Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Offline”?
In an overly online type era of the world I’ve had a personal feeling of wanting that offline type connection we all use to have. Being present and in the moment gets harder by the day with all the distractions and technology. That song was celebrating wanting to go back to a simpler time when we appreciated each other in person. I thought the video would be tight if we went to some very offline feeling destinations so we filmed it through Cambodia and Bali Indonesia.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
No event in particular but the paid alga rhythms, opinionated statues and argumentative nature of social media has kinda bumbed me out on it. I try to use it as a tool to reach people around the world but not fall into it as a necessity. Every year or so I do 2-4 weeks without going online and it’s a great recalibration. How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
The video was a blast to film. We started out in Phnom Penh, Cambodia then headed to Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor Wat. We then headed to Bali, Indonesia to finish off the vid. Since the song is about being offline I wanted to do some very offline esq adventures for the video. We climbed temples, ventured monkey forests, painted graffiti pieces, went fishing, hit the beach, performed a few shows and overall had an amazing adventure doing it. Shout out to Dubgee from Beast Van who rolled with me on the trip too & my boy Xavier Walker who filmed it.
The single comes off your new album Gems – what’s the story behind the title?
The idea of Gems is that each song and each person is it’s own unique gem that can’t be duplicated. Each gem is unique and beautiful in its own way and has small differences that set it apart from every other stone. Wether a song is about love, art, global warming etc there all individual gems. I’m also a rock hound and into collecting crystals myself. The title song of the album “Gems” describes the beauty of different women through a bunch of gem metaphors and similes.
How was the recording and writing process?
The recording and writing process was fun for this project. The main producer on the project Dannie Wormwood has a portable recording studio and lives in Seattle. We would plan when I had free time on tour or at home and he’d come up to Canada to set up a pop up studio. I told the producers and musicians on the project I wanted to create a musical soundscape somewhere in between Anderson Paak and J Dilla. Lots of soul but enough boom bap to keep their heads nodding. The features were all really fun to colab on with Dani and Lizzy, Myka 9, Kapok, Dafug abd NaRai. What role does Canada play in your music?
Other than short periods in Los Angeles and Montreal I’ve always lived in Vancouver Canada. I grew up in the west coast underground hip hop scene and eventually went on to do thousands of shows across Canada. More then the musical side it’s been a blessing just getting to see the vast nature of my country and meet people from all over. In general I don’t want my music to sound Canadian or like it’s from anywhere really but I do put some of that Canadian over niceness in there sometimes haha.
What have you learned from your experience working with some of the biggest names in music?
One of the main things I’ve taken away from working with some bigger artists is… Be yourself. Nobody can do you as good as you. The way to actually stand out is by being original not by following what everybody else is doing. I’ve definitely had my ups and downs but key for myself having a 20 year career so far is staying original and different.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you’re collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?
Depending on who’s project it is and what it’s for we tend to approach it differently. I try to find a medium point in our musical universes that can cross over. Each musician and writer has their own process so it’s a mending of the two processes to create a final product. Sometimes it’s near impossible to collaborate with an artists process and sometimes they show you a better way to do things then you’ve been doing.
What aspect of relationships did you get to explore on this record?
One song that was kind of relationship based was “moments” which is basically pleading with a girlfriend to appreciate the moments instead of arguing. The song “gems” describes women through crystal comparisons. The song “complications” has a few references to love as well but is generally more a song about getting through all the different complications of life. The song “The one that got away” is about that puppy love you may have let get away when you were young. Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Life and travel are my biggest inspiration for writing. I try to write songs that naturally and instinctively come to me. I try to put my current feelings, thoughts and ideas into 3 minute vibes of music. I aim to say what I’m aiming to say lyrically while never sacrificing the groove of the song. I also love writing from original angles and perspectives that haven’t been over used.
Any plans to hit the road?
I had a crazy schedule lined up for this year with shows through Europe, New York, LA, Canada etc but it’s all rescheduled due to the virus. I’m already doing some live streaming and going to be doing more interactive performances from home through out this lockdown. I really want to stay connected to my friends, fam and the world through this scary new time.
What else is happening next in Emotionz’s world?
Being stuck at home currently I’ve started up some online beatbox and songwriting classes that have been wicked. Also started up a weekly online Bboy battle on the Instagram story at @Vancitybboys and doing a bunch of live streaming myself too.
This year I’ll be teaching workshops, performing, writing, painting etc just a question of how long I’ll have to do it through a camera opposed to in person.