Recyclone ‎– Dead World (1998)

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RR: Is this the first album that you recorded as Recyclone? And what made you change your name from Jon Hutt?

Recyclone: Dead World was my first Recyclone album. I changed my name because I wanted this project to be separate, more serious, more focused. When I used my actual name I was mostly experimenting, learning how to make music, how to record and find a genre that I felt most comfortable with.

RR: The whole album is so far ahead of its time. With it’s noisy, and experimental production, crazy interesting concepts, thought provoking lyrics. It seems as though this is such a unique release compared to rap released within the era. Without hearing albums like Dementia 5, and Warping Solid States, was this a big departure for you?

Recyclone: I felt that Dead World was a natural progression from my previous releases as Jon Hutt. When I was making Dementia 5, I wished that I had access to a sampler. On one track, Episodes of Constant Torture off of Dementia 5, I got SixToo, AKA Rob Squire, to help me out. I think that is why he asked me, ” why don’t you put out a hip hop album?” That was the tipping point for my decision to make Dead World. That’s why, I think, SixToo said yes to producing and recording my first Recyclone album.

RR: How many people ended up contacting Recyclone@hotmail.com upon its release? Was there much of a fanbase for your material in 98’?

Recyclone: Dead World reached people in New York and all the way to California. Dose One from Cincinnati reach out to me. I was asked to be on the second Poop Soup album. I called in the lyrics and left it on his answering machine. It was released on the album but it was scrappy and distorted. So, I reworked the lyrics and wrote a second verse which I released on Numbers as Pounded Small. There was only a handful of cassettes made of Dead World but it created a lot of interest in the indie alternative hip hop scene. It even caught the attention of Sole, who came to Halifax to do a show.

RR: Do you have any stories regarding the recording of Dead World, or the immediate promotional period of it?

Recyclone: At the time of recording Dead World, SixToo was going to school at the Truro NSCC and I was attending the NSCC Halifax campus. I’d come up on weekends, bring Rob a handful of records which I thought would make some decent beats and he’d sample them on his SP 1200. During the weekend we’d record a song or two in the recording studio in Truro above the NSCC library. It was kind of cool because recording music was a part of his course requirement.

When Dead World was released there wasn’t much promotion of it. I literally sold it to friends and Rob gave it out to his friends in the hip hop community. It was released on my record label, Ant Records and we had a few orders for it because of our website and photocopied catalog.

Supreme Being Unit – The First Great Pyramid (1996)

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RR: Was this album recorded while you and Conspiracy were still living out west? Or had you already moved to Ontario by this point?

Mindbender: No, ‘The First Great Pyramid’ was written and recorded in a few studio sessions in Ottawa, Ontario in summer 1996. We had moved from Edmonton to Toronto, and then moved to Ottawa where we recorded our first commercially material. The first hip hop producer we met in Ottawa that was making independent Canadian hip hop was named Kelron Magnanimous and he produced a group called Stylasaurus Rex. Kelron showed myself and Conspiracy how to make beats on the Roland W-30, and we all produced and co-produced the beats on the first album. Since Kelron was working on a few other projects with a few other Nextraterrestrials at the time (the name of our teenage rap crew), we all decided to work on our own solo songs and then compile them for the first SBU album. The VERY first incarnation of that album features 5 songs from Mindbender, 5 songs from Kelron (such as “Beast of Burden”), and 4 songs from Conspiracy (such as “All Inside Your Head”). Mindbender’s songs were “Psychokinetic Forces”, “Heavy Rotation”, “Unpredictable”, “Complicated But Simple”, and “Sudden Death Overtime”.

RR: From what I gathered, it was the follow up album “Mental Reverse/Spiritual Rebirth” that really ended up putting you guys on the global map. I’m curious what reception you received for the first album?

Mindbender: Yes, absolutely. The second SBU album is the one that was heard from Canada to Florida to Amsterdam to Japan. Our first album really didn’t resonate very far past heads in Ottawa, a few places in Quebec, and a little bit in Toronto. It got a minor amount of radio play on Ottawa college radio like on “The Blunted Dummies Show”, but we didn’t have much else to push it. We were 16 year old kids making music, not really hustling in the music biz. At that time in Ottawa, very few people at all were manufacturing their own hip hop products, so when we made the cassettes of The First Great Pyramid, we were pretty damn impressed with ourselves… even though the tape didn’t actually have a cover.

