Interview – Street Pharmacy

By: Jenna Melanson

Up until now in your music career, what has been the highlight?

SP: One of the highlights of our music career was being able to shut down the East Main Street lift bridge in our home town of Welland, Ontario and throw a giant party in the middle of it to shoot a video for our song “Welcome 2 tha Street Pharmacy”. We love our hometown very much and to be able to play in the middle of its most famous landmark to our fans, family and friends was amazing. Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EeVghHvzeY

Another great moment was being able to get perform in the MuchMusic environment live during our taping of our episode of disBAND. It was a dream of all of ours to play live on Much. The people at Much are wonderful and they really helped us and have supported us since then with having one of our videos chart on MuchMusic as well as keeping showcasing our new tunes and contests on their blog. It was a great experience with great people and it formed an amazing relationship.

Your new single, Waterslide features IllScarlett and Trouble & Daughter, who else would you like to work with in the future?

SP: It was an absolute honor to work with John Doherty of Trouble & Daughter and Will Marr of illScarlett on “Waterslide”. I looked up to them so much and am a big fan of their talents. I have also done a collaboration with Gianni Nicassio of “Walk off the Earth” as well as A-Plus from the “Souls of Mischief. I can die happy now to have worked with 4 of my musical heroes and inspirations. If I had to pick another artist to collaborate with in the future, it would be amazing to work with Kendrick Lamar. I love his flow and his ability to blend conscious and introverted hip-hop with party bangers. I really think Kendrick Lamar is a key figure in future of hip-hop. I would also love to collaborate with Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins – he is the reason I ever picked up a guitar, and Nick Hexum from 311 – 311’s albums taught me that its ok to be different, fuse different kinds of music and think outside the box. I really love co-writing and collaborating. I thrive in that environment and its really so hard to pick one artist I would like to work with in the future because there are just so many good ones I love.

You are planning to release a full length LP in the near future, what can fans expect from this?

SP: Our fans can expect a full-out, reggae-rock and hip hop record. We are aiming for 10 songs. We have recorded 2 excellent songs with Will and John and are really hoping we can do more together. They are just so great to work with. We all gel together really well. We are aiming for the beginning of 2014. We don’t have a title yet but if you love 90s golden age hip-hop flow, and SoCal reggae –rock – you will love this next one.

What is your favorite song to play live?

SP: My favourite song to play live is “Sober State of Fame” from our Free Delivery record. Its just a pure and honest song, follows a really unique structure, doesn’t seem to get boring to play and the fans vibe off of us rocking it on stage. We often start our set with it. It’s also my favorite song to play acoustically as well. It translates really well with just an acoustic guitar and vocal which in my opinion are the telltales signs of a great song in any format.

Who has been your biggest musical influences?

SP: That is really hard to say. The amount of music I have consumed since birth is astronomical! I’d like to think that I have found at least one thing to take away from every piece of music and life experience I have come across. If we are talking the original inspiration for ‘Street Pharmacy’ however, it would have to be a combination of Sublime (for the reggae/punk elements), Smashing Pumpkins (for the rock/guitar driven elements and song structures) and The Pharcyde/Souls of Mischief (for the lyrical flow and spirit).

If you had to explain to someone what Street Pharmacy sounds l like, WITHOUT them hearing your music, how would you explain it? I would explain it as a hybrid of hip-hop, reggae and rock music.

SP: That’s a tough one. If I had to use one word, I would describe it as “Wellland”! Our lives in this little town are what these songs are about for the most part. I write about life experiences – personal, perceived and borrowed from those close to me.

If you could tour with anyone, who would you choose?

SP: I would choose Walk off the Earth. I’ve played many shows over the last half decade with them and it has been an honour to watch them develop into one of the greatest live acts in the world. I could watch them every night for a whole year on tour with them and never get bored because they are really that good. There is something special happening on stage with them and that radiates off of them to the audience like I have never seen. The last time we played with them was in Buffalo, New York in December of 2012. I drove up to Burlington to see them the next night because I had to see it again! If I was on tour with them, I would be more excited to watch them play every night than to play myself and hopefully I would learn some things. WOTE are going down with the greatest of all time.

What kinds of things inspire you to write new songs?

SP: The lyrical content of songs for me normally comes from life experiences and my perspective of them. I am a storyteller at heart. I think it may have to do with having a little bit First Nations linage; there is such a strong tradition of oral history. (My father is French-Metis and my mother is Italian) I always write from the heart and try not to overthink anything. I find I get my best results when I am just delivering a perspective on a subject or just telling a good ol’ story. Songs like “In This Town”, “Waterslide” and “Alimony” are definitely perspective pieces where as a songs like “Crazy Gunner”, “The Honeymoon’s Over” and “Shepherd’s Pride” are story tracks.

Now let’s find out some of your favourites!

Favourite Disney movie?

SP: Cinderella – The Jungle Book but now that Disney owns Lucas Films – Star Wars

Favourite album of all time?

SP: Siamese Dream – Smashing Pumpkins

Favourite concert you’ve attended?

SP: Smashing Pumpkins in 1994.

Current Favourite song?

SP: The Art of Peer-Pressure by Kendrick Lamar

Favourite candy?

SP: Kit-Kat Bars

Favourite color?

SP: Green

Favourite summer activity?

SP: Playing acoustic guitar and backyard bon fire parties.

Favourite venue to play?

SP: House parties.

Favourite thing to cook?

SP: Bacon and Eggs (it’s the only thing I can cook)

And last but not least, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

SP: We love our fans and want to thank them so much for their amazing steadfast support over the years. We truly have the best fans out there and we really appreciate the love. Get stoked for the record!

I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started with Hedley. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be. I am so proud of what it has become over the last few years, with many talented music lovers and writers coming together to spread the word of Canada’s music.

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