Published Sep 27, 2011Having already collaborated with each other in various combinations, Backburner rappers Timbuktu (of Toolshed) and Juno nominee Ghettosocks (Alpha Flight) team with legendary Halifax producer/DJ/rapper Jorun Bombay to further explore their chemistry over a full album. They begin with a loose concept that places the trio in situations inspired by the teen comedies of the '80s and '90s, such as Fast Times At Ridgemont High and The Breakfast Club. Interludes (all too long) and movie samples reinforce the prevalent themes. Skipping classes, partying, picking up chicks and maybe attending that rare class is a great framework around which to build a party album, and Jorun's constantly changing beats certainly match the mood. In fact, while Tim and Socks invoke classic teen movies with their lyrics, Jorun's sparing use of familiar samples and breaks adds another layer by invoking the music of that period, like the teasing cuts from Run DMC's "Peter Piper" and their "There it is!" on "Party Scramble" or any of the numerous examples tossed into "Pop N Chips Remix." Jo's plentiful use of cuts for choruses also harkens back to those golden days and his three vocal appearances are a welcome contribution that would have been sorely missed. El Da Sensei and More Or Les also provide a little more vocal variety, on a song each, both remixes, and D-Sisive provides the chorus for "Kill Lincoln." But Tim and Socks are more than capable of holding it down on their own, as they prove with their impressive Beastie Boys-style back-and-forth raps on "Prom (Rock the Discotech Remix)." Not just a quality release, Burgertime is also a great example of how to properly collaborate on an album.
How did you guys connect?
Timbuktu: Socks and I were put together by Kils and Fester, in hopes we would click and make magic; we did. Jo and I really got tight when I was out East filming the video for "Ballz In Yo Stomach."
Ghettosocks: I had heard of Timbuktu previous to our meeting, and was aware of his crew, Toolshed, but didn't really put it all together until after we met in Halifax. I met Jorun a number of years ago at the Khyber Club in Halifax after I moved out East in 2001/2002.
Jorun Bombay: I knew Ghettosocks for a minute already. Timbuk knew of me from the Bassments of Badmen comp and I knew of Tim from his affiliation in Backburner, but I think we all officially met up at the "Ballz in Yo Stomach" video shoot.
What was the first song you worked on together?
Ghettosocks: I'm not sure which song was first, but for the Teenburger album, Burgertime, we pretty much wrote the whole thing over the course of a few days at my house in Halifax. "Kill Lincoln" may have been the first one, although I'm not entirely sure. Timbuktu had already written his verse for "Halloween Special" before we had decided to form the group, so I guess technically that was the first song for Burgertime that was worked on. I believe the first song that Timbuktu and I worked on [prior to Burgertime] was "Ballz in Yo Stomach," off of the I Can Make Your Dog Famous mixtape, which was mixed by DJ Jorun Bombay.
Timbuktu: The first song Socks and I worked on was "Hit Em With His Running Shoes," but for all three of us, it must have been "Ballz In Yo Stomach."
Jorun Bombay: Outside of "Ballz in Yo Stomach," it would have been "Rock the Discotech" on Ghettosocks' album.
What was it that made you want to continue to collaborate with each other?
Timbuktu: Fun! I was immediately blown away by Socks' music and I had been a fan of Jo's for some time, but it was the fun that made me want to keep going.
Ghettosocks: I think our friendship allowed us to continue to work together. We always have a lot of laughs and making music and doing shows is a great excuse to get together.
Jorun Bombay: Hanging out together is half of it right there. When you click with people and you know their personalities, it's easier to come with your best shit or at least the type of music that matches the background music of what would be playing when we are all hanging out. Darren and Tim have their quirks, so the music had to specifically match that.
At what point did you decide to do an album together?
Jorun Bombay: The idea to link up to make Teenburger came from Timbuk wanting to make a whole solo release with me. I asked, "Why not bring in Ghettosocks and make this a three-man project? We're all hanging out together anyway so it just makes sense."
Timbuktu: The conversation happened during game seven of the Stanley Cup finals ― the year the Penguins won. We were listening to beats at the Vault and Jo suggested the combo and I tried to remain calm.
Ghettosocks: Timbuktu and I had done a couple songs already and we had talked about forming a group. We're pretty good friends and making music was always fun and easy. The next logical step was to do an album.
Why choose Teenburger? Any other names that were close contenders?
Jorun Bombay: That was Ghettosocks' quirky name of choice. I think Ridgemont High might have been one of the names floating around early on, but that was more of a direction than a name of choice.
Ghettosocks: I think a couple of the first names we were thinking of were Weird Science or Ridgemont High, but we kinda wanted to be a little more indirect. Teenburger was funny and likeable so we decided to run with it.
Timbuktu: Now that it's Teenburger, it seems like destiny.
After choosing the group name, was Burgertime a no-brainer for the album title?
Ghettosocks: It was almost more challenging to come up with a name for the album than to decide on a name for the group. We put out a call to our fans to see if they had any suggestions and there were plenty of funny ones. Hold the Pickle and Tastes like Flavour were a couple that I can remember offhand. Burgertime was suggested, and just made sense.
Burgertime is inspired by high school movies of the '80s and '90s. Why did you guys decide on that particular theme?
Ghettosocks: I think we wanted to do somewhat of a concept record, and it just happened to work out that we ended up doing a tribute to some of the movies we grew up on. The vibe is supposed to be fun, fast and different. I like to compare Burgertime to Paul's Boutique, in a sense. The party mentality that the Beastie Boys employed in their music is something that we bring to our thing. It's not a conscious decision; it just kind of worked out that way on its own.
