and write a lot. What I’m reading now is so complex. It’s Aristotle “Rhetoric”, I just finished Plato’s “The Republic”

What did you think about the Theory of Forms? The one where there is one perfect of everything and everything in the real realm is a projection of this one perfect entity. 

Yah yah – you can’t be one of. You can only be that One. It’s a perfect theory. It kind of  represents being fake and following. You see this perfect image but really and truly you can’t see it because you aren’t it. It took me a while to get, I had to read it and walk.

Obviously philosophy is important to you, do these theories transfer to your music?

Definitely, but not in the sense of portraying knowledge. Just more by adapting and working through information.

Tell me about your singles, what are they balancing?

Yeshua is a prayer to God. Asking for great minds to converse with. In the beginning I’m saying “I’m not too sure the things I call blessings are good or do they need confessing.” I’m not sure, because I like some bad shit. So more or less it’s expression without going to Church. It’s just hoping that whatever, whoever is up there – as a supreme being, would understand my genuinity.

Limited All Access is going through emotions with the last few people I had interest in. I haven’t been in a dedicated relationship but we share interests and all that. It’s more being in a situation where you speaks with confidence and then things happen after. I call it Limited All Access – I want to give you everything but I can’t. I’m still being as open as possible but there are still things to it. And even though I can’t give you everything, you are the one making me stable, to know I have that person I can call and talk to and see at times. I’m being honest about going in a direction where I can’t promise you about settling down and not because I’m trying to play around, but that’s somewhat the present reality.

To me, that’s really powerful. I got into a series of similar relationships where you are emotionally bonding but neither of you are committed. Both people are moving too fast in different directions to fully obligate yourself. It’s cool because most songs are not about that, they are about “fucking bitches” or being in love. So I see what you mean about the balance. It should be a contradiction but it isn’t because we are a new generation.

Exactly, that’s why I feel like people will be able to connect. I’ve been studying music from a different angle. For me anybody can get up and rhyme and say the nastiest shit on the sickest beat, But there is this concept that less is more. How do you be straight up without being an asshole, and say it in a way that grabs your attention positively. Our generation, I believe, has a lot of music about “fucking bitches” and smoking weed. Slowly I’m seeing the neglect of education because it seems being knowledgeable is “lame” and you have a lot of intelligent people who just end up following or getting isolated. You get caught in the system where it’s like “okay there is nothing good that my friends are doing, but they’re my friends so I’m going to be stupid too” and you dumb down your intelligence. There’s a missing balance where you can still be cool even when you’re a nerd. With no brains you are going nowhere.

Did you go through that phase yourself? Of dumbing down your intelligence to do what felt fun?

Yah I was. Even my dressing. Especially after meeting some connects and they would say “N***” after every word and I realized I started using it as a conversation piece. But you surround yourself with those people and you find yourself doing that, smoking too much, drinking hard liquor, going out and doing stupid shit. Then I realized I couldn’t keep doing that and came back to my senses.

How can you realize when you are losing yourself?

The only way you can know is if you already have the will to step away for a bit. You get into that situation where you meet some people and you think “this is it, we are all going to make it.” But you have to know life isn’t rushing off anywhere. So if someone doesn’t want you around or threatens that if you stop, they are going to drop you, well that isn’t life. You were alive before you met them and you’re going to live after. So unless you have that courage to step away from the things you think are necessary to be popular, if you can do that you’re going to see all your mistakes.

These are great messages. Especially for young artists who think meeting people is the key to “making it.”

It isn’t at all.

What’s your plan for putting your music out?

Haha, I’m horrible at promotion. My thing is, I have to do what I know: making connects and talking to radio stations. For Toronto, I want to get connected with up and coming designers. To me, it doesn’t make sense to chase after artists who have already made it. It makes sense to bring a generation up and into the industry together. I want to connect with magazines too.

What’s your ideal consistency for dropping music?

I don’t want to streamline too much and too fast, my greatest asset is I’m over-prepared and overzealous. I trust my instincts and I’m always watching, so once that little voice says “drop”, its Go Time.

Where can we find your music?

It’s everywhere.

Find Plato Savana on iTunes and Spotify.

Any last words?

