Philly Moves (Part 1 with MC Tragic)

Philly Moves (MC Tragic and Producer Rockwell) started off as a really likable local band with some good songs. Then they started showing signs of being more than your average rap group. First was a mixtape with a backdrop of '70s material, songs expertly woven together with some vintage melodies. Then came more songs adding vocals and guitar, expanding the previous parameters.

Then earlier this year, they unleashed How to Drink Yourself Famous. It was almost like when Hercules would put on his ring or Popeye would down a can of Spinach. Transformation time. In short, this is one of my nominations for record of the year. How to Drink…is a fantastic record which, to my ears, was not something I thought attainable by these individuals a few short years ago. Guess I was wrong, cuz these guys are morphing and developing at a breathtaking rate.

Every song raises the bar from anything they've done in the past and the first five songs are flat out hella-good. I've hardly been able to play anything else since I first copped this CD. Tragic's lyrics have matured, taking on a more seasoned viewpoint and Rockwell is really coming into his own with an impressive array of beats and musical frameworks. If you missed my review, check it out here.

I spoke to Tragic on the night before Philly Moves was going to take on Los Angeles. This would be their first foray into the American arena but something tells me it won't be their last. When the rest of North America gets caught up to what little 'ol Ottawa Canada has been spawning, it should be game over. Greatness is beckoning. I hope the boys are ready.

antiMusic: Where did the title of the new record come from?

Tragic: To be honest, we were just talking about making that line into a t-shirt. Then as we began to think about it, we thought it was just an ode to the bar and nightclub grind that you're forced to go through as a musical act trying to make it. Where you spend more time in bars than you do in your own house.

antiMusic: To my ears, the band has matured significantly between Peace and Carrots and the new record. The first record had "My Home" and "Alarm Clock". This record has "Cliché" and "So Simple". Do you agree and to what do you owe this leap forward?

Tragic: I don't know. To be honest, I'm not really sure. I guess maybe it was the last few years of some people saying how bubblegum or whatever we are. I guess we just stepped out of the comfort zone a bit.

antiMusic: There was kind of an innocence with your first discs with songs like "Oh So Good" and "My Home". The new record has "I'm Tired" and "Dear Hip Hop". Is the business part of the music business becoming more consuming to you as you climb the ladder?

Tragic: Big time, yeah. 100%. It's like 95% of what we do now. I barely get any time to create anymore. And I'm still working my 9-5 too cuz I have to pay the bills, you know? So it's pretty much work all day and then come home and work all night. Because we do all the booking and all the PR work… all the social media stuff because that's essentially what it all is now. So I never have time to write songs. Jon and I never even have time to sit and write together. Even when we sit down with that on our agenda, we always end up talking about stuff and have to work on other things. There's just too much other stuff to do.

antiMusic: Tell us about "Oh You Bad". What were you trying to get across in this song?

Tragic: We wanted an intro song so it just kind of started off as "We're Philly Moves and this is what we do" and then these semi, quasi-positive messages kind of leached through my head. And we had this sweet sampled beat…Jon made this old-school sounding beat. My lyrics were kind of like punchline-y stuff like that. And then we had some scratches in it so it was just kind of like a little intro sampling of us. This is Philly Moves and this is what we do.

antiMusic: Like I said before, I like every single song on the record but the top half, the top 5 or 6 songs are really strong. "I'm Tired" is my favorite song on the record and also a great video. Lyrically, are you talking about the long road to success?

Tragic: Yeah, exactly. It's just a bit of, not only success in the music business, just in life, the same stuff that people can relate to, just the grind, you know? Yeah. (laughs). I got inspiration from both sides…well, all sides of my life, you know what I mean? Relationships, regular working life, the music business. Just life in general.

antiMusic: What do you mean you could never do wrong? In what way?

Tragic: I don't know. That was just…a kind of double meaning. Like I'm a good guy. Whatever my appearance is or the kind of stuff that I do or say, the bottom line is I'm a good guy. And also it was just kind of meant to be a little play on everything we put out is good (laughs).

antiMusic: What was the idea that sparked "Just Think", just an awesome song, by the way.

