Ain’t No Love feel the love at Evolve Festival [Interview]
Antigonish, NS – Toronto-based electro hip-hop group Ain’t No Love is comprised of four members: Saidah Conrad, Elias McBean (Beanz), Roly Broere (1990), and Liam Clark (Love Thy Brother). This quartet has perfected the craft of body moving music with attitude. Between Saidah’s hypnotizing vocals and stage presence, with non-stop energy pouring out of rappers Beanz and 1990, their live show is as memorable as it is hype. Recently, HipHopCanada was lucky to take in ANL’s performance at Evolve Festival in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and ask some questions about their undeniable success over the past few years.
The group, also on the East Coast to shoot a music video for their single “Blinded,” from their second EP Tears of Joy (Download), were quick to spill the beanz, (no pun intended), on how they felt about Evolve Festival, their unique take on music-making, and how their lives have changed since becoming ANL. Check out our exclusive interview after the jump.
Ain’t No Love: Q&A
Interview conducted by Nicole Curry for HipHopCanada
HipHopCanada: Ain’t No Love has performed at Festivals like SXSW (TX), NXNE (TO), The Great Escape Festival (UK), the list goes on. What do you find the overall atmosphere is like at Evolve, versus other festivals? Is there something unique that stands out about it to you?
[Laughter by all]
Beanz: This is completely different than anything I’ve ever seen in my entire life, actually. I’m a little bit, uh, taken back. There’s like tent cities and stuff, it’s pretty intense. I don’t really know how to describe it, it’s nuts.
1990: It’s a lot more counter-culture than any festival that I’ve ever been to, like really bohemian and there’s lots of subcultures here. I feel like there’s a really big east coast influence as well.
HipHopCanada: What do you find has changed the most for you all over the past year? You now have videos on Much Music, you’re travelling a lot more, doing so many shows, what’s different? Overall, and in the way you create music.
1990: Overall, things that have changed are that there’s a bit more infrastructure in the group now, so its become less of a project, hobby, and a form of expression that we’ve always done, now its become a bit more of a business, which is something we’re not used to. The transition into that hasn’t been particularly easy, ’cause I feel like for a couple of months we were trying to create and cater to a specific market, that can’t really be done. You just have to create what you want, and not even just hope that people like it, but so that YOU like it, and that’s just how it works, that people generally do like it if you do, if you’re really aware, you know? But it’s constant learning, like everyday is learning, big time.
Saidah: But then I also think that one thing that HAS stayed the same is like, not necessarily the process in which we make music, but like, the fluidity of the process. We’re still into making music with each other, and it’s still a thing that is fun and isn’t a chore, and that’s super awesome, because apparently bands don’t make it very long, and we’ve been writing music, not even performing, for five years. From when we all got out of high school, we all kind of, you know, really started doing it, and it snowballed into something that is Ain’t No Love now, and it’s super reassuring now that we’ve finished the second EP, and we’re starting to write and record and get songs together for the third project, that the process is still extremely seamless. Not seamless, but, effortless almost, you know what I mean?
1990: I don’t feel like it’s effortless.
Beanz: I think it’s still fun.
Saidah: Once we get into it, into the same spot.
1990: You’re writing with three different people, who feel three different emotions, and want three different directions, but it’s still like, one cohesive movement, one direction, but it’s just, it’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. I mean, it’s hard to write with three people and especially being in different cities. (All agree) Well, we were. Now we’re all in Toronto.
Saidah: This is the first time since we’ve been ANL that we’re all actually in the same city. So that’s hilarious.
HipHopCanada: That’s awesome. So do you guys hang out a lot and not do anything work related?
Saidah: We were chillin’ the other day and we did absolutely nothing work related. Well…
Beanz: We danced.
HipHopCanada: So your music is probably always somehow on all of your minds, right?
Beanz: That’s it.
Saidah: Exactly. We make up songs just ’cause it’s a thing that happens when that’s what you do.
Beanz: That’s why I think this is so cool and why I still enjoy being a part of it. Because it’s super natural, and like, we don’t, I don’t personally stress writing songs with these guys ’cause I know that as soon as we come together we’re going to write, and we’re going to create, and we’re going to have fun. We’ve been friends for so long, it’s just such a fun time.
HipHopCanada: So, during the creation process, does Liam send you all beats and then you write? Do you guys ever say, “We have this idea…” and then he’ll go create something based on it? Do you ever suggest changes?
Beanz: Liam is an amazing remix artist, so if we have a beat that we felt really inspired us, we could write something to that and he can go back and he can remix that song and create something out of that.
1990: …And make it ours, and then Fresh Kils our engineer will track and mix the vocals.
Saidah: Yeah, that process actually happened with “ReUp,” which is on the second EP. That was a song that Roly wrote.
1990: It was actually to a J. Cole beat, “The Lost Ones,” when it first came out. I sent him the beat and my vocal demo and then he made a new beat with the same tempo and same chords, but different instruments.
Ain’t No Love took the Sunflower Stage by storm at Evolve Festival and blew the crowd away with their energetic, sexy and exciting performance. Shortly after their set, the group headed to Chester, NS, where they shot their upcoming video for the track “Blinded,” with Luke Hansen-Macdonald of Trinocular films. This is ANL’s third time working with Hansen-Macdonald, who directed the group’s debut music video for their single “Shine,” and another soon to be released video for the title track from their second EP, “Tears of Joy.”
Although they have been busy doing big things on the regular, HipHopCanada expects nothing but further greatness from this ever-rising quartet. Be sure to keep up at AintNoLove.com or on twitter at @ThisAintNoLove.
Interview conducted by Nicole Curry for HipHopCanada
Performance photography by Olivia Ellen Macdonald for HipHopCanada
Tags: Ain't No Love, Eli "Beanz" McBean, Evolve Festival, Fresh Kils, J. Cole, Liam Clark, Luke Hansen-Macdonald, NXNE, Roly "1990" Broere, Saidah Conrad, SXSW, The Great Escape Festival, Trinocular Films