This is Part 2 of the interview I did with Grand Analog on location at Call the Office in London, Ontario. If you missed Part 1 you can read it here. You can also download the podcast of this interview for free from DOPEfm. I hope you enjoy it!
Chase: “That was ‘I Play My Kazoo’ by Grand Analog. Nice song. I like the funkiness of that, it’s kind of cool. Do you play a kazoo?”
Odario: “I bring my kazoo everywhere I go and what’s cool is at some of our shows you’ll find people bringing their kazoos as well. Ya know what’s funny? Just recently our bass player was on the computer Googling different things and he found a kazoo company that put us on their website basically saying, ‘See there’s still people out there playing kazoos.’”
Chase: “That’s hilarious. But I think the whole point of the song here is just to do what you do and have fun with it, right?”
Odario: “Exactly, whether you’re saving lives or playing the kazoo. Just do what you do.”
Chase: “I like the one lyric where you say, ‘Be the author, not the actor of your chapter too,’ because there’s a whole thing right now about story and how you use story, how you create your own story, and how everything is story. I’ve been doing a bit of research of that lately so I kind of focused in on that lyric.”
Odario: “It’s funny because I always wanted to use a kazoo in a track. I thought it would be a comedic thing but as I was writing, it turned into quite a serious message in there. Not serious, in the way that it’s dark, but just there is a message behind it and I’m glad the way it turned out. It’s definitely about being yourself. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing ‘cause all I can do right now is play the kazoo.”
Chase: “I don’t know if people are familiar but you’re originally from Winnipeg, Peg City, and I remember a long time ago watching Much Music and there was pretty much only one group from Peg City and that was you. So, you kind of put the town on the map there. There’s more of a scene now up there, isn’t there?”
Odario: “There is. Unfortunately, the days of Much Music are pretty much changed. That heavy rotation life is pretty much gone. That’s why you don’t really hear or see that much from Swollen Members anymore, for example, or Choclair. We used to get to see them every day on Much Music. Those days are pretty much gone. It’s a viral age now.
I think what’s happening is that, especially in a genre like hip-hop, you have to go out and dig again. Things aren’t going to be force-fed. You gotta go out and really dig for things. Having said that, it’s not as regional anymore. I think people are just digging for whatever they find. There aren’t really those movements anymore like the way we had a movement out in Winnipeg and there was a movement out in Halifax or in Vancouver. There was always something going on in Toronto. Now, we’re all spread out all over the place. We’re almost homeless. We have no home. We’re just trying to do our work and make our art and hopefully someone will catch onto it.”
Chase: “You’ve moved down south now, the warmer climates down here. Is there more of a focus on the business aspect of the career here? Is that the reason for the move?”
Odario: “I just wanted to be that much closer to wine country, that’s what’s going on. Ya know what? I moved to Toronto to continue to pursue my acting. I went to the University of Winnipeg for theatre. The only thing that was available in Winnipeg theatre was rolls for Irish. There was a lot of Irish plays going on that year, I don’t know why. It was such a coincidence at that time. So I said, ‘I better get to Toronto where they’ll be more work for me.’ Yeah, I got there and then Grand Analog pretty much got itself going and I haven’t had much chance to act since, which was a surprise but a very good surprise at the same time.
Chase: “Wow, that’s interesting. I didn’t know that. Of course, we could segue now into rappers and actors. How come so many rappers end up acting?”
Odario: “They just feel that they don’t want to be 45 and rapping. So they’re trying to find a new outlet, that’s my take on it. But Jay-Z, who’s 40 now, I think he’s got 5 more years in him.”
Chase: ‘He’s still hot. It’s amazing because I thought he was done years ago when he retired. I though he was going out on a high note. I thought that was a great way to end your career. And then he comes back and he’s still on top of the game and murdering it.”
Odario: “Still on top of the game. And those guys that are about to push 50 like Run-DMC, and you got the mid 40’s guys like KRS-One, if they really wanted to they could keep it going just as hot. Krs-One, I think, just put out an album.”
Chase: “Yeah and he’s got a nice track on the A&E album. Masta Ace and Edo G. He’s got a guest appearance on there. I was just listening to it on the way down here. It’s nice.”
Odario: “You know, what that really is, is that we’re the first to witness this genre of music age, like get older and not just be that kind of knucklehead early twenties mentality. We’re gonna see a fresh genre turn 40 and turn 50 and still have something to say and put out material. I think it’s fascinating.”
Chase: “ Me too. Hip-hop is almost packaged like it’s disposable. It’s like you gotta just listen to what’s new and hot and yesterday’s is crap. There’s always something new they’re trying to push on us. But it’s not like that and it’s nice to see that growth. I think I first noticed in with Common. When he came out with ‘Be,’ I thought, ‘Woah, this is mature hip-hop.’ That was the first time I’d ever put that label on anything hip-hop. I was like, ‘This is hip-hop for me. This is hip-hop for people in their 30’s,’ and it rang true. It’s amazing how we can talk about so many things in this genre of music and grow and develop and it’s not just all, like you said, the knucklehead stuff.”
Odario: “Yeah, and I find that fascinating. When I was a knucklehead, when I was 16-17 in high school, hip-hop was my outlet and my way to challenge my anger and all that. But now that I’m a grown ass man, I don’t have any anger to channel out. But I still love my hip-hop so it’s great to see that there’s all sorts of hip-hop that we can embrace. And there’s so knucklehead stuff out there for the 16-17 year-olds still and there dad’s cam listen to hip-hop too.”
Chase: “Yeah, that’s amazing. I was actually talking with Shad about this a little bit earlier and it’s nice, not only are you opening for him down here, but I was listening to your album down here and I was like, ‘Oh, Shad’s on your album. Nice.’ So, Shad’s popping up everywhere these days but he’s on one of your tracks and I’d like to drop that right now.”
Odario: “I think that’s a great idea.”
Chase: “It’s a nice track. It’s called ‘Electric City’ so let’s drop that and come back and talk some more with Grand Analog. this is Chase March on the interview tip. Daddy J spin that track for us.”
This ends Part 2 of our interview. Please come back tomorrow to read Part 3, and don’t forget to download the podcast for free. Subscribe to DOPEfm when you do, so you can get the best in underground hip-hop each and every week with great mix sets and artist interviews sent right to your iTunes. Thanks!