Prolific Profile – Birdapres [Interview]
Winnipeg, MB –Birdapres – aka The Old Birdy Dastard – is a Winnipeg-based MC who’s renowned for his freestyling abilities as well as his dynamic written rhymes. HipHopCanada has been interested in him for awhile, but now finally had the opportunity to get some answers from the authoritative voice. He’s a man of few words but he tells us about prairie isolation, the compulsion of expression, and his willingness to help you move.
HipHopCanada: How do you define hip-hop, and where do you feel you fit into that definition?
Birdapres: Hip-hop is really just a particular path that creative energy takes. You can narrow that down and try to explain it in all sorts of ways, but there’s so much of it that can’t be summed up in words. The mechanics of rapping as an element can be broken down, but the feeling involved will still not be accurately expressed. Most of it is feeling. It’s that intangible component that makes all the other parts work. As far as my own place, I apply that energy and represent it as best as I know how.
HipHopCanada: What drives you to stay in a business that is rarely profitable and highly competitive?
Birdapres: I’m driven by a compulsive need to write, spit, make beats and be heard. If this were a business motivation I would have cashed out years ago. I do make a little money, but unless you’re on the road a third of the year, or you’re really good at selling beats or something, you aren’t so much as putting a down payment on a pot to piss in. That’s a reality.
HipHopCanada: Where are you based specifically?
Birdapres: I live in Winnipeg, between the West End and Wolseley to be specific. If you’re familiar with the city, I’m stuck between some hippies and a slowly gentrifying lower income neighbourhood, which is kind of the story of my life.
HipHopCanada: How has living there influenced your sound?
Birdapres: I’m from Vancouver, so it was a big shock dealing with a prairie winter for the first time. I think cold creeps in. There’s an isolation out here, even when you’re around people. I’m not easily influenced by other artists, but I would say the environment has done something to the music I make. It’s dustier and a little rougher sounding.
HipHopCanada: Who is your primary fan base?
Birdapres:I’m constantly baffled by the people that seem to like the music I create. Some of my biggest fans are other rappers. I know that’s the kind of statement that makes a person roll their eyes, but it is true. At least as far as Canada goes. Someone you might listen to probably listens to me. It’s really a terrible demographic to build a career off of.
HipHopCanada: What tips would you give young artists coming up or what do you wish someone would have told you when you first started out in the hip-hop industry?
Birdapres: Make the most possible music. Make beats and write rhymes and do shows everywhere they will let you. Remember that you are important, and your audience is important, and very little else matters. Become as self sufficient as possible. Find and recognize your voice. Yours, not the next man’s or the voice they expect to come out of your mouth. Learn to build speakers and fix anything and make shit work with string if you have to. Grow and cook your own food. Own a car. Handle your own money. Press your own CDs and vinyl. Remember that everyone involved in your music has something to lose and something to gain, and be aware of what those things are at all times. Mostly, have fun.
HipHopCanada: In which ways do you interact with your community?
Birdapres: I help people move if they ask me, and I’m always down for a good barbeque.
HipHopCanada: Which artists have you worked with that left an impression on you, and why?
Birdapres: I’d say everyone I’ve worked with has. It’s a long list, so I won’t even attempt to name names. A lot of this is just picking up the subtlety of style. How people rap or produce. Making music is a crazy thing to undertake.
HipHopCanada: Which Canadian artist would you most like to collaborate with?
Birdapres: The Mighty Pope. I’m not there yet. His voice just is Soul.
HipHopCanada: Tell us about past and present successes, as well as future projects?
Birdapres: Having toured the country a couple times (with the exception of the East Coast) is really huge for me. Being able to wake up in the morning and know that I’m charting my own path is pretty amazing. With luck and faith, there may be more out there for me. Currently I’m shooting a couple videos for this Catch An L album I recently released. I’m also in the studio a bunch with my buddy Mr. Rudolph working on a yet unnamed project, one that involves a lot of science and magnetic tape. It’s rugged.
HipHopCanada: Any last words for the HipHopCanada online community?
Birdapres: I hope you don’t kiss your mother with that mouth of yours.
Birdapres’ newest release Catch an L was self-produced, and mixed/mastered by Tom De Geeter and features collabs with Edmonton’s Cadence Weapon as well as Winni’s Nestor Wynrush, among others; it’s available for free download HERE.
Interview conducted by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada
Photo by Divya Mehra
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