Vibonics
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Vibonics

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Hip Hop Rock

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"EP Review: Vibonics' "Kitchen Sink""

I’m not sure how this has happened, but I somehow seem to have become UNDG’s de facto hip-hop/R&B writer (see this, and this, and also this). As a recovering emo-kid scenester, I find this highly unusual but I’m not complaining. How else would I ever get the opportunity to hear music as literate and creative as that on Vibonics’ Kitchen Sink EP?

A band like Vibonics is tailored made for the limited attention span of the iPod generation. Can’t decide whether you want to listen to streetsmart hip-hop or post-punk prog-rock? Don’t worry about it, Vibonics has you covered. What’s that? You were thinking of something a little more jazzy? Yup, they’ve got that down, too.

The relevance to the 20-something set doesn’t end with the diversity of the musicians involved on Kitchen Sink. On the cooly dark “Prunk,” MC Crossword raps “I could get a better job but I won’t. Gonna drink away the pain…”. It’s an honest assesment of the apathy experienced by much of our generation. Personally, it took me a full three years to do something meaningful post-graduation, with nobody to blame but myself. We’re blindly clinging to our independence as something we can own, but that doesn’t mean we know what to do with it. Stand out track “Set Sail” takes a slightly more upbeat approach to this but its playful nature hides the same relateable undercurrent of treading water. The incredibly catchy but NSFW hook is an honest take on the dilemma many of us face each payday: “Hey, we need a va-cay, but we’re broke as fuck.” Yes, they hold no punches. And it works. Broke as fuck? Admit it. Own it. It’s relatable and not diluted by cliche or metaphor. Hey, by time the bills are paid and fridge restocked, I’m pretty much “broke as fuck,” too.

Honestly, smart lyrics are just the tip of the iceberg for Vibonics and not even my favourite part. A six-piece band, they offer the beginning of a traditional hip-hop lineup, with a male emcee and a female vocalist, but are backed by four incredibly diverse musicians and it’s their musical compositions that really set them apart from the rest of the hip-hop pack. What began as experimental rapping over an acoustic guitar as evolved into a full-fledged, 6-piece jam-band orchestra. Listening to the EP you can practically feel the sweat of the person dancing next to you, so tangible is the energy of a live performance. At times, there is almost too much happening at a given time, meaning you have listen and re-listen to each track to fully appreciate all the layers and dynamics. I found myself sometimes wishing I could actually strip away the vocals just to get a better sense of the instrumentation, and I imagine seeing this band live would give a better chance for each musician to show off a little more.

The Bottom Line

The songs run just a little too long and the vocals sometimes seem to be battling the music for your attention, but the record does not suffer from a lack of ambition. With a name like Kitchen Sink and the talented roster Vibonics boast, I would have been disappointed if they didn’t overstuff it. These six musicians have talent and ambition to spare and are definitely worth putting on your radar (or else you’ll be sorry you missed the opportunity to say “I heard them when…”). - UnNomDeGuerre


"Vibonics - Kitchen Sink EP - The STiXXclusive Review"

Vibonics is the first musical act that I ever reviewed on my blog (acting like it’s been here for 10 years, when it’s only been 1), and myself and frontman Crossword have maintained a good relationship since then, but as for Vibonics, they’ve been making music and touring consistently building their fan base and living the meaning of a band before our very eyes. Their hustle is great to see as they’re trying to at least make a name for themselves. The music isn’t the type that I listen to on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not good – it’s just different.

New material is great, but when you’ve heard half of the project live, then it diminishes your views on it a bit, because you’re wondering if it’ll live up to the same standards that you were introduced to the first time around. Since their last EP, they made a switch at lead singer (Tacha), and I think that (for one) improved, but that’s not to say that the former singer was good at all. Toxic was the introductory track that showed off not only the singing ability, but also threw in some bars to mix it up a bit. It was hard hitting, and Crossword followed up with a dope verse of his own that was different from what I’ve heard from his earlier work. I was glad that he tried something new, but the main reason why I liked this song is because it was complete, and the female lead took control of it from start to finish. What I hoped was that that would continue from here on out.

Set Sail is not only the lead single for the EP, but it was also one of the songs that I’d heard live at their Party @ Santa’s event. (I’m sure I heard Toxic as well at the same time). This song was more on the fun side, and what it conveys is what a good majority of working people think about almost every day of the year: Getting away to go somewhere far, but lack the funds to do so. It’s definitely a song that fits the summer time (well, maybe not this summer since the weather hasn’t been that accomodating), because of the name drops of many travelling outlets that help create the ‘getaway’ theme. It’s a fun song, and definitely one that you could picture yourself hearing on radio.

2 Feet Tall is also a song I got to hear live and it wasn’t one that really hit me at first, but after a couple of listens I got around to liking it. At this point, having Tacha has really been the strong-point because she has a great voice and adds different dynamic for the group – she’s really been the strength of the EP so far, and what I’ve been able to find enjoyable. This is more so an uplifting track that emphasizes that one has had dreams and goals since they were small in age – and in height (hence the 2 feet tall). The track is simple enough that people can relate to and it’s quite the toe tapper. I don’t have any knocks for it, because the hook is catchy (which was something that they wanted to convey in the first place), and the flow of the lyrics went well with the melody. Overall, it’s enjoyable.

