Canada's Hip Hop community is bigger in Canada than on a worldwide scale, and that's what every Canadian artist strives to change.
The Sketch Bros, composed of Johnny Dilemma and Charz Decept intend to manage this feat. Having been battling and making themselves known on the scene for a while, the duo recently released their debut EP "Shaken Not Stirred," since then they've opened for heavy hitters like Snoop Dogg and Game, been covered by prominent newspapers and are on their way to having their music included in various television shows.
Their next album "Drawn Out" is set for release early 2006.
MVRemix: What was it that made the two of you leave Toronto for Vancouver?
Charz Decept: We didn't really leave Toronto for music and neither of us knew each other until we met out here.
Johnny Dilemma: We both came out for school and actually missed each other by a semester at Langara [College].
MVRemix: You've both made clear that the rave culture was a heavy influence on you - do you feel this shows up in your music?
Charz Decept: Yes, becasue I think the rave culture is something that more preaches acceptance and understanding versus only the strong will survive mentality in Hip Hop, and I think we bring both.
Johnny Dilemma: I think sound wise straight up my boy Decept brings the flavour from the rave culture that is the sound of the sketch bros. and I always loved mc's like E-By-Gum - this dude's definitely dead now - who could ride beats that I could dance to.
MVRemix: What were your first memories of Hip Hop?
Charz Decept: Fat Boys crushin...and it didn't impress me but the beats caught my ear. The second however, NWA and the posse opened a door that would make me a fan of Hip Hop forever.
Johnny Dilemma: Paul Wall... just kidding. [ponders] Big Daddy Kane's track "Down The Line," it was a verbal onslaught where they passed the mic.."Lil' daddy shane ya'll, the mic is all mine..."
MVRemix: How did the group moniker "The Sketch Bros" first arise?
Johnny Dilemma: My boy Scott - I hope this dude's not dead - from back in the rave days in T-dot came up with name because we were pretty sketchy. we actually made and sold 100's of t-shirts with Sketch Bros. written on it that was the first recognition. So if you have that shit wait ‘til antique road show comes by 2070.
MVRemix: Did you have any monikers or names before this?
Charz Decept: Deceptycon on the rave and club scene then when I started rapping with Dilemma I adopted the Decept-Icon. But now it's Charz Decept plain and
Johnny Dilemma: originally Speedy G, cuz of my spanish background and I have Speedy Gonzales tattooed on my arm. But now I hold it down under Dilemma, Dilemmanade, Gringo Starr and Bob Loblaw.
MVRemix: You've stated your best show was in a remote location in Northern B.C. - what makes for a good show in your opinion?
Charz Decept: Captivating the audience 'cause when you captivate the audience you make new fans. When you make new fans that's what shows are about. P.S. our new best show was at Sonar opening up for Jedi Mind Tricks and some girl whipped her titties out during the finale and I had a tear in my eye. Okay, almost. [chuckles]
Johnny Dilemma: The Northern B.C. show was in a valley and we echoed in the valley dude, that was the coolest shit ever, and people got down and dirty in the middle of this raging river mountain setting. That was the best venue but a good show for me is when I am crystal clear on the mic. Being audible is key to me. When we are heard 'cause we are clear and the beats are pounding proper, there's no denying us.
MVRemix: How did the opportunity arise to open for Game and Snoop at the end of the "How The West Was Won" tour?
Johnny Dilemma: Battles. I served cats at Atlantis and Boo-Ya. Shouts out to Ghos Fienz, peep their site for footage at www.ghosfienz.com and it's under media the pre-lims at Atlantis.
MVRemix: Johnny, you've gone through a lot with regards to your health. Have you much material describing these situations and your feelings around what has occurred?
Johnny Dilemma: Well I got a new song that touches upon my brain surgery and some shit that deals with death, but I ain't trying to die so why would I make death music nah'mean. But be on the look out for Dilemmanade on the new album, L-precise on the beat and it's a heart felt song 'cause it's my belief system made into a song.
MVRemix: Who or what inspired your beard design?
Johnny Dilemma: I have always done different shit. I guess it started when I could only grow one side burn in grade 9 and so I rocked one sideburn for the longest time. I swear to god maybe 3 people noticed. I thought it was pretty funny and I started doing different shit, and when I can get an album release date shaved in there it'll be done. I can't really say the specifics, but I am in the works with a very big maker of shaving products for a small time sponsorship deal. Seriously.
MVRemix: Charz Decept - you toured around Europe producing for a period - can you tell me a little of how that experience happened?
Charz Decept: Because I was playing the music live off of synth and sampler which was something that none of the clubbers had ever heard before. It made it very easy for me to book gigs just on the originality of how the music was performed...live pa and not a record. DJ's and club kids would always ask me where they could get that record I just spun, and the answer was nowhere 'cause it was all mine. Exclusivity has it's privileges. Prague, Frankfurt, Sydney and Melbourne were just the major cities I played several club gigs in and I also touched down in Tokyo for one show that was opening for one of their biggest DJ's. That was a show I'll never forget. Except I don't remember a thing from that night... whoa.
