Last year, I had an EP sent to me. That’s nothing new, but what was different was that I was digging what I was hearing from this group that called themselves Alphaghetto. I’m not going to say I hate everything sent to me, because honestly I do get some good music from time to time, but it’s a little more rare that I hear something, I like it, it sticks with me for more than a week, and I remember the group six months later. That’s exactly what happened with Alphaghetto, who are now just known as Chapter Thrive and Ryan Stinson. What impressed me was their range of topics and sounds found on the EP, 20 Something.The six song EP had old school party jams like “Casual Touch”, then they would break off into something somber, describing heartbreak like “Long Gone”. Topics that my 30 something year old ass had and still is experiencing from time to time.
Earlier this year, the duo appears again, as they send me their latest track, “By My Side,” which will go down as one of my favorite tracks of 2010 (you will see it on the year end list no doubt). They also inform me that they have a full length album set to drop late summer/early fall. They released 20 Something (the full album, plus six tracks from the EP), and it’s filled with the same varying topics, the throw back dusty beats, and everything that made me like the EP. The Canadian duo then dropped the instrumentals for free, which is dope in it’s own right.
Download the instrumentals and check the interview after the jump….
We finally got a chance to sit down with Ryan and Chapter and chop it up about their history, their music and their future…..
Cop the instrumentals HERE:http://chapterandstinson.bandcamp.com/album/20-something-the-beats
Buy the album HERE: http://chapterandstinson.bandcamp.com/album/20-something
Bloggerhouse: What’s good gents, can you drop some introductions and some background for those that might not be familiar with y’all, like who does what, ect….
Chapter: The pseudonym is Thrive, Chapter Thrive, Esquire, The Third, but you would probably get away with just calling me Chapter. I hail from the northern forests of Canada, and I moved slightly south to Saskatoon, sometime in 2004 for this period in my life called university. Since then, or there-abouts, I been practicin’ the craft of rapping (and some beat making I suppose). I dropped a CD-R album, that I call my mixtape, called Spheres of the City in early 2007. Since then, I’ve been working on various projects and playing shows all over Saskatoon and beyond. Now, I’m serious, word to Guilty Simpson!
Ryan Stinson: I’m the producer out of this duo. I mean, I could probably rap, but my memory isn’t what it used to be. I’m from southern Canada and have been making beats since 1999, but didn’t get serious about it until 2006 when I released my compilation, Open Mic. Since then, I’ve been going to school, working as a designer, and maneuvering around the great white north.
BH: How did the two of you hook up? You were formally known as Alphaghetto, why the name change?
Chapter: Ryan and I have this weird history, going back a while. One of my best friends from high school, married one of his friends from high school and then one day, we both realized we made rap music, and eventually we got black out drunk at a release party in Saskatoon. I think it was there that we realized we shared a mutual enjoyment of partying and drinking. Eventually Ryan moved back here to Saskatoon, and eventually ended up living in the 911 Mansion for about a year. At which point, we decided we’d better join forces on some Wolverine/Spiderman shit and cook up an album about how awesome being 20something is. Since we lived it up quite a bit during our formative years.
We were cooking up ideas for an EP we had originally planned to release early in 2009 and the vibe we were on was kinda silly, and kinda about being dirt broke. It kinda made sense. But as the year and work went on, we got a bit more serious about this project and decided we’d better use our regular rap names to give the project a bit more depth. Since we are 20something and all…
BH: You released the EP last year, how did that prepare cats for what you were about to unleash on them?
Chapter: I think it was received pretty well, we had a good response from the local scene, and sold a few copies on a short tour we went on in May. I look at every bit of music released as a gateway drug for potential fans. And it definitely let people know where I had stepped up to since my previous release and work.
Ryan: At first, I saw our EP as just something that we could sell for a few bucks at shows, give away free to the internets to slowly build a fanbase. But as time grew I wanted to make sure that everything was right and we considered this a proper release. From the mixing, mastering and branding, everything had to be executed properly. 20 Something solidified our efforts.
BH: As you mentioned, the latest album is entitled 20 Something, why that name? What’s the significance?
Chapter: This was Ryan’s brainchild, he thought it up and it made perfect sense to me after looking at the songs we’d made and the ideas discussed…
Ryan: I saw naming it 20 Something as an easy decision since all of the songs are based off of the concept of this time in our lives. Whether it be graduating university, getting a job, a real girlfriend, losing said girlfriend, we’ve all done it. It seems like our 20’s are a really weird time in our lives where everyone has to deal with very similar, relatable issues.
BH: Like you guys said, a lot of the songs on the album are just general every day happenings of many of us, was that something you aimed for?
