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Fake Art Records allies Keita Juma and Brendan Philip connected on the sleeper hit “Come Over” earlier this year, and they’ll bring that same off-kilter, psychedelic hip-hop to Toronto’s Field Trip festival this weekend for a collaborative set.
Collaboration between Keita and Brendan is far from novel—Juma helped co-produce Philip’s self-titled debut EP for Fake Art/Dine Alone Records. Their creative partnership, with the added input of producer Jahmal Padmore, forms the backbone of the FAROUT artistic collective, Toronto hip-hop’s reliably odd musical movement.
In the spirit of creative synergy (and since Keita Juma and Brendan Philip are performing together on the Field Trip stage on Sunday), we thought we’d ask them to interview each other. Read their conversation about inspiration, live performance, and why Adele refuses to perform outdoors below.
Brendan Philip: Alright, so how do you feel about your first outdoor set of the year?
Keita Juma: I’m stoked about it. I mean, we were at Field Trip last year, and you know it sounds big for me. Hearing the sounds on the stage. I’m ready to hear “Come Over” play back. It’s gonna feel like a beast. Feel that bass in my chest while I’m on stage. ‘Cause I mean, that’s the exciting part, outside of the sessions. It’s getting to hear it very very loud.
BP: Yep, absolutely.
KJ: What about you?
BP: Yeah, I’m pretty stoked about it. I mean, we did one of the first Manifestos. That was an interesting experience, while it was still a new thing. Having been to Field Trip, and hearing how the bands sounded, I think it’s gonna feel pretty hype to get on that platform. And I like what it represents. You just keep your head down and work, and you get an opportunity to see how the music exists all around.
KJ: What do you feel inspires your set for Field Trip, and any upcoming sets for the rest of the year?
BP: I feel like my inspiration for the set is somebody like James Blake, and just...ideas of magicians. We’re going to have a very minimal setup. It’s going to be an interesting residence. We have our little things to set up and amplify to give texture and add more of a futuristic experience to the music. What’s inspiring your set for Field Trip?
KJ: I feel for me, as far as art is I’m constantly inspired by Saul Williams in terms of like, the energy and how I represent the music.
KJ: Because it allows me to kind of like speak my voice, whatever that is, you know? The musicality behind it.
BP: We had good teachers, good distant instructors. We definitely grew up in a time when music, especially black music, was growing in the mainstream. I like that, Saul Williams...I can definitely get down with that. I’ve seen him live a few times.
KJ: He blew my mind. Shabazz Palaces, too. I think it’s because they’ve figured out the same thing we’re doing—making organic electronic music with live elements sound better then the record, or just as good, you know? But it doesn’t sound so different that you’re not able to connect with it.
BP: Is there a certain environment that you think is better for your music to exist in? Do you think it would be better in a club, or outside, or a soft-seater like Massey Hall?
KJ: I feel like I want to cater to the setting, you know? So if it’s outside, I prefer the night, whereas during the day you’re competing with natural light. Like, if you have a screen or lights on stage during the day, it doesn’t have the same type of effect. Daytime sets are a different thing altogether. You know you’re going to have to do something else. You can’t do what you’ve been doing in the club. It’s just not the same thing. That was a good question.
BP: Yeah, I’ve been thinking...
KJ: Outdoor performances are definitely different.
BP: I mean, Adele doesn’t perform outside, it’s in her contract. She doesn’t do festivals. So I’m kind of thinking like...
KJ: I feel like as a vocalist though, and someone who sings the the way she sings, to have the wind blowing in your face while you’re doing it is distracting. That’s one thing, when I’m performing outside I get super excited.
BP: Yeah, I mean, we can play bigger clubs, and I’m about that, but...
KJ: Arenas are one thing that I think about in that sense.
KJ: I feel like that would change a performance.
BP: Yeah, it is a more controlled environment and I kind of like that—to be able to make it stick. I mean, I like b-roll stuff, I like raw shit. I just feel like I want to start planning the thing, and creating a real show so it does qualify to be in those spaces.
KJ: Yeah, space represents art. And not just like music spaces...
BP: Yeah, not just this free-for-all where like, there’s this hippy dippy mentality that everyone can do this thing.
KJ: We want to strive to achieve more.
KJ: Who are you looking forward to seeing at Field Trip?
BP: I’m looking forward to seeing two groups. Alabama Shakes, ‘cause their new record Sound & Colour sounded awesome. I gave their first album a listen, and it’s super good as well. It’s just a stripped down version of the new one. It’s kind of weird, and they added a lot of more produced stuff to go with the guitars. Also Father John Misty, who is the drummer in Fleet Foxes. Now he has a solo project, and it’s just funny, good stuff.
KJ: I’m definitely waiting to see Alabama Shakes, I’ve been listening that record for the past...I guess for a little bit after it came out. You know even the mix of that record...
BP: It’s brilliant.
KJ: I’ve been listening to it on levels like I was listening to the Kendrick Lamar record.
KJ: The songs, lyrics, production...
BP: Yeah, yeah, yeah. There are layers.
KJ: There are plenty different ways for you to listen to it. Like the various different reasons to watch a movie more than once. With great records, you can listen to them over and over again.
Keita Juma and Brendan Philip are sharing a set at Field Trip at Fort York & Garrison Common in Toronto on Sunday, June 7th at 2:15pm.