INTERVIEW: TORONTO'S IAMBIC PEN
A little about the trio and how they came together
We go by the name of Iambic or aka Iambic Pen. It is a short form of Iambic pentameter, Which is a sort of formula invented by Shakespeare used by actors when performing his plays. It’s a certain kind of rhythm you use when speaking the text, so the most important words in the line are stressed. We came together about ten years ago. Back in the day we went by Blue Mafia, before we changed it to Iambic Pen.
There are three of us that make the group: T.O, Sill and Brandyn Leo.
How long have you been working at your craft and why?
We been working on our craft individually all our lives. I would say we do it simply because we love it. It’s our passion. I don’t think we would be ourselves if we didn’t express in some artistic way. And the best part about being in a group is that we learn from each other’s strengths. And sometimes we butt heads too.
Have you guys worked with other artists in Toronto?
Iambic hasn’t really done any collabs in terms of features yet, although we are open to the opportunity. But we are always working with other young up and coming artist in Toronto and all over, videographers, directors, producers, promoters, graphic designers ,radio stations ect.
How would you describe your music?
Our music is HOT! Straight up. I mean you can listen and judge for your self at the end of the day. But we would describe it as universal. It's still hip hop, but it's hip hop that everyone can relate to and enjoy, listen to our work.
What do you have currently going on?
We have a lot on our plate, but we have a big appetite. We are promoting our second album now “Ambitious Business” & we have been doing shows. A lot, luckily. The most we have done so far this year. We are working on our music videos for the album, while putting together potential songs and looking at beats for our next one.
Tell us something most don’t know about you
Well one we are like brothers. We pick on each other a lot but it's all in fun. Whenever we do shows and one of us screws something up, that person will get roasted no matter how small it was. One of our rituals before every show is to pop Skittles for good luck. And it wouldn’t be a good show if T.O didn’t have his lucky orange show socks.
What is the biggest obstacle you’re facing right now?
The biggest obstacle we are facing right now is the business component of being creators. It's very expensive to create something that is accessible to everyone with the quality of the best music out there. And since we are an independent group we manage the business component along with the music fraction on our own which can be a handful. Doing all this and still finding time for the ones we care about is exhausting but it's a learning experience. Slowly we are getting better with it by making important connections with people that are as serious about this as we are and staying dedicated and committed.
Who are you currently listening to and why?
Currently we are listening to people like Tory Lanes, Drake, and a lot of upcoming Toronto artists because right now there is an opportunity for us here in the City. We wanna show our support because we know how important it is. We also keep our ear to the mainstream: Kendrick lamar, Jcole, Sam Smith, Maroon 5. Music that gives us something to play with and inspire the hybrid hip hop trio feel we are introducing to the world.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
Bigger shows & more music videos from “Ambitious Business”. More music in general. We also plan on doing a lot more collabs and traveling outside the country to see what the world has to offer us artistically.
Tell me about one of your grandfathers and his life?
My grandfather (T.O’s) came here from Ghana West Africa a very long time ago, before my Mother was even born. He’s an academic so growing up, he was very strict on me in terms of school. He always gave me all the things I would need to do my best. From school supplies down to computers and printers. He was an editor for the paper and worked as an interpreter for the court but aside from all that he played the traditional drum in a group called San Ko Fa. This group has performed for the major, the premier of Ontario, many members of parliament, presidents of different counties, and in front of thousands. I think that's where the music began to captured me, the rhythm, the beat. Listening to the drum all the time. That's one way we are very alike. Aside from all the goals we set for our selves, music drives us both like no other.