Did you watch any particular movies in preparation for writing this album?
Jorun Bombay: I'm sure Socks and Tim had their choices, but I watched Porky's to familiarize myself with the mentality those guys were trying to achieve.
Ghettosocks: Some of the movies we watched in preparation were: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Porky's, Lost Boys, Dazed and Confused, Superbad, Revenge of the Nerds, The Breakfast Club, Cooley High, Midnight Madness, Teen Wolf and Weird Science, to name a few.
Timbuktu: But a lot of those films are locked in my memory taking up space. That's why there's no room for math.
How much of the subject matter was inspired by these movies and how much was inspired by real life experiences?
Ghettosocks: I'd say, structurally, for the story arc of the album, the subject matter relies heavily on referencing ideas from these movies. These ideas have kind of become inherent in North American pop-culture iconology, and in many ways still prevail through popular media to this day. Within each song, our actual characters permeate and mix with our Teenburger personas. In a way, we are projecting ourselves into these movie-like scenarios and react to the situations as we would in real life.
Timbuktu: The movies were just a sort of reference or starting point, a loose framework. It's dope to have that thread running through the album. This isn't just a collection of songs; it's a real record.
What do you say to people who find the concept a little too weird?
Timbuktu: What's weird about burgers? Nothing.
Ghettosocks: If people find it too weird, that's fine. To each their own. Burgertime is just an album that Timbuktu, Jorun and myself made for fun. We had a lot of laughs making it and I think that's evident to anyone who gives the record a listen.
The album is produced by Jorun Bombay. Why him?
Ghettosocks: Why Jorun?! Because he's the man! For those who don't know who he is, he's a Haltown O.G. DJ, beatmaker and crate-digger who's helped nourish the careers of many East coast heavies, including Buck 65, Classified, Skratch Bastid and Prison Garde (formerly Sixtoo). Jo is one of the best, if not the best, producers in Canada, who's been notoriously slept on for years. Having Jo on the project was a real privilege and a joy. He brought tons of ideas and enthusiasm to the record, not to mention his skill and creativity. So to answer your question, it was a no-brainer.
How involved was Jorun in the collaboration? Were the between song movie samples and old school rap samples his addition?
Jorun Bombay: It was up to Ghettosocks and Tim to think of the concept and I found music to match the moods.
Ghettosocks: Basically how we made the songs is Jorun would show us demos of his beats. Next, Tim and I would sit down and try and contextualize the music and place it where it belonged in the chronology of the album. After we had a theme for the song and some lyrics in place, we'd come back to Jo and flesh out the details together, whether individual scratches, movie quotes or whatever.
Jorun Bombay: Some songs took five versions before I pinpointed the musical direction of where it should go to match the lyrics and concept they made.
Ghettosocks: What you have to understand about Jorun is that he's a musical archivist and living computer. He knows breaks, obscure songs, records and all types of things that he brings to the production table. I helped pick most of the movie samples and a few rap cuts, as they're somewhat my forte, but Jo did all the actual scratching and heavy lifting.
Timbuktu: Yeah, we all made suggestions and pooled ideas, but Jo really took the ball and ran with it. He's a virtual encyclopaedia of culture and rap history. He's a mad man.
You've got remixes for "Ain't Trippin," with El Da Sensai, "Rock the Discotech," and "Pop N Chips," with More Or Les, as well as a re-imagining of "The New Science." Why so many remixes and why these particular songs?
Ghettosocks: We decided to include a few remixes as bonus treats for the listeners, and help illustrate to what extent Timbuktu and I had worked together leading up to Teenburger. Most of the remixes were Teenburger songs before Teenburger, so we thought we would commission Jorun to breathe new life into some of the tracks and give them a new context within the Burgertime world.
How did you get down with El Da Sensei for "Ain't Trippin"?
Ghettosocks: A couple years ago, maybe 2009, we toured with El Da Sensei around Atlantic and Central Canada. He was introduced to me through our mutual friends, Polish hip-hop producers The Returners (DJ Chwial & Little), and from there friendship ensued. We recorded a few songs with El Da Sensei while in Halifax. The original version of "I Ain't Trippin'" was produced by the Returners and was released as a single on the El Da Sensei & Returners' Money EP.
Timbuktu: "Richocet," from Treat of the Day and "Nothin' Sweet," from Stranger Danger, were also recorded during that time.
How did "Kill Lincoln," with D-Sisive, come about?
Timbuktu: "Kill Lincoln" was the first track we wrote for the album and lyrically one of my favourites. Jo suggested we get another voice on there to shake things up for the hook and D was more than happy to get on.
Why was "Prom (Rock the Discotech Remix)" chosen to be the first single and video track?
Ghettosocks: The version of "Rock the Discotech" that we used for the video was a demo version of a remix Jorun put together, hence "Jo's Boutique Remix." Although this version is a demo, Timbuktu and I liked it so much we thought it would make for a great stand-alone promo leading up to the album's release. We chose to do that song because it is high-energy and always goes over well at shows.
Any thoughts on the next single?
Ghettosocks: "Party Scramble," "Drunk in the Sun," and "Lost Boys" are all contenders for single status. Only time will tell where we go from here. I know Jo loves "Drunk in the Sun," though.
Jorun Bombay: I would have preferred "Drunk in the Sun" to have been the next single, but that's just me. I love the song to death. It's by far my fave.
Timbuktu: I think we're looking at "Party Scramble" next, but because the record is so cinematic, almost every track lends itself to the video medium.
Any plans currently being discussed that you might like to reveal for the sophomore album?
Ghettosocks: We just put this one out! C'mon! (Droppin' Science)