Yeah, I’m here now.

Stay up to date with Plato Savana by following him on Instagram

Artist Profile: Karen Davis

Name: Karen Davis

Location: Draper, Utah

IG: @karun_the_wzrd


At only 19, Karen Davis has established her artistic style as one that gives the audience a peak into another world. She has dabbled in photography for most of her life, and recently began experimenting with complimentary poetry that gives the viewer an honest look into her mind. Below is a short interview with Davis, and samples of her work.

Tell us a little bit about yourself! When did you start writing poetry and taking photos?

I started taking photos at a very young age. I have always had a love for photography, and I have taken a liking to poetry recently. I enjoy letting my feelings out and maybe having someone relate to how I’m feeling.

Your photos all seem to tell a story, could you share what some of them are? Or the thought process behind them?

Most of the stories that I want to show through my photographs are ones that I want someone to look at and wish they were in. They’re an escape from my reality to a dream world! It’s everything I see, everything I would want my life to look like.



Are you behind the entire production of your images or do you collaborate with other people?

I generally have the subject do their own makeup or I will do it, but I have collaborated with a makeup artist and they’re fun to work with.

What would you like people to get from your work?

I want my work to inspire people. I want to motivate them and make it easier for them to express themselves. I want to support and love everyone for each one of the ideas and the creativity they have. I also want them to look at my photographs and wish they were a part of my own dream world.

Conversations: CGB

22 year old CGB began his journey with music seven years ago. Since then, he has had performed performed in Ottawa and Vancouver, worked with key artists like Mick Jenkins, and released his first full length EP. Continue reading for an interview with CGB about his inspirations and advice. 

Interview by Antonio Velarde.

Tell us about yourself- who inspired you to make music? Who inspires you to push your dreams further? 

I originally got inspired to make music after hanging out with my homie Cubez. We’ve been friends since we were 8, but we both kind of grew apart until we were like 13 or 14. I went to his house one day and he was making beats, rapping, singing, everything. After that, he really introduced me to the art of songwriting. He did and still does inspire me, but now a lot of my fans push me. Hearing about people using my music as therapy or an escape from whatever they’re going through is my inspiration and helps me get through my own shit.


Tell us about some milestones along the way, what are your short and long term goals?

I want to have a bigger reach more than anything else. I’m not really into this for the money. Like I was saying, knowing people use my music as an escape helps me as push as hard as possible and helps me create the best quality music I can make. Long term, I want to be a name people remember. Short term, I’m really just going with the flow and trying to make impactful music whilst balancing the craziness of life.


Let’s talk about your latest project “Homegrown“. I found that your track list has a lot of special meaning. Talk about the concept behind it. 

Homegrown is my debut EP and is really the first project where everything was crafted for me. It was my first real project as opposed to a mixtape of beats from Youtube which I had done a few times already. Every beat was made just for me, and I had different friends working on different aspects of it all. It was just a ‘Homegrown’ product, hence the name. 

It’s a story. I made it for y’all to kinda interpret it how you want, but everything is about what lead me up to where I am now, which is where the album ends. It’s the different stages of me as a person and as an artist. Losing my homie made me stronger, my mom beating cancer made me stronger, my girl leaving me made me stronger, and those are all things that are so powerful, music is the only way I can talk about them. I obviously talk a lot about relationships on the project but it slowly transitions into harder songs like 6:04AM and Test Me. It’s a story about a vulnerable and sensitive guy, getting the courage to address his problems which ultimately builds him into a more positive, confident artist. 


You’ve lived in two of Canada’s major cities. How would you describe the scenes in Ottawa and Vancouver? Any major differences? 

There’s amazing music coming out of both cities but Vancouver has a lot more opportunities. There’s more venues for hip-hop, as well as more supporters that are willing to go out to shows. Ottawa’s in between Montreal and Toronto so when bigger artists go on tour, they almost always skip here. It sucks but it feels like a treat when dope artists do get booked here and they want to involve local artists that might not get to perform as often as artists in cities like Vancouver or Toronto.


Being an upcoming artist, how would you describe today’s hip hop scene? 