Chapter: Not to begin with, I don’t think. The songs and beats we started with kind of evolved out of thin air from some experiences I had and Ryan’s interpretation. Again, as the album was building, it started to be a tenet of the project. To me, I wanted to share what I was going through, but at the same time, let my audience listen and realize that someone else is going through the same things. Or doing the same things. That was my focus for connective writing on this album. Try to be general, and specific at the same time.
BH: Describe the writing and beat making process associated with 20 Something?
Chapter: In most cases, Ryan came over with samples, or brought up a sample and he worked on the beat while I listened and watched. Sometimes I wrote while he worked, or just after the beat was finished. I remember the songs coming together really quickly on my part, and recording being pretty spontaneous.
Ryan: Just as Chapter said, I would either go over to his place and work with his equipment or create the beats at my place and then show him a rough idea of what I was working on at the time. I do remember that at one point my computer had died (fried the mother board) so I would go digging through Chapter’s record collection instead.
BH: Ryan, what kind of equipment do you use for your production? Your sounds are based on that the throwback sound, how important is that authentic sound to you and making beats?
Ryan: I currently use an iMac with Reason 4.0, Recylce, Ableton Live 8, and Logic 9. For my older beats, I have installed Windows on my Mac and still run Fruity Loops, but only when necessary. When it comes to the throwback sound, I think it depends on my mood. Sometimes I will come up with a very poppy beat that will have synths and pads, and other times I will stumble upon a really melancholy sample that I feel should have more strings or a choir. When it came to 20 Something, throw back is what Chapter was always wanting and looking for. He always asked for something that was a bit more ATCQ-ish. There was only beat I knew he should shit his pants over, “Transition”.
BH: What are you hoping to accomplish with the album? Money, groupies, and bottles of Cris?
Chapter: Well personally, I’m attempting to cull a harem of beautiful women, and this is one of the means to the final goal. haha.. but seriously, I think my main goal is to build something into the history of hip hop, most distinctively Canadian hip hop. I want to travel the world spreading music. I grew up on a lot of Canadian artists who are now doing crazy things around the world and I’d like to join the ranks
Ryan: I just want to build up a repertoire of good songs that will hopefully help define where we come from. From gangster rappers to intellectual/political emcees, our scene is quite diverse and I believe that this album has helped us carve out our own spot. Now we just need to expose it.
BH: What’s the hardest thing about being an independent artist in the scene these days?
Chapter: I think its juggling my jobs and this rap shit. To keep everything in order, I’ve developed pretty obscene sleeping patterns.
Ryan: I think it’s trying to be rewarded for your efforts. Artists will always starve, so we will always need a real permanent source of income and security. Sometimes hip-hop doesn’t feel like it loves you back, but it’s like that girlfriend you can’t break up with, and you know deep down that the feelings are always reciprocated, but maybe not shown.
BH: Where do you guys see yourselves in five years?
Chapter: Well, hopefully running some businesses, a few more successful albums under my belt and a few successful tours. I love hip hop and I love making it, but i know I can’t keep doing this forever.
Ryan: I think it’s a given to say that I’d like a few more projects under the belt, but I’d like to be putting my visual communications degree to good use by either working for myself or for a small successful firm.
BH: Any future projects coming up?
Chapter: I’m working on a mixtape currently on the back burner and I’m putting together the groundwork for my next album, which will feature Ryan on a few of the beats as well as myself and a few other producers out there. My main focus for the near future is trying to get some kind of string of shows together and hopefully a tour of some sort.
Ryan: For my solo work, I’ve actually been awarded an Arts Grant from our provincial government for my next project, so that is currently in development. It will be a mainly instrumental album that will feature a children choir and a few feature emcees. As for group work, I am presently mixing an EP that Virtue (of partyboobytrap) and I have almost finished recording. It’s sounding really good so far, but we’re not too sure what the title will be.
BH: Any last words?
Chapter: Shouts to everyone in Saskatoon, I love this city. Shout out to Neil Malik, Scratch (my favourite bar to work at!) and all the staff there. The roomies and extended family at the 911 mansion, (you know who you are) Thanks to WYDU and Bloggerhouse for the interview opportunity! Shout to Ryan way out there in Vancouver! Let’s get it!
Ryan: Shout out to Saskatoon, Phonographique, Saskatchewan Arts Board, everyone who has supported the album through downloads/streams/purchases, my lovely lady, Chapter Thrizzive, and my family! Definitely WYDU and Bloggerhouse! If you’ve made it this far in the interview, you must be interested, so check out http://weare20something.com and grab the album or 20 Something (The Beats) - it’s free!