RR: On Discogs, there’s a 2002 re-issue. Limited edition run of 5 copies, hand numbered, and hand drawn by the artist. Can you detail the reasoning for this re-release, and was it you, or Conspiracy that did them up?

Mindbender: Well, thanks to your help, I’ve now seen a copy of the CD-R you are talking about, because I originally had NO idea that Discogs was selling limited edition copies of the SBU album. I remember making those. I created that CD-R in my old apartment on Jarvis, and that is my own handwriting, I clearly remember personalizing some of those discs with the symbols on it. I didn’t know how they would wind up online though… I made them to sell, and probably sold them at some show I did, or at In Divine Style, the open mic I used to run on Queen St. for 5 years. I guess when someone buys something, they can re-sell it however they want, but this is a little WEIRD to me. I made the limited editions for people who wanted to keep them. I have a few limited edition versions of songs and pieces of music, such as some unreleased Del the Funky Homosapien stuff, and a limited edition of the original pressing of the Slim Shady EP that got Eminem signed to Aftermath. I would NEVER sell that shit in a million years. This SBU stuff is rare as fuck, and people oughta treat it like the precious Canadian Vibranium that it is… but I really thank you for bringing it to my attention. “Art and business, get in bed together. They make love. When business is done, art starts crying.” I like that story.

RR: Do you have any stories related to the recording of the album? Or the immediate promotional period afterwards?

Mindbender: Ah, stories related to making the album? Wow… 1996 was a LONG time ago, man. To be honest, I barely remember spending much time making the album. It was done relatively fast, that’s for sure. We didn’t labor over it and do dozens or hundreds of takes. I distinctly remember us being near-broke teenagers paying for studio time with whatever money we had profited from our weed-selling hustles, and paying for some seemingly-exorbitant prices at the time ($40 an hour to make music for a teenager in 1996 was pretty pricey) but we knocked out the songs pretty fast. We all had a community center/studio that we took over called Library Park that was across the street from where the name SBU was conceived, a legendary place in Ottawa at at address 40 David Drive. So many Ottawa hip hop connections happened there, and at Library Park, where we made a makeshift studio and practiced our songs while also learning how to make beats on Kelron’s W-30 that he brought over. We generally structured and sequenced the beats outside the studio, and wrote the lyrics wherever we felt inspired to, then took the final results to the studio and rhymed on the beats, hoping for the best!

There certainly wasn’t any promotional stickers or t-shirts made! We did not have the budget or the marketing vision, haha. The best story related to the first SBU album, is that we RUSHED to record it and get it done in time to sell to the crowd for a concert where our Nextraterrestrial bredren got to open up for Xzibit and the Alkaholiks, as Xzibit was blowing up at the time with “Paparazzi”. Saafir the Saucee Nomad was supposed to be on that show, but he didn’t make it across the border, sadly. Nevertheless, we rushed and frantically did all we could to get our 100 copies of the SBU album manufactured for the day of the concert… and we LITERALLY got the box of cassettes at about 8 PM on evening of the show, as we were doing our soundcheck!! They got delivered to the venue somehow, and we were in SUCH a rush to start selling our first album at our biggest rap show at the time… that we did NOT notice the manufacturer fucked up and mixed-up like 30 cassettes of ours with another group called “Fish Out Of Water”!! So here we were in the venue, frantically running around hype off seeing Xzibit and the Alkaholiks rhyme, fresh from us rocking the stage on Bank St., Ottawa’s version of Yonge St., and just buzzing from selling HARD cassette copies our FIRST album… this was very rare at the time for ANYONE, especially rappers in Ottawa, much less Toronto.

