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.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/5wNmIbjwnVaaiQOz4YWKJS

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.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/2PMsD0eoZ00uOA9hutVet0

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

Conversations: Habibi Caramel Princess

Jude Mansour is an icon in the Vancouver scene. She is constantly planning events, supporting artists, and perfecting projects of her own. An outspoken representative for people of colour (POC), especially women, Jude’s work is striking for its visual honesty. Her social media is colourful, bold, and never hides the frizzy fly-away hairs or tries for flawless skin. It bears a striking contrast to the carefully curated perfection of most Instagram content and makes us, at Grounders, feel more confident in our skin. As Habibi Caramel Princess, Jude has branched into the music realm. Her mixes are an eclectic mix of worldly sounds with an irresistible dance beat. Grounders co-founder Ash sat down with Jude to talk about her experience as an immigrant and future projects. 

Listen to Jude’s newest mix Flutter

First off, tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am an immigrant, I moved here almost seven years ago from Alexandria in Egypt. I’m an Egyptian – born and raised – I moved here in Grade 9, and I live in Burnaby. My highschool life was miserable. There weren’t a lot of African Arabs, Middle Easterners, or Arabs in general that I could relate to in anyway. I experienced a lot of micro-aggressions as a Muslim woman of colour (WOC) living in Vancouver.

I started coming out to shows in Grade 12 and went to Emily Carr. And I started meeting people and making connections and that’s when my life started taking more of a positive turn. I’m so lucky to have met the people I know now. I’m an artist – I’m a DJ.

So why did your parents come to Vancouver?

Well growing up in a non-western country the goal is to get anywhere. My Mom always thought Vancouver was safe and it worked out perfectly when she got accepted into SFU. I was living through a revolution and she got accepted right when the revolution ended. It was perfect timing and we got the fuck out of there.

Growing up in a revolution, do you find social media changes things? How does it empower people?

I think social media is such an important tool. I was so uneducated even growing up as an Egyptian woman. I was so uneducated about myself. I didn’t even consider myself as a WOC, I didn’t even know what that was. But, when I moved here I felt “othered.” I didn’t know where that was coming from or why I was feeling that way. Going on Instagram, I saw a lot of people talking about the same problems I had and it really helped. I think it’s such an important tool, especially for women in non-Western countries to learn. Those resources are really lacking and WOC need to know what’s going on and why they feel the way they do.

I really vibe with that. I always grew up in white societies and I never realized what it meant to be a WOC – not until I came to university. But seeing people on the internet who talk about being a WOC and how they feel, realizing I related to them was such an important experience.

Honestly, shout out to Nazlie Najafi, my baby – my child. She saved my life. She is one of the co-founders of Elastic Collective. When I met her I was so insecure. I straightened my hair everyday, I was scared to go into the sun, and seeing her talk about that stuff online made me feel inspired.

Seeing how proud you are of your heritage now, it’s hard to imagine. Did you try to hide your heritage in highschool?

Oh yah, I was so embarrassed. Where I’m from we hate ourselves and each other. Even in Egypt, women suffer the most. Women of darker skin are the most oppressed. I hated myself so much as a woman of colour. 

When did you start becoming proud of your heritage?

I would say half way through first year university when I started unwhite-washing myself and my values. Because I tried to be that for so long. Again, social media, seeing beautiful women of colour who are so proud and outspoken. I thought, I’m like that too why can’t I be proud and like that. I’d say every POC country and society carry a lot of internalized racism.

photos by Shanice Bishop

Switching topics, when did you start making music?

That literally started last December.

That’s so recent wow!

Yeah, it all started when Rhi Blossom and Mairin Miller came up with Recess. One day I was at Rhi’s house and they asked if I wanted to try DJing and they showed me how and then asked if I wanted to do an event. And I thought “hell yeah!”

Wow, you jumped right in, were you confident about your first gig?

I kind of was, I was always a dancer so music feels like a part of my blood. So I went into it right away and Habibi Carmel Princess started popping off and I realized DJing is my shit.

Is that your go-to art form right now?

Definitely, I used to study photography at Emily Carr but I wasn’t really passionate about it. And every faculty in every university is normally male dominated but the photography department was very dominated and I was so uncomfortable.

Your mixes blend a lot of ethnic sounds, do you have a vision before you start a mix?

I usually do have a vision for sure. My art and music is mostly inspired by how vibrant and lively my culture is – it celebrates happiness and dance. I try and project that into all of my work, even if my mix is sad it’s still upbeat. My new mix is called Flutter. I’m also working on two other projects. One of them I want to release in the summer because it’s sexy and dance music. The mix afterwards is going to be all Egyptian artists, I’m so excited for it.

When does Flutter come out?

April 12th! I already did a photoshoot for it. I worked with Zuleyyma Prado on the photos.  

Listen to Flutter here!

photos by Zuleyyma Prado

In the future do you want to start producing your own stuff with beats and vocals?

Eventually yes but I’m very shy so hopefully in the future.