Prunk on the other hand, I could have done without. It felt like they took on a ‘metal’ sound approach with the song, and from the get go, it just wasn’t in my particular taste. Now, I get the harsh sound of the song because of the lyrics to back up the theme, so that works, but sonically, it’s not something I’d listen to repeatedly. It just felt awkward, and it’s the song on the EP that definitely takes you on a detour on the latter half of the project,

In The Air is a passionate song, and it was all going well until Crossword’s last verse of the song, and I felt like it could have been done better given the dramatic point that the song had reached at that point. The song context stayed true to everything that was put out for each song, but for that particular moment, it felt forced and didn’t blend naturally with the song. That was would have made me just stop listening to the song or just skip towards the end, because I do like the hook for it. I heard this song live, and I got the same feel for it (well, almost) after hearing it now.

I enjoyed this EP for the most part because it had a little bit of everything for people to enjoy and even for those, like myself, who don’t wander into the rock type of sound (although they’re not a rock band), you can still grab elements from it whether it’s the beat of the band, or the lyrics that hit home for ordinary people. There’s a sign of growth here, and it’s great to hear progress on their journey. The band works hard and they’ll be rewarded with just deserve. So, with that being said, take a listen and check out any other music they have if it sparks your interest. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review.

That’s My Word & It STiXX - The STiXXclusive Blog


"Vibonics' Lead Emcee Opens Up About Tour Life"

The Toronto-bred band Vibonics has finally found a way to define its intricate, trademarked sound with the release of its latest EP, Kitchen Sink, and has set off to share that sound with all of Canada. During the Vibonics’ nationwide tour, lead emcee Crossword took the time to talk about the tour and the inspiration behind the new music.

HOW HAS THE NATIONWIDE TOUR BEEN SO FAR?
It’s been great. It’s been a trip. I don’t even know where to begin. We’ve seen mountains; we went mountain biking, we’ve played shows in Vancouver, crazy markets that we’ve never played before, we’ve gotten a flat tire on the side of the road and got helped by Ned Flanders and it’s only been like two weeks.

WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT BEING ON THE ROAD AND WHAT ARE YOU MOST ENJOYING ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE?
The hardest part about being on the road, I think, is actually being on the road. Those drives are definitely the most energy-draining of them all because even though you’re not doing anything, you aren’t getting any exercise or getting any fresh air and you just have to really maintain and keep your health and your sanity at the same time. The best part, by far, is being onstage; playing for people that have never seen you before, never heard of you or have heard of you. We have some pretty damn cool fans that we’ve met on this tour… Doing it for music, not for any other reason. It’s fun as hell but the fact that it’s work – nothing beats that.

WHAT ARE SOME IMPORTANT LESSONS THAT YOU’VE LEARNT FROM THE INDUSTRY WHILE ON TOUR?
For us, we come out here and we’re meeting people that are telling us “let’s do this out here,” “let’s do that out here.” I guess the biggest industry lesson and the biggest life lesson is just do it. That’s the main thing. I wouldn’t be here if we waited on someone to book this tour for us.

THERE ARE A NUMBER OF YOU IN THE GROUP. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED ABOUT EACH OTHER WHILE ON TOUR?
[Laughs] At the end of the day, you either catch cabin fever or you get closer and I think all of us very gladly chose option B. We definitely learned a lot about each other and a lot about ourselves.

YOU HAVE RECENTLY PUT OUT A NEW EP, KITCHEN SINK. WHAT WAS THE MOTIVE AND INSPIRATION BEHIND IT?
We were trying to figure out how to describe ourselves – are we rock, are we funk, are we hip-hop? What are we? And we were like ‘you know what? We are all this stuff. All of that and more.’ We found that Kitchen Sink was a perfect metaphor for that. Coincidentally, the studio where we recorded at, they actually called their mixes ‘kitchen sink’ mixes. And so, we felt like it was meant to be.

Interview By Samantha O’Connor - Urbanology


"Vibonics Kitchen Sink EP"

I'll be the first to admit that I don't normally listen to hip hop of any sort, but last year I managed to be lucky enough to check out a show by a little Toronto based group called Vibonics. Take one part full rock band and one part two killer vocalists/emcees and you get Vibonics, although leaving the description at that would be an injustice to the band. Remember when hip hop wasn't about samples and EDM(cough cough Jay Z)? Well if you miss old school hip hop, then you need to check out Vibonics.