Lo and behold, a few customers came up to us in the dark venue that we were running around and selling our hot rap albums, and were like “yo… this isn’t the SBU album. What is this?” So we had to go and find EVERYONE we sold the tapes to (almost half the box of 100) and make sure they got a SBU album, and NOT a copy of “Fish Out Of Water”! Quite a few people had the wrong album, and they didn’t know it, because the venue was dark, and we were literally selling the cassettes out of a box that had a sticker on the side that said “SBU: First Great Pyramid: 100 copies”. Ah, the embarrassment and the education we got that day! So yeah, we collected all the wrong tapes, took them back to the manufacturer, and got actual SBU first albums. That shit was so funny and stressful. Probably the best story about the First Great Pyramid… that I can remember right now. I’m sure other people know things I forgot. I hope they tell their experiences too. This was a great time in Canadian rap history, and I’m honored to be a part of the legacy created. Thanks for giving a fuck about Supreme Being Unit.

Thrust – Past, Present, Future EP (1995)

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Transcribed from an audio interview with Thrust on August 7th 2018. Conducted by Samantha Vaters.

RR: The title “Past Present and Future”, I imagine the “past” element of it had to do with the 88’ freestyle on Fantastic Voyage but beyond that, can you break down the title? There’s no song on here with the same name, which was the usual formula rappers of the era would follow.

Thrust: The title actually had nothing really to do with that… well, I shouldn’t say nothing, it had to do with the Fantastic Voyage, but it didn’t really conceptualize from that. I was just more in that phase in my life; into a lot of like metaphysical type stuff and I was really exploring […] spirituality and that’s where that came from.

So that’s just the concept like there’s no such thing as time. Often people will [say that] time is an illusion. Cause you can say “Past, present, and future, past, present, future” and you’re still in the same moment.

I also felt that as an artist [it fit]; cause of my style, the way I came up in the game, and that I would still persevere in a sense, so that was just the vibe of it.  

That’s dope that you touched on Fantastic Voyage though. a lot of people wouldn’t [have] even gone there, that is actually where the whole scene started where I started too.

RR: What was the reason for adding the EP to Frankenstein’s “Knowledge Of Self” label. Why not continue with the label as years went on?

Thrust: Because at that time, just before I did the EP, I was in school. This music school called Haris Institute and so was Frankenstein. We both went to high school together. Me and Frankenstein were friends a long time. […] So Frank was doing the production and I was doing the business side of it. So he finished just before I did (like a semester before) and he already had a studio. We were kicking it at lunch and I just finally decided that I wanted to  put out my own record that I was recording. If you notice the songs he was on; he either mixed the songs or produced the songs on the EP so all those were recorded in studio. So I already had it at a studio and it just made sense; he had a label, and I was going to school with him, I was taking the business course and I wanted to come out. So I just basically said to him “Why don’t I just put [down] my own money”. That’s what I did essentially.

So I came out on his label but the funding was from me. […] It was my way of learning how to put myself out as an artist and go though the whole label process as a form of piggybacking. Then after that we went on to start our own label.

From that, we used the same distribution channel and the same hook ups and we did a record at the same place. So yeah it was just an springboard cause we were at the same school at the same time.

RR: The freestyle included as the last track on the B-Side “B Poet” recorded at Fantastic Voyage in 1988. Was that the first appearance on radio? What do you remember of that night?

That freestyle wouldn’t be the first time but […] that was the only snippet that I had of him [Rage] like really rhyming clear […] that I could get my hands on at the time that I was doing the record. So I just threw that on so people could actually hear his voice and hear who it was I was talking about,for those who didn’t know, [and for] those who did know him they would just be like “Yo, you actual captured his voice”.  

RR: Do you have any stories related to the recording of the EP, or during the promotional period of it?

Yeah there’s a million stories, but the coolest part of it was when we went to master it. If you notice, if you look at the back, it was mastered by Tom Coin. Tom Coin is one of the main masterers for the whole music industry. If you look at the back of most of your CDs; […], you’re going to see his name on it. I’m not even talking about just hip-hop. I’m talkin’ everything from the Backstreet Boys, to the Wu-Tang Clan, he does every genre.

So we connected with him. And I went to New York City when I did my label deal. You can negotiate anything with a record deal. So I negotiated; said “Fine, we’re gonna do this deal, but I want to make sure it sounds right. So I want it mastered by the best. I want it to come out of New York, with the same place that everyone else uses that you hear. That was written into the contract for Tom to do it.

