Hip-hop and rap foursome, Notes to Self, are known for their witty lyrics interwoven with catchy beats to make for great and successful songs that have a distinct way to resonate with you for a long time. The critically and fan-praised group have recently released their Target Market [Recoil] on February 26th via indie label, Decon Records. We chatted with Bronze One of Notes, who’s also had quite a bit of success as a solo artist and continues to perfect his craft with and without his bandmates. He spoke of he and his band’s success, going solo and collaborating with his Notes family, and much more. Check out what he had to say:
All of you guys are successful in your own way, with interesting and unique backgrounds. How did you all come together?
Bronze: Good people find good people. We were all young and hungry, trying to make our own brands of rap music here- the circle in Toronto is a small one, and we were out there trying to make an impression. We all just happened to wanna make our mark outside of Toronto, together.
How did you become involved in music altogether?
Bronze: My father is a professional musician- My mother is an entertainment marketer. I was born into it.
You have released albums solo and with Notes to Self; what do you like about collaborating, as well as the solo process?
Bronze: Collaborating is absolutely everything to me. There is nothing like a good idea that can be a great idea. To have a second, third and fourth ear is essential to the way I create and push myself. I am a very forward thinking person- extremely creative-at least I’d like to think so- my ideas usually start on my own, but once unleashed on multiple ears and eyes to reference, sky’s the limit. Solo is a great starting place if you need time to meditate & capture your own mind’s eye, but take that to a group of smart peers who are eager to think tank. And there is usually no better feeling as a result. Expansion. Solo is essential in your growth, it likely always will be, but collaborating for me spawns a creative force so essential in this competitive world (of creatives) that it drives a different beast; one that bleeds survival. I am a realist. We need each other to survive in this business.
How do you think the musical background of Toronto has shaped you and
Notes to Self’s music?
Bronze: We are definitely products of Toronto’s scene. But, I am not limited to it. It’s kept us on our toes, but it did keep me secretive and afraid to share our music at times, no doubt. Toronto does not forgive, yet we have found it at times to be careless here- which can be both good and bad, but that’s likely us, not the scene. Just us being too careful, perhaps-limiting catalogues as a result. Kids these days have changed that-We’d say it’s a freer place to experiment with art & music, and we whole-heartedly except & support this change. It’s about time. We hope we’ve contributed to this change 10-fold with our art.
Notes to Self are critically and fan praised for originality with music and lyrics. What contributes to that and what are you guys’ influences?
Bronze: Toronto, our families, our history, our struggles; we mess with everything from great filmmakers & forward thinkers like PT Anderson & Spike Jonze to great rappers & musicians, like Drake & Pat Matheny.
What’s in the future for Notes to Self and for you?
Bronze: Even though many don’t realize Notes has been putting in work internationally for a little while now, we’re really just getting started here in Canada- but I want Notes to come out of this on top. Who wouldn’t want their family to make an impact & eat? As for me, I have many different aspirations pulling me in multiple directions; with working experiences to back them. Producer, creative director, director & designer- visuals are also extremely important to me- and I am part of a team of some of the most talented people who do all of the above with me. I recognize that everyday. Partnerships with a select few that know who they are, that make me feel blessed to be creating regularly the way I do. I want Notes & our counterparts to have a real future as much as I want my own musical career with my production partner book to take off, and to run with the best of them- because the book & Bronze brand is hub for so many artistic visions under one umbrella. We’re in good hands and the future is bright. Thanks for asking.
Who was your first concert, and do you have a favorite?
Michael Jackson- Victory Tour in like ’84, I think. I was brand new and I think I was asleep for most of it, super young, but can still picture the opening number cus it scared the s*** out of me re: Thriller.
What was your first album on CD, cassette and/or vinyl?
Bronze: Moms was in the industry= new/free s*** all the time. Crates were mine as much as they were hers. Everything from Prince to Whodini LP’s & 12″s. As for compact discs, the first one that was actually all mine was likely Maestro Fresh Wes’ Symphony In Effect. Before that, Copping Gangstarr’s Step In The Arena & Brand Nubian’s One For All on cassettes, were the first real purchases on my own accord, that didn’t show up at the house.
What are five albums and/or bands you wouldn’t want to live without?
Bronze: Very tough question. I’ll give you one that always remains in my top 5 and hasn’t left my top 5 since February 7, 2001:
Jay Dee * Welcome 2 Detroit
Do you have a guilty musical or TV pleasure?
Bronze: I hate to admit that it fell off, but the last 4 seasons of Entourage. I’ll still dive right in on a re-run like it was first season, though. For real.
Is there any music out there that makes you cringe?
Bronze: I wouldn’t know it by name, I pay no mind. Everyone’s got their own hustle- I hear what I might think is garbage on the radio in the car from time to time, but it never stays on long enough to make me really cringe and take note of why I’m cringing.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to interview you, Bronze!
Bronze: Thank you!
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