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Sway Q&A: More or Les

13 December 2010 No Comments

By: Ryan B. Patrick

Toronto-based rapper More or Les has a lot on his mind. Right now, he’s talkin’ bout brunch. And hate. But not necessarily in that order.

His third indie project, Brunch with a Vengeance represents an old school flow with new school sensibilities — all centred about relatable pet peeves like dirty restrooms, poor hygiene or lazy co-workers.  “For this album, I wanted to create a concept album that could resonate with anyone. And nothing resonates more than hate. Plus I love brunch,” says the affable MC.

As a rapper/DJ and co-founder of the popular Hip-Hop Karaoke Toronto events, More or Les is a familiar face in the Toronto underground urban scene. Neither a novelty act or your average rapper, More or Les (real name Les Seaforth)  is a passionate hip hop aficionado whose quirky style and deadpan delivery challenge conventional thinking about hip hop.

Sway caught up with More or Les at his recent album release party in Toronto.

When did hip hop begin for you?

In the early 80′s with songs like “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang (my parents’ copy!), “Beat Box: Diversion One” by Art of Noise, “Summertime, Summertime” by Nocera, “Rappin’ Duke” by Shawn Brown, any and every song made by Run DMC, the entire “Beat Street soundtrack” album – and I mean the ENTIRE album.

Why brunch? Why Brunch with a Vengeance?

I created an album about persons or places or things that people hate. So this album is get-back/revenge for people whose complaints have been unheard or not addressed. And Brunch is by far my favourite meal of the day that best describes me outside of Hip Hop. So Brunch with a Vengeance is a metaphor for the subtle delivery of revenge in a Rap format.

Talk about Hip-Hop Karaoke: How did you get involved with that?

In late 2005/early 2006, myself and a few local DJs (DJs Numeric, Ted Dancin’, Dalia) started discussing Hip Hop Karaoke as a possibility, after Dalia and DJ Tashish from Montreal got in contact with the folks who started it in New York. We hit them up for advice, made some alterations for a Toronto audience, pooled our records, sought out a venue, and started what has become a T-Dot institution.

What’s wrong with hip-hop today?

I’d say the greed of and monopolization of the entire concept by the record industry. People tell me all the time that the music dominating the airwaves and being represented as “what Rap is” is not what they like nor what they want to hear (for the most part). When companies invest in a product to make lots of money for themselves, they won’t focus on anything else – so they want the consumer to focus on nothing else but their product. This “all or nothing” attitude means people have to hear the same thing over and over so they memorize it, become comfortable with it and want to hear it again – leading them to buy it.

What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?

There’s a tie for my most memorable and inspirational gig – One was in the French countryside at a music festival, performing with ( UK jazz rap band) The Herbaliser. I asked 5000 people (in French) to raise their hands and follow me – and they did. This is tied with performing in Montreal with The Herbaliser again – it had been a while between collaboration, and when it was over, they all expressed how truly floored they were with my flow – they felt like my live show skills took a giant step up since we last met in person. That was exciting to hear.

How do you define success?

Being able to pay your bills, feed yourself and take the occasional trip from doing something you love. Being an independent artist in this country means never getting to say you’re rich. The other side of that fence is that I never have to conform to mass commercial expectations. I do it my way and no other.

What do you hope people get from the new album?

The idea that picking your nose in public without using a tissue or hanky is NOT cool!

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