Forget compasses, GPS, or helpful Sherpas. From June 13–19 this year, Torontoist is here to be your guide to everything NXNE.
D-Sisive plays June 19 at Yonge-Dundas Square. Photo courtesy of D-Sisive.
Fittingly for a rapper who partook in the Digital Beats+Tweets panel at NXNEi this year, D-Sisive found out he made the Polaris Long List earlier this week on Twitter. Anxiously waiting, he said he just kept hitting refresh all morning until he got the news. But this isn’t the only big development for the Juno-nominated artist, as he’s taking over the main stage at Yonge-Dundas Square closing out NXNE with Digable Planets and The Pharcyde. After a hiatus from hip-hop in the early 2000s, D-Sisive came back with four albums in the past three years, (the most recent, Jonestown 2: Jimmy Go Bye Bye, garnering the Polaris nod). Rhyming about everything from R. Crumb to George Stroumboulopoulos D-Sisive’s lyrics and beats blend a classic hip-hop sound with fresh collaborations while experimenting with style and genre. Just don’t get him started about wookie balls…
Torontoist: Tell us why we should see you at NXNE, in 10 words or less.
D-Sisive: I’m going to count the words with my fingers as I go along…Because, I, rap, good, rap songs…that’s six…So fun to watch. ‘Because I rap good rap songs. So fun to watch.’ It’s two sentences.
What’s your favourite Toronto venue, and why?
I don’t think I can answer that with one venue, I have to split it up. After my last record my profile has grown a little bit, so fortunately with that I’ve moved into slightly bigger venues when it comes to performing at home in Toronto. I had the honour to perform twice last year at the Horseshoe Tavern, which has always been a dream of mine. I played with a 12-piece band, KC Roberts and the Live Revolution. They backed me up and recreated my songs. We did a Juno show, then headlined a Let The Children Die show [D-Sisive’s 2009 album] a year ago. Just playing there was incredible—to see the room filled each time, to see so many people there. And it just comes with so much history. That speaks to me, knowing the people that have been on that stage—that excites me, it makes me feel special [laughter]. But also to speak on the smaller venues—and I don’t use the term ‘small’ as an insult in any way—but I have to say the Rivoli. I love performing at the Rivoli, it’s a smaller place but their sound system is incredible and it’s always a great excuse to have wookie balls before you perform. Have you ever eaten at the restaurant?
I haven’t, no.
Oh, you have to. We have to go get wookie balls. It’s like a sticky rice with a seed shell and comes with a spicy red sauce. But my only issue, and maybe this will help start the revolution, but you only get three of them. So if you’re there in twos, it’s not an ideal first date appetizer because then you’re wondering who’s going to take that third wookie ball. It just creates a lot of tension. You know, you’re on a first date so you want to act like you have a small appetite to impress the other person but once you have one wookie ball, someone has to make a move. It just makes for a very tense situation. So, the Rivoli needs to add another wookie ball.
We’re going to have to start a campaign.
Yeah, I think that’s a good idea. The revolution starts here.
Does the North East beat the South West, and why?
I’m going to have to say yes for now only because I haven’t been to the South West yet. But even when I do go, the North East will beat the South West because I represent the maple leaf…I’m going to stick with the North East because of my background and the soil that I’ve grown from. The North East beats it. It bludgeons it to death.
Who’s going to be the breakout act of NXNE this year?
I think I’ve got a tip for everybody. There’s a little band coming out from Toronto, I’m sure most people who read this won’t be familiar with any of their work but they’re incredible, and they’re up and coming. They’re a band called Fucked Up. I’m hoping that this year this could be a platform for them to make a little bit of a splash. I’m a big fan of their music, once they get a bigger fan base it will be all over for them, they’ll take over. I got to go for Fucked Up, that album is blowing me away. It’s the most insane record. And it’s not one of those records that’s just hype. The whole world talked about the Tyler, the Creator album, and now here’s this guy who’s going to take over. And then you listen to it and it doesn’t match up—I’m not saying it’s a bad record, but the first single “Yonkers” totally far exceeded anything else on the record. I don’t know if the Fucked Up record was leaked previous to it’s release date but I know in this instance I didn’t want to download it. I wanted it the day it came out, I wanted to buy the CD, I wanted to be 18 years old again and read the credits. And I was just praying [it would live up to the hype] and then it was just a stream from beginning to end.
What’s up next for you?
My shows are starting to pick up, so I’m doing more touring and focusing on that. But I’m also doing my new album called Run With Creeps, we haven’t set a release date yet but it will be announced within the coming weeks. Along with the record I started a blog, runwiththecreeps.com, so all my listeners could come along on the journey with me. I’ll be documenting every detail of the creative process: every word written, every day that I’ve worked on a verse or started a beat, it’s all going to be there. It could be a good thing for when the record is done, if it succeeds, but if it fails it will be a horrible thing for me to revisit. So we’ll see. I’m just setting myself up for something in the future. I’m just not quite sure what yet. That’s in your hands, world.