Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani
Geez, Tim Hortons get a lotta unintentional love from the Ottawa MC crowd.
Earlier this year, MC and Hip Hop Karaoke impresario Devin Atherton made a rap video called “1 in 6” (the odds of winning in the chain’s roll up the rim contest).
The song about “ol’ Timmie Ho’s” got him 6,376 YouTube views and lots of press. A Tim’s mention seems to bring out the web surfers in droves. The meme grows quickly amongst a crowd that likes their brew (my pal describes their stuff this way: what coffee tastes like with two cigarette butts in the bottom of the cup, but I digress).
Ottawa rap cat Peter Joynt, 33, also had a few ideas in mind for a Tim Hortons-loving rap video, but he got busy with his day job in IT and put that project on the backburner for now.
Is this back-end brand promotion the way to go for today’s rappers?
“That’s what you have to do nowadays to get your name on people’s radars,” Joynt says. “You get a bit of radio play, but it fizzles, because there is so much stuff out there. The music industry is so diluted by every kid who has a home computer and software that can make beats.”
So you have to piggyback on a brand or do a Gangam Style-spoof?
“Exactly. Or, in my case, I was trying so hard to get my work out there. I had been rapping for the past 10 years and wanted to write something that people could get behind.”
So, last year, Joynt wrote “Capcity,” a throwdown ode to the place “where the skies and the taxi cabs are all blue.” The video went viral, he was the Citizen’s A1 cover boy, and the Ottawa Senators called looking for some pre-game rhymes.
Joynt got the spinoff attention he was seeking and an anchor track for his new album called Self-Sampled, to be released this weekend at Orange Gallery. The show is yet another Ottawa lovefest: there will be Ottawa-inspired art by Megan D’Arcy and Bhat Boy, a video with high-definition aerial shots of the capital, and a DJ set by So Nice.
The album title Self-Sampled refers to the fact that Joynt uses vocal lines from his past albums as samples on this album. (In some fields, recycling your own work is acceptable).
It gives some of the songs a staccato effect so that each tune sounds like it’s kind of clipped. It pairs well with the Gang Starr-inspired scratching and acts as an inadvertent reference to Joynt’s stutter — something he raps about and discusses in interviews. Joynt mentors kids who have a stutter, showing them that you can have a public profile despite speaking differently.
“I have stuttered since I was a kid, but when I rap it’s completely gone,” he explains with a right-brain, left-brain breakdown. “They teach bad stutterers to sing and act, because when you do artsy stuff it bridges the gap between the two sides of the brain.”
Some people think Joynt’s vanity plate — which reads RRROLL UP — is actually a humorous reference to his stutter, but it circles back to Tim Hortons — and the reason Joynt was considering creating a video about the chain. Y’see, his affinity for Timmies is a little more ingrained than, say, Atherton’s.
Earlier this year Joynt won a car after rolling up the rim. Not a stale donut, not a timbit, not a free friggin’ coffee. But a hybrid Toyota. The odds are 1 in 7.2 million.
He was in his cubicle when he rolled up the rim. When he yelled, “Shit, I won a car!” his colleagues started swarm, take pictures, they even called loved ones. Talk about Timmies as religious experience.
The fine print said Joynt could take a used car of his choice and cash in the remaining value, so he got a used Lexus and a cheque for nine grand.
So, did he rap about it? Of course. His new tune “On My Side” details his observations over the last little while. Emblematic line: “I must’ve done something right to get these ins, because I’m booking shows and getting coffee cup wins.”
The Joynt CD release takes place Saturday, October 13, at Orange Gallery on Armstrong Avenue, near Parkdale. 9 p.m. $15.
SHOULDA COULDA WOULDA
Twitter told me that there was to be a little throwdown between right-wing firebrand Ezra Levant and Can-punk icon and wannabe NDPer Joey “Shithead” Keithley at the Economic Club of Canada. Had it worked out, it would’ve been up there with the Trudeau-Brazeau brawl in terms of must-see political action. Alas, it didn’t work out — something about scheduling, etc. Instead Keithley brings his band D.O.A. to play Zaphod Beeblebrox this weekend. We’re told it’s a farewell tour for D.O.A. After 35 years of shit-disturbing with the band, Keithley wants to work inside the system. He’s seeking the NDP nomination in Coquitlam—Burke Mountain. See him and D.O.A. on Saturday with two up-and-coming Ottawa punk acts: Raw Raw Riot and Brain Damage. 27 York St., Doors at 8 p.m., $15 advance.
LOTSA NEW MUSIC
There are more new albums being released this weekend—and one that’s not being released.
So, who messed up? “We had hiccups with a laptop — glitches, ya know?” says Jeff Martin, frontman for punk band Garaga. Their guitar-scrawling, low-end-lovin’ group is hosting a Failed Record Launch Saturday at the Dominion Tavern and will play all the songs that didn’t make it onto their non-existent record. The band — whose members go way back in the Ottawa scene having done time in bands such as Harshey and the Bitchin’ Camaros — are planning to produce a seven-inch in lieu of the full-length. It will come on the heels of two vinyl releases: Miss Universe (2011) and their self-titled red vinyl debut (2008). Hanging Girl and In Heat open the show. 33 York St., 10 p.m., $8.
BACK TALK ORGAN TRIO
Perhaps they should call themselves the Smack Talk Organ Trio — it would up the attitude quotient of this Ottawa band ever so slightly and would be fitting, because they’re kinda funny. The Back Talk Organ Trio’s tunes are framed around that distinctive sizzle of the Hammond B3 organ, played by Don Cummings (Bullfrog, Lake Effect) with Ian Babb (horns), Chris Swain (guitar) and Mike Essoudry (drums). The band is a trio in name, but four dudes played on their debut album called Black Flower — to be released Friday. It’s got a bunch of instrumental jams, plus a hilarious plinky-poppy cover of Bell Biv DeVoe’s tune “Poison.” It brings to mind Richard Cheese, the guy who covered Nirvana tunes lounge-style. It’s not all jokes — the band has serious nu-jazz cred. Three of its four members played in with ‘90s funk revivalist band Bullfrog. Mercury Lounge, early show: 7:30 p.m., $10. 56 Byward Market.
FOR SUPER FANS
If you want to explore the intricacies of sound and its relation to space, head to the Electric Fields Surrounding Sound Symposium taking place this weekend at Arts Court Theatre. There will be a number of speakers from the fields of fine art and architecture. We recommend the works of Barry Blesser and Matthew Edwards. The latter is an Ottawa architect who co-organized the Polytecture sound walk last year. 2 Daly Ave.