Balancing Act: An Interview With Shad

Published on July 30th, 2010 in: Canadian Content, Current Faves, Interviews, Music |

By Matt Demers

In the last issue of Popshifter, I had a chance to review London, Ontario rapper Shad’s third album, TSOL. Being a big fan of his, I jumped at the chance to talk to him at St. Catharine’s S.C.E.N.Efest, a primarily indie-and-metal music festival that takes over the town once a year in June. Though the rain loomed over our heads, Shad and I had a great conversation.

The 28-year-old was laid-back and eloquent, all too happy to take photos or sign CDs for fans. During S.C.E.N.Efest Shad partnered with Skate4Cancer, holding a signing at their tent and having Rob Dyer (the charity’s founder) speak onstage before his performance.

Speaking with Shad felt a bit different from my previous experiences talking with musicians. Even as TSOL has been shortlisted for the Polaris Prize and an opening gig for K’naan has been announced, Shad seemed composed, calm, and content. Rapping since high school and holding a business degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, Shad balances on the thin line between underground and mainstream with unerring precision, somehow entertaining both without raising the ire of the other.

I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did; it will be interesting to see where Shad goes from here.

shad and wasaga 314

Popshifter: I’ve been a big fan of yours.

Shad: Oh, cool.

Popshifter: Loved [2005’s] When This is Over, loved [2008’s] The Old Prince. I was kind of counting down till when [May’s] TSOL was coming out. You still seem to be having a lot of fun out there.

Shad: As soon as the music hits, I have fun. I don’t know what it is. I don’t really look forward to going on the road anymore. I’m kind of like, “Yeaaah. I like staying in my house.”

But as soon as the music plays, I’m like, “Man, whatever. This is fun.”

And then the other thing I always look forward to is always the food that I come across in different towns. I’m like “Oh yeah, that shawarma place!” (points)

Popshifter: Yeah! I found this shisha place that serves great shawarma for like, four bucks.

Shad: Yeah, nice! Yeah, I go to this shawarma place down here (points again) every time I’m here . . . I think “Oh yeah yeah, St. Catharine’s. Shawarma place. We’ll play, and it’ll be fun.”

So, that’s become the new thing I look forward to. But yeah, as soon as I’m on stage and the music plays, I’m having a good time.

Popshifter: It hasn’t gotten stale at all, touring?

Shad: Not really, which is weird, but like I was saying, I don’t look forward to the road anymore. Just every show, I’m like, “That was cool.” I can’t sleep too soon afterwards . . . I still have the adrenaline.

Popshifter: Why don’t you look forward to going on the road anymore?

Shad: I don’t know! I think I’m just kind of like, “Eh.” If I had my choice, I think I’d stay at home. Instead of playing a bigger club I’d do like two nights in a 150-person venue. That way I can just chill more.

Popshifter: That’s why we liked you in Hamilton. A lot of my friends were going to go to the Opera House show [in Toronto]. I was like “No no no, come to Hamilton. Everyone [in Hamilton’s Casbah venue] is front row.”

I mean, when you went out into the crowd. [It was intimate].

Shad: I like that. I had never been to that room before in Hamilton but I walked in it was nice, small . . . the stage was like that (gestures roughly a foot) high. It was nice. It was a good gig.

Popshifter: That’s what I told my friends. “You’ll be able to see him from wherever in the bar.”

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One Response to “Balancing Act: An Interview With Shad”

  1. Popshifter » Top Five Nerd References In Hip Hop:
    July 30th, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    […] written about Shad a couple times for Popshifter now, but I’m still going to throw in this shout out to Green […]

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