LightningCloud bring “Warmth to Cold Souls” [Interview]
LA, California – As Winnipeg gears up for Aboriginal Music Week, the dynamic duo LightningCloud prepare their unique sounds and stories for a Canadian audience. Red Cloud and Crystle discuss their dreams and ambitions – as well as the process of recording tracks, their connection to their roots and the uniqueness of the LA hip-hop scene – with HipHopCanada’s Shaheena Azmatullah. Check out LightningCloud and link to Aboriginal Music Week after the jump.
“Canada…has frozen that precious era and found a way to keep it alive.”
HipHopCanada: Coming from two different musical backgrounds, where did both of you get your start in music and how was LightningCloud formed?
RedCloud: I was obsessed with Elvis since i was a kid (my birth Father wasn’t around and my Mother told me ONCE that Elvis was my Dad and it stuck). I fell in love with hip-hop in the 6th Grade, when I witnessed my first “Freestyle Battle”.
Crystle: I have always felt i was a child of the 70’s. Since I was a little girl i would belt out Donna Summer, Mary Jane Girls and Diana Ross songs! I fell in love with Turntablism first, thanks to DJ Lady Tribe and early mentor Christy Mills.
RedCloud: LightningCloud was formed when we decided we did not want to spend much time apart!
Crystle: Yeah, we mixed my love for dance music and his love for hip-hop and came up with this very distinct sound!
HipHopCanada: Although you’re based in LA, you spend a lot of time performing in Canada. What are the biggest differences between the two hip-hop scenes and what about Canada makes you keep coming back?
RedCloud: We are LA-based. And the wonderful thing about LA underground hip-hop is: it doesn’t matter what you look like or who you worship, all that matters is how dope your flow is. In an LA cypher we are all equal, if we are all dope. The Korean guy was just as dope as that Muslim guy. We had no “Eminems” in LA. No poor white boys who got slept on and had to struggle to prove themselves. We already knew that the whiteboys where lethal! Shoot, there where “Gospel Rappers” who would come in and slaughter half the room! No one got slept on if they where dope. That’s what separated the LA hip-hop scene from the rest of the world.
Canada is exactly that, right now. They have frozen that precious era and found a way to keep it alive. Immediate respect. Canada is LA… from the battle rap culture to the cannabis culture. Makes it stupid-easy to keep coming back!
HipHopCanada: What was the most difficult aspect of recordning your debut album and what was the best?
RedCloud: The hardest part of recording this album was the financial end. I have been spoiled rotten with Syntax/Koch for a decade. Ive never had to buy a beat. I’ve never had to pay for studio time. I’ve never had to pay for mixing and mastering…for artwork…for reproduction…for merch…for website…photo sessions etc; me and my girl paid for this album out of our pockets. 100% independant. The hard part is over now though. Time to reap what we have sowed.
Crystle: The best part of recording our debut album was being in the booth and getting to know that sound booth, studio microphone and headphone volume. I loved watching a song build from a single thought or a single catchy loop. Also the magic that all the invited guests brought to the studio was a joy to experience!
HipHopCanada: Why is it so important for LightningCloud to be heavily involved within the First Nation’s community?
Crystle: We want to be an example and show that anything’s possible. The stories and testimonies that Cloud and I bare can bring light and warmth to any dark and cold soul out there. We have dreamed the impossible and have succeeded.We want to be leaders for our youth. We have answers if anyone wants to listen.
RedCloud: We honestly go wherever we are called. We have different armies of fans, large groups…from Juggalos and Technicians (from my 60 Days on the road with Tech N9ne and ABK), faith-based fans (from my 10 years on Syntax/Koch), movie fans and European fans (from Crystle’s years in acting) all the way to our people, the Indigenous fans. We dont pigeonhole ourselves to a certain demographic. Even when it comes to our First Nations fans, we dont focus on just Aboriginal (Canadian) and Native (American), we focus on Mexican (Indigenous), South American (Nican Tlaca), Samoa, Tonga, Hawaii. Our heart is for our people first.
HipHopCanada: As emerging artists, what image do you want to portray to your fans?
Crystle: We are entertainers and our fans come first. Our fans will get the most well rehearsed, well choreographed performance that any act can provide. There will be no pacing the stage, incoherent ramblings, waving towels around, 40 people on stage – all with microphones- none of that with LightningCloud. The days where you can pull a quick one on your fans are over, its a new era. An era where the people get the absolute best. That’s the image we want to portray to our fans.
Interview conducted by Shaheena Azmatullah for HipHopCanada
Photos courtesy of Alan Greyeyes for LightningCloud
Check out Winnipeg’s Aboriginal Music Week!