Yet Once a Just Dance Party

I am happy to announce that on Saturday, April 14th, I will be joining my good friend and sometimes collaborator Speed Dial 7 on stage at the Pand.A club in Kortrijk, Belgium. I am very excited to travel back to Europe, and I look forward to seeing some of the friends that I was lucky to have made the last time I visited. Although my stay will be short and jam-packed, I hope to experience all that I possibly can while I am there.

Unfortunately, my time in Europe will only include one performance. However, for those of you who are fans of film, I will also be participating in another event that may interest you. Back a couple years ago, I played the lead role in a film called The Goose. On Saturday, April 7th, that film will be playing at Lichter Filmfest in Frankfurt. Not only will I be in attendance during that screening, but I will also be introducing the film to those in attendance. If you are a fan of psychedelic coming of age stories, or you think you might be, please come and say hi.

 

2013 Year in Review

Let’s travel back in time to a place far, far away from here. Let’s go all the way back to the end of January 2013. A much younger and handsomer Rob Crooks is getting ready to board an aeroplane in Winnipeg which will fly him away to a far-off land across an entire ocean. There he will meet up with Zucchini Drive for a month long romp across the European continent.

From Speed Dial 7’s home in Kortrijk, Belgium, I drove us to our first show in Hamburg, Germany, learning how to drive manual transmission along the way. It was one of the most stressful and exciting experiences of my life. We almost died several times. And if you haven’t almost died yet, I can’t say I recommend it. But it’s something. That’s for sure.

We spent all of February hitting up cities in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, France and Spain. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever done and I can’t wait to go back.

After returning home from Europe it wasn’t long before I headed on another jet plane. This time I flew to Montreal for the One Man Band Festival. There I was lucky enough to perform with a group of people from all over the world who are crazy just like me. But that wasn’t the only great show I got to play in 2013. From playing with Cadence Weapon to Greg MacPherson’s CD release party, I had some pretty exciting performances over the year. One day I’ll hit the stage on Broadway. And then you’ll all see.

The year was also a busy time for releases. It all started in May when Birdapres and I released our school-themed album Argyle. Rapping with Birdapres was a really a big deal for me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to the Alleged Legends record Bird did with Dj Moves. When I think of how Canadian hip-hop helped shape who I am today, he is one of the artists who stands out in my mind.

In September, Speed Dial 7, Pip Skid and I released a self-titled album under the name Sugar Pill Gang. When Speed Dial 7 came to Canada in the summer of 2012 to tour with Pip Skid, Dj Co-op and I, we decided it would be a good idea to put our time off into something useful. We wrote and recorded our verses within a couple of weeks, and after a few months of sitting on it, and a little bit of tweeking, the album was complete. This collection of music really captures our collective mental state at that time. We were all crazy.

And finally, Ismaila Alfa, Rhonda “Fenom” Thompson, Dj Kutdown and I re-united to celebrate our second full length album. Magnum KI released Select in December at a show in Winnipeg’s West End Cultural Centre. I’m very proud of this album. And although it will be a long time before Magnum KI works together again, I think we left some pretty good music behind us.

So, that was my 2013 in a nutshell. Sitting here at my desk, it sometimes feels like I didn’t do much over the past 12 months. But looking back and actually taking account of it all, I guess I did some pretty cool stuff. In 2014 you can expect to see me continuing along this path, with more of a focus on some solo music.

Thanks for listening.

Happy new year.

 

Introducing: Sugar Pill Gang (Pip Skid, Speed Dial 7, Rob Crooks)

artworks-000056557959-jf678d-t200x200Pip Skid and I have been making quite a bit of music together lately. But Sugar Pill Gang is the first album we’ve built as a team from the ground up. Of course, we didn’t do it by ourselves. Speed Dial 7 raps on it too, not to mention the fact that he co-produced it with me and engineered the whole thing himself.

This album was conceived of on the road, during downtime from two Marathon of Dope Canadian tours, a year apart. Sometimes playing in front of 20 people in a far away city can make you feel like you’re on some wonderful drug; sometimes playing for an empty venue can feel like you’re on a bottomless comedown. Days off in between often feel like the world is flipped upside down, and you’re barely treading water in the inverted sky. This is the mind state we were in when we wrote these songs.

The lead “single” from the SPG album features the legendary Greg MacPherson. I can use the word “legendary” without any sense of hyperbole because his legend was known to me well before I ever laid eyes on him. Little has been done since to spoil his mythology in my mind. It’s not without pride that I tell you he sings on a song that I took a part in creating.

There’s a full album coming of this stuff very soon. Make some room on your iPods for Octobre 8th. In the mean time, have a listen to “Out of My Way”  (Ft. Greg MacPherson):

 

From the Sugar Pill Gang press release:

“The international force known as the Sugar Pill Gang is a band of depraved outsiders and pseudo-musicians. Individually Pip Skid, Speed Dial 7 and Rob Crooks are three misfits that have emerged from the gutters and alleys of their hometowns, drenched in puddle water, with alcohol breath and nicotine-stained teeth, to connect across oceans, from Belgium to Canada. With vague ideology and disconnected narratives, they scoff at the idea that they are to be attached to some sort of coherent “movement.” They are fully entrenched in an absurd world, devoid of meaning or substance. Over driving beats, they are shouting some kind of poetry that sounds like the primitive moaning and groaning of the basest form of expressive being. Not only are they convinced that they won’t be understood; they are sure there is nothing to understand. This is the Sugar Pill Gang’s invitation to a new kind of party.”

I hope you like it!