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Words Dr Khan
West Country duo Black Canvas have burst onto the scene with their own original brand of conscious, reggae infl uenced music.
Since their collaborations with breaks dons Pressure Drop brought them to public attention, Rider Shafi que and Mr Melody
have busied themselves crafting their debut album ‘Rise’, a refreshingly heartfelt collection of songs which confi dently span the
genres. Kmag caught up with them on the hotline direct from Black Canvas HQ...
“We just wanted to make music that everyone family member so he introduced me to some With all three members contributing creatively,
could enjoy, young and old. If you listen to our guys who had a studio. Gloucester being a small it’s up to King Chubby J to crystallise those
album, there’s even bits on there you could play place everyone knows everyone so I started ideas musically with Rider and Melody making
in a church,” explains Mr Melody. “That’s for making tunes and Mr Melody heard what I was an effort to bring a conscious vibe and avoiding
the elders because you can’t be selfi sh when you doing and brought me along. We used to do the the disposable nature of the current climate of
are making music. Whatever the feel of the music Pressure Drop live show together, he used to sing throwaway music and shallow, meaningless lyrics.
was, we just went with it. There’s so many types and I used to MC. We’ve been working together “We always want to make positive and uplifting
of music that infl uence us, reggae being the root, for about six years now but when the live stuff music,” says Rider. “Music that will stand the test
but hip hop, dancehall and all kinds of music went quiet for a bit we started working with King of time. Music that’s not necessarily the popular
infl uence us.” Chubby J [one half of Pressure Drop] and decided thing at the moment.”
to start a project for the three of us to be involved
Indeed it was their foray into the world of breaks in. That’s when Black Canvas was formed.” “We’re not trying to compete with anybody,”
that proved to be a breakthrough, but the duo continues Melody. “We’re just doing our thing
have been working together for a number of A large amount of the originality on the album is and hoping people embrace it.”
years. Mr Melody, perhaps unsurprisingly, brings attributable to the fusion of electronics and live
the melody with his lilting vocal tones and Rider instrumentation. A perfect balance is achieved With a series of live dates lined up where the
provides a more hip hop style, spoken word between these two worlds, likewise the vocal talents Black Canvas boys will be aided and abetted by
accompaniment. “We started off on sound systems of Rider and Melody, who each stamp their own Brighton scratch DJ JFB, the boys are stepping
and I was singing on dub plates,” reveals Melody. individual vocal mark on proceedings. Rider up the pressure ahead of the release of their ‘Rise’
“Constantine Weir who used to be in Galliano explains: ”In music a lot of people can program long player in April. Singles ‘We Fear Not’ and
introduced me to Dave and Justin from Pressure beats but we are using our creativity and trying to ‘Broken Dreams’ have been doing the rounds,
Drop and from there I got to go and do vocals get live instrumentation in there and take it back garnering plaudits across the board and Melody
for their fi rst album ‘Elusive’. After doing their to the roots.” and Rider both have side projects on the go. Add
second album I linked up with Adam Freeland to that their own individual solo albums, which
and things got taken to another level. I was still “Proper tings,” agrees Melody. “Some of the are also in the pipeline, and 2009 could prove
doing my own thing, mostly reggae stuff.” tracks on the album are not necessarily going to to be a fruitful year for Black Canvas. Remember
make you dance but you can sit back and refl ect where you heard it fi rst...
“I was also in Gloucester doing hip hop and and chill out.”
reggae,” Rider continues. “Constantine is a
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