MVRemix: How did you initially get into producing?
Charz Decept: Writing rap and rock songs in high school and eventually wanting to have a back drop for my words. then I was taught how to use my first beat machine 'cause I wanted drums to go with the bass I was already playing self taught, and when it took me only 3 months to surpass my teacher I thought I might have a knack for it.
MVRemix: Which track thus far has the most meaning for you and why?
Charz Decept: "Next Big Thing" 'cause it was my brain child, and I truly believe the song...
Johnny Dilemma: "Next Big Thing" I'd have to say too, but personally I think "Johnny On The Spot," it dealt with some shit I went through, first real story track I ever wrote, but not the last. And peep "Dilemmanade" mang. Quench yo' thirst.
MVRemix: Tell me about your debut album.
Charz Decept: 2 1/2 years in the process 'cause we didn't have the resources, but the doors it opened for us has set us up for our second album to launch us stratosphere steeze.
Johnny Dilemma: A lot of work...but well worth it. A huge learning experience all in all. We wanted to make an album solely produced by Decept and show we could do our thing on our own. We did. We can and we're ready for sale.
MVRemix: What about the next, set for release next year?
Johnny Dilemma: "Drawn Out" is the album name and it's gonna be banger. It's a metaphor for how our careers seem to be...long and drawn out and as well drawn out in the stars possibly. A lot more collabos on mc and production side reaching out to various places around the world.
Charz Decept: 'cause it seems to be that you can't get big in Canada unless you're respected somewhere else. We're getting respect in a lot of places and at home too so it's goin' well.
MVRemix: What is your main goal with music?
Charz Decept: To be able to do that and nothing else, and to work with other
people in the future with similar goals. Come on, eventually ideally I'd like to
be able to produce some shit for my fav's, Rakim, Guru, Big Boi...a lot.
Johnny Dilemma: I want to establish a Canadian label that houses the best of
Canadian Hip Hop talent. I want Sketch Bros to be huge and I see us doing collabos on a much larger scale. Right now we're co-writing a song with an 11-time Emmy winner, who'da thunk it? Get me on some beats with my fav's mang. Chino XL even I been trying to holla at you, but ya Jigga, Em, I write songs, and I know I got some hits in me.
MVRemix: A la "Fight Club," "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight?"
Charz Decept: Vanilla Ice, he set the white mc so far back that even Eminem
couldn't erase him from history's memory.
Johnny Dilemma: I'd throw a kick in on Vanilla. But any celeb who thinks they're better than anyone else, deserves a shake.
MVRemix: Do you reckon you'd win?
Charz Decept: Obviously.
Johnny Dilemma: I'd hold my own. And by my own I mean tazer. Jokes.
MVRemix: It seems almost all rappers are either trying to or have released a clothing line, what made you decide to and what makes Bros. Clothing line differ from the others on the market?
Charz Decept: BC Bros. Clothes is out with style of hat that's not been killed. That's what you can expect from us, non-typical fashion. If it's over done we won't do it.
Johnny Dilemma: Just wait til you see our hat that's a t-shirt mang. Diz stuff. We'd like to make it all though if we could, jeans, hoodies, shoes, but it'd be like nothing you've seen before. Kinda like our show.
MVRemix: What do you do to relax? what are your vices?
Charz Decept: I can answer both those questions with one word...blaze.
Johnny Dilemma: I medicate, I mean meditate. No, for real making music relaxes me a great deal.
MVRemix: Aside from the album do you have any other guest appearances or compilations you've been working on?
Johnny Dilemma: 604 mixtape comin’ out soon, the beatstreet.ca If you ain't got it
go to their website which is of the same name, duh. It's free if you pay for
shipping I believe. But as far as collabos, we got 11-time emmy winner AJ Gundell, I got a heater beat from Classified who's doin huge things for Canada now and always. I'm tracking down [DJ] Kemo, I will be on a Kemo beat before I die, that's all I can guarantee, hopefully sooner though so Kemo get at me. Also look out for a DJ Jay Parsons mixtape that's gonna be hot, I'm a have somethin on that. also e got this guy lowkey from London who is absolutely sick on the mic that we are in the works with, check out Poisonous Poets outta UK. Some dudes from North Carolina, from
Minneanapolis, which I won't mention just yet but I'm fin to work with them. And the sickest crew outta T-Dot, Zero Tolerance, go peep their album "Outta Tha Basement" it's sick. We're gonna be doin some things with them for sure. On top of that I'll do mixtapes if you holla. I got verses
for days so DJ's get at me.
Charz Decept: Holla at me too and let's make some guest appearance shit happen.
MVRemix: Any last words?
Johnny Dilemma: be on the look out for our shows, we're opening for Daz and Kurupt
on Nov. 4th at Richards on Richards. Also, the new album "Drawn Out" out in the new year. I guarantee you hot Sketch Bros. ringtones across Canada in very due time.
Charz Decept: Be on the look out for canada's next big thing.