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First Look Friday: Ad-Hoc Interview

Photo of adhoc taken by Anthony Simoneau Dubuc (@thonycool) for Okayplayer.

The specific goal for First Look Friday is to turn you, the Okayplayer reader, on to new sounds and acts that you can share with others before the hype train arrives. With that said, allow us to introduce you to Montreal, Quebec’s own Adhoc. This “bi-costal R&B monolith” has been bubbling below the surface for quite some time now. Led by James CampbellOren and Juice (not Oren Juice) — the three have linked up with a solid crew of producers (Adel Kazi) and instrumentalists (Clement Langlois-Legare) to offer transient and nomad sounds that delight the eardrums.

Their first offering, “Paradise Loft,” did well to satiate fans of true tales, as the group explained that the song was a “humid celebration of monotheistic guilt.” The two vocalists (Juice and Oren) and the talented beatsmith James Campbell fuses together a gumbo-style concussion of styles, standards and sounds that are flavorful and delicious to eager audiophiles.

We sat down with the bad boy, boy genius (Juice), the swashbuckling denim model (James Campbell) and the sensitive one, Oren, about their impact as a group, the obstacles they’ve overcame to get to this point in their career and premiere their music video for the infection track, “my city,” which you can see below. Enjoy this week’s First Look Friday chat with this outrageous group from the North-North!

Okayplayer: To music snobs the world over you are making an impact. What is it that those in the music game are seeing and hearing that the rest of the world has yet to discover?

James Campbell: Big juicy chords.

Juice: Big juicy verses.

Oren: They’re hearing bi-coastal R&B for the first time and they’re caught off guard… as we are.

Juice: In all seriousness though, I think it comes down to musicality and authenticity. Before the three of us became adhoc, I was working on a solo project and it was honestly trash. I was rapping about things I hadn’t really experienced, and didn’t really believe in: bitches, money, whatever the fuck.

When I started working with these guys it forced me to take a more musical approach to rap, to allow myself to be more vulnerable in my verses and less of a caricature. I think for any artist to resonate with people, music snob or not, they need to have some degree of authenticity.

OKP: For those who have a passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?

O: For me, I would say André 3000 and Mordecai Richler. I think what 3K has done with rap music (and music in general) is un-toppable. He’s a superhero of the craft through and through. I studied creative writing in undergrad, and I  think that Mordecai Richler’s sense of humor and broader societal satire is something I would like to bring lyrically to the game. It is my intention to combine the creative legacies of those two artists, and create a wonderful new hybrid baby.

JC: Justice is my number one musical influence. They got me into electronic music. It takes me about a year, post-release, to figure out what justice is doing on their records because their music is so complex in terms of music theory. It takes me a while to really absorb it. They have an epic quality, and can make whatever type of music they want. I love what they did with “Audio, Video, Disco”. It was really dance-y, poppy and I dug it. In regards to hip-hop, Kanye West is my biggest influence. He broke down the limits of sampling, using voices, rather than just dump loops, horns and whatever.

J: The first influence I’d name is Young Thug. I mean, I haven’t listened to every Young Thug song or anything…

JC: Soft. Sleeping.

J: I think his ability to keep a verse interesting, four bars at a time—whether by changing his pitch or syllable count—is sonically interesting. I try to make my verses that way. Thugger’s a musical genius. The other influence I’ll name is Kid Cudi. His delivery is unique too and I think the introspectiveness and vulnerability of his raps did a lot for people at a time when topics such as depression weren’t in the mainstream conversation. Cudi changed the genre of hip-hop, while post-Cudi is drastically different than it was before.

OKP: Can you talk about how your life was while developing as an artist? how did you react to your first bits of press?

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