The riffs and melodies of Vibonics from musicians Alfred, Jose, Laura, and Scott are good enough to be their own act. Jazzy-funk infused licks with a drummer that borders hip hop and punk with a skill that makes everything fit together. Even people who don't think they can listen to hip hop will be drawn in because of how accessible and attractive the music is. If that wasn't enough you have MC Crossword spitting rhymes that are clearly more thought out than most emcees these days, and Tacha backing him with a combination of sultry and beautiful vocals and powerful rhymes of her own. Put these two together and you begin to see what Vibonics is about. They're a band who has managed to take multiple influences from each member, and find common ground to create a unique and exciting sound.

Their latest release, Kitchen Sink, is a six track, party on a disk. Hit play on track one and prepare to get hit by some soulful, funky, hip hop. We had people doing backflips at their show in Regina, and everyone was singing along to the ultra catchy and fun "In The Air". Each track is well constructed. Everything feels in place, the vocals pop, and the music is dynamic. I never expected to say this, but a hip hop album has become one of my favourite go to albums when I want some good tunes to listen to.

Forget Jay Z, forget Kanye, I'm hooked on Vibonics. - Rage Regina


"Vibonics at NXNE"

To call the Vibonics a hip hop band would be a grave injustice. They’re so much more; infusing elements of rock, R & B, soul, and even jazz into their Wednesday night performance at Measure in Toronto for the North by Northeast festival.

The six-person group comprises two vocalists, a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, and a keyboardist. The vocalists – Tacha and Crossword – bring an amazing duality to the stage. Tacha’s deep and sweet singing pairs perfectly with Crossword’s quick spitting (though Tacha holds her own, to say the least, on the tracks that she raps on).

Crossword also does a great job emceeing the night. The engages the crowd while introducing each track.

“Let me ask you guys a question,” he says. “Have you ever been broke?”

Hands fire into the air and cheers erupt from the crowd.

“Okay, okay. . . Have you ever gone on vacation?”

He surveys the crowd.

“Alright. How many of you have been both of those things at the same time? Okay, this song is about that!”

The band then jumps into an upbeat jam reminiscent of parties on a beach.

And that’s half of the Vibonics’ set – laid-back, up-beat, fun and exciting. The other half is intense, still fun and upbeat, but with more of a serious energy. During those tracks, Crossword bends over, face red, hollering steadily into the mic. Tacha’s fists curl as she sings. On the keys, Laura’s head tilts back slightly, eyes closed, while bassist Jose sways softly from side to side. On the drums, Scott goes nuts, arms flailing, and guitarist Alfred shakes his head to the beat.

The crowd, during those songs – during all songs, actually – mimics that energy, that atmosphere. We sway, we stomp, we bop our heads.

In the end, the Vibonics is the kind of band that projects its energy (it’s vast energy) onto the crowd. It’s a great experience. You should experience it – they’re on tour this summer.

For more on the Vibonics, including where to catch them live, visit vibonics.com. - Raz Mataz Magazine


"Vibonics"

“If the North Pole were the Roots and the South Pole the Black Eyed Peas, Vibonics might be right at the equator,” says emcee Alborz Mohtashami, aka Crossword. “Okay, or maybe just Toronto.”

The band’s hip-hop-filtered take on funk, soul and rock started off as homework – “[Guitarist] Alfred Chow and I wrote a collaborative song for a school project” – but found new life after graduation, when Chow and Crossword recruited friends and friends of friends until they reached their current six-member lineup.

What’s musical common ground for that many personalities?

“Bands that experiment with different genres, styles and sounds to create their own unique flavour,” says Crossword. “We like the guitars on Rage Against the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers and ?uestlove of the Roots’ drum knock. André 3000, Ghostface Killah and Method Man are huge influences on the mic.”

Feel-good music is the end goal, and Crossword says the large band set-up helps with that, especially in the hip-hop world, where live instrumentation can be scarce.

“We come from left field, which grabs attention off the top – and then the music goes to work.” - NOW Magazine


"Vibonics Bring Eclectic Sound to Soul of the City Stage"

Building its eclectic sound one member at a time, Vibonics has added elements from multiple genres to fashion its musical stripes.

“We kind of touch on a little bit of hip-hop and rock and a little funk and soul at the same time,” explained guitarist Alfred Chow from his Toronto home.

“We each come from a little different musical background.”

You can also throw in jazz and R&B to complete the musical equation

Vibonics performs at 6:30 p.m. Friday and 12:15 p.m. Saturday at Soul of the City in Grand Rapids. (Complete schedule at soulofthecitygr.com).

Chow and rapper/hip-hop artist Crossword began the band just two years ago and invited additional players to join them as they developed the sound.

Diversity turned out to be a key.

“My background is Chinese, our rapper is Persian, our female singer is Afro-European and we have a Portuguese bass player,” he said.

The six-piece ensemble recorded a self-titled, four-song EP, but is now writing songs together for a full length project.

At age 26, Chow is the oldest of the band members.

Vibonics was actually scheduled to play at Soul of the City last year. Even though they made the trip to Grand Rapids, their performance was scrubbed when weather cut the festival short.

“We still managed to play a set at a local pub and then at an after-party,” he said.

Although concentrating on original material, the band will mix cover tunes from groups such as Curtis Mayfield or OutKast.

