My names Bender, I was born in Ottawa, grew up in St.Catharines and have lived in Ottawa for the last decade. Centretown woot woot.
Where and how did it all start for you/what were your first albums that introduced you to hip hop and on what format?
The first rap song I remember hearing was "Just a Friend" by Biz Markie. It was in maybe the third grade and this girl Lisa Murray brought in her boombox and did some freaky interpretive dance to it for show and tell. It was a game changer. The first rap tape I owned was Arrested Development, which my mom bought me in what I assume an attempt to preemptively steer me away from the gangsterism that would eventually turn me into the depraved animal I am today.
When did you start writing rhymes?
I always drew and painted graf as a kid, I would write little phrases under pieces like "feel the hashbeats rollin yo" and stupid nonsense like that. Eventually the words started taking up more space than the artwork. I don't know its kind of a blur.
Did you rhyme or make beats first?
Rhymed. I started making beats when I met Zeebot from Sound of Lions at Sheridan College in Oakville. He showed me how to use his beat making program and keyboard and I moved myself in for the next two years. I dropped out of school and made a thousand of the most mediocre beats
ever to grace a CD-R. Made a few gems too.
You put out an instrumental album under the alias Squidmilker, can you tell us about that?
I always loved old school jungle and didn't really feel the direction it went in in the late 90's and after. I wanted to make my own take on it and over the years I've produced a handful of joints I was really happy with. I lost the majority of the sessions for all my beats in 2008 when my hard drive crashed (r.i.p.) and never had an opportunity to mix and master them. It is what it is. I rarely bump the Flight Distance albums or my solo tracks when I'm by myself but I do kick back to the Squidmilker shit pretty often.
Are you planning to get back into production anytime soon?
I'm producing my first solo album "Twelve Stories to Plummet From" which will hopefully be released later this year. It will be 12 rap stories(hahn?)and will feature zero guest vocals or production. I'll probably even end up doing the cover art too because I'm cheap like that.
A lot of people seem to be surprised by your painting skills, was this a best kept secret or something you recently got into?
It was never a secret but I took a good 4 years off of painting to focus on music. Most of my fans that I've gained from battling didn't know me back when I painted regularly so yeah I guess most are surprised to see me churning them out all of a sudden.
It seems you have been on a bit of a hiatus from battling and concentrating more on painting, is this where you would rather put more of your energy into?
Painting is paying the bills at the moment, so it takes up a good part of the day.
What do you find the most satisfaction in out of all your talents?
I am extremely grateful for and get a lot of satisfaction from a lot of different things. I love making a connection with people and being able to strike a chord with them personally so the feedback from fans always means a lot. I try to stay as interactive as possible because they allow me to continue doing what I do and I genuinely appreciate all the support I get. That being said, if I was the last person alive on earth I would still be writing and painting because I need to challenge myself and create. These are bodily functions to me. I love finding a sample, flipping it, writing a song to it and recording all in a night. If I wake up and play it back and still feel it, that's the most satisfaction I can get as an artist.
Its truly cathartic and completely washes out any negative shit in my life at least for a while. I live for it.
Whats the next step for Flight Distance?
We're aiming to get our third full length album out by 2014. Its titled Harmony Chlorine and upon completion it will swallow the universe.
How did you get into the battle rap scene?
I used to battle here and there in the freestyle era and had a few decent showings. Loe Pesci asked me to do a written battle for the first KOTD Montreal event and I reluctantly agreed. It just snowballed from there.
You will be battling this month on the 27th in Manila, Philippines against Protege. Did you ever think battle rap would take you that far?
Whats the battle scene like in Manilla?
Its the most watched battle league in the world, their videos crack a million on the regular. some are over 10 million. I'm really honoured and excited to make the trip. Huge shout out to Anygma and everyone at Fliptop, its going to be a classic event.
Will we be seeing you in the KOTD ring any time soon ?
I'd like to do a few more battles outside of Canada before stepping back in the ring here.
Whats your favourite song you've made?
My favourite song that I've written is called Ludwig. Its about what every artist struggles with to create. Its the best thing I've ever written and its yet to be recorded. I've performed it only once live.
How would you describe Flight Distance's sound and style and how does it compare and differ from your solo work?
Flight Distance is lo-fi ugly cynical boombap doomspeak. I think my solo work is fairly straight forward whereas Flight is much more cryptic. I think the friction that comes from our group dynamic creates an urgent and slightly unsettling feeling that works in our favour.
Whats your most memorable moment as an artist?
Playing at Under Pressure in Montreal and looking up to see Kool Herc wildin out to our set. its all downhill from there haha.
Whats your most memorable hip hop moment as a fan?
Hmmm. Snoop play "Gin and Juice" live at the Up in Smoke tour, that's my jam.
Drinking Don Julio with Ras Kass and watching Canibus end his career in LA was pretty surreal too. Tough question.
Quick, your top five favourite films?
Lebowski, The Shining, La Haine, Seven, and Gremlins.
Lastly, what does the word acknowledge mean to you?
It means to respect those who came before and those that will come after. It means to try and give to the culture more than you take.