Last June, canadian rapper Bleubird chose to land over a small festival near Paris, bringing with him his rap skills and political thoughts for a very energic show. On backstage, we met an over-minded musician, a kind of a chatterbox with a high sense of humour pointed out as his most beautiful array. Meeting with the two faces of a same man.

Hip Hop Core: How do you feel about today show?

Bleubird: (laugh) It's funny. I think it's right that all the technical difficulties happened on the last show of the tour. So I can only laugh about it. I never get mad. It was really funny, man. It was like a fucking stand-up comedy act. But I left with a good feeling. I wasn't disapointed. It's ok with me. When I soundchecked I said: "The cd player: this is his last show." And as soon as I started: dead.

HHC: Few days ago, you've played in Nancy with new signed group on Warp, Battles, and electro producder, Ra. This evening, you'll play with X-Makeena after 13 shows with them. How did you make all this connexion outside of strictly hip-hop scene?

B: With X-Makeena: they have a beat box crew called Spoter Shower. I played with them in Rennes 3 years ago. And again two years ago with Zucchini Drive. And every time I played with them, we always jam with theire really dope beatboxers and mcs. So they told me about the other band they have: X-Makeena. It's more like electro, drum'n'bass but also really hard rap. They ask me to do a featuring on the record. From this featuring came the tour, another song I did with them,...
Battles, it was just the promoters who did the show in Nancy; the association Umlaut. A lot of people didn't know me. There was maybe 5 people to see me and 250 to see Battles. But that show was really fucking awesome. The people was so open minded and they enjoyed what I did.

HHC: Let's try a little experiment. If you look in a mirror, you can see your face. Can you describe what you see? Who is Bleubird for those who don't know you?

B: You mean just like if I look at my appearence? Usually I'm like "Man, I need to shave" and "My gilfriend give me a fucked up haircut !" and "I wish I didn't have to wear this glasses". I think I definitively project like a friendly appearence but that change when I go on stage. A lot of people always tell me that after they see me playing, they're intimidating to talk to me after the show because I'm really like agressive. I think that's why maybe my music is so agressive because I'm not an agressive person so I can really unleash everything that makes me mad and piss me off about the world. (laugh)

HHC: Let's talk about your short carreer. Your first release was a CD-R named "Does Mans Short Life Span Make Any Sense". What did it deal with? I didn't hear it.

B: Actually, it was not my first CD. I was in a band years before this; a rap-ropck band in Florida.They had a really big following. I just came and freestyle every night with them. The group named SMTH. That was like my firt real recording. We made a record and the day we realeased it we broke up.
For this CD, "Does Mans Short Like Span Make Any Sens", I was living with this guys, Sign1 and Filkoe176. I started making a record with them, as Jerk Circuit. We were also promoting shows. We were the first persons to bring Sage Francis, Atmosphere or Sole to Florida. We really like opened up the door for this kind of hip-hop in Florida because nobody was doing it. All the shows stopped in Atlanta, not come to Florida. So we started to doing shows and promoting them.
I got opportunity to go on tour with Grand Buffet and so Sign 1 and I made this CD-R, different songs of Jerk Circuit and one song I made with Grand Buffet. I needed something like an album to make shows with them. We never made a Jerk Circuit album but we were recording every day and playing shows together. Now, Sign 1 produces some beats on "Sloppy Doctor" (ndlr: first Bleubird's LP) and Filkoe176 is the next artist to come out on Endemik (ndlr: his album "Lost Zoo Keys And The Animal Spirits That Haunt Them" will be released this fall).He's back on now and making music again so it's cool.

HHC: A year later you released the first version of "Sloppy Doctor". How did you meet Scott Da Ros, the boss of Endemik?

