With a style that will make you question your own sanity and purpose, Ceerouse has been able to completely captivate an entire city in a short amount of time. His shock and awe style of Hip-hop isn’t without purpose; a closer look reveals thought provoking ideas disguised in hardcore X-rated rhymes, delivered in a style that is truly unique to Ceerouse. After much anticipation and careful planning, Ceerouse dropped his debut EP titled “Supervillain” in the summer of 2014. This project received rave reviews from bloggers and radio personalities alike, which helped establish Ceerouse as a serious contender in the Canadian Hip-Hop scene.
Entertwine: Could you tell us a bit about your background? What can you tell us about living in Ottawa, Ontario? What has been your experience with the different music scenes of Ottawa?
Ceerouse: Well I’ve lived in Ottawa my whole life. Living in Ottawa is pretty quiet most of the time. The music scene is growing but it’s got a ways to go. Because it’s a smaller city, It’s cool to see how everyone who’s a part of the scene here knows each other in some way or another. It’s not like some of the bigger cities where everywhere you go there’s music and shows constantly in your face, but the scene here in Ottawa has to be searched for and uncovered by people who want to find it. It’s there though, and it’s growing. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of the hip hop community here and I’ve seen it be pretty open and welcoming.
There has been controversy regarding your use of hardcore X-rated lyrics; if these claims are true, is it necessary to be so graphic and vulgar to get your message across? What is the overall message you hope listeners take from the music you’re creating?
It’s satirical. That’s one thing people should understand. There’s many ways to get a message across. That’s the beauty of music, you can express it however you like. In terms of the over-the-top gnarlyness of my latest EP release, Supervillain, that’s just where my head was at at the time. The language, imagery, and how it’s delivered, are my way of portraying my perception of the problems I see in society. We live in a world where fear-mongering has become such a big thing, that people have just become accustomed to it, without realizing it for what it is. So take the news for example: all you hear about on the news is people being shot, stabbed, killed, raped, and all sorts of other things that make you flaccid. It creates a perception that that’s ALL that is happening in the world. So when you look at my project, Supervillain, it basically takes that whole concept of the way todays society is run and blows it out of proportion to the point where it’s as ridiculous as I see it in the real world.
On the other side of it, it’s talking about a lot of the things I was going through at the time such as drug abuse, depression, and self doubt trying to understand my own destructive tendencies. It’s just coded in a way that to get to the actual emotion behind the album, you have to be able to look beyond the surface value of the hilariously- offensive record. That’s another thing that has been bred out of my generation: questioning things and investigating what’s really going on below the surface. So yeah to some people it’s just a nonsensical debauchary of morals and anything politically correct. But fuck being politically correct when the state of an era of young people are bring brainwashed. You’re supposed to think, and debate things, not just accept what’s served to you. But that’s what I like most about the record. That it means something completely different to me than it does to my fans. And it means something completely different to the people who know me, than it does to the people who just know my music. In the end of the day, as long as I’ve entertained myself, and at least a few other people I feel as though I’ve done my job. I hope that answered your question.
What went into the making of the music video for your song ‘Sinister’?
My innocence. And lot’s of planning. I had a pretty clear vision for the video in my head after finishing the song, so when I met with my director Adam Kirkey (Slinger Pictures) we were already a few steps ahead. We organized the script into scenes, and we basically had four major sets that I wanted to create. First was the bedroom scene that was covered in white sheets and black lights with all the characters jumping around on the bed. Next was what I called the “Main Stage” set, which was the big open space with the lighting and fog machine in the background. This is where we shot a lot of the performance takes. Third was one of my favorites. I had the idea to light a room with 200 glow sticks and black lights. Finally, we had the living room set with everyone sitting on the couches.
Adam and I sat down and organized the scenes to shoot over three days and made a detailed list of every shot we needed to get on each set before we could move on. The biggest tasks in designing the sets were making sure all the small details were perfect. The set that took the longest to make was probably the living room set, because we spent three days or so prior to the video spray painting this huge sheet that was the backdrop. Oh we also had a buffet on location.
My parents were a huge help and support throughout the process, which gave me a lot of peace of mind throughout the three day shoot. However, the tricky part here was that this all happened at the end of April. Adam then had just a few days to edit, color grade, render, and export the video. We were heading to Canadian Music Week on May 7, and the goal was to have this out by then so we could push it while at the conference. In hindsight, we had about two weeks from the time I sat down with Adam to pitch the video to the day it was released. Project management game 1hunnid.
You released your debut EP “Supervillian” this past Summer; what life experiences and events led to the writing and recording of this album? Do you have any plans for a full-length release?
The album was actually written and recorded over a period of maybe 4 months. Like I said before, the record was just a roller coaster of emotion touching on a lot of stuff I was struggling to understand. I went through a pretty bad depression and did a big ‘ol pile of drugs and found myself in a really bitter and cynical mind state where I was just angry at the world because I didn’t understand what I wanted from life. I spent a lot of time (am still spending, I should say) trying to reprogram my mind. Getting rid of all the destructive subconscious programming and through doing so I learned a lot about myself, and was able to observe a lot about how people around me behaved and were programmed. I started seeing the subconscious attitude from which behaviors came, and then what events or things had installed those attitudes (if that makes any sense at all to you).
Anyways, so that’s what the concept and process were for the album. In terms of a full length release, I have two currently being cooked up. A solo project (more tame, but still Ceerouse) and an album with my label which you’ll hear more about later in 2015. I have enough nastiness still for a Supervillain 2 but I’ll hit you guys with a more friendly side of Ceerouse first >:).
What marketing strategies have allowed you to captivate the entire city of Ottawa so quickly? What does 2015 hold in store for Ceerouse? Do you have any upcoming live performances scheduled?
Wow the entire city eh? Well my team and I made a killer music video and pushed it to hip hop blogs. That gained a bit of traction and we followed up with an equally bonkers live performance. I think the live performance has been the most important part though. And my advice to any artist is to spend as much time on your live performance as you do on your recorded music, if not more. It’s so key, especially in an era where you can’t live off of music sales alone.
In 2015, aside from two solo projects I have on the burner, I’m focusing the majority of my energy and resources on getting my label off the ground and my artists developed. You can definitely expect my girl Thandie D to set a new standard, and our producer MAX who’s also an artist on the label is coming with a few gems.
My next show is on December 4th at City Nightclub, I’ll be the guest performance for the fourth volume of Cap City Showdown, put on by the revered PropAway Records and WeFamily Entertainment.
Got lots of love for Entertwine for putting me on! Google me or check me at www.ceerouse.com if you’re aching and hungering for more Ceerouse. ~ Deuces!