Tragic: You know we were watching a video of this rapper from Atlanta called Big Crip. He has one song with just a really simple slow beat like that and he actually just raps about real stuff instead of trying to be whatever. He's super talented. That song was just a slow beat; it didn't really sound like Jon's beat, but it's just got that same vibe. Really quiet,,,introspective I guess. And we really just liked that idea and Jon just played a simple piano thing. It wasn't even the beat, he just played it on the keyboard. And he looped that.

Originally we were going to make it like super low-fi, like just the piano. Like nothing else. But then we talked to this guy in Atlanta when we were down there, who was in Jon's school. That's the guy who sings on it and he was just in the studio listening to us jamming it out. He was like, "Man, I would love to sing something on this." So I said, "I'll be the hook right now and then you can just build on that." So I did.

I don't know if you noticed the secondary chorus or whatever where it's just me saying "the world will be a nicer place…" That was originally supposed to be the hook. And then we just built his part around that and then with his singing in there we kind of felt we needed to make the beat a little more epic so, Jon added the drums and some of the reverb and stuff just to make it sound big.

antiMusic: It sounds awesome.

Tragic: It turned out pretty good. I mean the concept is just, I don't know, just think. Use your brain before you do stupid stuff. (laughs)

antiMusic: In "Dear Hip Hop", it sounds like you think the genre has lost some of its impact from when it first came on the scene. What sort of things bug you about the state of hip-hop today.

Tragic: Well the biggest thing to me is the obsession with money. It's what seems to drive the industry right now, it just seems so perverse that people need to brag about how much money they have all the time. I mean with all the terrible things that are happening in the world? It's like who is listening to this and who's enjoying it?

I don't understand how it's allowed to be in the mainstream. It seems like it should be along the same lines as pornography, like pornography for the ears. It's so obscene. Talking about how you have a huge limousine, and drinking thousand dollar bottle of champagne. I understand it's about people talking about their situations and Jay-Z for instance. Like whatever. What the heck else is he going to rap about now? He's worth 700 million dollars. I understand he has to rap about his life (laughs) but I don't know…there's so much wrong with it.

The messages that are coming out of pop music are just ridiculous. You've got Katy Perry writing songs to 13 year olds about having a threesome and doing drugs in your parents' house. The way music is going in general is just depressing. I don't understand it.

Hip hop, especially, is always supposed to be about a message, a positive message, like changing your environment by being creative. It's completely gotten away from that, unfortunately. And the people who we are supposed to be inspiring are the people who are actually poisoning and worsening.

antiMusic: Your songs, I'm not going to say before that were not deep in that way, but you've had "Oh So Good," and you talk about the immediacy of the moment and in "Dear Hip Hop" you're really stepping up and giving the message and trying to get people to look at this. When did the light go off in your head and you started to make this switch to sort of a different kind of song?

Tragic: I don't know. I don't think a light ever really went off, it's just when I sit down and when I'm inspired at that moment it's what comes out. Maybe as I get older too I become aware of more things as far as my surroundings, as far as how the world seems to work. I don't know. It's not a conscious effort to change. None of the songwriting is ever a conscious effort. It's not like I'm ever sitting down and "this is what I want to write a song about." It's just kind of what happens.

antiMusic: With "Cliché", I'm not clear on whether you actually think the tried and true subjects of rap like bling and Cristal are funny and that you're seeing yourself in the scene or that you just had to have your own take on these well-worn topics.

Tragic: Yeah, me and Jon were in the car, driving down to Atlanta and we were listening to the radio and it's all hip hop radio stations down there. So no matter what station you're listening to, it's playing rap. And we were just talking about how, man, everybody raps about the same stuff all the time. (laughs) I was going to write a song about this kind of thing. I mean going back, I was even poking fun at stuff people used to rap about like in the 90s. I mean it was just kind of poking fun at the entire genre and it's been 25 years and people are still rapping about the same stuff. Using the same type of punch lines, the same metaphors, the similes and stuff and like I say, I even fell victim to it. It's inevitable in all types of music.

antiMusic: "T-Shirt" sounds likes it came from kind of a downer mood on a rainy fall day.