And that was crazy, cause he started telling me all of these stories about these recording sessions… and mastering… and Wu-Tang Clan. Ol Dirty Bastard showing up to the session in this Ferrari, just messed up, how you can imagine Ol’ Dirty Bastard to be, just stories about interludes and albums.. We just sat there and listened to him talk.

The best thing about that inning. The only time he opened up; we’re from Canada, right? Being from Canada, he’s from New York, so he didn’t open up with people he’d talk too. […] But then, what do you think it was? What was the one thing you think of when you think of Canada? Something you do?

RR: Hockey?

Yes! […] a lot of people born and raised and Jamaica, but I’m born here. I know my hockey. If you’re born here you know you’re hockey, you have no choice. Right? So yeah that’s how we opened up. So that was the craziest story. So once I got to tell him that I know my Hockey, so he was on about the New York Rangers, and whatever else was going on, and that’s when all the stories started coming out. It’s always good to be Canadian, that’s where my Canadian Passport came through. It opened up a can of worms as far as stories go.

RR: Anything else to add?

Nah, other than to look for it, it’s going to be re-released at some point. People have been asking. I own all my music, so there’s going to be a place to get everything. I know people have been asking, so it’s going to come back out. So yeah, as far as the love,  people have been bangin’ it forever… Made it a classic. I just got love. I get calls, messages, almost every week saying how much they love that record, and that they play it every week. It’s a blessing!

 

Below you can find an audio version of Thrust answering these questions.

mcenroe – the ethics EP (1998)

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RR: This was the first P&C release that was pressed on CD. Everything else was cassette. Was this release looked at as a major progression in the label at the time of recording it?

mcenroe: It was… the label was on hiatus for about a year before the ethics EP. Farm Fresh was dissolving, I wasn’t producing Mood Ruff or Shadez any more, and I was finishing school. I came up with the songs for mcenroe at that time and was influenced by all the indie vinyl that was coming out all over the place, like Fondle Em out of NYC, and wanted to get my music to that level. I knew I had to press vinyl to do it, so I pulled the money for vinyl and CDs together and it was the start of a new era for P&C. It showed we were serious and it solidified the crew going forward.

RR: On The ethics EP, the only feature you have is Spoof, from Frek Sho, why not feature any of the Farm Fresh guys on the EP? Or any other cats that were associated with P&C like the Mood Ruff guys? or Different Shadez?

mcenroe:  I was still friends with everyone, but I was no longer producing Mood Ruff or Different Shadez. They were doing their own thing and I would throw them a beat or two here and there but we were no longer family. As for Pip, he was not around at the time I made the ethics EP. I believe he was out of town. I also wanted to reinvent myself to a degree, so I think I probably wanted to avoided doing a track with him, at least subconsciously. When the record dropped, Spitz from Mood Ruff seemed to think the lines on “What Have I Done” were disses at Pip – but they were not! We went on to work together on fermented reptile as soon as he got back in to town and had refocused on what he wanted to do with music.

After the years of rivalry with the Frek Sho crew, it was kind of a big deal to do a track together, and I always got on well with Spoof.

Hunnicutt, my DJ from Farm Fresh, is on the ethics EP and was my DJ live when I performed those songs…

I think I was influenced by Doom when I made the ethics EP, and I like how he did everything and didn’t have many features, at least on the 12 inch singles he was putting out. I think I wanted to keep it minimal.

RR: Is this the first record that you started using a Mac to make the beats? Emissions wasn’t recorded the same way was it?

mcenroe: Yes, this was the first record that was mine that I used a mac to make the beats. I did a few beats for Mood Ruff for their Night Life Types record on the mac, and I think I did a track for Shadez on the mac, but this was the first Peanuts & Corn release that used a Mac. I recorded the beats and mixed them to DAT, then took them to a studio and recorded the vocals – recorded the entire record in one evening, and mixed it a week later. Unfortunately we put this sub bass on the tracks when we mixed and it really muddied up the mix of the original beats, and the record was never actually mastered with any compression or anything – what was released is basically just the mix to DAT.