B: On this tour with Grand Buffet, we played in Halifax. This was my first date in Canada. Scott Da Ros and Thesis Sahib were on the crowd. This was the first day I met both of them. After the show, they really came to me. Thesis gave me a "Bending Mouth" mixtape and he told me: "This is my music but I'm also an artist. I did cover for Alias." I new this cover but I freaked out because he's like my fucking favorite artist. We ended up becoming really good friends. Thesis booked me to come back when I did my next tour. On this second tour, few months later, Scott told me: "Who's gonna sign your album?". Endemik were the first people to approach me as a label. In the first five minutes of talking to him I knew that it's gonna be the label I would come with because he said: "We don't want to sign a contract. I want to do everything based on a handshake". This is friendly, this is ain't business. That's how it really started.

HHC: You mean it was the first time that you were linked up with the Anticon entourage?

B: Before this, I was friend with Anticon. I played shows with them because I was with guys wo brought Sole, Alias and Passage in Florida. Also, I was drived from Florida to Indiana because my DJ was from Indiana and his friends were throwing Anticon shows.

HHC: You talked about Thesis Sahib. In my opinion « The Swashbuckling Naopleans » is an interested project even if it's still two tracks on a 7inch. How was the collaboration with him?

B: It wasn't meant to be a 7inch. He used to make tours with me in Florida. And I made tours with Bending Mouth in Canada. Me and Thesis recorded maybe nine songs. Only three were kept to press; two for the 7inch and one the vinyl of "Sloppy Doctor" because we were doomed. The hard drive crashed. Sign1 had a song of me and Thesis but he lost it. During the tour in Canada, we recorded four songs but they were also lost. Only this three songs were released. One time, we recorded a possee cut with 15 MC's from Canada and the U.S.: me, Thesis, all the Toolshed, Bending Mouth,... I don't even remember. There was two Djs, two producers, fifteen Mcs. We spent from ten in the morning to four in the morning to recording it. After that, the hard drive crashed. The Swashbuckling Napoleans were doomed from the beginning.
Now, Thesis is so busy with his art and his music. We live in different places so we haven't been able to record anything in years.

HHC: Let's talk about Gunporn. In 2004, the debut album of the group was kind of a surprise for a lot of people. How did you find the idea of making such a group with Xndl, Siaz and Nomad of Cavemen Speak, Marcus of Stacs Of Stamina. Was it a connection by Internet?

B: Years before I released "Sloppy Doctor", Yohann from Stacs of Stamina contacted me for making beats on my record. He send me a CD, the beats on it were awesome but we lost contact and I never ended up recording with them. The first time I came to Europe, I was doing merchandise for Grand Buffet. We played "Sous La Plage" in Paris. Cavemen Speak was playing. I didn't know their music but as soon as they got on stage, they said something about Stacs Of Stamina and they pointed the crowd. I was near Marcus and Johan and I said: "Hey, Johan. What's up man? It's Bleubird !." Him: "What the fuck are you doing here?". It was really a funny coincidence. From that day on, Tom (ndlr: Siaz from Cavemen Speak) said to me: "You should come to Belgium." So the next time I came on tour, I came to Belgium to play with Cavemen Speak. I had four days off in Belgium. I recorded all my parts in three days. Everyone did the same thing. The album of Gunporn came out of nowhere. A friend of Cavemen Speak did the artwork. Xndl released it on vinyl and Shadowanimals released it on CD. Four months later, we did a tour and it was a surprise for us too.

HHC: What do you think of the recent exposition of your music and your fellows' music in Europe? It's pretty strange because most of the artists we are talking about on the website are almost more famous here than in U.S. Or Canada.

B: You know, yeah it's pretty strange but I think it's always the case. Not always but for a lot of the bands that make diffrent kinds of music I think they do better in Europe first. I think that Americans are slower to catch on. I really think that's what it is.
Except for mainstream music, of course. In America, there's no help for promote shows or music. You've got to come with the money. There's no subvention, no associations either. It's more like a few people working together. There some fans for some people but in California, for example, there's so much people doing it for so long: Project Blowed, Freestyle Fellowship, Shapeshifters. There's a lot of support for this so there's a cool scene there.
In New-York, it's kind closed off to itself. But now they're starting to open up to more people. Florida was never anything. But now there's Astronautalis, Sollilaquist Of Sound connected with Sage Francis and Epitaph. I came out to Florida but I don't live there anymore. There's like of music going on there.

