With BadBadNotGood (BBNG), you’ve got three young men that have taken jazz and have helped to make it cool and relevant to a young audience through their mixtapes and online videos. Marketing wise, it works too. It’s not often that you get jazz slash hip hop crossover artists? Taking a break from their busy rehearsal schedule to collectively answer questions, we discussed BBNG’s upcoming gig at Manifesto, what motivates their work, and how to ‘keep it big time, all the time.’ You can catch BBNG perform alongside Pharoahe Monch onSunday September 23 . The trio; comprised of bassist Chester Hansen, keyboardist Matt Tavares and drummer Alex Sowinski; will be joined by guitarist and friend, Ben Foran.
Manifesto: On a scale from 1 to 10, how stoked are you guys to play with Pharoahe Monch on Sunday?
Manifesto: Have you ever performed at Manifesto in the past?
BBNG: No, we haven’t. We’ve attended a couple things, and saw Rakim when he came to the Harbourfront a little while ago which was pretty tight. But, we have never played a Manifesto festival so we’re super stoked.
Manifesto: Why do you think Manifesto is an important festival for Toronto?
BBNG: Manifesto is about bringing in artists and exposing people in the city to strong music while keeping it relevant. There aren’t a lot of organizations that put on festivals, so you need to have things come through the city to make diverse music accessible.
Manifesto: What is your personal manifesto? What motivates you to be creative and contribute to the city’s art community?
BBNG: We want to keep on evolving. We’ve had some great opportunities, and we don’t want to let them slip away. So, we keep making music, because there’s a community that exists that wants to listen to our work, which we’re so grateful for. We also like to change the game and keep things big time all the time
Manifesto: Did you find the community at Humber College helpful, or encouraging of your personal/professional growth?
BBNG: Humber was a good place to start. It’s where we all met each other, and we learned a lot of musical skills. We just found it hard to be in the school, while trying to make music outside of school. So, we all dropped out, and got hate mail from our teachers. So, now we’re just keeping it big time.
Manifesto: So, did you find the hip hop community more welcoming or supportive than the jazz community?
BBNG: The hip hop community was much more welcoming, they’re used to artists coming in from different cities, and its association with so many different topics, like money, cars, class and struggle. Whereas, jazz is associated with just playing your instrument really fast and being able to pull out tunes,
and re-playing stupid shit nobody really cares about.
Manifesto: What do you love about performing at such a big and public venue like Yonge and Dundas square?
BBNG: It’s really cool to be at the centre of the city and play music. You see the Jack Astor’s, the Milestones, Hard Rock Café, H&M billboard, it’s all there.
Manifesto: Yes, it’s where banality meets art.
by Navi Lamba