“Bands that influenced us,” he said.

“Our passion for music is there and we love playing live,” Chow added. - Grand Rapids Free Press


"[Review] Raz Mataz Magazine - Vibonics at NXNE"

To call the Vibonics a hip hop band would be a grave injustice. They’re so much more; infusing elements of rock, R & B, soul, and even jazz into their Wednesday night performance at Measure in Toronto for the North by Northeast festival.

The six-person group comprises two vocalists, a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, and a keyboardist. The vocalists – Tacha and Crossword – bring an amazing duality to the stage. Tacha’s deep and sweet singing pairs perfectly with Crossword’s quick spitting (though Tacha holds her own, to say the least, on the tracks that she raps on).

Crossword also does a great job emceeing the night. The engages the crowd while introducing each track.

“Let me ask you guys a question,” he says. “Have you ever been broke?”

Hands fire into the air and cheers erupt from the crowd.

“Okay, okay. . . Have you ever gone on vacation?”

He surveys the crowd.

“Alright. How many of you have been both of those things at the same time? Okay, this song is about that!”

The band then jumps into an upbeat jam reminiscent of parties on a beach.

And that’s half of the Vibonics’ set – laid-back, up-beat, fun and exciting. The other half is intense, still fun and upbeat, but with more of a serious energy. During those tracks, Crossword bends over, face red, hollering steadily into the mic. Tacha’s fists curl as she sings. On the keys, Laura’s head tilts back slightly, eyes closed, while bassist Jose sways softly from side to side. On the drums, Scott goes nuts, arms flailing, and guitarist Alfred shakes his head to the beat.

The crowd, during those songs – during all songs, actually – mimics that energy, that atmosphere. We sway, we stomp, we bop our heads.

In the end, the Vibonics is the kind of band that projects its energy (it’s vast energy) onto the crowd. It’s a great experience. You should experience it – they’re on tour this summer.

For more on the Vibonics, including where to catch them live, visit vibonics.com. - Raz Mataz Magazine


"[Review] Vibonics - 2 Feet Tall [Audio]"

Vibonics – “2 Feet Tall” [Listen]
Two feet and I never felt small
I knew one day I would take it all
Kitchen Sink is the perfect title for Vibonics’ new EP. This Toronto six-piece deliver a blend of everything from R&B, jazz, indie rock, hip hop, punk, funk… and if you don’t like it, as they say, “get out of the Kitchen (Sink)”! I have yet to see them live but they have become well-acquainted with Hamilton, having performed at a Steel Gold Hip Hop Showcase and this year’s It’s Your Festival. The band even recorded their EP here at Catherine North, working producers Dan Hosh and Scott Peacock. - I Heart Hamilton


"[Interview] Soul Matters - Everthing but the Kitchen Sink"

Everything But the Kitchen Sink
by Vee Manzerolle

With a fresh EP out, Vibonics are currently making their mark across Canada's landscape with a nationwide tour. While making a pit-stop in Saskatoon, these Torontonians gave SoulMatters a ring to talk everything from kitchen sinks, religion, to music.

After just getting settled into their venue (Lydia's Pub) in Saskatoon, members Crossword and Tacha unraveled a few looming questions before sound check and hitting the stage. Vibonics new EP, Kitchen Sink, came out earlier this summer. The album name may seem like an odd choice to those who are not familiar with Vibonics, but it's a perfect choice to those who are.

"Our style is pretty much everything but, so it was an easy choice" explains Tacha. "And when we were in the studio, we began labeling our rough recordings kitchen sink and from there we were like, that totally applies to us."

Kitchen Sink was recorded in a former church that was converted into a music studio. Churches have a knack for showcasing both a unique and outstanding acoustic sound, and it's likely that a space like that would influence the recordings and maybe even the overall vibes of any albums that step foot in it.

"The acoustics kind of just pushed that sound, but also just the feeling of the church. There was almost like a left over piece of soul in there" reflects Tacha.

Crossword shares a similar view to Tacha (well, not really). Where Tacha sees soul, Crossword sees Jesus. "There was a nice, big stained glass of Jesus. We kind of always said the stained glass Jesus was always looking over us" he states.

For them, it was more of a spiritual experience than a religious one. As Crossword puts it, "it was pretty gnarly" ........... - Soul Matters Magazine


"[Review] UnNomDeGuerre - Vibonics Kitchen Sink"