I am trying to do a remaster of the record, but ideally I would re-do the mixdown – unfortunately I don’t have the stems from the original mac used to make the instrrumental mix, so I am trying to rebuild them from the original sample files. The ethics EP is the record most in need of a remaster – although I can’t stand about half of my vocals, to be honest. I must have also been influenced by Company Flow or something, with how I try to squeeze to many extra syllables into some of the lines. UGH.

And regarding emissions – that record was made 2 years earlier using the old setup – an Akai S01 sampler, an 8 track ADAT (and a 4 track) and a bunch of rented instruments including an upright jazz bass, organ, acoustic guitar, etc. It was made around the time we did the Farm Fresh “Treherne” stuff, as well as the second Mood Ruff tape.

RR: Do you have any stories regarding either the recording of the release, or the promotional period following it?

mcenroe:  The ethics ep was the only P&C release recorded in an actual studio – I traded website design for 2 days of studio time. So I recorded it in one evening at Private Ear Recording in Winnipeg and mixed it a few days later. Although that experience was fine, I decided to do future recordings at home and never went back to a studio.

I pressed 500 copies of the vinyl and 500 CDs. I think I borrowed some money from my parents to fund the CD and got a small grant towards the vinyl. I sent it out to quite a few DJs and place, and managed to get some interest to sell it online through Sandbox and eventually Hip Hop Infinity, which both ended up moving quite a bit of P&C over the years.

I ended up playing it out for a while and recruited a young rapper named John Smith to do my backups, DJ Hunnicutt was my DJ, we played it out quite a bit.

The record really kicked off our golden age as a label, once we had the full crew of fermented reptile, Parklike Setting, and all the solo acts: Pip, John Smith, Gruf, then Yy and Birdapres, we had a few great years there.

Mission 5 – Write About Now (1998)

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RR: What was your thought process in forming Mission 5. How long were you guys a group before putting out the record?

Chase March: I was a huge fan of Run-DMC and the whole aesthetic of what they did. I wanted to start a group that took it back to the basics of what hip-hop was; 2 MCs and 1 DJ on turntables. I had been rapping for years and thought it was worth taking the next step and releasing a project independently.

My brother and I both rapped and we had written a pretty good song together. I would serve as the lead MC and he would do occasional vocals. We traded rhymes back and forth in the song and were impressed. We knew we could make a go of it.

We started the group in 1997 and started looking for a DJ. We found one through a friend of a friend and hear a demo tape he had made of some scratching. We liked what we heard and invited him into the group in 1998. That year, we released our debut album “Write About Now”

RR: What was the recording process like for this one? There are tracks on this record that have an entirely different vibe and quality of mixing and mastering. A song like “People Don’t Seem to Know” for example sounds like it was recorded far earlier, or in a basement somewhere. How did you guys manage to put this together?

Chase March: We recorded the first album with a producer who wasn’t strictly hip-hop. He was a cool dude though and had a lot of heart and we liked what we got for the money. Unfortunately, when we were done the album, we got negative feedback from our first, and trusted listeners. I am glad we got that feedback, because we never released that version of the album.

Instead, we recorded the whole thing over again with another producer. The album was just about done when he had a problem with his computer and we lost all of our beats. He still had the vocals though and went to work creating new beats for almost all of the songs.

I think this producer put a vocal effect on everything he recorded back then. I wanted our vocals to sounds as raw and real as possible, so I asked him to remove it. I think this effected the mix negatively. It could have been mixed better. But I didn’t know any better at the time. I thought it sounded good.

The album was recorded in a small home studio in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It was mastered in Toronto where we had the CDs and vinyl manufactured.

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RR: As an enhanced CD, what extra content was on it?

Chase March: The enhanced CD had photos, a bio, and a few, very short videos. It was a novelty to put out something like that and I was excited to try it. The producer of the album did all of this work for us as well.

RR: How did you go about funding an enhanced CD pressing at this time? Those things were super expensive.

Chase March: I worked a fast-food job and put all of my money into the recording and manufacturing process. It still wasn’t enough. I had to take out a $5,000 line of credit to help fund everything.

