With the release of his new EP Re:Percussions, Orijin takes a minute to share some perspective behind the release with CityGospel.ca
What’s new these days with Orijin/LSTNFND?
Personally, I’m in full-on gratitude mode coming off the release of the Re:Percussions mixtape. A lot of time, care, and creativity went into creating it, so it’s great being able to focus now on sharing it with friends and supporters, and on connecting with good folks in the community like City Gospel who help to spread the love. In terms of newness with the LSTNFND crew, we’ve had a couple of recent additions to the squad: Adam Pondang as our household audio engineer, a.k.a. “sound genie” and Jon Corbin, a longtime friend and mentor who’s now building into the label as our official A&R or creative coach. Let’s just say these guys’ expertise packs a lot of exciting potential into the LSTNFND utility belt.
What is the Re:Percussions Mixtape?
It’s the product of me coming to a more confident grip of my identity and calling as an emcee, and celebrating that in the form of some really fun rap songs. I think this collection of songs and memorable moments is as much fun to listen to as it was to create. When my next album rolls around, you’ll hear me dig more into social commentary and the grander questions of faith. On Re:Percussions, I offer a taste of that, but more so I’m inviting listeners to lower their guard, pump the volume, and catch a sense of the freedom and joy that I rock with everyday in my walk with Christ.
Why a mixtape and not an album/LP?
I wanted to piece together a project that felt like it had a personal touch — not overproduced, not too concerned about track-length, or about which songs make the cut. Great mixtapes, in my experience, always have that really organic feel, like I’m getting to know the artist in closer quarters. I’m getting to appreciate their versatility of sound and technique in a format that’s more of a seamless listening experience than just a series of individual songs. I want this project to create the vibe of a rap show in your living room, versus a large-scale concert at the Air Canada Centre.
What was the hardest song to write?
I’m going to cheat on this question and give two answers. The most difficult to write in terms of delivery, structure and flow was Can’t Go Wrong. It’s an extremely different style from any song I’ve created and definitely succeeded at pushing me past my usual creative limits – which, funny enough, is exactly what the track is about. Three different beats and two re-writes later, I’m pleased with how it came out!
The one that took the most time however was Catch ‘Em All. No joke – it was 5 years ago when my big brother challenged me to write a rap about Pokemon. I thought the idea was hilarious but so far outside of my repertoire of usual topics that I didn’t expect to ever make it work. I wrote the first 4 bars in 2011 and retired them to a dusty bookshelf until it occurred to me that this project was the most opportune time to resurrect the idea. I am now pleased to have added a song to the Orijin archives where I rap about Jesus… and Pokémon at the same time. To sweeten the deal, my big bro, a professional voice-over artist, provided a little cameo as a familiar character on the track. Like I said, we had some fun making this project.
You’ve grown a lot as an MC since “In Good Hands.” What’s the one thing that you think has changed the most? How is that displayed on Re:Percussions?
In Good Hands was my first album with the LSTNFND camp, and at that time we were still discovering how to make the most of a collaborative creative process. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years, but I’d say that since then I’ve been learning to more humbly embrace the feedback and refinement that my team offers for my writing and creative vision. I can be pretty dang stubborn, so that in itself is a miracle. Jeremy’s ever-evolving production and Mark’s super-creative writing style both push me to experiment with new ways of writing and delivering rhymes. And in addition to all that is simply the encouragement I receive from the team, building confidence in my gifts and in the awesome God who gives and nurtures ’em.
So, back to the question at hand: the key thing that’s changed is that I’m coming equipped with a stronger team foundation than I’ve ever had. One that’s constantly sharpening me and reminding me that I haven’t yet “made it”. On Re:Percussions you’ll hear some rhyme patterns, and even a confidence level in my voice that I wouldn’t be equipped to showcase if not for the ways the team has built into me recently.
What can we look forward to from Orijin and LSTNFND in 2016?
Off the heels of my mixtape release, Mark danger will be blessing the world with a new EP in the coming months. After that, our prolific producer Jeremy will be coming out with another glorious beat tape. In terms of live shows, we are now booking 10 stops around the GTA for our spring tour, “Inside the Box”. Our website is the central spot to check our show dates and stream or download all new releases. We’re thankful for all the love and excited to keep on spreading it!