MUNESHINE INTERVIEW


Muneshine is Droppin Science with new album, ‘There Is Only Today’. The prolific Saskatoon-born, Toronto-based rapper/producer, Muneshine, is joining forces with Droppin Science to release his third studio project.

Since the release of Status Symbol in 2008, we’ve seen Muneshine touring the world, producing for Canadian heavy-hitters, D-Sisive, Ghettosocks, Shad, Maestro, Moka Only and more, and receiving multiple award wins and nominations (SOCAN Echo Songwriting Award in 2009 with D-Sisive, Polaris Music Prize Long-list in 2009 and 2011 with D-Sisive, ‘Best Hip Hop Album’ nomination for Twin Peaks’ (Muneshine & Ghettosocks) ‘Kissing Hands & Shaking Babies’ at the East Coast Music Awards in 2012, and ‘Best Rap Recording’ JUNO Award nomination for D-Sisive’s ‘Jonestown 2′ (fully produced and mixed by Muneshine) in 2012.

“There Is Only Today” not only showcases Muneshine’s growth (and strength) as an MC (and producer), but also delivers with incredible production from DJ Spinna, Buckwild, !llmind, M-Phazes, Suff Daddy, Freddie Joachim, Bix, Boom Baptist, Jeff Spec and Shinogo. While the sounds are familiar, we see Muneshine venturing in some exciting new, and more personal directions. He has also brought along some of today’s strongest contemporary artists, such as: Emilio Rojas, D-Sisive, Ghettosocks and more. “There Is Only Today” is sure to be both a showpiece for Mune’s illustrious career and a serious payoff for his ever-patient loyal fans.

Who is Muneshine?
Muneshine is the on-stage persona of Rob Bakker. I am Rob Bakker (and Muneshine). I’m a producer, artist, DJ and mix engineer. I’m originally from a small town called Dalmeny, Saskatchewan in central Canada, I’m now based out of Toronto, Ontario (and have been for about 8 years).

I’m 1/2 of The Birthday Boys (with friend/collaborator, D-Sisive), 1/2 of Twin Peaks (with friend/collaborator, Ghettosocks), 1/5 of Wolves (with D-Sisive, Ghettosocks, Timbuktu (the REAL Timbuktu – from Canada), and Bix (our producer). I’m also one of the founders of Wax Reform.

Who were your musical influences growing up?
Public Enemy and Ice Cube were my favourite hip hop artists early on, and by early on I mean around 1989-1992. I’ve always had a variety of tastes when it comes to music, though. I grew up listening to what my mom was into (James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Elton John, classical and jazz piano, etc.).

What first got you into Hip Hop?
My boy David Lambert is single-handedly responsible for my introduction to hip hop (among other things)! He introduced me to Public Enemy when I was 9 years old. I was hooked immediately and it just snow-balled from there.

What was Canadian Hip Hop like back then?
Canadian hip hop very on point back then. There wasn’t much of a scene in Saskatchewan, at least at that time, but things were happening. I was made-fun of in the beginning for loving hip hop, I was called all the names. Nowadays kids are probably clowned on if they DON’T listen to hip hop. Ah, memory lane!

Who were some of the artists making noise?
Maestro Fresh Wes had a monster hit in ’89 called ‘Let Your Backbone Slide’ (and oddly enough, he and I are homies and collaborators now!). The scene was young in Canada at that time, but a lot of great artists came out of that era (Michie Mee, Devon and Dream Warriors to name a few).

For those unfamiliar with Canadian Hip Hop which 5 albums/tracks would you recommend for them to check out?
Definitely Maestro’s first album, ‘Symphony In Effect’, Rascalz ‘Cash Crop’, Dream Warriors ‘My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style’, ‘Rap Essentials Volume 1′ (Compilation on Beat Factory Records), and of course, Muneshine ‘There Is Only Today’.

You are a MC, producer and engineer what did do you first and how did the others follow?
I actually started out as a DJ, but I rapped a little for fun. I got into production as a result of DJing and learning about (and finding my favourite) producers, like Pete Rock, Premier, Spinna and Jay Dee (J Dilla). Engineering came a few years after that out of a need to be self-sufficient as an artist/producer, and in 2004 I started taking MCing seriously.

What do you most enjoy doing and why?
I still love doing them all. I go through phases where I have my preference. They all satisfy in different ways. I consider myself a producer primarily, but I take all of it seriously.

When in producer mode what equipment did you first start out using what do you now use?
I started out by copping an MPC 2000, and was definitely biting off more than I could chew. I eventually mastered that machine (and swore by it) until I moved on to software-based production. This was an easy transition as I was already using a few different programs for recording and mixing purposes. These days I do all my sampling, arranging and sequencing in software, and use a midi controller (and other, more talented musicians) for additional composition.

You are a co-founder of Wax Reform, a collective of producers and artists from around the world who is in it and how did you form?
Wax Reform was established by myself and Dminor (USA). We later reached out to M-Phazes (Australia), Presto (Holland), Illmind (USA) and Emilio Rojas (USA). There was a short period where Kam Moye (USA – going by Supastition at the time) was down as well. It was only taken seriously in the early stages. We all met (online – specifically through hip hop message boards – nerd shit!). We shared the hunger and similar taste so it just made sense. It didn’t take long for all of us to turn our focus elsewhere, but it still maintains somewhat of a legacy (at least in my eyes). It was a fun and exciting time in music for me!

