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"Up & Coming: Katchphraze"

Toronto, ON - Katchphraze isn’t a household name yet, but that doesn’t mean he’s new to the rap game. In fact, he’s been grinding away for over a decade in both his native Ontario and all the way over on Pacific rain forest-ridden Vancouver Island. HipHopCanada recently had the chance to talk to Katch about the past, the present and the joys of being a Canadian rapper.

HipHopCanada: So, you’re from Oakville, Ontario, spent some time in B.C., and are now back out East. What was all that about? What were you doing in B.C.?
Ahhh, being a General Arts drop out.

HipHopCanada: Nice, I’ve done that a couple of times.
Yeah it’s not hard. Obviously I was expanding my horizons, personally and professionally. There are some cool things happening on that island and I was able to tap into those things. I was out there for a year and a half so it was enough time to get involved, meet people, do shows, you know—a good place to love hip-hop.

HipHopCanada: And then you went back out East after dropping out?
Not exactly. I came home and then headed back out there to see if anything really big was going to happen, but it was just too expensive for me. My real network is here in Toronto, so it just made more sense to keep building out here.

HipHopCanada: So how long have you actually been at this? I know you’re not a rookie.
Ha. Rookie… not exactly. I’ve been grinding for 12 years, a dozen rotations of the sun.

HipHopCanada: Damn, that’s not a short minute. So what’s the difference between then and now?
For me or for rap as a whole?

HipHopCanada: Ummmm, both.
That’s a good question, let me see. Well for me the biggest difference is recording. We used to turn on a voice recorder, play instrumentals on vinyl, stand near the speakers and just kick it, you know? It sounded like crap but it didn’t matter because we loved it. Then, if something was really good, once you knew it inside and out, you’d go rent some studio time. Now everybody and their dog has a home-based studio, which means it’s easy to record. It’s easy to make a new beat and put some ideas to it.

HipHopCanada: Does that mean the quality of what you record has gone down? Does ease of access diminish the effort you put in?
No, not really. I mean, we record a lot more but most of it isn’t meant for the world. A lot of it is just putting down ideas for me to hear and review.

HipHopCanada: Ok, what about the industry as a whole. What’s changed?
Now there’s so much about the business outside of the music. It’s hard to find a rapper that isn’t an entrepreneur or a business man first. It has less to do with the music, which obviously has its ups and downs. These days it seems like the labels are less willing to take risks, less willing to branch out. That standard hip-hop sound isn’t evolving much these days.

HipHopCanada: Starbucks or Tim Hortons?
Oh Second Cup, without a doubt.



HipHopCanada: What kind of music do you listen to outside of hip-hop? What were your early childhood influences?
I listen to everything and I think that comes across in my music. Or at least people tell me it does. These days it’s the John Mayer disc Continuum. I grew up with Janis Joplin, Sam Cooke. I love Pearl Jam, Rage against the Machine. J-live from the beginning—that guy is amazing. The thing that people need to realize though is that it doesn’t mean I’m trying to emulate [someone else’s] music. I love it and it influences me but I don’t go out and record a screaming rap-rock fusion thing just because I was listening to Rage.

HipHopCanada: Yeah for sure. Musically, who are you working with? What producers are you working with and who would you love to work with?
Ideally, I’d love to do work with Timbaland. He’s the man. He changed the sound of hip-hop and is always fresh and correct. Timbaland is amazing. These days I’m doing a bunch of stuff with a guy named Dan Westin, a super talented engineer. Metty the Dert Merchant from Sweatshop Union, Rockwell, and some stuff with Rob the Viking from Swollen. More than anybody else though, I work with D-taxx.

HipHopCanada: There seems to be a reoccurring Battle Axe connection in the people you work and tour with. How did that develop?
When I was out in BC we just sort of knew the same people. We were trying to do the same things in the same place so our paths were bound to cross eventually. It was actually through a mutual friend, one of the first guys I met in Victoria. John Vader has been putting on shows out there for five years; he’s a great guy and he introduced us. From there the relationship just sort of blossomed.

HipHopCanada: And D-taxx—that guy is affiliated with Northern Static, I believe. What is Northern Static?
That’s the label Daryl put together man. After years and years we finally said, let’s just do this, let’s put something down—Northern Static was the vehicle for that to happen.

