The duo previously known as Raw Illest is back once again -joining forces after years of development and hiatus to bring you Masters Of Ceremony. Hailing from Calgary Alberta, both Abstrakt and Grenade have been able to pursue their fantasies towards something that was once said to be impossible. Creatively, the two captivate a ying and yang type balance which is portrayed through their music. With songs like “Reality” and the debut single “The Time is Now”, Grenade showcases the grime and grit of your everyday artist but with exceptional flare, witty metaphors and a party-like lifestyle that truly conveys differently for his counterpart Abstrakt. Named after his creative and inspiring freestyle abilities, Abstrakt is a new-age artist, bringing a refreshing perspective to the rap game and a glimpse into his real life.
The two have been working together since early 2008, having started with freestyle battles at school to coming together making their very first track “Mixdown”, produced by Fernando Lujan. The three of them began collaborating more and began embracing a family bond with each other. Their mutual Passion and love for music made the creation of their work stick out and their voices truly heard.
The group got their first break in October 2009, as the opening act for Sean Kingston -their first highlight show since performing at local pubs and High school dance parties. Following that, the group continued to receive exposure at a local level by performing opening shows for acts like Zion I, DJ Starting from Scratch, and DJ Wristpect (former DJ – Drake). Raw Illest got the opportunity of a life time when they got offered to open for hip-hop legends De La Soul at the Olympic Plaza of Calgary. Parting ways, Abstrakt Moved to Vancouver In 2011 where he got to open for Royce Da 5’9 and Naughty by Nature through their Lower Mainland tour titled “High Heat” featuring Headliners like Evil Ebenezer and Scale Breakers.
Together with the help of New Media Relations and Catapult Distributions, Masters of Ceremony is a high-caliber rap group ready to capture the attention of listeners all across the globe.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What city and state are you from?
M.O.C: Growing up in the suburbs of Calgary, Canada, it was easy living I guess you could say. We knew where are the good hang out spots were and weren’t. That’d probably be one of the reasons why we decide to do something like this. Music moved us as a kid even when we stayed still in our city.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your music background?
Abstrakt: Everything I’ve learned musically was self-taught or gained through personal experience. My grandmother was a country singer and my parents would listen to records growing up so i was surrounded by music my whole life. Thinking back on it now, maybe I could have done a country duet with her…
Grenade: Growing up our era saw a lot, I was a sponge to music, absorbing and trying to understand what made great music. I remember when thriller was released and the transformation that made for pop music – although I’m not a huge pop aficionado, seeing what that MJ did is just so inspiring. Looking back and asking myself that question is so consuming cause I want to say a lot. From loop troop or apathy, all the way up to jay z I’ve really indulged in it all. Even further than that, i was all about rock/punk – there was a band “serial joe” from the 90’s that I really liked and connected with which made me inspired to make my own music.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Why do you want to record and release your own music?
Abstrakt: Music is the expression of emotion, I write because it’s a part of me. Not because I have to or that it feels good but because it is who I am as a person. Music is a language that captivates, inspires and even empathizes with people around the world. Even if you don’t understand the lyrics you understand the emotion and that right there is what make music a universal language. In 2007 I had lost a close friend the first person to believe in me. His promise for me to never give up has driven me to where I am today. Staying true to myself and the experiences people share with me inspire me to continue to make music and motivate others to follow their dream. If we all had that one person that believed in us like Clifton did for me i believe the world would in a better position for prosperity.
Grenade: There are so many reasons, other than the fact that it’s fun, it’s a release. A lot of people go through certain feelings that they themselves can’t put the words to, but somehow music does. Have you ever noticed your favorite songs are almost like that person watched you forever and knew exactly what to say or how to say it? It’s that feeling alone that stands out the most, having fans who feel the exact same.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your songs about?
Abstrakt When I write it’s always coming from personal experiences, from the stories others tell me to my own first hand experiences. That’s where I really dig my music from. A lot of it is putting it into perspective for the world to understand. that’s why understanding people and the different dynamics we all possess helps me write songs that come from within .When i first started making music it wasn’t until a good friend of mine was murdered that i opened my eyes to my personal journey as a musician and began taking my career more seriously.
