NewMusicTen In Conversation with Vibonics: NewMusic Ten is online music’s first pop up shop! 1 month, 10 artists, 1 LP/EP each.
Do you remember Collision Course? The 2004 release was a musical mash up between Linkin Park and Jay-Z fusing hip hop with rock. Take that musical template toss into that sonic mix some soul and jazz and you’ll have the basic ingredients that make up Vibonics.
The 6 piece genre-busting outfit from Toronto sits down with Sammy Younan, founder and curator of NewMusic Ten as they prepare for their upcoming Canadian tour in May.
NM Ten: Simple question to start. Vibonics is…
Alfred Chow – Guitarist/Power Forward
Crossword – Emcee/Shooting Guard
Kubota – Singer/Centre
Scottie – Drummer/Point Guard
Laura – Keys/Small Forward
Jose – Bassist/6th Man
NM Ten: What are some of the musical influences each band member brings to the band?
Alfred: As a wee child, I heard classical music from Beethoven to Chopin. As an angsty teen, I listened to bands like Metallica, Marilyn Manson, Offspring, RHCP (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and Pantera. As a young adult, I turned gears to the genres of folk rock, jazz and Motown.
Crossword: A steady diet of underground hip hop, blended in with some indie rock, and an appetite for heavy music that takes over from time to time. Influential artists include Nas, OutKast, A Tribe Called Quest, System of a Down, The Roots, Ghostface Killah, Radiohead, Stevie Wonder, Little Brother, Mobb Deep and Rage Against the Machine.
Kubota: Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Sade, Fleetwood Mac.
Scott: Blink 182 or my drum teacher Chris Lesso.
Laura: Jazz is a heavy influence for me since I studied Jazz Piano at York University.
Jose: Definitely a lot of Death From Above 1979 in my system.
NM Ten: Typically music stores categorize bands by genre—how do you feel about genre typecasting?
Vibonics: In a sense, genre typecasting discredits the potential for the music listener’s open-mindedness in favour of marketing convenience. Then again, I’m a fan of spontaneous genre-bombing in hopes of serendipitous discovery of dope music I’ve never heard of before.
We define our sound as hip-hop-funk-rock, but in actuality there’s a lot more going on than just that. I guess we could end up in either one of those sections, but that’s for the record stores to decide.
NM Ten: With such a wide variety of sounds, why not create your own genre?
Vibonics: We’re not so pretentious to claim we’re doing something so out of the ordinary there’s nothing to fall back on. “Hip-hop-funk-rock” is pretty much an encapsulation of the characterizations we’ve received from others. If someone comes along with a fitting name for our style of music, we might just roll along with it.
NM Ten: You’re about to embark on a Canadian tour in May. What can your Canadian fans expect?
Vibonics: Our fans can expect a lot of videos during our hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of driving through the great Canadian landscape… maybe some mischief along the way.
But they are guaranteed to get a hell of a performance, as we’ll be unleashing our energy that will be suppressed in the long car rides along with some not so pleasant odors as well…
NM Ten: For those not familiar with the Toronto scene who are some bands making you exclaim, “Oh Yes!”?
Vibonics: There’s so much going on musically up here; a lot of bands, crews, associations etc. doing their thing. It keeps you on your toes… sleep one night and there’s a whole roster of hungry kids ready to take your spot.
Some artists we really dig in Toronto are Fresh Kils & Relic – a dope producer + emcee combo who perform all their tracks with Kils’ mind blowing live MPC skills; Balboa is a band that seldom plays shows, but when they do perform, it’s nothing but Rocky covers; Dinosaur Bones are awesome, and have an added bonus in the folklore of their Sneaky-Dee’s-partying-in-his-underwear bassist, Branko aka Serb Superb; Rich Kidd is an ill emcee, producer and overall beast on stage, guaranteed to rock a high energy show (and stomp on a few bars while doing so).
NM Ten: You’re featured on NewMusic Ten this month. Thank you! I really dig Nervous. Which track would you encourage fans to check out?
Vibonics: All of them! If they feel like getting crunk: “Major.” If they feel like chillin out: “Palm Trees.” if they’re in the mood for a ballad: “Lights Out.” And if they just wanna head nod with an ever-growing smile on their face: “Nervous.”
NM Ten: Okay here it is! I am offering you a time machine: you can only travel in the past as a band and you can only see 1 concert, who and when would you go see?
Vibonics: Right in front of the stage for Red Hot Chili Peppers – Live at Slane Castle.
NM Ten: Good call! Thank you for time. I hope Canadians are ready for your tour!
Socialize With Sammy:
Vibonics Interview by Sammy Younan.