EP REVIEW: VIBONICS’ “KITCHEN SINK”
POSTED BY Robyn Brown on September 9th, 2013
I’m not sure how this has happened, but I somehow seem to have become UNDG’s de facto hip-hop/R&B writer (see this, and this, and also this). As a recovering emo-kid scenester, I find this highly unusual but I’m not complaining. How else would I ever get the opportunity to hear music as literate and creative as that on Vibonics’ Kitchen Sink EP?
A band like Vibonics is tailored made for the limited attention span of the iPod generation. Can’t decide whether you want to listen to streetsmart hip-hop or post-punk prog-rock? Don’t worry about it, Vibonics has you covered. What’s that? You were thinking of something a little more jazzy? Yup, they’ve got that down, too.
The relevance to the 20-something set doesn’t end with the diversity of the musicians involved on Kitchen Sink. On the cooly dark “Prunk,” MC Crossword raps “I could get a better job but I won’t. Gonna drink away the pain…”. It’s an honest assesment of the apathy experienced by much of our generation. Personally, it took me a full three years to do something meaningful post-graduation, with nobody to blame but myself. We’re blindly clinging to our independence as something we can own, but that doesn’t mean we know what to do with it. Stand out track “Set Sail” takes a slightly more upbeat approach to this but its playful nature hides the same relateable undercurrent of treading water. The incredibly catchy but NSFW hook is an honest take on the dilemma many of us face each payday: “Hey, we need a va-cay, but we’re broke as fuck.” Yes, they hold no punches. And it works. Broke as fuck? Admit it. Own it. It’s relatable and not diluted by cliche or metaphor. Hey, by time the bills are paid and fridge restocked, I’m pretty much “broke as fuck,” too. - UnNomDeGuerre


"Vibonics Bring Eclectic Sound"

Building its eclectic sound one member at a time, Vibonics has added elements from multiple genres to fashion its musical stripes.

“We kind of touch on a little bit of hip-hop and rock and a little funk and soul at the same time,” explained guitarist Alfred Chow from his Toronto home.

“We each come from a little different musical background.”

You can also throw in jazz and R&B to complete the musical equation

Vibonics performs at 6:30 p.m. Friday and 12:15 p.m. Saturday at Soul of the City in Grand Rapids. (Complete schedule at soulofthecitygr.com).

Chow and rapper/hip-hop artist Crossword began the band just two years ago and invited additional players to join them as they developed the sound.

Diversity turned out to be a key.

“My background is Chinese, our rapper is Persian, our female singer is Afro-European and we have a Portuguese bass player,” he said.

The six-piece ensemble recorded a self-titled, four-song EP, but is now writing songs together for a full length project.

At age 26, Chow is the oldest of the band members.

Vibonics was actually scheduled to play at Soul of the City last year. Even though they made the trip to Grand Rapids, their performance was scrubbed when weather cut the festival short.

“We still managed to play a set at a local pub and then at an after-party,” he said.

Although concentrating on original material, the band will mix cover tunes from groups such as Curtis Mayfield or OutKast.

“Bands that influenced us,” he said.

“Our passion for music is there and we love playing live,” Chow added. - Terry DeBoer, Grand Rapids Press


"Vibonics Live at the German Club"

Vibonics just finished playing at the German Club! Fur Eel opened with a great set as usual and Sound Society is finishing the night off right.

Vibonics had a ton of soul and energy! Through their mix of strong vocals and hip hop styling’s, passion and movement was flowing all over the stage.

On Vibonic’s Music

Vibonics is a band that describes their style as “if a graffiti artist sprayed cans of rock, r&b, funk and rap music to paint a mural depicting a musical interpretation of the big bang”.

Although their style is a mix of genres, collaboration makes their music what it is.

“We build on each others’ ideas, each individual adding their own unique style and flare along the way.”.

But by being open and diverse it is sometimes challenging to fit all the pieces together.

“There’s a lot of musical Tetris going on, making all the pieces fit, that that’s what makes it so much fun. We've been blessed to have quality, open minded band members, both musically and in person, who contribute and push forward our collective ideas”.

On Being a Band with Six Members

Travelling with six members seems like it could be a challenge, but to the band it is a great time with friends and opportunities to experience life in different ways.

“We all take turns driving, blasting our music for the rest of the gang, and going crazy from the cabin fever of driving for dozens of hours on end. Alfred takes National Geographic documentary-style video footage of the band and Crossword snores in his sleep (fitting since he doesn't shut the fuck up when he's awake). Kubota goes crunk and twerks it out while bumping her jams, and always looks out for the band whether it's cooking a hearty plate of bacon-wrapped asparagus or supplying everyone with blocks of cocoa butter”.

Overall Summary/Recommendation

This band has a ton of flare and passion and it definitely comes across in their music. So even if you missed this band at the German Club, next time they are around (or you are somewhere around them) it would be best to see them.

Find them on BandCamp or Facebook! - Rage Regina


"Vibonics | NOW Magazine"

“If the North Pole were the Roots and the South Pole the Black Eyed Peas, Vibonics might be right at the equator,” says emcee Alborz Mohtashami, aka Crossword. “Okay, or maybe just Toronto.”

The band’s hip-hop-filtered take on funk, soul and rock started off as homework – “[Guitarist] Alfred Chow and I wrote a collaborative song for a school project” – but found new life after graduation, when Chow and Crossword recruited friends and friends of friends until they reached their current six-member lineup.

What’s musical common ground for that many personalities?

“Bands that experiment with different genres, styles and sounds to create their own unique flavour,” says Crossword. “We like the guitars on Rage Against the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers and ?uestlove of the Roots’ drum knock. André 3000, Ghostface Killah and Method Man are huge influences on the mic.”