Like I mentioned earlier, I was never really into trap. A lot of people hate on them but I’ll bump Young Thug, Yachty and all those cats when I’m having a drink with the homies. Sometimes I need more than a cool melody or beat to impress me but it’s cool they’re doing something different. I dunno how I feel about it affecting the culture, though. There’s a part of me that’s ecstatic that sounds are progressing and things are changing. But then there’s a huge part of me that wishes the artists that everyone idolizes were speaking on a more positive note. Music today is way more explicit and violent than it was 10 years ago, so it kinda scares me to think what those 13 year old kids will be like when they’re my age. That’s why I want to create personal, peaceful and positive hip-hop that can inspire change. 


If you had the chance to give advice to aspiring MC’s wanting to involve themselves in Ottawa or Vancouver’s music scenes, what would it be? 

Participation is key. Even now, I know tons of people in both scenes that won’t even show up to certain events if they aren’t involved directly which is whack. Show up to events, network, get to know other people that are heavily in the scene and show that you care.


Talk about any future plans – anything in the works? Coming soon? 

I just released my first line of merch which is available at my website and I’m hyped to have that out after so long. There’s gonna lots of videos. Lots of new music. I’m currently finishing up my 5th project which will be released later this year. I can’t say much about it just yet but it’ll be available on all major streaming platforms and there’s gonna be some crazy features on it. 


What about performances? Where would you like to perform in the near future? 

I wanted to keep this lowkey, but I believe in putting things out there and manifesting them with positive energy so I’m gonna talk a little bit about this.. I’m currently planning a small North America tour. Nothing huge. I just see the numbers getting bigger and which cities they’re coming from so I wanna go say thank you while traveling and livin’ life. Europe is next, too.


If you could teleport anywhere in the world right now- where would you go?

Probably Jamaica, to be honest. After this long Canadian winter all I need is some island vibes under the hot sun.


As we move away from traditional religion, do you worship anything and what?

I don’t worship any one particular religion, I see great values in a few religions and contribute them into my everyday life. It sounds hella cheesy but I believe in unity over everything. We are the problem, as well as the solution. We are one, and we can’t change the world if we don’t wake up and change ourselves. One love.

Conversations: Conor Cunningham

Conor Cunninham’s photography (@mescondi) has been making a splash in the Vancouver art scene. Surprisingly colourful and whimsical his photography, and recent foray into film, paints a new picture of Vancouver. Continue reading to find out about Conor’s explosive growth and journey with photography. 


What should I know about you?

I have been doing art for a long time and I just started doing photography about a year ago. I used to walk around with my friend who used to take photos of me. Then I said “actually – you don’t see things the way I do, pass me the camera – I wanna try something.” I instantly loved it. I bought a cheap camera off my friend and still use the same set up today. Literally I think I just hit my year anniversary with my camera.


What setup do you use?

I use a T3I and a portrait lens, that’s all I have. I feel like I have learned to maximize that lens, I even use it for video.



 A portrait of the artist (Conor Cunningham)
A portrait of the artist (Conor Cunningham)

I noticed a really big change in your Instagram about a year ago where you went from cold and gloomy photos and then suddenly it became saturated colours, what happened?

I just kind of fell in love with colour. My first couple of shoots with friends were based off what I was seeing around from other photographers. Especially around the city (Vancouver) it’s cold and earth toney. But in my experiences, I was always seeing colour so I made the switch. It’s more fun to work with and plan shoots with colour.


Take me through a shoot with you!

It’s pretty chill. I will meet up with a model and we will discuss what we are going to wear and stuff. Or if I have a concept I’ll style them in my clothes. I shoot kind of differently – according to my models. It’s slower not a lot of rapid fire stuff. I plan everything out. I look for people who are down to do whatever and I will bring weird props. It’s super chill, laid back – I usually become friends with the people I shoot with. I take it seriously in my head, because I am very critical of myself and my work. Everything needs to be perfect in my eyes but the environment needs to be relaxed.


What is perfection in your eyes?