HipHopCanada: So what’s the difference between the hip-hop scene in Toronto and out West?
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of what’s happening in Toronto these days. It’s actually pretty hard to get shows and when you do, everybody who shows up is a rapper themselves, and a hyper-critical rapper at that. It feels like in BC people are more willing to work together and trying to build things, out here it’s more like everybody for themselves.



HipHopCanada: In 2001 the EP Ones and Toos came out, and then nothing until last summer when you released Eye Can See Now. What happened there?
Oh you know… life. [Laughing] All sorts of things happened man. I had to work sometimes, sometimes I was broke—at one point I walked away from the music completely. I had to get some perspective, make sure I was on the right path, you know? And then even when I did record stuff I had to make sure it was up to par. I have high, high standards for what I put out and have to make sure those standards are maintained. Five years ago I had the same album name lined up and ready to go. This wasn’t a casual process—it was years in the development.

HipHopCanada: So then, what’s next? What can the world expect from Katchphraze in 2008?
Well, we’re finalizing the details for the first video so you can expect that in the next little while. Obviously shows when and where I can, you know, trying to get the name out. Really, when you think about it, this last album took seven years—I got to get started on the next one if we’re ever going to see it. [Laughing]

HipHopCanada: Anything else you’d like to share with the world?
Not really. Keep doing you; keep making music if that’s what you do. Also, check out the album Eye Can See Now at http://www.northernstatic.com and drop a line at http://myspace.com/katchphrazemusic. Stay updated, stay in touch and stay positive.

- HipHopCanada


"Canadian Music Week 2008: Katchphraze"

Ampersand wanted to introduce readers to the artists playing this year's Canadian Music Week. Unfortunately, it's not easy to find time to interview 300-plus bands. So, we sent out a short questionnaire to everyone so they can speak for themselves.

Meet Oakville, Ontario MC, Katchphraze.

What was the first album you ever bought and do you still listen to it?

The first album that i can remember buying was License to Ill by The Beastie Boys. I wouldn't say that I'd play it on a regular basis, but every once in a while I get nostalgic and get my Brass Monkey on full force.

What is your best/worst/wackiest story from your time on tour?

I would have to say that the best story from being on tour would be having people come up to me and say that my music impacted their lives. The worst story would be having to go from Toronto to Montreal and do a show in a bar that made my bedroom look like an arena, and find out too late that with all of the acts on the bill, and the capacity of the bar, that us getting paid what we were told wasn't going to happen. And the promoter happened to be else where that night. It was a good learning experience, but I wish I'd read it instead of driven 10 hours to find out the hard way. And the wackiest story...I don't know....A girl made me sign her chest after a show, which I only find funny because she thought I was one of the guys from Swollen Members. So I signed "way too drunk" and bounced like a bad cheque!

Do you get more groupies than Nickelback? Why or why not?

I don't know that I do..but I know that I should. Nickleback is to Canada what Stella Artois is to Belgium. Ask someone from Belgium and they'll tell you that beer is rubbish. But over here it's Premium and it raises your coolness factor. Well I've yet to meet a Canadian that actually likes Nickleback. If you mention them south of the boarder..or probably anywhere else other then Canada, then you get "WHAT! how can you not like Nickleback you're Canadian!?!?! But over here you get "which one is Nickleback again? I get all those bands confused cause they all sound the same and suck just as hard!

Who are your musical influences?

My musical influences range. It depends on the day and my mood. I like Rage Against the Machine alot, Pharoahe Monch, John Mayer, Styles of Beyond, Jimmy Eat World, Sam Cook...I think at some point all music has influenced me...Nickleback for example, influenced me to never sound anything like anything that might sound something like them.

CMW will be successful if we....

Continue to push the envelope musically. And if you all go to www.northernstatic.com and check out the cd! And then go to my MySpace and tell me all about it!


