Duncan rapper & VIU alumni perform at The Cambie

Photo courtesy of Switch
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This Thursday on October 17, prolific hip-hop artist Switch (Luke Thornton) is bringing his album release tour to The Cambie.

His new album, Where Am I, is a reflection of his experiences and draws inspiration from a number of places. “Just everyday life, really,” Switch said. “The past, the future, the people around me and the conversations I have with others. I am also inspired by anyone who has a beat on this album, I can’t make a dope song without a dope beat and of course, knowing my engineer, Teus, will always be able to put his own spin on things, keeps me motivated.”

Featuring dynamic tracks such as “It’s a Trap,” “I Forgot,” and “Even the Deep End,” the lyrics in his songs usually stem from a beat first. “But [at] the same time I am always thinking of rhymes, sometimes it will just start as a statement like a thought I had and I will build the rhymes around it,” he said. “Often the thoughts just come with the rhymes if that makes sense? But yeah, usually I will hear the beat and start writing for sure, but I may also start that verse with whatever rhyme I thought of a few days prior to hearing the beat.”

It’s his first time touring BC as a solo artist. Organizing the tour is an experience he calls both exciting and very stressful. “I have learned a lot and I have a lot more to learn. It has been cool talking to my homie Wes Paul (with whom I planned the tour) on a daily basis though.”

Switch said he always prefers to perform the new stuff, as it’s refreshing—and as for what songs he’s most excited to perform: “I like performing ‘Where Am I’ because its a challenge and ‘Lion King’ cuz my homie Abyss and I been getting the crowd super lit on that one.”

He’s performed at The Cambie before, in both the Nanaimo and Victoria locations. This time he’s bringing along some friends, including Nanaimo rappers Dawn Quiteus, Elev8ed and Shakes.

Shakes, real name Cole Schisler, is a VIU Creative Writing alumni and former Managing Editor of The Nav. He is also co-host of the Kinetic Flow Thursdays on CHLY. Having met Switch through interviewing him for the Kinetic Flow, he came across Switch’s post in some of the online hip-hop forums looking for openers. While he has performed freestyle at a number of open mics (and at the Port Theatre opening up for a dance show), Thursday will be Shakes’ first time on an actual rap show performing written music; and he’s excited to share his work.

“I’ve been at it for about 6 years now. I primarily do freestyle off the top of my head. I’ve been working on an album for about a year,” Shakes said. “It’s fully mixed/mastered. My buddy Marcello Delcaro recorded, mixed and mastered the whole project. He also did a lot of the production on it. I’m really excited about the work we did and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everybody.”

He credits his friend Brody Jones from Kelowna for getting him into rapping, and freestyling for crowds at the VIU Student Union Pub and Cyphomatic, a local rap group, for honing his skills.

The show starts at 7:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online here for $10 through Event Life Promotions.