Indie rap chew

An integral part of the underground hip hop and graffiti realm is coming to Kingston

James Kirkpatrick combines his fine art and music practice as Thesis Sahib.
James Kirkpatrick combines his fine art and music practice as Thesis Sahib.

How do people describe your sound? Why?

Indie rap chew with an electro 8-bit new wave post punk folk twist to it.

I think people call it that because it sounds like me rapping/ranting/chewing/singing over electro 8-bit sounds with a touch of new wave post punk folk twist to it.

To let you know chewing is this term that my friends in England used to describe this kind of rant-hop thing, I don’t know where it came from.

What inspired the unique format of Before the End?

My passion for printed matter, vinyl and unique objects. I am a collector as much as I am a creator.

What has been the most rewarding part of creating it? The most challenging?

The best part is having a nice home for the album and the art that I feel matches it. For once it’s a format that I am happy with.

The worst part is trying to make my money back on it and learning to be an accountant to keep all of the shipping and money for it in order.

Why did you decide to include an element of the book listeners could plant?

The plant-able part is the download card of the 16-song album that accompanies the book. After downloading the songs you plant the card, it grows wild flowers.

I don’t really like CD’s and I don’t like wasteful plastic. I seem to only buy vinyl and I like when it comes with a download card. I listen to vinyl at home and an MP3 thing when on the road. It just makes sense to me. I will keep some CD’s but most of the time I just rip it and put it on my player. So I am left with this plastic CD and package. I really only keep CD’s that have a nice booklet.

The bag that Before the End comes in is acid free and reseal-able to protect the artbook. It’s all intended to keep except the download card that doesn’t really have a function when it is used.

What was the writing process like?

Well the book is mostly art except for the forwards written by Robin Metcalfe and Jesse Dangerously. The writing of the words in the album comes from so many places based on observations, relationships and experiences.

The oldest song on the album is about five years old. I made it in LA right when finished my previous album LOVED ONES. I write quite a lot in my drawing sketchbooks, mostly while I am on the road, which is often.

Those writings are the launching point to most ideas in the songs.

Can you tell me a little bit about the recording experience?

The songs produced by Funken were recorded at his house in Tours, France. Most of the recording for this album was done by Jason Holinatay (Middlesex Wrestling Team) who was my DJ for years. Some of it was recorded London, Ontario in his parents house on the same street that I grew up on. Later we recorded at his newer place in Toronto.

A few songs were recorded by Nyles in Toronto. I love recording with those guys because they always give some good advice about what takes to keep and offer good advice on the delivery, etc.

Do you view art as your full time job?

Art is entirely my full time job. It’s how I pay rent and get food. I wake up in the morning and start working then make breakfast and it goes pretty much until I fall asleep. Some times I go to yoga or see Jamie Q, Peter, my brother or my Mom and Dad. But other than that and playing shows I am always working on or for my art/music in some way--all day.

You’ve been to and shown work in so many places over the years with both art and music, do you have a most memorable show or gig?

My last European tour was great. I love to play the punk squats in Switzerland. It’s also unreal to be playing an intimate anarchist punk squat one night and the next night opening for B Dolan and Anti-pop consortium on a massive converted movie theatre. Plus my friends in Europe are great people.

Best art show was at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto. The staff there are amazing and it’s nice to have a show where there are 300 people there to see your work that you have never met before. Plus it was the same weekend as pride so Jamie and I went out dancing after and that was fun.

Do you have a favourite place to hear music? To play music?

I really like shows at Call the Office in London. It’s not too big and the sound is pretty banging and clean at the same time.

I always prefer seeing and playing shows in smaller spaces. The stranger the place the better--but also I hate using a shitty sound system.

Oh, I found out last night that for this upcoming European tour I get to play on a boat in Toulouse France.

What about to view art? To show art?

I pretty much always prefer showing in artist run centers or publicly funded places the most because they are not so concerned about how hanging something or placement of an object effects the chances of it selling. It’s so bullshit when a gallery takes over how high or low a thing should be hung. It should be the artist’s decision.

How do you feel about collaboration?

I do it all the time with music and art. I do tons. Right now with the visual art I am sort of taking a break from collaboration. Just because I am trying to figure out some stuff and it isn’t always the best to team up with someone. Sometimes it turns out horrible and right now my time is a little limited and I want to do things on my own terms.

I mainly collab on visual art with Jamie Q, Peter Thompson and Beau Labute.

What do you feel your role is as an artist?

Right now all I can say is that I think it’s pretty much the same thing as my role as a human. To be me, to be myself and not be an asshole or hurt anyone else.

How did you get involved with the Apple Crisp Music Festival?

I met Josh Lyon by accident at a show his band was doing in London. I was trying to book a show in Kingston with Ceschi. That fell through and through that I was re-introduced to Mark who happened to see me play about 5 years ago in Halifax. I was playing with Self Help as our group Bending Mouth. Through this re-acquaintance he asked me to play the show.

Thesis Sahib plays tonight at The Mansion with Unconscious Encore and Kinetiq Dance Crew at 8 p.m. See ‘Crispy compass’ for ticket and event details.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.