Sunday, July 1, 2012

NXNE 2012: Conscience

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As first-time performers in Toronto at this year’s North by North East music festival, west coast hip hop trio Conscience was excited to get to perform out here and spread their music. Made up of Brody Mudryk, Brandon 'Noetic' Richards, and Lindsay Johnston, the BC-based group is putting a lot of hard work into getting exposure in this competitive industry.

I sat down with them the day after they performed at The Crawford and they gave me insight into their time here in Toronto, their experience touring with Raekwon, and what it's like to be in the Canadian hip hop scene.

What were you most excited for about being a part of NXNE this year?

Lindsay: This is also our first time playing in Toronto, so I think that's a really exciting thing for us. And just playing festivals is fun and seeing new bands, it's really exciting to discover new music and meet them. 

Brody: You just never know who you're going to meet, there are so many locals and artists from out of town. It's cool to see a festival set up this big. I've never seen so many acts on a bill before.

So how was your show at The Crawford?

Brandon: It was good and went well, but there were these four police officers undercover outside trying to shut it down. Apparently the night before, they had shut down another one of the hip hop showcases, I think at the same bar as well. I have a theory that Canada is trying to destroy hip hop in clubs.

Lindsay: It was weird that they were there. They were dressed as everyone else and you probably wouldn't notice, but then you could see his gun like right there [on his ankle]. It's  like, come on.  

Brody: It's tough when they associate gang violence and criminal activities. It sucks that people just connect that with hip hop. 

So what is it like then to be in the Canadian hip hop scene?

Brandon: I think overall it varies in different cities. Vancouver has a lot of really dope MCs and there’s so much talent in that city - not just hip hop but in any genre. But in contrast, there’s very little love amongst them. It’s a pretty clique-y scene, which is pretty unfortunate, because I see hip hop as a bit of a community. But there is so much talent out there. And as you travel out to smaller towns, there’s so many heads out there and they show their support and love.

Lindsay: Canada as a whole is such a big scene, but is still really underground. I didn't know what to expect when we were going into Prairie cities - and its huge, they live and breathe hip hop. Maybe it is because they don't have much to do out there, but it's great to see it's such a huge scene.

During their time here, they also did a great interview with the National Post -- Check out this freestyle session video from NP:

You also toured with Raekwon this year, what was that like?
Brody: It was the longest tour we've done so far. We got to network and learn a lot from everyone on the tour. It's always a good experience.
Brandon: It's great to see how dudes that have been in the industry for so long handle business. You learn a lot from watching these veterans do their shit and then we want to pick up on that and apply it to our own stuff. They've seen everything and they had a lot of really dope advice.
Being a part of such a competitive industry, what keeps you motivated and pushes you to keep going?
Lindsay: Each other I think. We're small fish in a big pond right now and it can be hard. It gets to you in certain ways. So I think if we weren't as good of friends as we are, it would really suck.
Brody: When you have that unit and that support system, you don't want to bail on it.
Brandon: If you're by yourself, it's so easy to just be like "f*ck it I'm done" but it's harder to let other people down than it is to let yourself. So I have an obligation, and as much as I can hate it and want to get out, I can't because then I'm blowing their tail.
Lindsay: The old ball and chain. [laughs]
The music is also what keeps them going, and they are currently promoting their latest album "Under Promise Over Deliver" which came out last July. They also mentioned a super secret project that will come later this year. "We're just trying to play our cards right."

Until then, they will be playing shows and festivals and continuing to try to get their name out there. Be sure to check them out at 

- Christina
Follow my adventures on Twitter: @christinaaa28

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