If you haven’t noticed kiddo’s I have a huge hard-on for Canada. Blame it on that Bowling for Columbine documentary or those South Park sing alongs to “Blame Canada” growing up. But some of my favorite artists and musicians this year such as the visual artist 2fik and singer Jef Barbara as well as the hip youngsters KIDCITY, have all been humble and sincere amigos from just above and beyond the Great Lakes. Maybe it’s the shared inclement weather or Chicago’s working class, Midwest immigrant vibe that jells so well with the idea of our peaceful, tolerant, accepting and culturally superior North American neighbors, but I’m telling you Canadians are just too cool for school. With everything from the acclaimed electro music festival Mutek and the astounding directorial work of my favorite film director Guy Maddin, Canada also claims the talented and tremendously amiable hip-hop pioneer known as Boogat. Enjoy our brief little correspondence below, and tell me if by the end of our conversation you won’t wanna hop the border and find yourself a long lost Canadian cousin. Who’da thunk? We got Latin fam everywhere. Heading off to play Sonar, Barcelona we wish him the best!
Boogat, thanks a million for the interview. I’d like to get the convo started by learning a little about you, where you come from and where you’re at right now.
I’m a vocalist/writer/producer living in Montreal. I’m into Worldbeat 2.0, combining genres and rhythms, especially Post Hip-Hop with Latin Music.
You always hear about Latino’s in major US city’s but you don’t hear much about Montreal’s community, tell us a little about how your families migration, your history and how that all plays into your music, if any? First Canada is a small country, population wise, we’re only 30 million people. Montreal Metropolitan area has 3.2 million of them. It’s an immigrant city. Latinos are just one of the minorities. There’s everything here, Caribbean people, Indians, Africans, Asians… you name it. Walk a mile on a busy street and you’ll hear dozens of different languages. Plus the city is bilingual (French and English) and open minded. People don’t need to understand what your song is saying, they focus on the energy, the vibe… So it’s great because it kind of gives you a ”world” perspective of what you do locally, how to cross the ”language border” and just stick to the universal language that is music.
Tell us a little bit about the music and arts community in Montreal. Hows the hip-hop, dance, electro scene your coming from? What is Montreal’s sound?
Montreal music and arts community is great. Lots of nice people doing nice different things, sharing the cake, working together. In the world there’s a couple of cities where it’s happening right now and Montreal is definitely one of them. I’m really into the ”Tropical Bass” scene and right now it’s boiling hot, lots of cool parties to go to and lots of nice radio shows, some interesting production also. Shout out to Poirier, Karnival, Masala, Nuvo Tumbao, Heavy Soundz and the Del Mondongo crew.
Montreal has a sound, but right now, since it’s not a genre it’s kind of hard to define it in words. Sometimes you can listen to a track and say ”This is from Montreal”! Que Viva!!!!
I’ve been dying to visit Montreal? What’s hot? Where are the must go to juke joints?
Making love in French is hot! Making love in French, English and Spanish all at the same time is even hotter!!! The festivals we have here are really cool! Igloofest, Piknic Electronick, Festival Juste Pour Rire / Just For Laughs Fest, Pop Mtl, Festival de Jazz de Montréal, Montréal en Lumiere, etc. Nice restaurants. Nice parks. Nice people. The place to be is definitely the Mile End and the Plateau but in almost every neighborhood you’ll find a decent edgy place to go to!!
As part of a diaspora of Latinos where do you feel your music and art fits in to the mainland culture? Does it stand apart? Something all together wonderful and new perhaps?
I’m a citizen of the world. I was raised by a Mexican mother and a Paraguayan father in Quebec City so I’ve always had a mixed identity. I’ve always been mixing the first world/third world thing in life as in my music. I embraced it and accepted it so I can bring the best of both worlds together. I think as long as what you do is unique it can fit anywhere. And people everywhere are more open minded than we think. Way more… even the KKK putos eat tacos!!!
Do you feel coming from Canada has set you free of any stereotypes or boundaries? Or has coming from Canada hindered your cred or this image of a thug-rapper in anyway?
It’s the people that see the stereotypes and boundaries that are stuck with them!!! If you really have talent, you don’t need to come with that whole image game!!! Just come with what you have, what you are!!! Metele tu sabor, tu sason!!!!
Tell us about your upcoming release? I can’t wait for a drop date…
Well, it’s gonna be more like a summer or autumn release. It’s gonna be a EP. Right now we’re in the studio getting busy with Poirier. Let’s see what comes out!!!
How’d you get into music, hip-hop? What got you started? Who helped launch your career and who are you working with now?
Music has always been around me. I used to play guitar as a kid. One day I heard a Casual song from a Plan B movie or something, then I bought the cassette. I used to listen to it a lot without understanding everything, writing down the lyrix phonetically (since French and Spanish are my mother-tongues). Then I listened to MC Solaar’s Prose Combat LP (which is in French) and it blew my mind to see the power and possibilities of an MC. The next day I started writing lyrix and rapping. I was 15. I use to rap a lot in French but in the last years I’ve been into Latin music a lot and I slowly switched to Spanish. It’s rhythmically more interesting and sounds better to me. A lot of people helped me to get this thing going!! Big Up to Northern Corp, Movezerbe, Roberto Lopez Project and Pawa Up First. Right now I’m working a lot with Poirier, Face-T, Dj Torres and Kiko Osorio for touring and producing/recording. Poirier is helping me a lot with the studio thing. Guillaume Decouflet is helping me out for management and booking and I’m quite busy with features for producers from Earth!!!!
Next is more music, more feats, more tours, more nice people to meet, more fun, more love, more locura. We also have this crazy project with Poirier, Face-T and Mr.Ok called ”Montreal Esperanto Sound System” and since Montreal has so many good Latino vocalists, I’m putting together with friends a new web label called ”Del Mondongo” to spread some good music!!! Si Dios quiere todo saldra bien!!!
Thank you for this interview and if you ever come to Montreal just holla!!!!
Check out boogat’s mypace for a free download of his mixtape esperanto sound system. No joke. It’s dope.