Do you often work together on each others material?
I still work with everyone in the crew except Kam, we haven’t caught up in a while. Emilio still does a lot of work with M-Phazes and Illmind. Regardless, I have the utmost respect and appreciation for what they’re all doing today.

What is the current Canadian Hip Hop scene like who should we be looking out for?
It’s really exciting! There’s a lot of great and interesting music coming out on a regular basis. It’s the first time since the early 90′s I feel like we’re making top-tier hip hop. You should be watching for D-Sisive, Ghettosocks, Shad, Pigeon Hole, Wolves, Moka Only, ELMNT, Relic, Slakah the Beatchild, Rich Kidd, Adam Bomb, Tona, SonReal, man, so many artists! That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What do you think of Drake’s success? Are record labels in Canada now looking for the next Drake?
I think record labels everywhere are looking for the next Drake. The Canadian major label scene is a joke, as far as hip hop is concerned. They fronted on Drake hard in the beginning, I’m sure some people lost their jobs when he blew up without them!

Maestro says it best (at least regarding our major music industry), ‘Canada is beer, hockey and rock’n'roll’.

That said, I’m a fan of Drake’s. I think he’s a really talented artist, and he makes smart business decisions. He doesn’t make the kind of music I crave, I very rarely find myself saying ‘all I wanna hear right now is ‘The Motto’, but as a DJ I run his joints regularly because that’s the environment for it. I own all his albums.

Why do you think its so hard for Canadian Hip Hop artists to get more well known on a global scale?
As far as hip hop is concerned, it is tough. I think the US sees us as their little brother who’s just trying to emulate (which is accurate in some cases, but total bullshit for the most part), so they front. I’ve seen a lot of success in Europe and Japan though, so it’s hard to be critical, I’m very thankful for it.

I think it all boils down to people needing to be told what’s good instead of deciding for themselves. That shitty fact keeps a lot of incredible, deserving artists from the limelight, Canadians or otherwise.

What is one thing Canadian Hip Hop needs right now?
Some new blood in the industry structure. People who ‘get’ what’s going on, see the value in it, and support it with the resources they possess.

You have worked with some of the biggest producers/MC’s in Hip Hop what have you learnt from them and who has been the best person to work with?
It’s been an honour working with the legends I’ve had the chance to (Pete Rock, Buckwild, DJ Spinna, Sean Price, etc.), but I still find it most enjoyable and rewarding working with up-and-coming artists. I enjoy most working with D-Sisive (producing his music, and collaborating) and Ghettosocks (on the Twin Peaks work we do together). Other than that, I can honestly say I don’t have a #1 best experience. I’ve learned a lot from every working relationship I’ve been a part of, too much to squeeze into a readable answer!

Your new album “There is Only Today” has just been released describe the album to us?
There Is Only Today is the album I really wanted to make when I first entertained the idea! I took my time with it, gave it direction and executed without over-thinking it. It’s got some of the best production (and producers) out right now, fitting and complimentary guest appearances and a cohesive and up-lifting feel. It’s rooted in tradition, but I feel like I’ve explored a more current, and definitely more personal approach.

Did you approach making it differently to your previous work?
It’s hard to say. On paper, no, in theory, yes. Whenever I start a new project it always begins with 2 things; 1) a general theme/idea, and 2) a production/guest wishlist. From there it starts to find its own way. This time around I did that, but I wanted to write the songs in a more personal and open way. I put more of me into this record than I ever have before.

What’s your favourite track on the album and why?
During the creative process that changed 15 times, pretty much everytime I finished a song it became my favourite. Now that I’m somewhat separated from it, and I’ve had a chance to step back and look at it, I’d say my favourite track is either Starter Jacket, Back to the Future, or Sixteen Twenty Nine. All for different reasons, and that’s why I can’t pick a #1. I’m totally copping out on your ‘#1′ questions! I’m sorry!

What influences you to make music?
The challenge of evolving as an person and artist, earning and maintaining the respect of my friends and people I look up to, and chasing the dream of getting paid a lot of money for doing something you love.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give to an up and coming artist?
Be brutally honest with yourself. This will help you to find your own voice/style. The sooner you’re able to do that, the better. Be prepared to try some things before you really find it though, it can take some living to know where you stand as an artist. Also, compare what you do to those you look up to. This will help you raise your standards and push for greatness (whatever that is to you).

What has been your career highlight so far?
I feel like the highlights are yet to come! I’ve had a great time so far, though. I’ve traveled the world, collaborated with legends and exciting new-schoolers, made money, spent money, made great friends and I’ve created a body of work that will be around long after I’m gone. I already feel successful.

What does the future hold for Muneshine?
I’ve got a lot of new material in the works. Music, videos, tours, etc. Something we always say is ‘the train don’t stop’, and that really sums it up.

We have the Wolves project that we’ll start rolling out soon, a There Is Only Today remix project with more of my favourite producers, ones I didn’t get a chance to work with on the album itself, a collaborative EP I’m doing with my boy ELMNT (together we go by Dorian Grey), production of D-Sisive’s ‘Jonestown 3′ (and other work), new Twin Peaks projects with BoomBaptist (Texas), Process (Ollie Teeba & Jonny Cuba – UK), DJ Spinna (USA), possibly a producer’s album (along the lines of Pete Rock’s Soul Survivor series – with Canadian artists) and who knows what else is around the corner!

What’s your definition of Grindin’?
My definition of Grindin’ is applying your focus with top priority and never losing sight of your goals. I’m most definitely Grindin’!