Literally whatever I think is perfect. Things could be off, like your hair doesn’t need to be perfect, but when I see the photo it needs to feel perfect. I like imperfection though. When I first started people would send me Instagrams of these really hot girls and tell me to shoot with them. But I thought it was boring. Using models is cool because they know how to pose, but my favourite is picking someone who looks interesting. In the photos you can always see it. They are a little uncomfortable because they haven’t been asked to take photos before. The audience can connect to it versus a model who has done a pose a billion times. It’s a lot more real.

I like that, I feel like what your photography has been showing me is a super colourful representation of Vancouver which is hard because it is cold and rainy.

People ask me all the time where I shoot and I say Vancouver and they are like where did you find the colour. I just tell them to look.



How do you look?

I think my brain has gotten to the point where it picks it out when it sees it because I’ve trained it. My nine-to-five job has me driving around the city all the time. So I’m always seeing new places and I’ll take down the cross streets.


How much of your work is post editing?

Oh – like all of it. I like film a lot so I try to mimic a film look when I edit. Digital obviously looks so different, especially when I work with colour I need to bump it up so much. Digital tends to wash everything. I actually just picked up two film cameras.


Tell me about filming videos, what have you been experimenting with?

One of my buddies is a musician here and before he moves to LA he wants to have a catalog of videos. He is pretty much the one who got me into doing art and sharing it because I used to be self conscious about it – like years ago. He just told me to do it. So he came to me and said he wants to do this video project of five music videos and a short film. I told him I don’t have a dope camera but we can try it on this so we did it.

I’ve always been into video. When people ask me who my inspiration is it’s a lot more directors than photographers. I like my photos to be cinematic like screenshots of a film. It was kind of inevitable that I would get into film and I’m working on my own short film.


Tell me more about the short film

It is about being a kid who is into art and wants to do that in the place we are right now. Any place where they don’t push you up to do it. It’s about the escape of it all – which is what it is to me – so it is about the kids who want to escape into art and make it their life.


Do you want to make art your life?

Yeah I dropped out of school – I was like nope this is not what I’m doing. I went to Simon Fraser University (SFU) for two years and I took random classes and hated it. I would skip class all the time to do photo stuff or draw anything. I used to think there is something wrong with me. Am I lazy? But nah, I work hard. I work till I die and I have a better chance at making it with something like this rather than an office job.



A lot of your paintings beforehand had this really fragmented look. It was almost Picasso like and that didn’t appear in your photos but it seems to be back in your videos with two overlaying shots.

The fragmented paintings were from back when I was in SFU. I wasn’t super happy. I felt like I had one side of me that was prim and proper for my parents and the other was just art – art – art. The fragmented stuff was me expressing the two sides. So half a face that is very make-up clean and the other is in my mind and a gong show. In the photos I think it stopped because that is when I stopped school and I was able to be that side. It came back in the videos because I am not super comfortable with it. The videos are also for somebody else so it’s chopped up in that it has both our sides in it.


Do you have any big projects?

I kind of slowed down the photos in the last two months because the weather sucks. But I have a couple of shoots that I have been waiting to do since November but the flowers are coming out now. Then the short film and my buddy’s thing. There are two more videos to film. That’s it so far, I just want to keep growing. I’m going to LA in May, with a couple of friends, and I am going to work with a couple of people and go to a Street Dreams party.


Are you visiting or trying to root yourself in LA?

I am visiting but I am going to try and do the most I can in three weeks. My goal is to move to the States or to move out of Vancouver. I am not rushing out but I feel like I can’t stay here forever.


Why is that?

The attitude towards art I find here, there are amazing and super talented people here, but as a whole – I want to e shooting people like ASAP rocky and I know I have to venture out there. I can’t make it what I want to do personally here.


I feel that – a lot of things in Vancouver are temporary.

It’s a good place, especially to start. It isn’t flooded with people actually trying. It’s a little sad because there are so many people I know who are talented but just go to school and feel like there is no possibility of making it. It has to be a mindset, if you put everything out there people are going to notice.


Do you have anything else you would like to say?

I hope people see my stuff and don’t think I am always taking portraits. I really use it – art – as a way to escape, I want to create my own world. I look at people like Tarantino and my bigger influences. I look at every scene and break it down – that is what I try to do. Every little detail is that way for a specific person.

