BlakDenim to kick off Tweed Shindig
When BlakDenim got together to jam a few years back, it didn’t take long to outgrow the Ottawa basement they formed in. The now seven-member collective has more moving parts than an octopus and plays as many instruments as an orchestra – trumpet, flute, piano, bass, and drums.
A hip-hop crew at its core, BlakDenim’s sound is a mix of rap, funk, rock and soul that ranges from the fun to the profound. Frontman Precise attributes some of the group’s success early on to its ability to communicate those two extremes. The outfit’s second album Complexus, which follows their first Vanguard(en), is an upbeat soundtrack stuffed with meaty themes like racial tension and genetic modification.
“You can expect some stuff that’s real fun but at the same time we do some conscious stuff. I think that’s how you rope people in a bit – give them something to dance to and leave them with something to think about,” he says.
Adding, “Not too often do you find acts blending those two things together.”
Unorthodox in both style and sound, the large lineup plays more instruments than a seventh-grade music class. Only, they do it well. Fronted by a rapper and R&B singer, Precise says the group’s studio sessions are an exercise in inclusion.
“When people try to dictate what your direction should be, you get less people invested because they’re not working but taking orders,” he says. “In this case, everybody’s got a chance to create and then from there we either add on or we strip down. Everyone’s got a piece of it and puts themselves in the music, so I think that’s what keeps us together and our sound fresh.”
That collaborative studio environment, says Precise, is something that translates to synergy when the crew hits the stage. Like too few new hip-hop acts these days, BlakDenim pride themselves on a captivating live performance. From melodic raps to a variety of vocal inflections, to an orchestra of instruments and a smorgasbord of genres, the group’s live performance has been under the spotlight since they started playing together.
Only months after forming in December, 2012, BlakDenim went on to make the finals in Live 88.5’s Big Money Shot. They ended up placing second in the contest, but the group took it in is stride. Precise says the loss was actually a blessing in disguise.
“We had no music or even a single [as a band] until we made it to the second round of the competition, when the radio station paid for a recording session,” he says. “I’m kind of grateful that we didn’t win. We were really a new band at the time and we got a lot of recognition from that. It fueled the fire a bit and we got back to work.”
Since then, the BlakDenim has released an EP and full-length album, graced high-profile gigs in Quebec and Ontario, and refined their studio and stage sound to champion form.
You can check them out for yourself at the Front Yard Shindig on August 13, right on the front lawn of Tweed’s Smiths Falls plant. To reserve your free tickets or meet the artists, visit frontyardshindig.com.
Here’s to Future Growth!
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