Published Sep 22, 2010Giving true credence to the expression "nothing succeeds like success," tireless Art of Fresh members D.O. and Slakah are currently enjoying the fruits of a career juggling act many artists can only dream of. Since dropping the first AoF experiment in '09, each has crisscrossed the globe on the backs of their good names ― the record holding lyricist rocking crowds in Hong Kong while the Beatchild was busy getting a taste of Swedish soul alongside stalwart vocalist Tingsek. The resulting sense of self-assuredness and newfound worldly vision are immediately evident on new disc When The Night Comes In, a record focused almost entirely on gettin' loose. The stuttered string stabs and brisk, thumping backbeat of "Alive" set the party vibe early on, a groove augmented by thicker bass lines, slick guitar licks and rich synth touches on "Good Shoes," and broken beat tune "Baila." The sonically twisting "Illamental" is the closest the album comes to straight-ahead hip-hop, though the two MCs top off each cut with a light-hearted array of competent, complementary lyricism. It's the diversity and stealth of Slakah's intoxicating productions, however, which ground this entire affair, managing to seep into your bones even when your attention turns elsewhere.
How has the experience of travelling the world influenced your music?
D.O.: I think Asia had the biggest influence, going to a place where people don't speak our language ― whether it's Japanese, or in Taiwan, where people are speaking Chinese ― and realizing that even though they don't speak our language, people would know the lyrics to our songs. So, we [ended up] communicating through our lyrics, beats and energy on stage. I think it's cool whenever you get a chance to go around the world and you see that the music touches people all over. Being from Toronto, where we're used to having tough crowds and really having to go all out to make sure people will feel us, it really became a training ground.
What about the way you're viewed at home?
I think you really realize the fact that, in Canada, we're very knowledgeable about music and have a high appreciation for the whole [hip-hop] culture, not just MCing and having a hot record and chorus. When you do a show here, not just in Toronto, but across the country, you better come and bring a full show. DJing is a key aspect and we do some break dancing in our shows and bring some freestyling in. We grew up on these things touring across Canada. But when we got out internationally, we saw that not all the time would people be doing these things. So people really appreciated the fact that we were bringing these things to the game. (Independent)