A pair of rappers from Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw First Nation will be taking to the stage this April with music inspired by life on the North Island.
Tristan Swain-Walkus and Daemon Elliott have only known each other for a short time, however the pair have made quick work collaborating together.
Swain-Walkus was born in Vancouver, but moved to Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw at a young age and became prominent in the community as a talented performer and artist.
Elliot is something of a new talent on the scene having moved to Port Hardy a little over a year ago from Bella Coola, BC.
Both cite artists such as Tupac as major influences, however in their own work they draw from experiences from living in their communities.
Often the struggles of others, along with their own, are points of interest for the pair.
“Seeing people struggle, it just keeps you going,” said Swain-Walkus.
“It’s those kind of people I look up to, because they are going through really hard times.”
The two Port Hardy Secondary School students have made quite the name for themselves, particularly Swain-Walkus who said that he is often asked when new material will be released.
“Everybody is really supportive when it comes to the shows and buying cds off us. People are always asking when the next one is coming out,” said Swain-Walkus.
Both artists have recorded and produced work with their own equipment, often makeshift in nature, yet their efforts still reach a professional quality.
Swain-Walkus released his last mixed tape a few months ago called “Rez Life”.
Often the two will use household rubbish to obtain certain professional effects. This doesn’t faze them though, given the “do it yourself” nature of hip-hop.
For Elliot, the process of getting back to the grind of writing and recording has been challenging given the fact that he is often on his own during the creative process.
“I’m working on my own album right now, that’s what I’m pushing for right now. It’s hard, especially ‘cause I’m doing it all by myself when I record. I’m just starting to get back into it,” Elliot said.
He doesn’t create his own beats, but relies on the online community that allows for fair use of beats posted by users.
The show the two rappers will be headlining will take place on April 24 at the Port Hardy Civic Centre at a yet-to-be determined time.
Although this will be the first time the two perform together, live performance is nothing new for them. Swain-Walkus has been a local staple, having performed a number of times at the Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw community hall and Guido’s Cafe. For Elliot, who has been on stage in Bella Coola, this show will be his first time performing in Port Hardy. Although he has some nerves about the gig, he is confident the show will be a success.
Tickets will be $10 and are being sold at the Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre 8950 Granville St., Port Hardy. The centre can be reached by phone at 250-902-0552.