As for studio time, we did that on a weekly basis so it was a little easier to manage.

RR: Do you have any stories related to recording the album, or shortly after promoting it? There’s a video that’s around on YouTube which shows the album release party. What do you remember from that night?

Chase March: There were no venues in Hamilton at the time who were willing to have an independent hip-hop show there. I had a really hard time securing a spot for the album release party. I finally found a rock-oriented bar that would let us hold it there. They allowed us to collect a cover charge and that was the sole money we would make. We did not get a cut of the bar or any other benefits.

This venue was called The Corktown.

I remember that the regular customers of the bar were not happy about a cover charge and would just squeeze passed us. It was a losing battle trying to get money out of them. Everyone who came specifically to see us, gladly paid however.

We had a few opening acts as well. One of them was a Boys-II-Men type group, but I cannot remember their name for the life of me right now.

We had a full-size VHS camcorder at the time as asked a cousin to film it for us. I digitized this years later and put it on YouTube.

We tried to make a music video with that camcorder too. It is on YouTube even though it is pretty terrible.

It is coming up on the 20th anniversary of our debut release and I tried to organize a reunion, but unfortunately it looks like that is not going to happen.

The Sentinels – The Lying City EP (1999)

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RR: Are you able to briefly describe what this Sentinels album was? To what capacity did it exist in? CD-R, Dubbed cassettes? And was there a title for it, or was it just self titled?

Ginzuintriplicate: Sentinels was a 3-man unit, Jesse Dangerously as MaxField Stanton, myself as Ginzu3, and Dartmouth MC Jeff Blagdon as Naked J/Savage Poetic, that formed in 1998 to record the EP. 

I’ll just jump into the story from 1997 because how Jesse and me first came together needs a whole other prequel trilogy to tell, but at that time were working on our first 4-track recording project together as a duo called Resurrection Brothers. He was from south end Halifax I was from suburban east Dartmouth, we had to ride an hour on the bus to get to each other’s places for maybe an hour or two of sample digging and recording, but we didn’t care. There was a crazy indie hip hop scene in Halifax at that time and all we wanted was to get into it. 

We’d occasionally bring demo tracks to DJ Critical on The Treatment (at Dal college radio station CKDU) trying to get airplay, but word was slow to get around and album progress was maybe even slower, and I think that’s why we came up with an idea to do this one-off EP in the interim, recruiting Jeff who was a high school friend of mine from Dartmouth with a rep for cipher rapping.  Jeff was already kind of in with DJ Loonie Tunes and his crowd, so that helped tie things together too. 

So we decided to record the Sentinels project as a one-off EP as product to gain leverage for getting live shows, getting out names out. There was no intention to follow up this EP, Jesse and I planned to resume the Resurrection Brothers project afterwards. I’m pretty sure Jesse and I were performing at live shows before the Sentinels but given our age at the time it must have been all-ages venues, and I know we used the Sentinels EP as a springboard to get out and showcase a broader range of material we had. 

The EP was 6 songs plus a beat and sample interlude tracks, called The Lying City EP. We were all 18 during the recording process, and the first run of CDs were released shortly before my 19th birthday. The original CD run and subsequent tape run were both professionally manufactured at a local facility in Dartmouth that a lot of hip hop folks used.  It was sold on consignment at I think Revolution Records and Sam The Record Man on Barrington. Both times it was a small run of product, I think just like 30 units. The CD run and the cassette runs had completely different covers and liner inserts; The CD used an image from the manga Gunnm (Battle Angel Alita) and the cassette re-issue had a hand drawn cityscape image with a handstyle tag logo, all of which was taken off the flier from our first show at the Khyber. 

Anyone who’s discussed this EP with me post-1999 knows I don’t have a lot positive to say about it, but at the time it had a fairly ok (in that the handful of folks who heard it mostly didn’t outright hate us) local reception and it got us on stages in Halifax. There were occasions where we’d combine a show with the Sentinels, Resurrection Brothers (just Jesse and I), and Jesse’s live band Yeshe 13 so that and our penchant for sometimes rhyming under different names from song to song I think contributed to some confusion about exactly who/what the Sentinels was.

