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My City: Jeff Spec is Live from Vancouver [Exclusive Interview]Posted by Nathan S. on 09/03/10 | Filed under Features, My City, Jeff Spec
Us ugly Americans often discount any hip-hop emanating from our northern neighbor, but the truth is that Canada's produced no shortage of dope emcees (besides Drake). In the latest edition of our My City interview series, up-and-coming Vancouver rhymer and sneaker-head Jeff Spec talks about Van-City's creative hip-hop energy, the boundaries of Canada's music industry and his new album "Sneakerboxx".
RefinedHype: You recently dropped your new album "Sneakerboxxx". Listening to it, would I be able to tell you're from Vancouver? Does the city have a distinctive sound?
Jeff Spec: That's a question I used to ask myself a lot... but I'd have to say I do my best not to sound like any place or person in particular. I noticed a certain sound happening here a lot, which I can definitely say I did a lot to help create, so that's when I went left with the whole band thing. The group of musicians I was fortunate enough to work with has a pretty distinct style too. I'd say you wouldn't find another record that sounds very much like "Sneakerboxxx", if I achieved my goal on it.
RefinedHype: How do you think your music and career would be different if you lived in a more "major" city like L.A., New York, Atlanta, etc.
Jeff Spec: Sometimes I've thought that it'd be a lot easier to 'make it' in a big music market like that... Vancouver is a big city (it would be in the top 10 for population in America, I believe), but it's never been any kind of music Mecca, which is odd because we have a lot of talent here. I love my city, but it's always been a big disconnect between musical talent and the music business or hustle or whatever, and I can't figure out why. We have a gang of people trying to be artists that might do better as managers, booking agents, etc, etc, but everyone wants the spotlight rather than to be part of a good team, you know? Don't worry though, the near future holds more time in these places for me!!
RefinedHype: What is it about your hometown that inspires you?
Jeff Spec: Vancouver has this thing that nobody can put their finger on. Artists from other cities come here to write and record a lot, because there's an air of inspiration and creativity here... Maybe that's where we get the everybody-as-an-entertainer syndrome from. It's a beautiful place with a lot of natural appeal and not too much drama, plus it's real slow paced, so it's easy to get caught up being creative too.
RefinedHype: If I'm rolling through Vancouver, where can I find you?
Jeff Spec: My neighborhood is the east side, more specifically Main Street. I guess that's the 'artsy' part of town, as well as Commercial Drive.
RefinedHype: Last words? Shout outs? Confessions?
Jeff Spec: I just want to put it out there that I'll be touring Canada this fall, in October to be exact, and then I'm hitting the U.S. in the late fall/early winter, so if any promoters are looking to book some solid hip hop music, hit up Live Vision (my booking agency) at www.livevision.ca which will go live real soon. Anyone out there who's into what I do can watch for tour dates on my MySpace and FB pages, or check me on Twitter... And the album is on iTunes and Bandcamp!!