You are a well-rounded man that wears many hats. What are your keys to remaining productive?
The key to my productivity is staying inspired, with an open mind and heart to the future, allowing my past to become part of who I am; to humble, but not cripple my future choices. Organization and meditation also help to create the structure from which I can keep energy flowing in positive directions. I burn passionately, and staying spontaneous and open to synchronicity are intrinsic to my creative energy.
Describe the music scene in Edmonton.
The music scene in Edmonton is at once flourishing and stagnating; expanding and contracting. As far as Hip Hop, the underground is filled with amazing talent, while the mainstream boasts few successes in terms of nationally, or internationally recognized artists. I also host electronic shows, and I think that the contrast in the subcultures is distinct, there is much support, and many crews, to encourage artists to prosper and grow.
I also play in a band, and so I can see that the rock scene is also prosperous, probably the most receptive to new bands with fresh sound. All in all, there are many avenues Edmonton fosters creation, music, and art, and as the Festival City of Canada, it also promotes more festivals inside the city limits than anywhere else in Canada, and it is reflected in the variety of music, in an otherwise isolated area.
Who is your favorite hip-hop artist of all-time?
My personal favorite is K-oS, having grown up on his positive and passionate emphasis of Hip Hop. As a teacher, I am able to use his lyrics, songs, and videos because they are without curse words, which is a big difference between him and other contemporary artists, and I think it shows off a solid vocabulary, positive values, and contributes to the growth of Hip Hop as a culture.
KRS One, Immortal Technique, and Slug from Atmosphere are also big influences, for their spiritual, political, and story-telling contributions to Hip Hop.
What type of performers do you look for as a show promoter and festival organizer?
A characteristic which I value above all is respect, and I think that many artists are successful because they are not only respected, but because they show respect to themselves, and as a reflection of that, others. Second comes talent, and a close third is heart. Sometimes a good heart can make up for a lack of talent, but neither talent nor heart can make up for a lack of respect for oneself and others.
We are an electronic based community, so most genres that we book are House, Funk, Breaks, but I also integrate Hip Hop with this, so we always have an interesting mix of music at our events.
What are you working on for the remainder of 2014?
The rest of 2014... It has been a really blessed year so far, and for that I am grateful to Jah, or the Universe. Next weekend is our annual festival, Zion Noiz, and so I am very excited to be carrying out a year's worth of hard work and preparation, seeing it all come together, with all the smiles and compassion, that's what it's all about. I will be playing a few other festivals this summer with my band, but towards fall, I have an EP I have been cooking up with a producer/emcee friend of mine, so we are going to be spending more time in the studio developing that project.
As far as our entertainment company, Zion Collective, we will be hosting regular electronic and Hip Hop shows, as well as planning for next year's festival. I also always try to make time for the Temple of Hip Hop's Cifer5 meetings, based on the Gospel of Hip Hop by KRS One, which continuously provoke positive growth and evolution of my own interaction with Hip Hop.