HHC: Let's talk about another release of yours. "From Supercold To Superheat". Can we say it was a kind of comic album?

B: Haha yeah. In fact, I was like in the middle of making my records. There was this song I made with SMTH I was speaking about before. Plus these song I made with DiVinci which supposed to be for a 12inch on Mooncircle. When I send it to them, they said: "This is to agressive for us". Me: "Really? Do you know who DiVinci is? Do you know what he's about to do?" He's a friend of mine for years. I really felt like I needed something that I could always have and sell on tour. I wanted to release something myself but I didn't want to have just straight songs like on my albums, I wanted to make something different, something funny that showed my personnality. Things that I could do and I would never do on a normal album. That's "From Supercold To Superheat".
By the way, there's a really weird song on it called "Robot Squadorchestra". This beat was giving to me by a guy in Bristol. Three or four years ago. I never used it. I found it on a CD-R. I wanted to use it but I really felt bad because I needed to e-mailed him but I had no contact with him for like years but I said "Hey, this is what I did with your song". Then he e-mailed me back; saying that it was awesome and that he enjoyed it.

HHC: Let's talk about your new album. On 'Writer' you wrote: "I'm that voice without a home / I ride with you on your headphones". What's behind this words?

B: The idea is that for the past really six years, until I moved to Montreal which was like a year and half ago, I never stop moving. Even when I was living in Florida, I was with my parents, you know, for like maybe one week, and then I will go to Orlando for two weeks to record, play show, try to go anywhere I could. I was constantly on the move. Always touring in Europe, I was trying to tour as much as I can, get on any show that I could. So really I felt like I had no homebase, no roots. I didn't have a girlfriend for seven years. So that's really where that comes from.

HHC: On 'Very Dangerous Joke', a track produced by Nuccini!, you wrote "All our hatred for Bush has made him popular in the hearts of the monsters he made us." What exact sens does it reveal?

B: What I mean is like there's an interesting phenomenon in America. Whatever the youth tend to rebel against, the older generation embraces. It's the same thing that I was talking to people in France, speaking with them. After Le Pen and everyone else were eliminated (ndlr: for the latest french Presidential Elections on spring 2007) and it was only N. Sarkozy and S. Royal, a lot of people who were not originally for Sarkozy ending applauding for him because safety. It's the all thing with fear. I think when people started hating Bush, it was inconceavable that he would be elected again but there's this people who voted for him because there's so much like hour spoken but of the wrong kind. You know like in hip hop shows. Instead of 'Say yeah !' became 'Say Fuck Bush !'. The older generation saw this and they really wanted to act against it. I really felt like a lot of parallels between this and the situation in France. Even if it's not the same; you know Sarkozy is not Bush and France is not America but I was here listening to the whole election process when I was touring with X-Makeena. I didn't know how they felt looking at this beacause it's not my country but I think it was the same thing when Bush was elected and we didn't want him to be. We were surprised. I think we've got a lot to do with what I was talking about. I also made this song about José Bové (laugh) (ndlr: during the show before the interview, Bleubird said something to us about José Bové who « has a perfect mustach and he kidnapped Ronald McDonald »)

HHC: Can you explain us what can we find behind a track like 'Kill Guys'? On this song, Bleubird said that he has to kill Tom Waits, Mike Patton, David Bowie, Steve Perry,...

B: Hahaha ! I would never kill Mike Patton. Mike Patton will kick my fucking ass. Even Tom Waits will kick my ass.

HHC: And David Bowie?

B: David Bowie might kiss my ass ! And be really happy about it. (laugh)

HHC: And why did you say on 'Writer': 'I'm still waiting for Rock'n'Roll to die'?

