5 Questions with Rags #64 - The Leg-Up Program

This is a long one, because this is a genuinely huge band (In number and sound), so I'm going to try to keep this intro thing short. If you aren't lucky enough to live on Vancouver Island, maybe you haven't heard of the Leg-Up Program. And if you are on the Island and still haven't heard The Leg-Up Program, what are you doing with your life? And lastly, if you have heard or seen The Leg-Up Program, good work. For real though, The Leg-Up Program is one of the raddest bands rocking these parts right now. With a staggering number of musicians at any given show (I think I've seen them with up to 16 people, in various configurations) the music they make – soul, funk, hip-hop, gospel, jazz – hits with an incredible energy. Watching such a large group of people up on a stage, all working together towards that common goal, is really something to behold. Every time I see them perform I am filled with the kind of joy that reminds me of what starting making me love music in the first place. It's warm, fun, communal. I hear that there's an album in the works somewhere, due at some time in the future, but until then you have to venture out into the world and find them. But at the end of your journey, rich aural gifts await! Nailing such a large band down all at once is, for all intents and purposes in regards to interviewing, impossible, but I was lucky enough to catch 10 of them in a room at once, so 10 members is what you get for the biggest round of the 5 Questions yet. (On the docket, David – Trombone, Nick – Trumpet, Ashley – Drums, Greg – Guitar/making the trains run on time a day late, Daniela – Vocals, Kady – Vocals, Fred – Bass, Stevie – Raps, Sean – Keyboard, Simon - Percussion)

1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

David: Oh yeah. It was “Geist” by Smashing Pumpkins. I got it at a Walmart in California. I still dig it a lot.

Nick: I think it might have been Five Alarm Funk's first album. It was very informative to see that kind of music rather than what was on the radio. Instrumental music.

Daniela: Yes. I bought two at the same time. One was Boys II Men and the other was...uuhhh...Two boys and two girls from Sweden...What were they called?
Random voice from somewhere in the room: ABBA?

Rags: Ace of Bass?

Daniela: Ace of Bass! Yes!

Kady: Mine's not nearly as cool. <Don't know where Kady got the idea that Boys II Men or Ace of Bass is cool> I bought Backstreet Boys, because that was the thing back then. It was Backstreet Boys or the Spice Girls. Then also, Loretta Lynn. I saw “Coal Miner's Daughter” when I was about 6 and that's one of the things that made me want to start singing.

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5 Questions with Rags #52b - Illvis Freshly (Jesus and Danimal)

If you've been paying attention to West Coast music at all in the last couple years, you've probably seen the Illvis Freshly around. Legit: They're pretty inescapable and it's easy to see why. Their heavy-hitting, ultra-fun, partyrific electronic rap songs are sure-fire ear-crushers, made for those days and nights with all the friends. As the summer finally taken hold of us all, Illvis Freshly's music is even more relevant, assured to keep you moving in time with all this glorious weather. And as we are now in the midst Festival Season, they're bound to show up in your face and plug your ear holes up with funky rap goodness – having already smashed up audiences at Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest, Tall Tree, KAMP Festival with more to come, including a stop at Legend's Valley in August. In part B of the first ever 2-part entry into the live questions, we get down with the charismatic MC duo Danimal and Jesus.

Check Part A with Doyle and Phil here!

1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

Danimal: It was basically my own money because I facilitated it happening and got my mom to pay my friend. I got Jam by Michael Jackson. He had a Columbia House CD thing and I wanted one.

Do you still listen to it?

D: Not routinely. But there are times. You can't go out and not hear Michael Jackson, so, sort of.

Jesus: This is pretty tough because when I first started getting music I'd listen to the radio with my tape player and tape songs. I was sneaky like that. In terms of tapes, the first tape I can remember buying and having in my hand is Beastie Boys' License to Ill. It's the first one I can think of that I went out and bought because I wanted to hear all of the tracks.

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5 Questions with Rags #43 - Immerze

An immense talent for the art of rapping combined with a seemingly endless well of hustle has helped Toronto-to-Vancouver transplant Immerze has established himself as one of Canada's most consistent and exciting Mcs in a surprisingly short time. A grimy, big-city east-coast feel gives his tracks a reliable bottom end with a defined west-coast lightness and positivity colouring everything, splitting the difference between the two aesthetics. It's getting trickier and trickier for to bond over hip-hop with younger, burgeoning heads but Immerze gives us a fertile common ground to start from. His trap-heavy beats are tuned for a younger ear, but the positive, family-man-gangsta lyrics are perfect for the uhhh older heads among us. There's an edge, but it's not sinister. It's a delicate balancing act that Immerze pulls off perfectly. I caught him on the phone from home in Vancouver to answer our silly questions for a smoky, bottom-heavy instalments of 5 Questions with Rags.

Keeping up with that track record of consistency, Immerze just released the new video for new single “2 Cents/Black Bond.” It's dope. Get after it.

1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

Yep! 5O Cent Get Rich Or Die Tryin'. I think I bought like five of those albums. <laughs> Realistically though I bought four or five. If it wasn't in the car I was in, I would buy just so it was there. That album was religion when it came out.

What's your favourite track on there? You can only pick one..

Oh man...So many... “Many Men,” that one was on repeat heavy. Hmmm, there's so many. That album's a classic. Yeah, we'll stick with “Many Men.”

When's the last time you listened to it?

The album it its entirety? Probably about a year ago.

Do you find you get much time to listen to full albums anymore?

I always try to find time. If a new album comes out and I know I don't have time to listen to it in its entirety, I won't listen to it. Whether it's late at night or early in the morning, I'll find time. It's hard to do. You really gotta be a fan to do that. You're not doing that just skimming through. Albums that came out, like the Anderson .Paak album, I knew I wanted to be fully attentive when I listened to that, so I waited until a month or two after it came out. Then I can form my own opinion without the hype. An artist spends time making an album, so when you listen to it, at least give them the respect of listening to it yourself. Especially albums. Albums are usually pieces of a person's life. They're putting their life on wax for you to enjoy. So, to it's just shit while skimming through some tracks, that's real disrespectful.

2. What's your most positive memory of an elementary or high school teacher?

My guidance counsellor. He smoked weed every day. He would call me out of class, make it seem like we had a meeting and he'd tell me some funny-ass stories and he'd be like, “I'm fucking high bro. Don't tell anybody.” He was cool and didn't give a fuck. I though, “If all teachers were like this kids would actually want to come to school.”

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