Following on their debut album, T Dot Stand Up, released earlier this year, Primordial Emcee and Iron Wind (aka Primal Winds) embrace their inner pirates with swashbuckling adventures full of lyrical myths of antiquity.
Joining them for their high seas adventures, the duo have recruited some of the grimiest lyricist they could find, with Fortunato, Chief 4syt, H4Z4RDOUS, Ern Dawgy and Warrzone.
The first single off new album Give No Quarter is “Shipwrecked”, on which the duo band together with notorious privateer Fortunato for a song saturated with action-packed lyrics portraying the dangers one faces living the life of a pirate.
The accompanying video, edited by Joe Cash and filmed by John Beales at the La Grande Hermine shipwreck and surrounding areas in the Niagara Greenbelt just outside of Niagara Falls, features the pirate trio as they explore an old shipwreck and search for buried treasure with plenty of booze in hand. All hands hoay, this is one album you won’t want to miss!
In this interview spotlight, we chat with Primordial Emcee and Iron Wind about their latest project, music consumption preferences, navigating the digital world and much more.
Full Q&A along with links and streams below.
Who is Primal Winds? Where are you from?
Primordial Emcee: Primal Winds is the collaboration of artists Primordial Emcee and Iron Wind. We presently live in Toronto. I grew up in the suburbs of Mississauga while Iron Wind resided on the outskirts of Scarborough.
What style of music do you create? What attracted you to this genre or style?
Primordial Emcee: Our style of music has been inspired by the golden era of hip-hop and those keeping the craft alive today. What attracts me the most to this genre is the word play and rhythms artist have created for us to decipher. To me, all the puns, metaphors and similes, are what gives a hip hop song so much replay value.
Who or what influences your playing and/or writing?
Primordial Emcee: We influence one another. If you were to watch Primal Winds work on a hook in the studio, you will see how we feed off of one another’s ideas, evolving them by bouncing words and phrases back and fourth. The best part of the process is when one of us finds the sequence we are looking for. If not for the teamwork some of our best concepts would have never come to fruition.
How long have you been creating and sharing your music with the public?
Primordial Emcee: You can find songs from a more premature Primordial online, dating back to 2008 with my first solo experiment that’s titled Sci-Fa Stereo (short for “Science Faction Stereo”). Then into Pulp Faction, the sophomore album that created Faction’s group of emcees leading into the concept album X-Faction around 2011 followed by The Refill EP. After taking a hiatus from the scene for some time, my solo side project X-Faction 2: Reanimated was released in 2016 by Hand’Solo Records.
Iron Wind: I started out in 2002 as a beatbox artist under the name Scratch Cat. I have performed at various events across the GTA, such as Dundas Square, Importfest, The CNE Bandshell, Sound Academy and have had television appearances on Breakfast Television, Much On Demand, CBC News Sunday, YTV’s Zoinked, and created the theme music on a hip-hop documentary series called Cypher. It wasn’t until I met Primordial and Faction that I started focusing on emceeing and production skills. After The Refill EP I was signed to a distribution deal with the Wu-Tang-inspired label Protect Ya Neck Records where I released my first album, Storm Of The Century, and returned returned one year later with my next project, The Warrior Inside, also featuring Primordial.
What motivates you to keep going?
Primordial Emcee: Music is like our offspring. Every time Primal Winds creates something, we give it life, and it gives us life in return.
Why should people listen to Primal Winds?
Primordial Emcee: ‘Cause we’re in it for the long haul. If you enjoy music with substance then we’re your cup of tea.
What is your new release? How is it different from the previous ones?
Primordial Emcee: We have a slew of concepts that we plan on releasing. Our game plan is strong and there is no shortage of material. Give No Quarter was the first choice to follow T Dot Stand Up cause we had sort of a small vendetta to pay. Releasing T Dot Stand Up was the stepping stone for our vision, and we have another album in the works we’re gonna release after Give No Quarter titled The Renegades.
Did you set out to accomplish anything specific with this album?