B: This is kind of a joke. You know, they always said Rock'n'Roll win last, they said Hip Hop win last,... It was just throwing it back on their faces, I'm still waiting for Rock'nRoll to die, Hip Hop is still here. We're all still here. I really fucking hate this 'Hip Hop is dead' bullshit. Like Nas making his record and saying this kind of thing. It's like a disgrace for every person who's really trying to push it forward. It's getting me mad. I've got respect for Nas, I really grew up listening "Illmatic", it's a pilar in my musical culture.

HHC: You made an interview with Sylvain of POPnews past year. In a recent review of your album, he said that the problem of many rappers is a complex of entertainer. Too much to show, too much to give and they make difficult albums to listen in one part. What do you think of this?
By the way, it's the same phenomenon with people like Busdriver. He's so amazing and gifted. But sometimes it's too much. Sometimes it's too much for Subtitle, sometimes it's too much for Bleubird,...

B: I understand this. You know, I made this other interview where they said the album is amazing but I need a bullshit filter. For me, I don't want to make records that's just like a song with a perfect structure and then another song,... I love having things in between. You know, my music is really serious but I've got a fucking sense of humour. I'm not a fucking dead serious person. When I meet people, I don't engage in political arguments with them. I'm getting influenced from everywhere and I'm constantly changing influences. So the broad spectrum of my life is my music. It's really hard to fit in in small packages. As I grow older, I learn what to not do. Now, I'm starting to learn.

HHC: It's funny because Busdriver, you know, his latest album is probably his most well-done. It's the first album to blowing up, accessible record. So far from his first things.

B: It hasn't anything to do with "Fear Of A Black Tangent". And do you give credit to him? Years ago, if somebody was turn around for releasing a poppy record and make his music more accessible, I would think: "Oh man, that's bullshit. You're fucking sell out !" But if you make this album as Busdriver and you come to a point that your music is more accesible, why not? I'm happy form him, he's a legend. He deserves it. Busdriver could never do "Roadkill Overcoat" years ago. Do you know what I mean? He really needed a progression to find his voice, his style. And I'm sure he will change again. He said he want to make even poppier music, even more accesible.
I have a battle with myself because my music is really not accessible. It's really hard to listen. I have friends who are making music. They had opportunity opened for them and not for me because their music is more easily acceptable, widely acceptable. I really had this battle with myself: "Do I try to make something accessible?". But I can't do that. I wouldn't be able to live with myself. It's really hard to find a balance between marketing approach because you have to play this fucking game and his own music. That's why the situation of Busdriver is kind of an inspiration to me.

HHC: If we take a look at the producers of "Rip U$A", can we say thaht your album is in a kind of "post-Anticon musical area" today with people like Alias, Sole,...? By the way, on schedules, guys of the festival called your music "post-rap". (ndlr: ironic discussion about this term and so much laugh). You know, we're gonna trying to play it serious...Hurm hurm...What do you think of people who call your music "post-rap"? Does it reveal a concrete evolution of rap music?

B: (ndlr: with serious face) I really think that there's really a thing embed in that sentence. It's like a kind of an experiment we did with the media. You can plant this words in your biography, in your Myspace account profile and you can watch them filter threw. Not everyone but most reviewers in music critic will pick this things and they label you with this three words. You can change your label every week and be considered, you know, as a newest artist. It's really ridiculous.
But maybe there's something serious on "post-rap". Specially if we think about "post-rock" thing. Rock'n'roll music that has progressed into different music. And it's the same thing for the rap music of guys like me who are making different things.

HHC: You know, we can use another terminology like "rich rap" and "poor rap".

B: Hehe that's fucking amazing. I make great rap. I don't make poor rap but I'm poor. So I don't know where I can fit in (laugh)

HHC: Maybe you don't know but on Hip Hop Core, we're really big fans of Subtitle. He released recently a free mixtape on HHC Records. Can you talk to us about your collaboration with him on 'Everything's up' and this strange 'United Nonsense'?

B: (big laugh) 'United Nonsense' is based on conversations between me and Subtitle in my room. It was between recordings, I had my dictaphon and we were just talking and recording it.

HHC: In my opinion, in fact, Subtitle is more talking than rapping.