Tragic: Yeah, exactly. (laughs) We were talking, and Jon asked, "What's it like out? Is it too cold for a t-shirt?" So I was like, man we've got to write a song about it's too cold for a t-shirt. Later that day he just played a little bit on the guitar. And then he made some crazy melody (laughs) and then I imagined in my head kind of like a social commentary. Sort of like currently in the world today, it's too cold to run around in a t-shirt, like you've got to, I don't know (laughs) build up a mental sweater. (laughs) I don't know.

And then Kaylie (Seaver) came over to work on some other stuff and she just started harmonizing with Jon while he was singing it and it sounded wicked so we were like, well there you go. That whole song…it was the only one on the album that wasn't recorded in a real studio. We just recorded that in the living room that day.

antiMusic: That's crazy. You would never know.

Tragic: Yeah, yeah I know. That's Jon. He's got crazy talent with mixing and matching and stuff, and engineering, I guess you could say. He can work wonders with pretty low-quality equipment.

antiMusic: No doubt. What's behind "Get Your Free On"? Man, the record just kept surprising me as I heard each cut. When I first heard that…I was like: holy crap. It's got this real retro '60s Stax-sort of vibe on it. I really thought it was awesome. What's behind that?

Tragic: I don't know how it came up, but I'd just been thinking about how it seems people get caught up in holding grudges and stuff, you know what I mean? Just stressing about things that happened in the past, about how they'd been hard-done by. So essentially, I was just trying to say stop worrying about what happened, forgive and forget and move on past it and you'll live a better life, you know?

So for the chorus, I had this concept but I didn't have a hook and then you know that Missy Elliot song, "Get Ur Freak On"? I don't even remember how it came up but we said, well "Get your free on." (laughs) Getcha getcha getchya free on" like she does it in her song and it just kind of fit her style I guess. (laughs)

antiMusic: "Little Brother" is a real departure from other hip hop records and it works really well. How did that idea come together?

Tragic: Thank you. Jon just had a blues riff he sent me. And he said, "Man listen to this, it sounds really cool. Can we do something with it?" So he sent it to me. And I had actually written that song, "Little Brother" to a completely different beat. And I started rapping it to the guitar riff and I started picturing Jon singing and I was like man, "If you can pipe up some bluesy singing in this, we should definitely do this song that I had wrote for this other beat."

So we tried it out. We did like a pre-production of it which sounded wicked. And yeah, so we decided to stick with it. Having the blues is all about being broke, you know so it just really worked.

antiMusic: It must be a really good one to do live,

Tragic: Oh yeah, it's awesome. If we do an acoustic set it's always the finisher. It's a good one.

antiMusic: "The Paper Caper" must have been really fun to put together. How did you come up with the idea of ending the record with something like this?

Tragic: Yeah (laughs) That's one I've wanted to do like forever. I've been a hip hop fan since I was like 9 years old, so Big L and Biggie and everybody's always had the storytelling song and I know it's like completely a departure from our regular stuff, but I was just like, whatever, I'm just going to do it. It's kind of an ode to that era and that type of song.

It always amazed me how they could stay on topic so well and actually tell a story from beginning to end and behind it. So I really tried to challenge myself and try it. We actually wrote two of them but the other one we didn't end up really liking how it came together so we dropped it. But this one turned out really good. (laughs)

antiMusic: Who are all the other voices?

Tragic: Jay, my old room mate, is one of them. Jon's girlfriend is the other one. I think that's it. The rest of it is just me and Jon. So it's all people we know. The day that we recorded my parts for it, we went back and recorded my roommate and Jon's girlfriend's parts. Jon's girlfriend is really shy so it was like a blessing that we even got her to do it. She did it and it turned out really well.

antiMusic: Backing up a bit, how did you get together with JD and when did the seeds of Philly Moves first come into the picture?

Tragic: We've been buddies for a long time. We've been friends since probably since 9th grade. I had always been into hip hop and he's always been into bands. So I was just like, "Man you should try to make beats" because he can play guitar and he can play piano and he can play drums. So I was like, "Try to start making beats so I can rap on them." So he started kinda making some beats and we put out a few songs them.