Feel-good music is the end goal, and Crossword says the large band set-up helps with that, especially in the hip-hop world, where live instrumentation can be scarce.

“We come from left field, which grabs attention off the top – and then the music goes to work.” - Anupa Mistry, NOW Magazine


"Vibonics - Eclectic and Varied Vibes"

There's usually some amount of eclecticism amongst music fans' libraries, from the latest indie gem to, whether they want to admit it or not, the latest Top 40 hit, so why shouldn't a band do the same?
Vibonics, a Toronto-based six-piece has set out to do just that by fusing together hip hop, R&B, indie rock and funk to reflect its own diverse musical influences and gather just as eclectic a fan base.

The group began as a school project by guitarist Alfred Chow and emcee Crossword. Chow's background is in rock and metal, and he'd never played hip hop prior to joining up with Crossword.

The pair wanted to expand their musical prowess and after some searching, gathered the current lineup. Crossword, who listens from everything from the Wutang Clan to Radiohead, says everyone in the band is a friend of someone, which makes the feel much more organic than if it had been contrived for the sake of making a band. Each member has a unique and multi-faceted love of music that blends together to create a unique soundscape not often heard today.

"I think any time you enter a songwriting process with six completely different minds that are rooted in different types of music, and each one of them has a large palette and wide brush to paint with, the options are crazy," he says, adding the songwriting process often means building piece by piece from the ground up. The intricate mix of ideas can pose its challenges, but Crossword says it's all about remembering that nothing is ever wrong, it's just different.

"The fact that we all know each other allows us to push each other and we're not scared of saying anything to anyone."

The result of this construction is Vibonics' self-titled debut EP, four tracks that, as Crossword puts it, mark the group's presence and offers a taste of what's to come, while collecting more fans into the eclectic following already gathered.

"We want to leave people wanting a little bit more, but, at the same time, we want to use those four songs to their maximum capacity," he notes, adding that the experimenting won't stop. "We kind of joke about it, but we want to do a song in every genre. We'll do a country song, we'll do anything. If it's right and it's not contrived, then why not?" - Meaghan Baxter, VUE Weekly Edmonton


"NewMusic Ten Interview: Vibonics"

NewMusicTen In Conversation with Vibonics: NewMusic Ten is online music’s first pop up shop! 1 month, 10 artists, 1 LP/EP each. Vibonics is one of April’s featured Artists.

Do you remember Collision Course? The 2004 release was a musical mash up between Linkin Park and Jay-Z fusing hip hop with rock. Take that musical template toss into that sonic mix some soul and jazz and you’ll have the basic ingredients that make up Vibonics.

The 6 piece genre-busting outfit from Toronto sits down with Sammy, founder and curator of NewMusic Ten as they prepare for their upcoming Canadian tour in May.

NM Ten: Simple question to start. Vibonics is…

Vibonics:
Alfred Chow – Guitarist/Power Forward
Crossword – Emcee/Shooting Guard
Kubota – Singer/Centre
Scottie – Drummer/Point Guard
Laura – Keys/Small Forward
Jose – Bassist/6th Man

NM Ten: What are some of the musical influences each band member brings to the band?

Alfred: As a wee child, I heard classical music from Beethoven to Chopin. As an angsty teen, I listened to bands like Metallica, Marilyn Manson, Offspring, RHCP (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and Pantera. As a young adult, I turned gears to the genres of folk rock, jazz and Motown.

Crossword: A steady diet of underground hip hop, blended in with some indie rock, and an appetite for heavy music that takes over from time to time. Influential artists include Nas, OutKast, A Tribe Called Quest, System of a Down, The Roots, Ghostface Killah, Radiohead, Stevie Wonder, Little Brother, Mobb Deep and Rage Against the Machine.

Kubota: Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Sade, Fleetwood Mac.

Scott: Blink 182 or my drum teacher Chris Lesso.

Laura: Jazz is a heavy influence for me since I studied Jazz Piano at York University.

Jose: Definitely a lot of Death From Above 1979 in my system.

NM Ten: Typically music stores categorize bands by genre—how do you feel about genre typecasting?

Vibonics: In a sense, genre typecasting discredits the potential for the music listener’s open-mindedness in favour of marketing convenience. Then again, I’m a fan of spontaneous genre-bombing in hopes of serendipitous discovery of dope music I’ve never heard of before.

We define our sound as hip-hop-funk-rock, but in actuality there’s a lot more going on than just that. I guess we could end up in either one of those sections, but that’s for the record stores to decide.

NM Ten: With such a wide variety of sounds, why not create your own genre?

Vibonics: We’re not so pretentious to claim we’re doing something so out of the ordinary there’s nothing to fall back on. “Hip-hop-funk-rock” is pretty much an encapsulation of the characterizations we’ve received from others. If someone comes along with a fitting name for our style of music, we might just roll along with it.

NM Ten: You’re about to embark on a Canadian tour in May. What can your Canadian fans expect?

