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By Dayna Mahannah What: Verses Festival Where: Various locations When: April 25-May 4s Tickets: versesfestival.ca Multidisciplinary artist and author Vivek…

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LOOP SESSIONS An Underground Incubator for Creative Exploration

Tuesday 05th, February 2019 / 13:19
By Joey Lopez

Photo by Bailey Morgan

There are few things left that are found out by way of word of mouth. The internet has provided immediate access to nearly all information known to humans and spontaneous discovery becomes rarer every day. There’s something special about something that is truly underground – unadvertised and not promoted or reposted one hundred times over to gain mass attention. Loop Sessions is just that. An opportunity for raw creative improvisation: once a month a group of 30 producers are brought under a single roof and given the same song to sample. Each producer is then tasked to create a two to three minute beat based on that sample within a three hour time frame. From there, they reveal their creations to each other – something wholly original with no two songs sounding the same.

Loop Sessions is a hidden gem, not only just to Vancouver but to places all around the world. Its origins are the brain child of a group of producers from Brazil that sought to bring artists together under the name BeatsBrasilias. From there it found its way to Montreal by way of Canadian producer Dr. Mad.

Bringing it to Vancouver was practically serendipitous. While recording I M U R’s latest album in Montreal, band member Mikey Blige came across the Loop Sessions that was happening there and immediately sought to bring it back home with him. Unbeknownst to him, Nick Wisdom of producing duo Potatohead People happened to have the exact same idea,

“I met up with Dr. Mad on my trip to Montreal and told him that Mikey went to Loop Sessions and how I wished I could have gone. He was like, ‘You guys have to start it in Vancouver. That’s your mission you have to do this.’ Says Wisdom of the beginnings of Loop Sessions Vancouver, “When I came back to Vancouver I was planning on starting [Loop Sessions] with Nick and I didn’t even know he was given this mission. It was kind of perfect timing. And we didn’t even have a space but the owner of Nemesis Café really likes hip-hop and he offered us the space for anything we wanted,” Blige mentions of the synchronicity of the event coming together. According to Wisdom, the mission itself was to create a space that welcomed creatives free of charge, free of ego and free of clout chasing.

Photo by Bailey Morgan

“The best part of it is you get to see so deep into somebody by what they choose to do with those two hours. Everybody’s vulnerable and none of these beats are masterpieces, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about giving people something to do. I remember the feeling of the first one and being so inspired by seeing 30 people making beats, 25 of which I had never seen in my life and now we see them all the time.”

“We don’t even want to advertise it because we don’t want too many people coming and resulting in someone being turned away [due to space], so we invite people that we know make music or anyone who was at the past Loop Sessions. There’s already been this great community of people that have naturally gravitated toward it.” Says Blige, “But we want to open it up to more newbies and more women. We have a lot of men come in and we’re wondering how we can change that,” chips in Wisdom about building on the accessibility of the event.

The solitary practice of creating beats in one’s own room becomes a social event, putting those who normally shy away from the spotlight centre stage for their peers to witness and admire.

“During the month we started this in Vancouver, without any external contact, Loop Sessions Brussels and Loop Sessions Buenos Ares started at the same time. And now there’s a Toronto one, too,” Says Blige, solidifying the collective consciousness behind Loop Sessions and affirming that this is exactly what producers around the world have been craving. “ We hope in the future with a little bit of love we can build something where people are travelling city to city, bringing people from like Loop Sessions Montreal out here and we send people out there and when people go travelling to whichever city they will know there’s a Loop Sessions there. Creating a bigger network and crossing more paths.” says Wisdom, hopeful for the future of turning Loop Sessions into a worldwide networking opportunity, “We really want to establish more public support. What we’re hopeful for in the future is to get more high profile curators, so people who are producing locally will have a bridge to those who are on the international circuit. There’s a huge opportunity there,” Says Blige on the future plans of Loop Sessions.

With Vancouver’s DIY venues suffering from the meteoric rise of unaffordable real estate and the gentrification of lower income neighborhoods with great losses happening across the city, something like Loop Sessions is exactly what Vancouver needed. An accessible space, free of charge where artists can create freely and where newcomers to the scene can rub shoulders with local legends.

Loop Sessions is held monthly at Nemesis Coffee free of charge and is open to the public. Catch February’s Loop Sessions hosted and curated by DJ Flipout.

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