We actually put out an album when we were like 17 just to give away to all our friends and stuff but it was brutal. And then I moved away when I was 18 to Calgary. I lived in Calgary for 4 or 5 years. I started listening to a lot of different music, a lot of electro music and stuff and got away from hip hop completely. And Jon went away to school and he was still in a band. His new band started doing well and put down some tracks but we didn't do anything musically together at all.

And then I moved back to Ottawa, went to school and then when I got out of school, I guess I was 24, that's when we put out a record…bang. We just got together and did it one weekend. We made like five songs. It wasn't that great either. But whatever, it was something to have. And all our friends liked it. So that's what led us to, hey we should start doing some shows. It wasn't even us then. It was just me rapping and Jon doing the beats. But I did a couple shows just solo. So we did a couple of shows like that.

And then I went away again, for work, for a year to Winnipeg. But we kept in touch, kept doing stuff online and actually put out a couple more songs. And the songs kept getting a lot better. So that's when we started working on the first album, the one with "Alarm Clock" on it. So we put out that album in late 2009 and that's when we became Philly Moves, when we did that album. We decided we had to have a crew name and Jon decided he was going to come up and start performing and stuff. Cuz what happened was we put some songs out on college radio and it did really, really well. And we became encouraged obviously.

So I quit my job in Winnipeg and it was a really good job working with the government. So I was all excited, like "Oh man, this is what we're going to do. Hip hop is going to rule." Jon quit his band that he was in (because) both of us we're so encouraged by the good vibes we were getting and stuff. So we changed to Philly Moves and put out that record. We released that record to the college radio charts and it did really well again.

And that's when we booked our first tour, our cross-Canada tour. And at that point we hadn't even performed together yet. (laughs) We booked a full tour, like a 20 show tour. (laughs) So needless to say, we just kinda practiced on the road, as we started performing. So we did that tour and then things have been pretty much rolling ever since.

We made another record while on the road. We weren't really that happy with it, to be totally honest. We just kinda rushed it out but it was well received. We sold over a hundred hard copies of it. And then around that time…then we started getting crazy shows in Ottawa. We were getting tons of shows in Ottawa. The tour really helped and we got hooked up by this guy called Carlyle who was in good with the guys at Ritual (Ottawa club).

So we pretty much skipped over like five years of grind. I don't know how but we just passed over a bunch of guys in the Ottawa scene who had been at it for years. And we got the Mac Miller show which was a huge break for us then. Then we got the Action Bronson show in Ottawa. We got a whole bunch of good shows through the Ritual guys.

And that's when people started taking notice, like "Who the hell are these guys?" We were getting shows over a lot of the guys who, like I said, had been doing it for years and had lots of good connections and stuff. And then that's when Jon went to school in Atlanta. Fortunately things had really started to pick up. So we got Bluesfest that year too.

Yeah, and then I went to Atlanta to visit; we recorded Peace and Carrots while Jon was in Atlanta. I went to a different studio and recorded. We put that out at Bluesfest. And we released that to the college charts as well and it did really well. It was our best release at that point. Then I Went to Atlanta and we recorded How to Drink Yourself Famous. And we released that in January and it ended up in the college charts too and yeah, now here we are.

antiMusic: Where does the name come from?

Tragic: It was a song actually. When it was just me Tragic, we put out a video for it on YouTube because I had my own YouTube channel. And that's still the YouTube channel we use right now. So we put out a live session. Jon played the beat on his keyboard and I rapped like 32 bars and we called that song "Philly Moves".

And when we were thinking of names we were on the computer, and we were looking at YouTube, Written down, Philly Moves, we just thought that had a pretty cool ring to it. So we were like, yeah, cool. There's no like crazy story behind it. It's just from a business stand-point, people will remember that. It has an easy ring to it, it's catchy. (laughs) It has no deep meaning to it. We just went with what we felt had a good roll to it.

antiMusic: What is the first thing you remember about JD from when you met him?

Tragic: Oh boy, he was like a real badass back in the day. It's pretty contrary to his personality now. (laughs) He's like the biggest softie I know. But he was like a classic ADD, shaved head badass when he was 14. He was the kid who smoked cigarettes in grade 8. It was pretty funny. But then he started dating Leslie in Grade 10 and he turned into the biggest softie ever.

antiMusic: What did you think when he hit you with the idea of doing the recording course in Atlanta? Were you scared for the future of the group?

