Blood: The essence of life, it is vital to our existence. It nurtures our bodies and souls; spurs us into action and forges unbreakable bonds between those who share its composition. Blood is truly thicker than water.
It’s also inerasable. As any crime scene investigator will assert, even the tiniest drop is forever ingrained in or on its host. Blood can be the tie that binds, the giver and taker of life and the indestructible evidence to confirm and/or deny.
In the case of Vancouver, B.C. hip-hop outfit Indelible, blood is what drives this duo comprised of brothers J Thorn (vocals, keys, programming, beat producer) and illucid (vocals, beat production) to create an onslaught of slick beats, provocative rhymes and mind-melting songs filled with hook-laden samples over a foundation of pristine production.
At that, like the crimson fluid itself, their invigorating blend of urban music’s formative elements including everything from R&B-inspired and melodic hip-hop through edgier raps and hooks, Indelible is an inimitably infectious and universal aural attack that makes this duo’s name enduringly appropriate.
They are lasting. Memorable. Permanent, a fact cemented into certainty thanks to independent debut full-length Our Present Future (Paranoyd Records), the explosive culmination of decades-long fraternal conspiring initiated when the pair were the only young rappers in their neighbourhood. Refining their musical influence and prodigious output via rehearsal and years of underground shows in various acts such as Reverse Priorities and illucid’s solo venture, schooling at the Royal Conservatory of Music in classical piano and tangible experience, Our Present Future is poised to become Canada’s infinite reality.
“Indelible isn’t just straight up rap or hip-hop,” declares J Thorn rightly. “We’ve called ourselves a hip-hop/pop/alternative act, but we just do whatever we want. We could be associated with Outkast, Everlast, or maybe Flo-Rida but our influences range from new and golden era hip-hop and rap to classic rock, modern pop and everywhere in between.”
Still, while J Thorn and illucid have worked together since youth, after paring back appearances circa 2005 in order to see their business Paranoyd Sound Studios take off, the pangs of creating and performing grew impossible to ignore. Those twinges would inevitably instigate Indelible’s fruition.
“After opening Paranoyd Sound Studios in 2006, illucid, producer/drum-and-bass DJ Steps and I had been busy spending most of our time producing and engineering client’s music,” recalls J Thorn. “In 2007, we missed performing and writing; the idea of a new group was tossed around. We’d been working closely with Steps for a year and a half. We made a pact that we would pull all the tricks out of the bag and make a commercially competitive album.”
“We wanted to make music that would leave an impression,” adds illucid. “Something permanent in people’s mind, the kind of album you leave in your CD player for months without switching it. We did that through Our Present Future’s high quality, audiophile-approved sound, catchy hooks and meaningful lyrics over very melodic and rhythmic grooves.”
Confirming their vision’s power, “Watchin’”—the first tune Indelible wrote and produced—was featured on Brougham Records’ GM Playlist Volume 2, a compilation rounded out by the likes of Kardinal Offishall featuring Akon, Belly, Keisha Chante, Bishop Brigante with Nate Dogg and more.
Inspired by the track’s success, Indelible set about forging Our Present Future, pausing only to release their Double Feature Music Video and EP, a campus radio favourite which hit the Top 10 hip-hop album charts. Moreover, lead song “Gets Me High” (featuring Blaming Taylor) easily racked up a host of accomplishments including First Place in the Indie International Songwriting Contest awards’ Pop Category and Top 10 charting on commercial radio. illucid recalls many sentiments around Our Present Future’s creation:
“It was inspiring, creative, tiring, detailed, striving for perfection, late-nights and long sessions. It was supposed to take eight months and ended up taking three years but was fun the whole time,” he beams relating just how scrutinous Indelible was with Our Present Future as writers, creators and producers.
“We enjoyed building this album,” adds J Thorn. “We really tried to get in touch with a positive, energetic balance of creativity. We like to create upbeat, big tunes from scratch usually using just one indelible, or permanent, piece of music. Something like a small piece of an old song, clip of an idea, piece of a sample or a chord progression from a classic tune and build on it because I’ve always used mainly original loops in my beats and we’ve always had a bit of singing/melody in what we do. Since we produce our own music we feel like we have the control to take it in any direction we like.”
Bolstered by working collaboratively with Steps and inviting genre luminaries including Moka Only, Blaming Taylor—featured on lead single “Gets Me High,”—Jahranimo and Lil Precious, Our Present Future is a fervently illustrious intermixture of experience, vast knowledge and captivating tunes delivered in a stunningly anomalous package. At that, its sublimely intricate and intimate lyrics endeavour to affect some beneficial influence on the world.
“Our Present Future is a snapshot in time for Indelible,” asserts J Thorn. “It’s the way we like to look forward. The album is about feeling positive. It’s supposed to make you feel cool and take you on some kind of adventure. It’s about self-fulfillment and positivity through life’s dramas.”
“We created a brand of hip hop that’s upbeat, inspiring, melodic and lyrical; it’s outright music,” illucid notes lucidly. “We have organic instruments mixed with electronic; old-school flavour mixed with new school styles. This is the kind of music you want to pop in your car and listen to on a road trip. We want our music to reach everyone and relate to everyone in the world in some way. Indelible is real, confident, no-gimmicks, laid back and hype at the same time and Our Present Future leaves you wanting more.”