The 8-piece hip-hop/ R&B band, People of the Sun recently released their EP, Last Day of Summer, as well as their single, “The Lick”.
Stuck at home and feeling a creative flash, JUNO Award-winning guitarist Erik Mehlsen called on fellow Regina, Saskatchewan-based artists — member of Little Black Bear First Nation MC Info Red, Pakistani-born MC and producer Origin of Spin, Nigerian-born singer/songwriters Nini Jegz and ADEOLUWA, and Saskatchewan-born keyboardist Ethan Reoch, drummer Cyprian Henry, and bass player Rob Lane — to create the country’s newest, and among the most diverse, acts to date.
They count The Dead South, Hoodoo Mafia, Andino Suns, Def3, the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ Drumline, and more, among their respective rosters of artists they’ve worked with. And, when COVID-19 hit, Mehlsen said he knew “there were a bunch of musicians I had always admired who were now, because of this circumstance, fresh out of work.
“I thought, ‘rarely are we all home and idle,’ and that it was a good time to build a dream band.”
And so from this dynamic abundance of cultural perspective, influence — plus a global health crisis both forcing and fomenting new ideas — the group formally introduced themselves this past November with a six-track debut EP, Last Day of Summer.
“The plan was to make six songs in one shot,” Mehlsen explains. “When I was setting the session up, I knew it was going to be a long, hard night, and no one else really knew what I was planning.
“But they trusted me, and they all really delivered. So much respect was born in that moment.”
“Making music is a dope thing, and it was a humbling experience to witness the band’s evolution in real-time,” Info Red (Brad Bellegarde) says. “Last Day of Summer is like the first day in the next chapter of my music career.”
“The creativity and the energy of the crew changes so much when doing things live — and only have an evening to record,” Reoch says. “I honestly didn’t really know what I was going to play for these songs until we were actually recording, but we definitely couldn’t have captured the energy of these songs any other way!”
“I don’t have too many friends in Saskatchewan that are not Nigerian,” Jegz (Uniniafore Benita Jegede) says. “This band was a nice place to meet people, and it was fun and very therapeutic to just get away from the world and get some good vibes.”
“Making Last Day of Summer was such a thrilling experience,” ADEOLUWA (Isaac Adeoluwa Atayero) recalls. “I’ve always wanted to make a ‘live off the floor’ record, and it was exciting to do it with extremely talented people.”
“I admit I was exhausted after recording each of our songs back to back in the way that we did, so I didn’t give it too much thought after we finished,” Lane shares. “Listening back to our recordings was an entirely new experience.”
“I was impressed with Erik’s focus,” Henry adds. “Within a month or two of joining the group, we were already recording music videos!”
“Even though the record probably could’ve been more ‘perfect’ if we had recorded it in the studio,” Mehlsen offers, “we made it live off the floor because it properly shows a group of people from different backgrounds working together.
“We all have different backgrounds, but live in the same city,” he continues. “And once you make something together, you have a friend for life.”
“People can feel the real love when they hear this music.”
Check out “The Lick” below, and find out more about the group via our mini-interview.
First off, care to introduce yourself to our readers?
Hey everyone. We are the People of the Sun! We are an 8-piece hip-hop / R&B band from Regina SK. We’re all about bringing people together (uh, not literally, yet…stay safe everyone) in these isolated, divisive times!
Tell us about the recording process behind “The Lick”?
We recorded our first EP live off the floor in one evening on the Last day of summer, that’s why it’s called “The Last Day of Summer”. The Lick was our first song we ever did, and you can really feel the “full send” energy in the take. Really a special time for us. So yeah, what you’re hearing is a fully live recording, if you can believe it. Our philosophy with recording live is to sacrifice a little of that sonic perfection you can get in a studio for the sake of something real and special, and we want to invite you into it. We recording the song in the legendary Regina venue, The Exchange.
What was the highlight of 2020?
The first rehearsal we had with what is our now current line-up. We’re a group of misfits, but when we made music together it felt like family.
What do you hope to accomplish in your career in 2021?
Enough streams to be able to afford a different 1997 Toyota Tercel for every day of the week!!
Is there anyone out there you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Yeah, there are so many rad artists in our area. Hoping for Melodna, Mr. Moya, Dan from HooDoo, Some of the Andino Suns, Lexy Dejarlais and as well, some of the teen-agers coming up in the scene. We want to welcome them to the community as best we can.
I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. 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.