Tragic: Well yeah, obviously he came to me when he first got the idea and I was like, yeah, that sucks. For a whole year? I was forced to perform on my own. I probably did like 25 shows by myself. But we had our DJ by that time which was another blessing.

So yeah, obviously it's a good move for the band as well because now Jon records all our stuff. He knows the ins and outs of the technical side of the business. So I mean it was an advantage. It was hard to see at the time; I was a little rattled to be honest, but yeah, it turned out good.

We got to go down and use that multi-million dollar studio for free. Like the studio that we recorded How to Drink Yourself Famous, people pay like a thousand dollars an hour to get their stuff engineered there. We're using a $5,000 mike, and there's a $30,000 mike there but we didn't use it because we were too scared.

It was good all round but at the time it was scary. You never know how things are going to turn out. What if he just decided he was going to stay in Atlanta? Anything could've happened. That was a full year.

antiMusic: yeah, that's what I thought when I heard about him going there. He goes and you know the way things happen, will he end up staying there?

Tragic: Yeah, who knows? He gets a job offer somewhere else? Who knows what things could come up? But luckily we kept in good touch and I kept grinding here. And I just made it so it was an awesome situation for him to come back to here.

antiMusic: I guess it helped to strengthen the bonds too knowing he came back and he might have other opportunities but he came back and you two guys are still doing it together

Tragic: Yeah exactly. I think we both know we're in it together and we're 100 per cent serious. And that helps. I feel that's what causes a lot of musical acts to separate is that people feel there's an uneven workload or that someone else isn't as serous and things just kind of split apart.

We've been able to maintain a good relationship. Jon sorta handles the creative side of things. He does all of our design work. He does all of our websites. He does all of our posters. Like he designed all of our albums. All of that stuff is free for us which is normally a huge cost. That cuts our marketing budget significantly. And he makes all the music, designs our logos, and designs our t-shirts…all that stuff.

And then I handle all the boring stuff (laughs) all the bookings. I'm essentially our manager. We have a management team now. They're in the same position as us. We signed with them and they were just the fans and they decided to help out and we've kind of grown together. And things are starting to come to fruition. But 95 per cent of the business is handled by us, mostly me. But it's a good division of labor. We're both busy every day. Jon's busy with his stuff and I'm busy with my stuff. It's not like we're bitter at each other's work load, you know?

antiMusic: Working a crowd at a small club is one thing. What adjustments do you have to make now that you've started to get in front of bigger audiences like Bluesfest? Has it been a real learning curve for you?

Tragic: Yeah, big time! Like last year at Bluesfest, it was a huge deal for us. Having the DJ really helps bridge the gap. We were able to do, with just me, Jon and DJ So Nice, we could handle a 500 person crowd, that's fine. But like Bluesfest, it's not even the size of the crowd so much as the size of the actual stage. Having to work a stage that's that big is a lot different and now that we have the acoustic part worked into the set, it really helps with that sort of stuff.

And Jon plays some of the beats live on the drum pad and then he whips out the guitar and the DJ is on the table scratching. So I mean it we keep it very dynamic. I mean, there's always something different happening. It's not just a guy standing up there with a microphone. Unfortunately in hip hop until you get to a position where people know your songs and they want to see you for an hour, just being an emcee is not going to separate you from the pack any more. Not saying that we're gimmicky. It's not gimmicky. We just have different things to add to our live set.

antiMusic: And like an audience member, that's what I like to see. I don't want to see somebody there just rooted to one spot.

Tragic: Yeah, exactly. Me and Jon we have really good chemistry. Vocally, we have great charisma with the crowd. And just knowing where each other is physically on the stage; we're very comfortable that way.

We're always moving from side to side, never bumping into each other and he finishes all my lines for me to you know, so all the punch lines on the verses sound that much crisper because it's me and him both saying it. And if I need a breather, or just to make it look like we have a really tight set, I just drop the second half of lines sometimes and Jon comes in and finishes it. And all that stuff just comes seamlessly to us now.

