BRASSMUNK with the ODDITIES and REASON DISAPPEARS at Seneca College's Link (1750 Finch East), tonight (Thursday, September 25), free to Seneca students; guests may attend if signed in by a valid Seneca student. 416-491-5050. Also at Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas West), Sunday (September 28). $15. 416-588-0307.
It's expected that artists in the hiphop underground will dismiss the mainstream. Part of the thrill of operating beneath the surface is pretending that success is like the plague. Why would you want to sell records when you can keep it real and continue playing for a dozen friends in dank clubs? No thanks, says BrassMunk's Agile.
The T.O. hiphop foursome make no excuses for trying to reach out to an audience and, gasp, attract attention.
"Anyone who says they're not in the music industry to sell records is either a fool or they're lying," Agile laughs while steering his car to a gig in London. "That's what the industry is about - making music and trying to show it to as many people as possible. If you can do that without jeopardizing your integrity, you're on."
After this summer's crossover success of BrassMunk's cartoon western video for their El Dorado single, a wider audience is almost guaranteed. The crew's forthcoming Fewturistic disc, due next spring, builds on the eclecticism of their Dark Sunrise EP while focusing on the harder edge of the group's sound.
It's a sound that Agile insists can be as popular as smoothed-out, more accessible hiphop.
"Our new record is really hard," Agile continues. "Of course, we're going to have our radio-friendly songs and play that part of the game, but we're also trying to incorporate the harder edge. The more in-your-face stuff is what we think will be the future of hiphop, not the trite, keyboard-driven shit you hear now. That doesn't mean it can't be accessible, though.
"That's why 50 Cent is winning. His record is popular without being pop. That's one thing we need more of here. We have to diversify the sound of hiphop in Canada. White kids, Chinese kids, they're driving by bumping that thug stuff, and that's proof that it can be popular as well as hard. There's room for everybody in this scene."
The handful of other projects Agile has coming up are as heavy as his BrassMunk beats, none more so than Big Black Lincoln.
The all-star production company led by Saukrates and featuring Agile, Tracks and Ro Ro Dolla is unlike anything else in Canadian hiphop. They're an absurdly talented crew of musicians who use hiphop simply as a jumping off point.
"Our record is going to be so crazy," Agile laughs. "We've done old soul ballads, house songs, rock tuneso. As individuals, we all do hiphop, but this is an outlet to try something new.
"Sauks played the violin as a kid. Tracks is a DJ but can also teach piano. I'm all over the place, and Ro Dolla is an animal on the congas. Put us all together and you have something unprecedented. When the record drops next year, people won't know what hit them."