B: Yeah yeah ! He needs to make a conversation album. (laugh)
When we recorded 'Everything's up', it was the day after I met him. He came to Montreal. That's were we met each other in person. That night we freestyled for 35 minutes straight nonstop back and forth. And we were telling stories that never happened. People thought that we were friends for years: "Hey, remember the time that we were doing this?" And he was like: "Yeah !". The next day was his birthday and he skipped the dinner that his girlfriend had maked it to come to our house and record 'Everything's Up' and 'United Nonsense'.

HHC: Why did you choose to have a bunch of producers in your album instead of on or two?

B: Because I can't fucking stick to one style. I would like make a mature record with one produceur and a theme but my attention is really short. And I've got really talentend friends for making this "mélange" (ndlr: in french). I like the way each different beat, each different production are.
"Rip U$A" is different from "Sloppy Doctor". It was people that giving me beats, me rapping on them. But this one, there was a lot of collaborative efforts.Some of these songs started in Sole's appartment, in Barcelona three years ago. Then I tooked them to Florida and had Skyrider remixed them and play instruments. Then I recorded some of the vocals on a school bus, on Florida, or in Sole's studio. Everything was finished up in my studio in Canada. It was much bigger. Maybe more profesionnal but I like also the raw energy of "Sloppy Doctor".

HHC: You use the term "indie" in different tracks of your album. What does it mean to you?

B: I think it's bullshit. It's one of those labels I was talking about; like a marketing tool: "Hey, look at this indie band with millions dollars behind him"; that's not fucking indie !
Indie rock is a big label on rock to appeal these people who still think that indie is like D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself). It's not independant music at all. It's just like another label they put in the stores.

HHC: Now, here we are: the stupid questions. A guy named David Pastorius is credited for the bass line of some songs on "Rip U$A". Does he have any link with Jaco Pastorius, the genius of the fretless bass?

B: Yeah, it's his nephew. David Pastorius was in the first band I was in called Nature Kids. He played bass but we lost touch for years. But he's a huge Anticon fan. He would played the bassline for this guys and he told me to introduce him to them. He lives in Melbourne, Florida so we reconnected.
The whole family is musical gifted. His daughter is in band called Queen Mary and she sings. David is like one of the most gifted bass player I've ever seen. It's really an honor to have him on my record.

HHC: Which word could you use to describe your music?

B: Schizocrunkpunkslap. Haha. Hum... How about "postmodernambitiouselectronicridiculoushiphoprapindiepunkDIY with technical problems and a little bit of stand up comedy"?

HHC: Can we find it in stores?

B: You can google it ! (laugh)

HHC: What are you projects for the future?

B: Right now, I'm working on an album with Otto Von Schirach. On Ipecac. I don't know what's gonna happening for this project. We recorded four songs. It's me and Otto and another MC from Florida named Dirtywork. I think the project will be called "Otto Von Dirty Bird".
Also, I hopefully will be a part of a Hip Hop project with Amon Tobin called "Two Fingers". I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be rapping. We spoke about it. I dit improvisations all night in Montreal with my cousin who is the ingenior for "Foley Room" (ndlr: the newest album of Amon Tobin released this year on Ninja Tune). Norsala will also be on it (ndlr: musician from post-rock group Godspeed! You Black Emperor who have already collaborate with Sixtoo).
I don't really know what I will do for my next record. I have all of this projects, Nuccini wants to make a record with me, the band Instruments that produces somes songs on "Rip U$A" wants to make an EP with me,...

HHC: Last few words about anything you want?

B: About anything? Damn, that's the hardest question ever... I just said evrything I had to say ever in my life. This have been a 25-days tour and I'll come back home sleeping for 7 days, watch every "Police Academy" movie evermade. After that, in September, i'm moving to Berlin.

Interview by Newton and Kreme
Photos by Benjamin Segura
October 2007

Si vous avez aimé...

Last interviews






Vous recherchez quelque chose en particulier ?

Copyright © 2000-2008