| August 23, 2012 | Comments (565)

I caught up with Classified just before his set at Osheaga.  He was bringing around a new artist that he’s been working with for the past little while, Kayo.  A fellow East Coaster (I’m from Newfoundland), Classified was super easy to talk to and so was Kayo.  Check out the interview below, and keep an eye out for Kayo’s new album, which Classified did a fair bit of work on.  It will drop later this year! 

Erin: This is your first time playing Osheaga?

Classified: Yup! 


Erin: How does it feel?

Classified: Well, I just got here a half hour ago.. Took us about twenty – twenty five minutes to find our pass…And then we lost our tour manager…Then we couldn’t find the press area…Now we’re here, we’re doin stuff, and we just got to see fun.!  We caught the last two songs, my girl is here with me, and she’s a huge fan.


Erin: Okay, fabulous!

Classified:  Made her happy so far, so that’s good.


Erin: Sounds like the typical Osheaga shuffle… 

Classified: Yeah, really though!


Erin: Any acts you plan on catching?

Classified: Well, we’re only here until tomorrow morning… But I know Frank Ocean is playing tonight…and The Weeknd is playing tonight…Wait…Frank Ocean isn’t playing tonight, is he?


Erin: No, I was going to say, I thought he was here last night or the night before  or something.

Classified: Oh, okay, did he?  But yeah, I want to see Common, I want to see Snoop, I want to see the Black Keys… but a lot of them aren’t playing tonight.


Erin: Okay, so I’m a sociologist, and I guess the social impact of the Internet is one of the things I’m really interested in.  Having released your first bit of music in 1995, is that right?

Classified: Well yeah it was more of a mixtape, but yeah.


Erin: So you’re a pretty seasoned musician at this point.  With the internet becoming more and more prevalent, especially in the music industry, how do you feel like that’s impacted your presence as a musician? 

Classified: Ahhh it’s a whole different thing now, before the Internet it was a lot more face to face, you know, real life.  Now the internet is like… everything.  It’s a marketing tool, a way to get your music out, it’s a way to record your music… Like I said it changed everything.  It’s got a million bonuses, and it also has a million negatives, where there are some artists who can do the same thing now, and it’s really hard to step away from that… you know the real artists versus the people who are just doin’ it for fun… but yeah, it definitely helps get the music out. 


Erin: How about your relationship with your fans? 

Classified: Totally.  It’s way more interactive.  I’m getting a lot older too now, but when I was younger… it was like… artists that you like… they’re stars and they wanna be somebody, but now I find like.. more people relate to real people… I can relate to that, and I’m not chasing some dream, I’m just like.. doing what I want to do.  And just think… you can talk to artists now… on like Twitter… you can be like “hey! What’s up!” and 90% of the time they won’t hit you back but there’s that chance that they might hit you back… so yeah… much more interactive.


Erin: How are things going with your record label, Halflife?

Classified: Yeah it’s been good!  Kayo is the guy I’ve been working with a lot the last year and a half.  I’ve been taking him around and he’s been working on his own music, he signed on EMI and all that.


Erin (to Kayo): How has that been going?

Kayo: It ain’t so bad, I just came off a tour with Snoop Lion a couple of weeks ago.

Classified: He actually converted him!

(everyone laughs)


Erin: Talk to us about your most recent album, Handshakes and Middle Fingers.   Was there anything different about your approach? 

Classified: Well, no, not really… I mean it’s like my 14th album… I just kinda write about what I’m going through in life, what I’m thinkin, and I make all of my own beats and stuff, I make beats that I like, beats that I enjoy hearin’, and I just try not to repeat myself… haha you know what I mean?  Like tryin to come up with clever things… I think my beats got a lot better on this album, I think my song writing got better… And now I got more expectations and stuff… I just like to write about what I do, what I see, what I go through.  You know, I’m a little bit older than last album… my life’s changed a little bit, so, the songs have changed a bit.


Erin: Well, it’s definitely a solid album, I love it.

Classified: Thanks a lot, I appreciate it. 


Erin: I really love the title.. Handshakes and Middle Fingers.  That’s crazy. 

Classified: Handshakes and Middle Fingers?  Yeah it’s about balance.  That’s kinda what I wanted to call the record, but there’s a lot of records called “Balance”.  I just wanted something to represent the ying and the yang, the gift and the curse… and so “Handshakes and Middle Fingers”… a lot of people if they’re not shakin’ your hand, they’re giving you the finger.  But yeah, everyone asks, what does that mean? 


Erin: Yeah, I love it!  A lot! 

Classified: Thank you. 


Erin: So you’re also an East Coaster…

Classified: Yeah b’y! 


Erin:  Do you find that region to be particularly inspiring?  I know that I take a lot from the ocean….it always makes me feel better.

Classified: I don’t know!  I’ve never lived anywhere else!  For me to say that I totally get more inspired… I dunno, I guess I have a hard time writing on the road and doing anything like that… I gotta be home in my studio relaxing.  I dunno I think the east coast will be good… especially the music community… it’s a pretty small region where everyone seems to know everyone and they like different stuff!  They don’t wanna hear what everyone is doing in Toronto and whatever, and it doesn’t mean that it has to have fiddles and bagpipes and stuff, but they definitely want to hear something different.  Which inspires me to try and be a little bit different.


Erin: Awesome!  What do you have planned for the rest of the year? 

Classified:  Workin on a new album right now… trying to finish that up… Kayo’s new album will come out soon and then touring… and we just left Sony records and signed with Universal… so getting used to this new thing and it’s great but I’m just saying this now, and it might change in a year or two but I can really get behind it!  And it just really feels good to have that energy and someone chasing you down saying “I need this and I need this” rather than me chasing someone else down… it seems pretty exciting.  


Erin: Any words of wisdom?

Classified: Uhh.. Roll a little tobacco with your weed, keep your beer cold, and wear sunscreen!  And drink responsibly! 


Click below for more about Classified:
Official Website
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Category: Interviews