Vibonics: Our fans can expect a lot of videos during our hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of driving through the great Canadian landscape… maybe some mischief along the way.

But they are guaranteed to get a hell of a performance, as we’ll be unleashing our energy that will be suppressed in the long car rides along with some not so pleasant odors as well…

NM Ten: For those not familiar with the Toronto scene who are some bands making you exclaim, “Oh Yes!”?

Vibonics: There’s so much going on musically up here; a lot of bands, crews, associations etc. doing their thing. It keeps you on your toes… sleep one night and there’s a whole roster of hungry kids ready to take your spot.

Some artists we really dig in Toronto are Fresh Kils & Relic – a dope producer + emcee combo who perform all their tracks with Kils’ mind blowing live MPC skills; Balboa is a band that seldom plays shows, but when they do perform, it’s nothing but Rocky covers; Dinosaur Bones are awesome, and have an added bonus in the folklore of their Sneaky-Dee’s-partying-in-his-underw - Sammy Younan


"Vibonics @ Hard Luck Bar [Live Review]"

“And I swore to bloody Jesus I would never drink again…until tonight!”

If you happened to be passing by Toronto’s Hard Luck Bar on the 1st of this month, sometime around 10:30 and 11pm, you might’ve heard a mob of crazy people belting those lyrics to the Irish inspired ode-to-drunkeness tune as Vibonics, the 6 piece collabo, took the stage to celebrate the release of their self-titled EP to a mass of friends, family and local artists alike.

It was a great turnout. Inside, the Hard Luck Bar was adorned with blown up palm trees and air beach balls which I enjoyed a good laugh with, seeing the heads of audience members (myself included) occasionally being bounced on.

Having had the chance to take a good listen to the EP and on the flipside, witness the live version of the project, it was interesting to see the group transform and grow, as it was to hear their areas that could be strengthened. Nonetheless, the group threw down with solid energy, musicians on point as they went on to perform older singles and a few classic covers: Outkast’s Ms. Jackson, The Roots’ You Got Me…even some Ceelo Green. The audience had a ball. - Xolisa Jerome, FRMTHEGRDUP


"Vibonics Debut EP [Review]"

Vibonics. Toronto’s 6 piece ensemble: Chris Noble on keys, Scott Nickol on the drums, Jose Martins on bass, Alfred Chow on the guitar, fronted by Crossword and Kubota on the mic- Crossword adding Hip Hop elements through his rhymes, Kubota smoothing everything out with her vocals.

They’re reminiscent of the Roots with that live-raw element, but broader. At times they’re Jazz-Soul infused, other times straight Rock, but there really is no specific category to fit em’ into at any given moment, which works just fine because they don’t need one.

Today, Vibonics present their self titled debut EP featuring 4 dynamic tracks that showcase the groups talent through a variety of styles and moods.

Right off the bat, painted by a classical intro by the keymanship of Chris Noble, the EP’s opener, “Major” wastes no time giving listeners a dose of the sound the group is capable of creating as a unit. Being one of the most dynamic songs off the EP, you can hear each member holding their own and you get that sense throughout the entire project- each person delving into the songs, giving a solid effort individually.

Moving along, “Nervous”, offers a dope sound in its overall arrangement and melody, the guitar performances by Alfred and Jose throughout are fire. Scott does a job too, especially during the ending portion of the track. Listeners also get a different vibe on the mic where this time around, you have both Crossword and Kubota sharing rhymes. And like it’s predecessor, “Palm Tress” has a really nice sound to it as well, not only through the musicianship but Kubota does a great performance on this one. It’s really the first time listeners get to hear her voice so closely- it’s simple and warm, a nice match for the songs easy-going vibe which is just as warm. This tune also serves as my favourite delivery by Crossword.

Shifting gears, the band creates a slightly darker mood with “Lights Out”, featuring steady keyboard work and a more aggressive Crossword & Kubota.

4 songs with strong efforts by 6 talented artists, Vibonics share a dynamic project that easily blends the moods and sets creative contrasts. This being a debut project for the band, I can only look forward to hearing how this group will continue to grow together and create an even more cohesive sound, musically and vocally. - Xolisa Jerome, FRMTHEGRDUP


"[Review] Vibonics - Vibonics EP"

From Toronto, Ontario, Vibonics is a group of music makers that can be described as a fusion of indie rock, soul and hip hop. Their music laced with jazz and funk inspired riffs and chord progressions which makes whatever they put out a pretty fun listen. If you’re from Toronto you might have even heard them in passing as they play around. Just recently they released their debut self-titled EP.

Tracklist
1. Lights Out
2. Major
3. Nervous
4. Palm Trees

The set of songs starts off with Lights Out with some political undertones. Next Major has some pretty badass power chords mixed with some dazzling piano runs. It’s a track that really illustrates musical abilities of all the musicians in the group and their ability to hold their own.