Grenade: I like to make a wide variety of music, I love writing for people and taking their ideas into my own and making something of it. From break up to triumph we make it all, the most hidden message behind it all is our drive for success. I think Abstrakt and the whole team would agree with this, we want a world tour. Our music is about our steps, our emotions through those steps and our drive. We have a goal and connect to it in every manner, every song seems to always find a certain corky line about us and our high heads.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who is your fan base directed towards?
M.O.C: : I’d love to say everyone, but that’s not really what the reality is. I can’t really say that though cause not everyone loves hip-hop/rap and I can appreciate that. For the sake of answering the question we would agree that most of our listeners and fans are between 17 to 30. What we can agree on for sure is that our music is directed to the people that want to live their dreams. We aim to inspire a generation to take risks, dream big and do bigger. An age or a gender is irrelevant, if you love the song you love it, it’s black and white.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who are your musical influences?
M.O.C: Get ready…
Outkast, Mj, Bobbywhomack, Atmosphere, Flume, Kid Cuddi, Kanye, Jay, Drake, Em, Dre, Twista, Wayne, Aerosmith, CCR, Rod Stewart, The Stampeders, Loop Troop, Chords, Brother Ali, Shad K, Childish Gambino, The Beetles, Brian Adams, ACDC, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Nelly, Chance, G Eazy, Skizzy Mars, Hoodiesllen, the weekend, Theopholuslondon, Lupe Fiassco, Mos Def, J Cole the list goes on.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How would you describe your music to people?
M.O.C: At the core of it all it can be best described with two words and a symbol, Ying & Yang.We both have very different views and with that comes sometimes polar opposite ideas with what direction to take our music. I mean you need to listen to the music to understand what it comes out as but it’s that dynamic that makes us the duo we are. In an industry that is so black and white with stereotypes MOC stands out like vibrant colors to a community that has been so streamlined by false assumptions.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What makes you stand out from other artists?
M.O.C: We are willing to take the risks most other artists are afraid to take, playing it safe in this industry just blends you into an already white wall. That’s one thing we love to do, working on tracks that you might not think of as a Hip-Hop track. We’ve been working on breaking boundaries and seeing how far we can push it. Even on our first record we dropped in this wild ass guitar solo and have half a track of rain and an 80 piece orchestra. We purposely want to stand out and make something that few artists have been able to make, “timeless music”.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are some upcoming projects you are currently working on?
Abstrakt: We are currently working our first full length record with our team in Toronto. It’s an honor to be working alongside some industry vets. I think our fans are going to be in for a surprise when the see the roster and hear the tracks we’ve been putting together. We always had this dream of making a visual story to go along with the music. Not quite a music video, more like this story that has some amazing theme songs to guide you through emotionally. I think Grenade and I would say it’s just a dream but who knows what our team is able to help us bring to light.
Grenade: Bringing the color back to music is on the list for this year. We’ve been working with a few designers for our first clothing brand. One of our homies back in Calgary told us a saying that just resonated with us. G.A.N.G life (Great Art Never Grey) just like we want to push boundaries sometimes music in today’s society is just another grey on a charcoal canvas.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your career goals?
Grenade: I’d love to design in fashion; magic and fashion are attached as usual. Helping develop artists, tours, albums, number ones – you name it.. I want it all.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What are your career goals?
M.O.C: We see ourselves being a trendsetter, putting in the time and energy now to let others follow in our footsteps later on. Possibly a similar position to Jay or Dre, their business mind is so intriguing. Music is always going to be my love but what’s always held the industry is the business, and being entrepreneur within it. That means multiple plans and teams and ideas, I’ve got a few I want to test the waters with and then implement it in a bigger way.
6 months – were planning on finishing our productions, marketing and music videos to correspond in timing to our release schedules. Also any songs that won’t be used on the full length will be used as promo for the album. We have an artist collaboration song we did with two other Vancouver artists that have their own release, marketing and promo for it. Deciding our visuals for the album, song placement/arrangement etc.
8 months – after the release of the album is a tour, further discussions will be in the future as to where, who and when. We also ourselves have been looking into continuing the strength gained after the release, and have been looking into features for singles, new songs as well as productions to keep material consistent.
3 – years we hope to be a selling artist touring internationally or North American with multiple records and videos under the belt. 3 years, at this rate, we will have 4 albums, and a large fan base as our career continues.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How can your fans access your music?
M.O.C: Here’s the list.
Amazon MP3: http://amzn.to/14wAeUI
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1dYLhKM