First and foremost, who is Clutch and how long have you been immersed in music?
Clutch is the producer/emcee/spoken word poet that is finding his place in the present with a good grasp on the past. I've been listening to music since I was a kid. My dad would throw on tapes and CDs. My brother found a free version of FL Studio when I was in grade 6 and I've been making beats since then, they sounded awful, I had no clue what I was doing but it was fun! Only really started doing stuff with it 06/07 though, hitting up emcees to rap on the beats. So many of them turned me down! Haha, but I didn't get too discouraged.
Where do you reside?
I moved to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in September 2011. Before that I lived in the legendary small town of Altona, Manitoba, Canada (pop. 3500).
Describe the hip-hop scene in Hamilton, Canada?
I'm still getting to know it. Just freestyled with some youth last week, met a local dj, met a couple emcees, some B-Boys and B-Girls. Seen a lot of Graff (some dope pieces but mostly tags). So the four elements are alive here for sure! I anticipate meeting more people and becoming more involved in the larger scene. I'll try to bring my inner Afrika Bambaataa to it, Peace, Love, Unity, and Having Fun!
Who have you worked with in the past and who would you like to work in the future?
I was the vocalist in a 4-piece Hardcore Hip Hop band in Manitoba. We were called Captain Bear. I'm in a few crews, AMU (Altona’s Most Underrated) and The CDN Custodians (with two other Canadian emcees).
For those who wish to see some "name dropping" at its finest: I've rapped with and/or produced for Fresh IE, Sev Statik (Deepspace5/Tunnel Rats), Sivion (Deepspace5), Cas Metah, Wonder Brown, Ruffian (Scribbling Idiots), NomiS & Afaar (Gallery Drive). I had the opportunity to be a part of Cram Sessions in Boston this year and met/worked with many great artists there. I have also recently been a regular producer for the iPoet blog (Sintax The Terrific's news blog). I been blessed to work with a lot of talented people, most names won't be recognized but they are brilliant artists no less. Currently I've been doing a little bit of experimental rock with a local musician, and I'm producing an album for a young emcee out of Cincinnati named MC Forty.
The dream collabs are (in no particular order): KRS-One, Feist, Mos Def, Propaganda, Bruce Cockburn, Shad, Relic, U2 (or at least Bono or the Edge), Die-Rek, Rev. Al Green, Ohmega Watts, Lauryn Hill, DJ Premier, Van Morrison, K-os, Bob Dylan, King Mez, Clyde Stubblefield, Paul Bergman... I could go on and on! Thanks to sampling, I get to feel like I have collaborated with a few of these artists!
Does your faith affect who you collaborate with?
That's an interesting question, and something that I'm still working through. I'd say yes it does affect it. As someone who desires for the radical message of the gospel not to be compromised, I am wary of what I put my name beside and where my affiliations are. Ultimately my own voice will speak for itself, but I did turn down a collaboration once because an emcee’s verse was extremely demeaning to women, and I didn't feel comfortable along side it. It's case-by-case, I go where I'm sent and do what I'm told to do. The most important thing to me is building relationships. I get along with and work with people who I don't see eye to eye with faith-wise, but I still think they are dope and saying things that need to be said.
When did you start making beats?
Around 2002? They were horrible attempts at electronic music. Shameful really. A few years later my close friend The Runaway came along and, I still can't fathom how, he saw some sort of hope for me as a hip hop producer. He’s always lent an ear and gives encouragement and criticism.
What is your favorite beat of all-time?
Does “Apache” by Incredible Bongo Band or “Funky Drummer” by James Brown count? “Still Dre” would be up there too. On my iPod, “Electrik Heat-The Seekwill” by K-os is in the top played. I guess that says something! I think my definitive favorite though is “The Red” by Jaylib. There is something I can't explain about that beat that has… Since the first time I heard it, it stuck with me and has been a haunting instrumental that pops up at different times in my life. I hate the raps though; I only listen to the beat.
What are some of your interests outside of hip-hop and beatmaking?
There's life outside of that? I'm kidding. Being with people is something I couldn't live without. I couldn't be a hermit. A good conversation is something I'm always searching for. I enjoy serving, finding places where I can help and learn from the community. There's not a lot I like more than a strong cup of Fair Trade (French pressed), coffee, reading, and some prayer. I enjoy a good movie too.
How can the masses get in contact with you?
firstname.lastname@example.org. If you see me somewhere, I speak English so we could talk if you speak it too!
Any final thoughts?
Thank you so much for this opportunity! The interview has been a blessing.
Check out my SoundCloud page. Let’s collaborate and make a better world of Hip Hop music!
I've got a beat tape coming out very soon (The Beat Tape '11), and you can grab my last project (An Audio Collection) HERE.