That is partially why I use colour, it’s because that is how I want things to be. It looks happy but I don’t usually have a lot of smiling in my photos. I want things to be that colourful but the place I am in now is kind of dystopian and that is why I have that contrast. My photos have a small representation of what I am going through at the moment.


Do you have a favourite movie?

Kill Bill – I don’t think that’s the greatest movie ever but personally I don’t even know how many times I’ve watched that movie. The cinematography is insane.




Conversations: Indigo District

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.


What happened?

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.


Stay up to date with Indigo District on SoundCloud, Facebook , and Instagram

Conversations: ESQXR

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.


Birch Trees and Caesars?

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

Conversations: Yuriy Kyrzov

Slav is a new publication focused on Eastern Europe. Created by Yuriy Kyrzov the issue comprises of nostalgic imagery and narratives that make readers reminiscent of unfamiliar places. You can purchase Slav here.  Continue reading for an exclusive interview with Yuriy.


What should I know before I go through Slav?

Slav was a project I’ve been wanting to do, and I did this summer, to bring together Eastern European culture. In this issue, the first issue, everyone happened to reside in North America. I know everybody in this issue, they’re friends coming from Russia, Ukraine, and Slovakia. It was a way of bringing together photo-documentation and artistic photography accompanied with narratives asking how it feels to be Eastern European and how living in North America is represented through that. You see how similar a lot of the stories are. It shows how although people create barriers there is still a lot of community. It was interesting to explore.


Is there a lot of discord within Eastern Europe?

I feel like culturally we are similar. But with political situations there is tension. Whether it is being autonomous or relying on network partners and it’s about looking around it and achieving a friendly dynamic.


You moved to Canada when you were six, do you have any memories of Ukraine?

I do have memories, it’s interesting how nostalgia plays into it. Certain smells like cigarette smoke, gasoline, and heat.


Is there a reason you do not state where or when photos were taken?

I find it interesting to see if people notice that they are different. If you read [the artist’s] pieces then you will know they are not from the same place or time.


Have you learned anything through the publication process?

Establishing a direct theme is important although it is also fun to work with what you have. I learned a lot but it is hard to pinpoint. I definitely know how to organize a publication and publish it faster now.


What do you want to do as a communication designer?

I guess making things easier to understand. English is my second language so having things that can be multilingual. Things that speak towards activism are really cool.


How do you make something multilingual?

It needs to be really simple but at the same time extremely thought out.


How do you feel about Ukraine’s political situation.

It’s interesting because Western media portrays it so differently. They are really focusing on external issues instead of internal issues. They have their whole focus on Russia being an aggressor.


What are their internal issues?

Well essentially everything happened because their previous president didn’t want to join the EU. Then there was a revolution so they got a new president. But what’s problematic is there’s a lot of rightism and there is a lot of extremism and neo Nazism. A lot of people are getting targeted and hurt. In my city there was a Union being and people were locked in and burnt in it. Like forty people died and police and the media did nothing. To this day there hasn’t been an investigation and it was sort of backed by the government.


Do you think people feel distant from the issues within Ukraine?

I think it could be partially. Everyone is aware of it but like “it isn’t affecting me.” But people have relatives all over the place and it is very tight knit. I’m honestly all for keeping good relations with everyone. I don’t think Ukraine should ruin relationships with Russia and they should reach a common ground. Because realistically they are not living well economically or socially. My grandma was saying things cost so much more and it’s late October and she still doesn’t have heating in her house because they can’t afford gas and that’s something the government should provide.


Is Ukraine trying to destroy their relationship with Russia?

I think the current government doesn’t want relations with Russia. I think Ukraine should keep their integrity but should keep a relationship. There’s no point in violence if that even is happening. A lot of people work abroad in those two countries but now you aren’t even allowed to travel. Like there are no direct flights between the countries. It’s a humanitarian crisis.


Would you ever go back to live there?

No. I think it would be interesting to go back maybe for a year but never permanently. For reasons of it not being stable and I’m not sure if what I’m interested in would apply there. At the same time they are having a huge rebirth of an art scene.


Follow Yuriy on Instagram @yuriykyrzov to stay up to date with his endeavours and Slav.


Music 001: Mr. Stee

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

Conversations: Chamo Rosso

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