Jesse Dangerously: The one and only Sentinels release was called “The Lying City EP.” It was released first as an edition of 50 professionally replicated cassette tapes, manufactured by the legendary MacMichael family at Put It On CD in Dartmouth, then shortly thereafter as 20 or 25 CD-Rs.  The cassettes had paper labels printed by the manufacturer, and black & white photocopied covers, hand-drawn by Troy “Grymm Fett / ginzu333 / ginzuintriplicate” Manning.  The CD-Rs were copied at Put It On CD but i think we did the cover as stolen colour photocopies.

RR: For those that haven’t heard it, myself included. Would you be able to describe the sound that you were going for? What were the major influencers at the time? Wu-Tang? Hiero? Black Moon?

Ginzuintriplicate: It’s hard to really answer that since our focus was specifically not to sound like anything out there at the time. All the names you dropped above and many more were influences on us personally no doubt, but not necessarily a direct influence on the sound we were making. I think we were on a sort of GraveDiggaz Prince Paul vibe of getting artists together for a wacky one-shot project. At that time Jeff in particular was a huge Redman head, I think that shows a bit in his rhymes (his performances are the best on the record IMO). I think it was always in the forefront that we needed to differentiate ourselves from other local performers, and this was a weird record in a scene that already had some out-there artists. 

So sonically speaking the EP is not a what I’d call groovy record, it opens with a pretty high strung anthem, veers right into a truly awful tongue-in-cheek booty rap parody, then stays on a pretty dark and apocalyptic course the rest of the trip…a bit all over that map.  A lot of grimy samples and lo-octave tones that are probably more of a Sebutones influence on us than we’d liked to have admitted at the time. There’s s a track called 666710 that’s chopped samples of level music from the Sega Genesis game Strider, which might give you an idea of how bugged out this was.  

Jesse Dangerously: Those were all DEFINITELY in our immediate DNA at the time. More Gravediggaz and ODB than wu in general, but also wu in general. Also Kool Keith, Latyrx, the artists who were coming together as Anticon, and the local Halifax scene. Ginzu and I were especially influenced by the “mixtape style” of the Buck 65 Language Arts & Vertex albums, and The Sebutones’ 50/50 Where it Counts, and Sixtoo’s Psyche Intangible.  Also The Goods, Tachichi, and Knowself… and Coolio. And Ice Cube. We loved rap!!

It’s also worth mentioning that even though our turntable skills are notably nascent, we were aesthetically influenced by a lot of rhe DJ and turntablist stuff coming out at that time. Invizibl Skratch Piklz, Return of the DJ, Kid Koala, DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist, plus locals who could represent. It impacted us!

I know the third member, Savage Poetic AKA Naked J, was really into The Roots, too. I think also Black Star? He had really good taste, I remember not appreciating some of his taste until later.

RR: Can we expect this tape to surface once again? Perhaps a Bandcamp upload, or even a physical re-release?

Ginzuintriplicate: The EP will never see an official re-release (from our camp) for a few reasons, not the biggest of which is that the masters are long gone. But we don’t want to re-release it for the same reason a lot of artists bury their earliest projects; it’s a product of a younger, more naive era where we hadn’t fully developed our cadence or our voice, let alone had a clear focus on what we were trying to say. At that time and place it worked as a means to help us get our names out there, get on stages and evolve forwards into the artists we would later become. But at the end of the day it’s a pretty amateur garage recording, not strong enough to stand as its own document and didn’t have a widespread enough release to warrant a re-issue now. 

Jesse Dangerously: I would say not as such – Ginzu has pretty much exercised veto on it, refusing to stand behind his teenage bars. i know i would need to make some changes to look myself in the eye if i didn’t edit some of what i said… and some drums i jacked!  haha

RR: What ever happened to Sentinels? Clearly Backburner became a thing as a larger collective, but The Sentinels as a duo; why not put out more work?

Ginzuintriplicate: Mostly just life and evolution (and as of the last decade geography), people’s paths go in different directions. Jeff is a super close friend of mine, basically family, we’ve always been/always will be tight, but in terms of music he just hasn’t walked that path in a long time. I have in my own archives an unreleased freestyle jam we did together in 1999, and he appeared on my long-lost solo demo tape Diaspora that same year too, but we didn’t really do much after that. Would he get back on the mic again? Never say never.  