• Katchphraze plays at the Annex WreckRoom March 6 at 9:30 p.m.
- National Post


"Hip Hop Canada Interview"

Toronto, ON - Katchphraze isn’t a household name yet, but that doesn’t mean he’s new to the rap game. In fact, he’s been grinding away for over a decade in both his native Ontario and all the way over on Pacific rain forest-ridden Vancouver Island. HipHopCanada recently had the chance to talk to Katch about the past, the present and the joys of being a Canadian rapper.

HipHopCanada: So, you’re from Oakville, Ontario, spent some time in B.C., and are now back out East. What was all that about? What were you doing in B.C.?
Ahhh, being a General Arts drop out.

HipHopCanada: Nice, I’ve done that a couple of times.
Yeah it’s not hard. Obviously I was expanding my horizons, personally and professionally. There are some cool things happening on that island and I was able to tap into those things. I was out there for a year and a half so it was enough time to get involved, meet people, do shows, you know—a good place to love hip-hop.

HipHopCanada: And then you went back out East after dropping out?
Not exactly. I came home and then headed back out there to see if anything really big was going to happen, but it was just too expensive for me. My real network is here in Toronto, so it just made more sense to keep building out here.

HipHopCanada: So how long have you actually been at this? I know you’re not a rookie.
Ha. Rookie… not exactly. I’ve been grinding for 12 years, a dozen rotations of the sun.

HipHopCanada: Damn, that’s not a short minute. So what’s the difference between then and now?
For me or for rap as a whole?

HipHopCanada: Ummmm, both.
That’s a good question, let me see. Well for me the biggest difference is recording. We used to turn on a voice recorder, play instrumentals on vinyl, stand near the speakers and just kick it, you know? It sounded like crap but it didn’t matter because we loved it. Then, if something was really good, once you knew it inside and out, you’d go rent some studio time. Now everybody and their dog has a home-based studio, which means it’s easy to record. It’s easy to make a new beat and put some ideas to it.

HipHopCanada: Does that mean the quality of what you record has gone down? Does ease of access diminish the effort you put in?
No, not really. I mean, we record a lot more but most of it isn’t meant for the world. A lot of it is just putting down ideas for me to hear and review.

HipHopCanada: Ok, what about the industry as a whole. What’s changed?
Now there’s so much about the business outside of the music. It’s hard to find a rapper that isn’t an entrepreneur or a business man first. It has less to do with the music, which obviously has its ups and downs. These days it seems like the labels are less willing to take risks, less willing to branch out. That standard hip-hop sound isn’t evolving much these days.

HipHopCanada: Starbucks or Tim Hortons?
Oh Second Cup, without a doubt.



HipHopCanada: What kind of music do you listen to outside of hip-hop? What were your early childhood influences?
I listen to everything and I think that comes across in my music. Or at least people tell me it does. These days it’s the John Mayer disc Continuum. I grew up with Janis Joplin, Sam Cooke. I love Pearl Jam, Rage against the Machine. J-live from the beginning—that guy is amazing. The thing that people need to realize though is that it doesn’t mean I’m trying to emulate [someone else’s] music. I love it and it influences me but I don’t go out and record a screaming rap-rock fusion thing just because I was listening to Rage.

HipHopCanada: Yeah for sure. Musically, who are you working with? What producers are you working with and who would you love to work with?
Ideally, I’d love to do work with Timbaland. He’s the man. He changed the sound of hip-hop and is always fresh and correct. Timbaland is amazing. These days I’m doing a bunch of stuff with a guy named Dan Westin, a super talented engineer. Metty the Dert Merchant from Sweatshop Union, Rockwell, and some stuff with Rob the Viking from Swollen. More than anybody else though, I work with D-taxx.

HipHopCanada: There seems to be a reoccurring Battle Axe connection in the people you work and tour with. How did that develop?
When I was out in BC we just sort of knew the same people. We were trying to do the same things in the same place so our paths were bound to cross eventually. It was actually through a mutual friend, one of the first guys I met in Victoria. John Vader has been putting on shows out there for five years; he’s a great guy and he introduced us. From there the relationship just sort of blossomed.

HipHopCanada: And D-taxx—that guy is affiliated with Northern Static, I believe. What is Northern Static?
That’s the label Daryl put together man. After years and years we finally said, let’s just do this, let’s put something down—Northern Static was the vehicle for that to happen.