And that's really what separates us from, not to sound over confident, but I've been to so many hip hop shows…. just our dynamics and how we are on stage, I know it puts us already ahead of the vast majority of hip hop acts. We're already in the upper echelon performance-wise…even though we haven't paid our dues, you could say, years-wise.

antiMusic: What has the move to Toronto done for you so far?

Tragic: Well it's really increased the workload. (laughs) We're so close together now. We're together at least a few times a week so it's so much easier to get stuff done. We're just getting so much more done. And there's just so much more to do as far as getting involved in the scene in Toronto. I mean there's always shows to go to.

We immersed ourselves in the scene immediately. We really hit the ground running here. It was perfect timing for us because we'd already built a profile in Toronto from coming here for shows. And we had a huge profile in Ottawa and the two cities are pretty connected as far as people know what's up in Ottawa and they know what's up in Toronto.

So we got a monthly which is huge. We got a monthly right off the bat. And it just so happens this guy who runs a venue in Toronto did sound for one of our shows in Ottawa. And so Jon's girlfriend got this job at this bar down the street from where we live and we were in there to see her, having a beer and he came up and said, "Hey guys". And we were like, "Holy sh*t. What are you doing here?"

Later on he gave us a call and asked us to come for a meeting and offered us a hip hop monthly. And it's every third Friday at this venue and it's a great venue. .like 175 person capacity --- huge stage. It's a really good coup for us to get it. So now we instantly have a reason to talk to the mid-upper echelon of Toronto artists, like Ghetto Socks or Fresh Kils. That whole crew is like the top 3/4 percent of Toronto hip hop scene. It's not the top guys, but it's guys who are higher than us and have been in the business a lot longer than us.

So we're now in that scene instantly. We brought in Fresh Kils and The Extremities for our first monthly and we just had Ghetto Socks in for our last one. We do a good job promoting. Both of those shows were attended by all the other guys in the Toronto scene, you know what I mean?

So I guess from that I got a text from Decisive. He's a three-time Juno nominee. He's awesome. He texted me last night, saying "Hey man", out of nowhere. I don't even know where he got my number. He probably got it from Ghetto Socks. He was saying, "We've got to get together and make some music." So I mean just having that monthly to bring those people in and rub shoulders with people it's been awesome for us.

Yeah, like I said, pretty much our whole career, what we've been able to do is bypass, because we came into the game late, realistically. Everybody's been rapping since they were 16. We started when we were 24, 25. So we've had to jump over a lot of different steps and we've been able to do that just by working hard.

Like we got the Action Bronson show here in Toronto which was huge. Arguably one of the most buzzed hip hop shows in Toronto for 2012. And we got on and were the only opening act somehow. Like that got tons of people in Toronto talking. The streets were buzzing you could say. (laughs) Like everyone I know was like "How the f*ck did you guys get that show."

I saw the show pop up on my Facebook. I emailed the promoter a bunch of my links and he got back to me and said, "Hey, come in for a meeting." So I went in for a meeting, and I didn't even mention the Action Bronson show in the email. We went in for the meeting and he said, "You guys are awesome. We want to start putting you on some shows. What about the Action Bronson show?" And I was like "F*ck, yeah." (laughs)

That was a huge splash for us. Everybody in the Toronto scene knows who we are now just because that. So really just by sheer determination --- that meeting that guy, that was probably the 30th guy I had emailed that day, as far as promoters in Toronto go. We've been able to get past all these hurdles just by pretty much us sticking our nose right in people's business. (laughs)

antiMusic: So now you're heading states side. What do you hope to get out of that? Just raise the profile a bit or are you looking to some particular business there.

Tragic: It's mostly just to plant some seeds, you know. It's already been more successful than we thought it would be. It's literally, honestly, more about the buzz that the tour of LA gets for us back home. It's the buzz that causes everyone here to see, "Oh, man these guys are going to LA. They've got five shows. They've got a show at the Roxy, they've got blah blah blah."

