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10 Questions with Sweatshop Union

Center of Gravity is taking place this coming Aug. 3-5, 2012, and Vancouver, BC's own Sweatshop Union took some time to answer Adrienne Brabandt's questions. You can catch Sweatshop Union at the Dirst Stage between 1:30pm and 2:30pm on Sunday, August 5.

Sweatshop Union are heavyweights of North Western hip-hop, and have earned a reputation as the hardest working collective in the region. Having performed over five hundred shows internationally, they have changed the perception of what live hip-hop can achieve.

The group’s most ambitious record to date was the 2011 award winning Bill Murray EP, (Western Canadian Music Awards’ Hip Hop Album of the Year) and brought a whole new level to their steadily growing underground following. Building on this they are releasing another two albums this year first starting with The Leisure Gang EP available now for free from!

How do you define your music?
Well we try not to define our music, the same way we try not to define ourselves. Music, like people, is constantly evolving, and what you do today may not represent you in a year.
But I can say that our music is fun, aware, cosmic, hip hop music.

What inspires the lyrics you write?
We are inspired by life, death, and everything in between. We are a very close-knit and powerful group of friends, so we are inspired by our adventures together.

Do you have a favourite album or song of yours?
I always say the newest album, The Leisure Gang, is my favourite, because it represents where we are right now. My second favourite is The Bill Murray EP.

You’ve performed in a variety of different locations. Where has been your favourite place to perform?
That's a hard one, there have literally been so many places we have toured and been received well. If I had to choose, I would say Vancouver, because it is our hometown and people love us and show so much support.

How did you find out about Center of Gravity and what made you interested
in performing there?

Well last year we decided we wanted to play as many festivals as possible in 2012, and we compiled a list of all the festivals in North America and started emailing them and seeing what was up. Center Of Gravity must have been one of the ones that was into having us perform and was offering the right compensation, so here we are.

How do you find travelling with the group? Is it pretty tough to travel so much or do you enjoy it?
I love my crew, we are like brothers for real, so there is no problem being on the road together, we have dealt with most of our issues in the last decade of constantly touring. The immense amount of driving can get a little hard on the body, and the lack of good food on the road can be depressing, but we enjoy it quite a bit.
I'd say the only thing that makes it hard is being away from our loved ones, especially for those of us with kids.

How did the name Sweatshop Union come about?
It came at a time when we were young, just out of high school, working minimum wage and quite concerned about the state of the world and how humans were being exploited and oppressed. We see the whole world as a sweatshop, because 90% of people are not working towards their own goals and dreams, but are merely making ends meet.

What other artists do you find influential?
We are all huge music fans, and each of us listens to different music as well as some common artists we all love. It would be nearly impossible to list them here, but let's just say we are influenced by everything from the blues to the Beatles to jazz, hip hop and electronic music.

What are you most looking forward to in relation to Center Of Gravity?
I personally really want to see Lupe [Fiasco] and Yelawolf perform, because they are pretty awesome.

Any other comments that you’d like to share with Kelowna?
Well other than the fact that we love your city and are looking forward to rocking out with you all at Center Of Gravity, I just want to say "Check out our new FREE album Sweatshop Union Is The Leisure Gang HERE, or on our Facebook."
Love y'all.

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