How would you compare the art scenes in Alexandria, Egypt versus Vancouver?

Alexandria is the second biggest city in Egypt after Cairo and it’s still pretty small. This shit doesn’t really happen there and I was really young. My life was school and sports, I was an athlete. I was a rhythmic gymnast and competed nationally, I was a competitive tennis player, I did equestrian, and I spent my youth in motion. I love to execute my feelings through energy and dynamism.

You’ve been pretty involved with the Elastic Collective, could you give me a quick rundown on them?

Hannah Turner, Rhi Blossom, and Nazlie Najafi are the founders and they are trying to make a space that celebrates art while including people who are often marginalized in society, such as women, BIPOC, and queer folk in Vancouver.

Are you guys planning to do anymore events?

Yah Elastic, Nazlie and I want to do a MENA party. Like a Middle Eastern – North African party with an art show and some poetry readings, maybe a DJ. Because Vancouver lacks a lot of representation in that region. 

Looking to the future, do you think you will stay and try to make Vancouver a more inclusive community or try to move?

I definitely plan to live here for a bit but I also plan to travel a lot. In a couple of months I’ll be going to Toronto and Montreal, hopefully playing shows.

What’s something else you want to say to readers of Grounders, POC, or people who moved here?

Stick to your roots, stick to what you know. You’re going to get confused in the long run. For immigrants, what you are is what white girls wanna be. You are what society is trying to profit off. You are magical and special, just glow and do your thing and no one can steal your glow because it’s impossible. 

 

To keep up with Jude follow her on Instagram and SoundCloud

FEBRUARY PLAYLIST

The year of January is finally over! After a brief hiatus Grounders is back and better than ever with the soundtrack to your month. Are you cuffed? Are you single? No matter what, this playlist is for you!

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Music 003: Kid Lucifer

Kid Lucifer is a garage band based in Montreal and originating from Vancouver, they just released a new EP “Black Moon.” Their sound is edgy, dramatic, and faintly reminiscent of indie music from 2012. We had the chance to chat with the band’s drummer, Quinn, about the band and EP. Click the link the photo to listen to the EP or check it out on iTunes while you read the interview below. 

 

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your history with music?

I’m Quinn, I’m 21 and I play drums in Kid Lucifer. I grew up around music thanks to my father, who was and still is a huge music fan. I was fortunate enough to constantly be exposed to amazing music at a young age-Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Rush and King Crimson were household staples. I’ve been interested in music since I can remember, but really started exploring writing and recording in high school after taking guitar classes. From there I fell in love with bass, started out drumming about five years ago and haven’t stopped since.

 

How did Kid Lucifer come together? 

Kid Lucifer is myself, Sam Schuette on bass, Henry Girard on vocals and rhythm guitar, Linus Heyes on lead guitar and Gabby Des on keys and guitar. Sam and I met in grade one and have been friends for over 15 years. Kid Lucifer in its first form started shortly after the two of us met Henry at a Pity Sex concert in Vancouver. We started playing together as a three piece and found an instant musical chemistry. Linus, Henry’s cousin, joined the band after we met him at a local festival in Henry’s hometown. The four of us moved together as a band to Montreal at the end of this summer to pursue music, and we met Gabby, our newest addition to the band, at our first show in Montreal.

 

Was there one point if inspiration for this EP? Does it tell a story?

This EP definitely represents who were are right now as a band and as people. We really discovered our sound and what we wanted to say musically around the time we were in studio, and we developed a lot creatively. It was our first time with access to a proper studio, and we recorded shortly after Linus joined the band. Having that experience along with Linus’ creative input on the songs took the whole project to a new level. We actually recorded a full-length album and cut it down to these six songs that we’re most proud of and excited about, so it’s definitely a good snapshot of where we are right now.

 

What’s your favourite song on the EP and why?

It’s hard to choose, but my personal favourite has to be My Girl. It’s one of the first songs we ever wrote, and I love how simple, but catchy and dynamic it is. It’s also a riot to play live, for myself especially.

 

Why did you choose to include the acoustic version of My Girl in the project?

The first thing we ever recorded as a band in my bedroom back in B.C. was an acoustic version of the song. We recorded the new EP version last minute on our last day in studio for this project, and we were unsure whether or not to even record it. In the end we just loved the laid back vibe of that first version so much we couldn’t resist revisiting it.

 

Any shows people can look forward to?

We’re finishing off the year with a show with fellow Montreal band Rough Gentlemen at Bar Le Repaire on December 16th in Montreal. Nothing is set in stone quite yet for the New Year, but we’re booking dates, working on our first full-length record, and planning tour dates for the spring. We’re keeping ourselves busy.

 

EDIT: Unfortunately due to publishing delays this article was posted on December 16th but we hope Kid Lucifer had an incredible show

 

Stay up to date with Kid Lucifer by following them on Instagram.

Music 002: Mr. Stee

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

Stefan’s Art

 Cover art by Joel Jasper.
Cover art by Joel Jasper.

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: 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.

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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.

 

Wild!

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.

 

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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. 

 

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