Interview Soso

28 novembre 2007
Chronique Soso - tinfoil on the windows

"Tinfoil on the Windows" has just come out. Better warning everybody : isn't it moving away from hip-hop ?

I think those who have followed my career thus far will recognize this new album as progression of my work. It is a bit of a departure for me as it is the first album that I did not produce myself. The music was created by my friend who is an indie rock kinda artist (who has an active practice in his own right). That said, it is no longer sample based but built around the music written and performed by Maybe Smith. Genre boundaries are being obscured but I think that is a healthy thing...

Music is by de Maybe Smith...who does rather rock-pop music. How did you come to work together ? What about working both together ?

Saskatoon has a tight-knit independent music community. Maybe Smith and I know each other through a mutual friend and we would often play the same shows. We became friends and would periodically re-visit the idea of a possible collaboration.
In 2006, I recruited him to re-interpret songs from "tenth street and clarence" for a live performance and subsequent Canadian tour.
We were both excited by the live interpretation of my songs and were interested in taking the next logical step... There was a bit of a learning curve that we had to overcome but eventually we settled into a working process...

Maybe Smith would develop music bits and sketches and I would listen to them and write. We would trade ideas back and forth, further developing the song until the lyrics were completed. At that point, Maybe Smith reworked these rough sketches into full-fledged songs.

I farmed out the drum programming to a couple of good friends, Maki and Scott Da Ros and chipped in here and there as well.

Other newness, you're more singing. And honestly, it doesn't always quite right... Do you follow singing lessons ? Or doesn't it matter for you, because actually it's not really the goal ?

In my previous releases I have explored singing and continue to do so on this album. I am aware of the limitations of my singing voice but that is entirely the point. Singing out of my range in this high, fragile voice is an aesthetic choice. I think it lends sincerity and humanity to my songs... two principles that drive my work.

Soso in Japan

Your music makes you travel a lot...You're coming back from Japan tour then you're leaving for the England, Belgium, Germany, Switzeland and France tours ! At your beginning, did you think that your music would go throughout the world ?

I feel very fortunate and I am grateful for the opportunity to travel and present my music to an international audience. This is something that I never anticipated when I started making music and it's quite thrilling. It also validates my work at some level.

Besides, how did your music trespass the frontiers ? Has the web something to do with it?

soso on tourAbsolutely... My career (for lack of a better term) really benefited from timely exposure on the internet. Back in the early days of my practice, hip hop enthusiasts were excited to share music, expertise and opinions.

People were seeking out obscure artists and dudes like myself from the nether-regions of the world gained some sort of appeal based on geographic isolation and general ridiculousness.

Things have become so saturated it's more challenging for new artists to exploit the potential benefits of exposure on the internet... The new internet can be crass and cynical at times but it's still a really important resource for musicians.

Maybe also your music is unique ? That you're mostly alone to suggest this kind of hip-hop ?

There are lots of exciting artists working on the periphery of mainstream hip hop - many of 'em are Canadian. I am carving out my own niche and my success, although very modest, indicates to me that there is place for earnest, sincere song writing in hip hop music.

How would you define your style ?

It's on some first-person story-telling shit. I rap and sing in my own voice... mostly sad/reflective material... unconventional song structure with few hooks.

Is there a song, an album, lyrics, things that you would not do again with your experience ?

If I could go back and make one edit, I wouldn't release the song "Dyke Look". The funny thing is, it's one of my most popular songs!

What are your future projects ?

There are a couple of good releases coming out on Clothes Horse Records that I'm excited about including new albums from Epic and Nestor Wynrush. I have a production collaboration with Khela (fka Kutdown) that could be finished with a bit of tender loving care.
I might release a small production project of some sort... I'd like to write some more songs and see what materializes.

Through what will your music evolve ?

I'm not sure... I just need to keep working!

If tomorrow, a fairy would suggest you to realise a dream in your Music, what would it be ?

I would love to have a sustainable music career and enough money to live comfortably, pay my student loans and release three albums per year Clothes Horse Records for the next ten years.


A word on french rap...Even if it pains to be renewed, we were lucky to have a "school" rap in France...with masters like NTM, Assassin, IAm, Minister Amer, Saian Supa Crew... Do you know about theses names ? Do you know about french rap ?

I had a very limited knowledge of French rap (Mc Solaar anyone?). I was given a bit of a primer by Pierre when we were on tour last year. I also noticed that France and Canada share a similar affliction. We both harbor rappers emulating a mainstream American rap model – tattoos, corny clothing and vague thuggery. The good thing is the presence of this commercial scene really motivates and unites artists in the world of independent hip hop...

Freezeec's question

What are you listening to by the moment ?

today I listened to:
Awol One
Slow Down, Molasses
The Silver Jews
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names
Will Oldham
Dead Prez

Can you advice names of other artists ?

Canada is full of great hip hop artists and many of em are my friends.
I think you should all know about labels like Clothes Horse Records, Endemik, P&C , Camobear and the like.

There are also some newer hip hop artists I like from overseas that deserve a listen including JamesPHoney from England and Pierre the Motionless from France.

I think these dope bands from my hometown should also get a listen: Slow Down, Molasses, Carbon Dating Service and Maybe Smith (of course)

3 of your favorite songs ?

I'm not really one for lists and I always find it impossible to answer these sorts of questions.

3 cult movies ?

I don't get any television channels so I've probably rented 100 movies in the past year... I don't like teen movies, horror movies and have learned my lesson about watching summer blockbusters. The last three movies I watched are:
Live Free or Die
I Am Stanley Kubrick
some depressing movie about Iraq

Do you have any other passion ?

I love looking at art books, drinking beer, talking shit, ripping tape off cardboard boxes, building things, cooking, spending time with my family, getting hair cuts and making Laura laugh. Thanks!