MicLordz & Sauce Funky [Interview]
Windsor, ON – They say that creative minds think alike. This is definitely the case for one of Windsor’s most successful and talented hip-hop groups, MicLordz & Sauce Funky (MLSF). These guys have proven that it pays to think outside the box and be original. MicLordz & Sauce Funky have an endless fan base in both the rock and hip-hop crowds; since their addition of Sauce Funky, they have realized that opportunities and experiences are there, but you have to really work and be original to get them. MLSF consists of two MCs, Boots and AlerG, and a three-man rock band: John “Roge” Rodgers (bass), Matt “Matte” Lalonde (guitar), and Charlie “C Mack” McKittrick (drums).
From their start six years ago as a two-man rap group consisting of Boots and AlerG to now, with the formation and addition of the live band Sauce Funky during the summer of 2006, MLSF have put out acclaimed singles such as “Funk You Up”, “Miscommunication”, and “We Get Live.” MLSF were fortunate enough to have put out a professional music video for “Miscommunication” in 2007 which was well received by fans. They released their album Family Tree nationwide in the spring of 2006 through Indie Pool and worldwide via CD Baby. Family Tree has received a growing amount of airplay on the local college and university radio circuit as well as Toronto’s FM station 89X. MLSF have opened for hip-hop greats such as KRS-One, Jadakiss, Obie Trice, Proof of D-12, and k-os.
HipHopCanada had the opportunity to meet up with three of the guys for an interview — joining us were AlerG, Boots, and Roge.
HipHopCanada: So what would you say makes MicLordz and Sauce Funky stand out from the rest of the groups in the local scene?
Boots: Since forming officially and playing a ton of shows with a lot of different groups, we really haven’t seen anything like what we are doing with two MCs and a full band. The creative influences that we all have on each other make a special blend of music that people don’t hear every day.
AlerG: We stand on our own as one united group. There are no groups with our energy, originality, maturity and business sense combined that we have crossed paths with yet. Our music speaks for itself: dare to be different, push the limits and test the unfamiliar waters.
Roge: All it takes to recognize the sheer unique quality of MLSF is a single peek at one of our live shows. Immediately you will notice the unrivalled passion and energy that is alive onstage, mixed with the undeniably fresh sound of the clashing genres applied—hip-hop, funk, rock, soul… you’re going to see us doing something that you are really going to like.
HipHopCanada: Nice. I agree that MLSF definitely bring a whole new flavour to our scene. Since we are on the topic, I’d like to ask your opinions on the local hip-hop scene today. What do you think about it as a whole? What are people doing wrong? What are people doing right?
Boots: I think our scene has grown so much over the past couple years. It’s nice to see that groups are coming up, dropping material and putting out some quality music. I think some artists have paved the way for others to have the confidence to put out music, which gives Windsor hip-hop a lot of variety. I think one area that needs to be improved on is originality—a lot of the music I hear coming out of our scene has been done by commercial radio. There are only a couple of artists really making different music and they are getting the attention… you would think others would get the hint.
AlerG: Instead of focusing on the wrongs, I’d like to focus on the rights. I feel like we’ve made so much progression in such a short time that directing our attention to negatives would be an injustice to a positive group. We have created our own scene, a scene where fans of hip-hop/rock/funk/alternative/soul can come together and enjoy the creative monster that is MicLordz & Sauce Funky.
Roge: I like to think of us as a sort of ambassador for unity in the Windsor music scene today. Not just the hip-hop scene, not just the rock scene, but we want to get more artists from both genres to wake up and realize that there is strength in numbers. The hip-hop scene needs to stop limiting itself and understand that venues and shows that appeal to more than just one sub-culture or fan base are better for everyone involved—for the artists involved it generates more networking opportunities, more money, and it works toward keeping the music scene in general alive.
HipHopCanada: That’s quite the insight you guys have. It’s no wonder you are as successful as you are. What do you see in store for MicLordz and Sauce Funky in 2008?
Boots: 2008 is a make or break year I believe; the time is now for us to reach a different level. Last year was very successful and we would love to build off that. There comes a time for our group to step into the limelight and we are trying to make calculated steps to get there. With MLSF, the music is never an issue, we are always going to put out a quality product but this year we are looking to take it to another level with music, business, and growth in all aspects, to get bigger and better.
AlerG: 365 more days of drive and persistence. The goal is to be labelled the biggest and most respected group in music. So to answer your question, it’ll be like 2007 amplified by ten. Another thing is the release of our sophomore album (which has yet to be titled).
Roge: Phat bass lines, dirty guitar riffs, drums that make your chest thump and rhymes that will make you want to run out and spread the funk around.
HipHopCanada: Well I’m sure I can speak for a lot of people when I say that I am looking forward to what is in store from you guys. Why don’t you guys tell me about some of your most notable accomplishments either as a group or as solo artists?
