While we were on Myspace trying to get closer to Tom, an Aussie artist from Melbourne Cee was trolling the internet looking for beats. He came across IIImind and purchased what he claims until this day to be the most expensive production he has ever purchased. Which to be fair wouldn’t be as much as IIImind is charging these days, as he later on produced for Kanye West, 50 Cent and Eminem.
Thanks to Myspace IIImind is now featured on his debut album “This is all I know’ due to drop on Cee’s birthday on the 10th April 2014. The Aussie emcee resides in Montreal, Canada after being signed by blogger Kevin Nottingham's HiPNOTT Records. I know what you’re thinking, he must be cold? Don’t fret, apparently he has his brother Notion out there to keep him warm. The LP also features production from Hezekiah who has worked with The Roots and Bilal and the multi-platinum ARIA winning Aussie Styalz Fuego who has produced for Busta Rhymes and Snoop Dogg.
We chat to Cee about how Canada is accommodating the foul mouthed Aussie, how a town in Montreal is exactly like Fitzroy in Melbourne and what we can expect from his latest LP. Margaret Tra.
“This Is All I Know” features some production from the greatest producers, Illmind, Hezekiah and Styalz Fuego what was it like working with them?
I was definitely lucky to work with these cats. I got in touch with Illmind back when MySpace was popping and copped a couple beats. They were by far the most expensive production I've ever purchased. (Laughs) So you can imagine how expensive he'd be now after the Kanye, 50 and Eminem stuff. It was super cool to actually get the Pro Tools session with all the individual parts to an Illmind beat. I know Notion really enjoyed mixing it.
On Hezekiah, I actually was a music journalist in the 2000’s and I was sent his 'I Predict A Riot' album which became one of my all-time favourites. I hit him up for production and a verse, and was blessed to have him stay at the crib in Montreal (and shoot a dope video for 'It Ain't Over') when we brought him up for ‘The Golden Tour’ earlier this year. Look out for the video in May.
With Styalz, he hit me when he was like 17-years-old and living up in Byron Bay in Australia. He came down and stayed with me and we did a bunch of tracks - that was like 2002. Now he's multiplatinum via the homie 360's album, and an ARIA and APRA award winner. It's really dope to see the homies’ kill shit.
How’s the change of scenery? You cold out there?
(Laughs) Yes! It's freezing, still, but I knew what I was getting myself into (laughs). It's definitely been a blessing moving to Canada. It has been both the toughest and most rewarding experience of my life, hands down. In the process, I found a new permanent home. Since the move to Montreal in 2012, things have taken off. Last summer was our first tour; we've done a ton of videos and finally released a bunch of these major solo projects. A change of scenery is much better than a vacation - and I feel it's been the inspiration for a lot of music for both Notion and I, so that can't be a bad thing.
How did the decision to move to Canada come about?
We were signed to blogger Kevin Nottingham's HiPNOTT Records label back in 2009, so a lot of our fanbase was out here. Also all the blog attention we were getting was from North America, but the moment we decided to move came in 2008, when we were on a networking/radio tour of New Zealand, the US and Canada. As we were flying into Toronto over the downtown area, I had this crazy feeling in my stomach that I needed to live here. When I checked up on it, I found that the government had recently changed the working holiday visa rules so we were able to move out here. And now I'm just waiting on immigration.
Could you explain to us the music culture over there in comparison to here?
It's definitely similar as far as the artistry and passion for music that the people have. I live in the Mile End, in Montreal, which is equivalent to Fitzroy in Melbourne (hipsters), so the area has a lot of bars and venues, and the live music culture is strong. With regard to the hip hop scenes, it's a little more progressive than back home, but Australia was always a bit more ‘raw’ with how they like their hip hop. Toronto is more cut throat as far as being a bigger city and having a strong competitive ethic, while Montreal is more laid back - so if you have a bit of hustle, you can go a long way out here.
Must be nice to have your brother there along with you?
Oh for sure. Being Aussies, we're fairly adaptable to almost anywhere we find ourselves on this fair planet of ours; however it's always dope to have someone around who understands you on a level that folks here could never. Although the people we've surrounded ourselves with - our girlfriends, our homies, our business partners - have all been properly schooled on the stupid shit we like to say so we can just be ourselves (laughs). Notion stayed in Toronto so we don't see each other a ton, but we talk every day, and our girlfriends' families have been incredibly welcoming to a couple foul-mouthed foreign rappers.
You drop your latest LP on your birthday, best present ever? How will you celebrate?
Yes! That was the plan - there's honestly nothing else I really want for my birthday except for a charting debut album. I released things on my last two birthdays - the 'Comin' Home' video last year and 'The Indie Experiment Vol. 1' in 2012 - so I figured I should keep the tradition rolling. Since it's just my girl and I here in Montreal, I'll Skype Notion and my parents, and knock back a gang of craft beers at the crib. I'm a low-key sort of dude so that suits me just fine.
What’s next for you after this LP? Are you doing shows in Canada?
Next is getting Notion's debut album 'Heart On My Sleeve Music' recorded, sorting out his artwork and getting a second video from his EP shot and released. It hasn't been announced yet but we're touring with The Palmer Squares out of Chicago from May 15th to 18th 2014, alongside The Nicest, Fresh Kils, Dan Doesn't Sleep and Loudmouth, so we're psyched for that. We're shooting the 'BrewHeads' video in June, which is the world's first craft beer song (it features on my album). We're releasing a collaborative merchandise line (BrewHeads is a craft beer merchandise brand based in Phoenix, AZ) sometime over the summer, the designs are looking crazy so far. We're also in the middle of slowly booking summer shows. We have a goal to get out far west (Vancouver) and far-east (Halifax) this year. Oh and we haven't announced this yet either but the next major project will be a collaboration album from Notion and I, so we're excited for that.
If you could name one thing you miss about Australia, what would it be?
My family, for sure. I Skype with my folks regularly but I definitely miss just being able to pop in to their place. I miss Melbourne in general, it's an amazing city. I also miss my favourite bar - Carlton Club!
What stimulates your soul?
Fantastic question. Life in general inspires me. Progression - to always grow, achieve things, to better yourself. To know that whatever I'm doing resonates with other souls, and enhances the vibrations of the universe. Love. Travel. New experiences. Music.
Cee's ''This Is All I Know' drops April 10th but is available now for Pre-Order on iTunes.
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