It's going to be better for us here than it is realistically going to be in LA. Who knows? You never know who's going to be at the show. None of the shows are huge gets, as far as getting shows. But the fact that we got shows is impressive. And the fact that we got shows at legit venues and we're not just like busking or open mikes. We have actual shows with promoters and whatever. And who knows. It's going to be good for us in LA obviously. We already built a network there just through this. Like I now have the booker at the Roxy, the booker at the Viper room, the booker at the Central, I got like four different bookers of huge venues… the Whiskey a GoGo. I've got their phone numbers and email addresses now just from this. That alone has made it worth it.

Next time we got to L.A., with more time in advance, we're going to be able to book an actual really awesome tour. And that's what you have to do. You have to pay those dues. And that's what this trip is. Obviously it's going to be awesome. I mean going to LA and playing shows. (laughs) It's going to be an awesome time. But it's more about planting the initial seed and the buzz it creates for us back home. We've got lots of people talking now just because of the fact that we're going.

antiMusic: Well it's true. When I first saw the poster go up, it was like "Holy sh*t. You're making steps that take other bands months or years." It seems like you just got to Toronto and all of a sudden boom you're poking your nose down in the states too. You're making big steps quickly.

Tragic: Yeah, that's exactly it. That's like what I said, we were kind of forced into the situation because we got into the game so late. We don't have the time to wait five or six years to get to the position that we get to. Ever hear of a band called Notes To Self?

antiMusic: No.

Tragic: They're from Toronto …guys we just kind of met. And he's like, "Man, I've been in Toronto since 2002. Grinding hard. It took me five years before any promoters would get back to me. And you guys just got the Action Bronson show within 2 months of being in Toronto." It has a lot to do with luck I think, but it has a lot to do with the fact that we're so visible. We make sure that people are forced to know who we are.

antiMusic: There is that but you can't also forget the quality of the product too.

Tragic: (laughs). Yeah, well there's that too. (laughs)

antiMusic: This record is so much better than most of the stuff out there. There's the odd track from other groups here and there. But I've heard enough individual cuts from a lot of other bands and most hip hop records I'm going "I've heard it before." This record is not like that at all. So the reason you're getting out there is because of the quality of the product.

Tragic: Oh thank you. I do forget about that sometimes. Like I said I do get wrapped up in the business side of it sometimes. (laughs) and Jon and I are both the kind of guy, once we start working on a new product, we try to just discount our old product.

We've been very patient with this album. We're going to let it stew for a while. We want lots of people to get it and want it. Cause we're both itching to put out a new album already and we have to be more patient with stuff like that and have faith in our product.

After we're done something we both think of how we can do it better. That's always what's on our mind whenever we release anything. Which is good, but I think it's a blessing and a curse. The reason we got where we are is because we both have a huge case of ADD (laughs) but we're also smart. So we can use that ADD and channel it.

So we're constantly unhappy with where we are. We always want to be moving forward. I guess that's ambition as well. Sometimes it would be nice to sit back and be content cause we have gotten far, farther than most hip hop acts who start out So it's hard sometimes to just stop and enjoy what you've done and the product that you have. But we're really going to make an effort with this album to just let it hang out and we'll release more videos for this album and just keep pushing it and making sure that as many people as possible hear it.

antiMusic: What's next for Philly Moves?

Tragic: We're going to do Canada, a cross-Canada tour in October. We've got some of the dates booked already and stuff. So we'll be releasing more info about that soon. We have a new mixtape in the works that we've been working on. We have like five songs; just the pre-production done. Nothing final draft or choruses or anything. No real date. Like I said, we want to kind of chill out with this record for a bit. We might release 3 songs with like a demo for free download or something. No video or anything. Just something for people to download and share. Maybe a few new songs. But next up is the tour. You have to be touring if you want to be a successful musician; that's the bottom line.

antiMusic: You have your face in front of people…

Tragic: Yeah, that's it exactly. 100 per cent that's it. And that's where the real money is made nowadays, regardless. People are making money on tours more than they're making money on records. But we love performing. I love being on the road. Jon loves being on the road too. That's like fun for us. The more we perform and meet as many people as possible, the better.

(Coming soon…Part Two with Rockwell)

Morley and antiMusic thank Tragic for taking the time to do this interview.

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