Primordial Emcee: We’re always challenging ourselves to work outside our comfort zones and try something new. With T Dot Stand Up we wanted to not come off too strong and just kept it simple and real, trying to capture an audience that still enjoys upbeat vibes with a hint of controversial content. Give No Quarter, for us, is the personification of Primal Winds setting sail and casting off into the unknown world of hip hop, with more detailed subject matter and historical content.
Where is the best place to connect with you online? And to discover more of your music?
Primordial Emcee: Twitter would be the fastest way to connect with @Primal_Winds. Next best place to reach Primordial and Iron Wind would be on the Facebook fan page @PrimalWinds. Bandcamp has both T Dot Stand Up and Give No Quarter for listening and purchasing purposes. As well, you can find our material on all the major digital music outlets.
Do you prefer Spotify? Apple Music? Bandcamp? Or something else? Why?
Primordial Emcee: Spotify is an excellent service and so is Apple Music. I enjoy Bandcamp for the layout and user-friendly appearance, and we look forward to the Primal Winds YouTube page for all the music videos we plan on making. Currently the YouTube page has the video for “Shipwrecked,” our first single from Give No Quarter, which features a pirate theme much like the rest of the album.
What about vinyl, CDs, and MP3s?
Primordial Emcee: Having a vinyl of any material is amazing! The fact something will last longer then myself is a wondrous thought. Primordial presently has the privileges of working with Hand’Solo Records on X-Faction 2: Reanimated. And with the lyric video of “Comic Relief” dropping soon, with original art from indie comic book artist Dave Howlett (SLAM-A-RAMA, True Story), there will also be a vinyl release.
As an indie musician in the digital age, how does the technology help and how does it hinder your art and career?
Primordial Emcee: Social media over the years has changed the game in our eyes in a negative way, but at the same time, with the vastness of the internet we are able to reach the ears of new listeners that would never hear us before. It’s like a double-edged sword. Also artist these days need to have multiple skill sets to accomplish releasing an album. Just being a rapper or producer doesn’t seem to cut it these days. You need to be the artist and the business all in one. Having the tools to record and put out music was never this accessible 20 years ago but today you can do it out of your bedroom studio.
What are your other biggest challenges in attracting an audience to your music?
Primordial Emcee: The internet is similar to a landfill of data just being dumped everyday, and going through all that garbage only to find something that was there all along. Without a good following and a management team pushing your material, it proves to be a difficult task.
What was the last song you listened to?
Primordial Emcee: Probably something off one of our latest concept albums that’s unreleased.
Do you tour or play live? Where can music lovers find out where to see you perform?
Primordial Emcee: We’ve traveled to many places in Ontario. Iron Wind has performed in Denver, Colorado, where he receives lots of radio play with his album Warrior Inside. With Toronto being our base of operations, we mostly do shows in our city and the surrounding areas. You can find details to any upcoming shows we get booked for on our Facebook or Twitter fan page and we are planing to tour as soon as everything is in place.
What’s next for Primal Winds?
Primordial Emcee: While focusing on pushing Give No Quarter, Primal Winds has a long term plan to drop enough material we can hit multiple demographics. Right now we have two projects on the go and lots of music videos we wanna create visuals for. Depending on how things come together over the next 3 or 4 months, we are working towards having one of the two albums backed by a record label we think deserves the attention of their fan base. So look out for some more Primal Winds radical concepts before the year is out.
Any last thoughts, shout outs, or words of wisdom?
Primordial Emcee: Shout outs to Hand’Solo Records for the guidance, and to all the talented featured artist working with Primal Winds: Alyssa Sproul aka Alexa Orania, H4Z4RDOUS, Chief 4Syt, Fortunato, Ern Dawgy, Warrzone & Fresh Kils. To all the DJs with our material in their playlists, and radio shows giving us the exposure Primal Winds deserves, especially CJAM 99.1FM in Windsor, CJUM 101.5FM in Winnipeg, CFUV 101.9FM in Victoria, CFBX 92.5FM in Kamloops, CHRW 94.9FM in London, and anyone that we forgot to mention, thank you.