In the ’00’s and ’10’s Jesse and I collaborated on several tracks here and there and, despite us never name-dropping it, I think anyone who listens to those are listening an evolved Sentinels in spirit. As we got older and more experienced we gained a natural cadence for articulating a particular brand of cynicism that sort of fell flat on the EP. Obviously Jesse and me have kept a musical relationship considering I’m on his last and forthcoming records.  We have sometimes batted around the idea of a 3-man re-union joint, at one point there was even a beat done, but life and all that just gets in the way. 

Jesse Dangerously: Jeff “Savage Poetic” Blagdon was too busy with other stuff to commit, so Troy and i didn’t use the name without him. We were working on a second album, “Samarobryn,” when we got distracted making beats for Knowself, and i was drumming in a band. There’s still some really cool stuff on four track tapes from those sessions…

RR: Do you have any stories that take place within the recording of the project? Or shortly after during the limited promotional run?

Ginzuintriplicate: The record was split produced by Jesse and me, he did most of the digging/sampling and I did most of the beat arranging, except for 666710 which was completely done by me and the closing track on the EP which is a solo Jesse joint. It was recorded mostly in a shed/garage at his folks’ place near Quinpool road in Halifax. We hung a mic by a chord from the rafter of the garage, on group cuts all three of us stood around the one mic and did the backing vocals live with whoever was rhyming.

Our first show was at the Khyber with Loonie Tunez (the original, is another guy using a similar name now?) as the stage DJ and forever-dope DJ Moves turned out to spin records around the live set. People assumed the name “Ginzu” was taken from the Ginsu knife commercials, but it’s an irreverent reference to a character in the arcade game Captain Commando (1 quarter = Ginzu x 3), which itself is probably referencing the knife commercials so, yeah. I still have trouble deciphering my thought processes back then.

Jesse Dangerously: I remember playing our first show ever at the Khyber Club in 1998. Looney  Tunez from Dartmouth was our DJ, but we just played the album through off the 4-track with the vocal channels muted.

 

Below are three songs as Ginzu has described “are taken from old liveaudio broadcast so that sound quality is in mono and super diminished.” This is the first time that these songs have been heard since the release of the project back in 1999. As per request of the artist, the ability to download has been disabled. But below you can listen, and form an idea of what this record sounded like at the time. 

DJ Moves – Hiss (1995)

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RR: DJ tapes were not exactly common place back then. I’m not sure of other producer albums that existed from this era. Were their models that you based it off of? What made you do this to begin with?

Moves: At that time CDs were more expensive to press than cassettes. So cassettes it was haha. Everyone was making tapes and I was still working with HCG. But I also had a treasure trove of beats backed up cause we were on the road soo much there wasn’t too much time to make new songs. So I asked friends to rap on beats and make my own album.

RR: How did you go about getting this on Ant? Did they press it up commercially to any degree? Was there shrink wrap? How many copies did they press?

Moves: Ant Records was friends of mine based out of Truro. Jay Lapointe and Dr Jon Hutt. They released some Sixtoo tapes and they wanted to release something from me. They made 100 copies I think. No shrink.

RR: Who is Bullshit Boo? He appears on the song ‘Minglin’ Out’.

Moves: Bullshit Boo was a character made from a guy in Truro we knew, who acted like he was someone big but we all knew he was just a liar. Cheklove Shakil was the rapper.

RR: You’ve successfully made this into a series as of now. (Congratulations btw on Vol. 3 being released!) Question is, did you have any intention on this being made into a series during the original conception?

Moves: No intent to make it a series at all. Lol.

RR: Do you have any stories regarding the recording of the project?

Moves: This project was recorded at Gordski’s apt in south end Halifax. On a cassette four track. Lots of fun times were had in the making of this tape. I recorded the Tour de Trance with Buck 65 at his place and seen the pic on the wall that I used for the Cock Dynamiks compilation I made. The idea came from that day and that pic Rich had. Lol.