Sara Elharrak talks to a third of Elekwent Folk, who goes by the pseudonym A-RO The Naut, to find out a little more about the emerging hip hop scene across the pond in Vancouver, Canada.
Firstly, when and how did Elekwent Folk begin?
Long story short, it was just meeting people and rhyming on the corner after school. We did a mix of free-styling and rapping our favourite songs, like Mos Def or whatever we were into at the time – it kind of just went from there.
I was never really a productive student at high school, and through that I met my collaborators. I met Geordie through a creative writing class we had, and we were both big fans of hip-hop. We hadn’t really heard much hip-hop coming out of the North West, so we decided to be the voice of it. We based our stuff mainly on classic hip-hop.
When did you first develop your passion for hip-hop? And what was it about it that drew you in?
Well, growing up I’ve always had an eclectic taste in music. The thing that drew me into hip hop was when I realised that it could embody every kind of style; country, jazz, folk, soul, spoken word. It could be aggressive, it could be soft, it could be about love, about war. I actually got into a lot of hip-hop through a friend, because honestly, up until that point I was saying that hip-hop was crap. I didn’t get artists such as Pharcyd or Hieroglyphics and Dilated Peoples at first because I didn’t realise hip-hop could have a weird, funky style. When this clicked, I fell in love. There was no other music culture that seemed so rich.
How would you describe your creative process… how do you come up with the concepts for your verses, and how do you craft your ideas into lyrics?
It just kind of comes. There are those blissful moments, like when you get into some crazy tangent writing an essay and you’re just like ‘man, I got this.’ I’ve just got my ideas succinct enough to get them out. A lot of the time I have a great beat and even a great concept, but I can’t make the words sound good or I can’t get them out in time. For me it is the mood, I have to be in that mood. If a beat were undeniably funky, I would write and build a concept around it.
What kind of upcoming projects can we expect from you? Do you have any other plans with Elekwent Folk?
There are definitely plans with Elekwent Folk and I’m always working with Nate on stuff. Me and Geordie have also worked on some stuff recently, but he’s just been so busy. The plans are there, we’re just in a place where we’re all doing different stuff. I’ve had to take a grasp on my own career and move forward with the solo stuff, which I’m still figuring what I want to do with. In my solo stuff I have a bunch of new songs that I’m sitting on, I just need to put it together and see what form it’s going to take. I think I’m going to call it 8th Avenue, which was a street I lived on for years – hopefully that’ll be out by spring.
A-RO recently released ‘Fine Kitten’ available to check out on his soundcloud.
You can check out A-RO’s Soundcloud at (https://soundcloud.com/aro-elekwent)
You can also buy and support Elekwent Folk’s ‘Northern Lights’ LP on Bandcamp