Boots: There are many things on paper that we are very proud of and the proof is in the pudding—we have put in the time and effort to accomplish different things. The thing I am most proud of is being able to have a group of five that is a cohesive unit; we are all friends, we get along, we laugh and joke… so at the end of the day, whatever happens, we are having tons of fun doing it and that is the best accomplishment: the chemistry and atmosphere we have created with each other.
AlerG: 2007 saw the release of our debut EP as a group Funk You Up, and our first music video for “Miscommunication”. We performed over 100 shows, won the Ontario battle of the bands, showcased at the Canadian Music Week, completed successful tours (including a Michigan/Ohio/Ontario college and university tour), and managed to link up with some of the best underground artists and groups.
Roge: Recording at Metalworks in Mississauga was a really eye-opening experience in terms of learning about the process of professional level studio sessions. Also, being invited to Canadian Music Week 2007 to play with some of the country’s (and world’s) best talents in the business felt like a big step as well.
HipHopCanada: How did you end up moving from being a two-man rap group to a five-man hip-hop-rock band?
Boots: It just happened really, we were always interested in growing musically, so we sought out the resources around us, and we saw all the talented people musically around us and we started jamming with it. After hearing the potential and how people reacted to our show we told ourselves this is it, and haven’t and never will look back.
AlerG: Progression: it was our want to become bigger-sounding and better musicians. Five heads, when on the right wavelength, is insanely more creative and productive than two. Also, we’ve always prided ourselves on our live performance. Adding John, Matt & Charlie to the mix was the best thing for shows, and we’ve stumbled into the greatest music we’ve ever written because of their dedication and creativity.
HipHopCanada: I know you guys get a little slack about sounding rock-like. What genre exactly do you feel your group belongs in?
Boots: Our genre is music, we make music. Sometimes it’s hip-hop, sometimes funk, rock, and alternative, whatever—it’s music. If I’m listening to a song and I like it I don’t check the genre and go, “Oh, I like this song but its rock and roll, so I can’t listen to it.” We are a great musical group with all different influences from five different guys and it all blends together and that is what makes it MicLordz and Sauce Funky.
AlerG: We’ll take the slack. Our fan base has grown incredibly. Our music has grown incredibly and I feel like I am a better person for what we’re creating. So if slack’s the only repercussion, give me all of it. To answer your question, our sound is MicLordz & Sauce Funky.
Roge: People are too hung up on genres, and those who “give slack” about sounding too rock, or even on the other hand, too hip-hop, should step back and look at the criteria they use to really define these categories of music. What do they really consider to be hip-hop? If hip-hop is telling the world how expensive your watch is or how violence is glory, then we are not hip-hop. If rock is wearing leather and always singing about old girlfriends, then we aren’t that either. But if either one is about taking risks, and stepping out of the norm, and doing or saying what others only think about, then we are definitely a part of whatever movement you want to call that.
HipHopCanada: Tell me about your music video for “Miscommunication”. How did you go about creating it and where did you get the idea?
Boots: We were fortunate in running into some talented people last year during the holidays. They were all about shooting it and helping us get some more exposure… we really wanted that cold old school feeling with the video, taking it back to the ‘94 hip-hop video days—so that’s what we did. We showed them some videos and told them our ideas and went with it. It was freezing cold the whole time we shot but I think people get that picture when they see it.
AlerG: The budget was low. Circle Box Productions was tinkering with the idea of recording a music video. We gave them our debut album Family Tree and they fell in love with the song “Miscommunication”, which also happened to be our favourite as well. From there we had meetings, discussed how and where it would be shot, and the rest is history. The song was the video concept. It was pretty easy to put together; it was picking the shots and setting the mood that was the most complicated. All in all, I’m proud of our underground video. It’s something nice to have in the archive to dig up down the road.
HipHopCanada: Well, I will wrap this up now but first I want to give you guys the opportunity to say anything that you would like, perhaps even some words of wisdom.
Boots: I just want to thank everyone that supports our music… anyone who has came out to a show, bought a CD, a t-shirt… who checks out our website, reads our email blasts, or has helped us out in any way. You are the reason we continue to move forward. As far as advice, anybody that is doing music, come original if you want your area to get looked at… do something different and work your butt off. t’s no walk in the park. Stay true to yourself and your music and put your nose to the grind.
AlerG: As a musician, there’s always something more that could be done. The job is never finished. As soon as you meet a goal, set new ones—matter of fact, pre-set new ones. Today’s industry is not for the lazy and unmotivated. Keep that in mind. Also, don’t spend all your time in the studio recording mixtape after mixtape and album after album. Take a full year or more, gather up your best 10-13 songs and put out a stellar album. Filler makes it easy for the listener to tune out of your world and into someone else’s. When you do make that album, push it for an extended period of time. Continue writing new music, but push the product you believe in. Make every second count; none of us know if we’ll be here tomorrow.
Roge: Listen to James Brown.
Written by Clarrisa “Rissa” Ruyton for HipHopCanada