HipHopCanada: So what’s the difference between the hip-hop scene in Toronto and out West?
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of what’s happening in Toronto these days. It’s actually pretty hard to get shows and when you do, everybody who shows up is a rapper themselves, and a hyper-critical rapper at that. It feels like in BC people are more willing to work together and trying to build things, out here it’s more like everybody for themselves.



HipHopCanada: In 2001 the EP Ones and Toos came out, and then nothing until last summer when you released Eye Can See Now. What happened there?
Oh you know… life. [Laughing] All sorts of things happened man. I had to work sometimes, sometimes I was broke—at one point I walked away from the music completely. I had to get some perspective, make sure I was on the right path, you know? And then even when I did record stuff I had to make sure it was up to par. I have high, high standards for what I put out and have to make sure those standards are maintained. Five years ago I had the same album name lined up and ready to go. This wasn’t a casual process—it was years in the development.

HipHopCanada: So then, what’s next? What can the world expect from Katchphraze in 2008?
Well, we’re finalizing the details for the first video so you can expect that in the next little while. Obviously shows when and where I can, you know, trying to get the name out. Really, when you think about it, this last album took seven years—I got to get started on the next one if we’re ever going to see it. [Laughing]

HipHopCanada: Anything else you’d like to share with the world?
Not really. Keep doing you; keep making music if that’s what you do. Also, check out the album Eye Can See Now at http://www.northernstatic.com and drop a line at http://myspace.com/katchphrazemusic. Stay updated, stay in touch and stay positive. - Hip Hop Canada


Discography

Katchphraze - Ones 'N' Toos (Single)
Katchphraze - "Eye Can See Now" LP

Photos

Bio

Since hip hop’s birth in the 1970s, artists have strived to progress with the times while continuously struggling to remain true to the essence of the culture. In an era in which hip hop’s progression has undeniably impacted society in a way no one would have previously expected, people have grown weary of the redundant and superficial bling crap that passes for hip hop nowadays. There is an undeniable void in substance and knowledge that not many emcees have been able to fill, nor have they tried…Until now.

Hailing from Ontario, Katchphraze is a refreshing blend of knowledge, truth, and exceptional wit. Inspired by every genre of music imaginable and driven by a love for the culture, his distinctive style is laced with spitfire delivery and relentless wordplay. Never one to succumb to superficial materialism or the image-based industry, Katchphraze’s lyrical content varies from introspective reflections to story telling to ruthless and no-holds-barred battle raps.

Emceeing since the early ’90s, Katchphraze says that being respected by his high school peers back then, in a time before hip hop was “popularized” and established with commercial exposure, added fuel to his fire and further reaffirmed what he already knew — he had the skill. All he needed was the opportunity.

In the summer of 2001, Katchphraze recorded an EP entitled “Ones N Toos,” that was distributed to every DJ, promoter, and radio station he came across. It quickly got frequent radio play on stations such as Toronto’s Flow 93.5 and 89.5 CIUT, and Vancouver’s 96.1 Planet AAJ. Suddenly, people were coming out of the woodworks, eagerly asking where they could hear more. Hip hop heads worldwide were responsive, even sending fan mail thanking him for putting out what they felt “had been missing in hip hop for the last number of years.”

Later on in the year, Katchphraze relocated across the country to Vancouver Island, where he began building a solid underground fan base and began performing with the likes of fellow Canadian talent Sweatshop Union, Moka Only, and Swollen Members.

Katchphraze has released the LP Eye Can See Now. The title track, produced by Swollen Members’ Rob The Viking, is a thought-provoking eye-opener that sets the conceptual theme that is apparent throughout the album. The first single off the album is entitled, “East Hastings” in which Katchphraze flexes his story-telling skills and paints the picture of a young woman, and how she fell into the clutches of prostitution.

With his diverse subject matter and distinctive delivery, Katchphraze is hip hop’s much-needed breath of fresh air. “I write music with a purpose, and a message that people can relate to,” he explains. “I write about life in general and the things that happen in it every day to everyone no matter who you are. I am not a thug, nor am I aspiring to become one. I am me. I am not a carbon copy of what’s already out there. Instead, I am what isn’t…”