Nervous gets a bit more intimate as singer Kubota sweetens everything with her smooth vocals. This is a pretty catchy one and I have included it below. Ending off the set is the soulful Palm Trees. It’s a strong set of 4 songs that definitely portray what the group is all about; talented musicians influenced by a variety of sounds. Hope to hear more from them soon! - Tiana Feng, Ride The Tempo


"[Audio] Vibonics EP"

Somewhere between hip hop, funk, soul, r&b and indie rock; the Vibonics sound is more accurately described by feel than genre. Last Thursday, the Vibonics performed at the Hard Luck bar and released their debut EP. I took in the show and was impressed with the chemistry of the 6 member band. Lead singer Kubota has an incredible voice, which pairs nicely with the rhyme skills of Toronto emcee Crossword. The Vibonics just returned from a trip to the U.S., and are currently in writing mode. They plan to tour central Canada and parts of the US in late fall. Listen to the EP below, comment, and let us know what you think. - Nasty Nate, The Come Up Show


"The Love Affair: The Vibonics"

I crossed the grassy knoll in search for a group of dudes lazing around with acoustic guitars; kinda difficult to spot at Bellevue Square in Kensington Market where that could easily be the norm. Towards the east end of the park sat a group of four guys — Alborz, Chris, Gubbie and Alfred, also known as The Vibonics. A combination of funk and alternative hip hop, this quartet of Seneca music students all found each other at their establishment of higher education. What I’ve coined as the “D2 Mighty Ducks Concept”, in which a collaboration is formed — the amalgamation of the best of the besterest is put together to contribute their master skills and talents to create a SUPER FORCE, is one of the best ways to describe The Vibonics. Chris on keys, Gubbie on bass, Alfred on guitar, (Caesar on drums) and Alborz spittin on the mic, The Vibonics give off the rawness that of The Roots but with a funky silly soul like they just stepped off the Double Dutch bus.

Preparing to film a takeaway show, we were soon disturbed by a nearby carpenter and his annoyingly aggressive sounding saw. We decided that a new location was necessary so the boys packed up their instruments and hit the sidewalk in search for a quieter chill spot. Walking down Bellevue Ave, we soon magically came across a mustardy yellow painted piano sitting in front of a restaurant. Excited that he didn’t have to play percussion off his guitar case anymore, Chris flipped open the piano lip and began messing around on the keys. We all looked at each other and knew this place was perrrrfect for what we were about to do.

Catch these guys and their live band set next Thursday night at Augusta House. It’s sooo much more of a different feel compared to what you’ll see below here in their acoustic set. Their live band set which I later saw that night at Rancho Relaxo had me thoroughly impressed. If I was drunk I probably would’ve danced by myself in the middle of the dance floor during their jam out. - Char Loro, Lovehard


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

It's no mystery why Vibonics called their new recording the Kitchen Sink EP. After all, the eclectic Toronto six piece band combine everything from hip hop to punk to soul to pop to metal to funk to ska to indie basically everything but the kitchen sink. It's an unpredictable mix, but also surprisingly accessible, with a little something for every listener. Their party-rocking sound is the perfect soundtrack to a rowdy night out on the town, but they aren't afraid to slip some thought-provoking messages into the grooves as well.

The band was initially born in 2010, when MC Crossword and guitarist Alfred met at music school. After some initial experimentation with rapping over acoustic guitar accompaniment, the pair quickly realized the potential and started piecing together a full band.

Early success came quickly, and they started touring soon after releasing their debut self titled EP in 2011. As much as Crossword had enjoyed rapping with DJs backing him up in the past, playing with a full band behind him bumped everything up to a whole new level.

"I find it a lot easier to rap live onstage with a band. When there are five other people onstage with you, you can vibe off of them, and so they keep your level of energy up, no matter what's going on in the audience."

After spending much of 2012 reconfiguring and solidifying the line up, the new-and-improved band hit the Catherine North studio in a former church in Hamilton with producer Dan Hosh. Rather than radically reworking the band's sound, Hosh made it his goal to capture their live energy and idiosyncratic sound without tinkering too much with the already successful formula. Recording in that big open space made the process feel like a party, even when it was just one member recording an overdub with the rest of the band cheering them on.

"The tracks ended up sounding like upgraded versions of themselves, rather than complete overhauls," Crossword explains. "We aren't trying to be cocky about it, but we are confident in these songs and our sound."

"Dan was very good at knowing when to step back, and how to establish that comfort level we needed to perform well,"
co-vocalist Tacha adds.

Tacha was originally just a fan of the band, but eventually convinced them to take her on as a co-vocalist. Her sultry R&B singing injects the catchy melodic hooks needed to balance Crossword's rapid fire rhyming. Similarly, Laura's jazz-informed keyboards provide the ideal counterpoint to Alfred's John Frusciante-influenced punk-funk guitar licks. Add in a drummer approaching hip-hop from a metal perspective and a bass player translating his indie rock roots into a soulful low end, and you end up with an unpredictable yet strangely familiar and comfortable vibe. In a city as culturally diverse as Toronto, Vibonics make perfect sense as the soundtrack.

Band Members