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K-os interview? Yes!

Posted by Paloma / May 10, 2009

20090510-kos.jpgBrendan Murphy is Montreal's man about town. He is the city's face for all things nightlife and music correspondent for Hour. He is debonair, wickedly witty, and utterly benevolent. When an outlet for his interview with K-os fell through, he donated this story to Midnight Poutine. Read on!

K-os' new album, Yes!, was shaped by the push and pull of a lot of different factors; internal and external, geographic, political and... getting cable again.

"I'm a guy who used to sit on his knees in front of the TV for hours at a time, mesmerized by cartoons and sci-fi shows and movies of the week. When I stopped being that person, because I was sick of seeing myself on TV, something shifted. A darkness came over, the blues- you could say Atlantis was the blue album."

It was the Obama campaign that brought him back to the world of cable TV, but it was, wait for it, also seeing shows like Sex and The City and That 70s Show for the first time that made him feel like he was re-joining the collective conversation.

"Every time there's an alien in a movie and the alien wants to figure out humans he watches TV-that's what I was trying to do."

For some, Atlantis was not the must-have album that Joyful Rebellion had been. Despite selling well, the reviews were mixed. Then there were some sub-par performances (I saw a couple) and some much-publicized arguments with music critics.

"Let me put it like this: rap is the folk music of the underdog, so when you're on top, it's very hard to maintain the authenticity. That's why Kanye keeps creating conflict for himself. So when Joyful Rebellion did well, Atlantis was the departure. Like Kanye, the battle for me was to be the underdog again. And it worked, for sure."

Though he's known as a Toronto artist, he's recorded many of his biggest tracks on Canada's coasts. A lot of this new one was informed by time spent in Vancity.

"There's a distinct sound that comes from being in Vancouver, affected by the mountains and nature, and I come back to Toronto and it's this hard city and everyone's on the grind and that affects the music as well."

In fact, K-os puts a lot of (unprompted, it should be noted) stock in being Canadian.

"Living in Canada, you are more open to other peoples cultures-the fact that I'm able to keep my west Indian culture is important. In America, black culture is slave culture. In Canada if you're a black Canadian, your parents are probably from Barbados, Jamaican Somalia, Guyana, Ethiopia. You're one generation in and that's amazing. The Canadian dream is freedom of culture, really."

K-os w/Lioness
Théâtre Olympia, May 14



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