Getting serious with Mike Boyd about new album “Note The Sarcasm”
Hailing from the heart of the east coast of Canada, Halifax, N.S., Mike Boyd just released “Note The Sarcasm” on Halflife Records – owned by older brother, Classified. After the release was announced, Boyd joined a cross-country tour alongside his brother with headliners and friends, Hedley. The first show of the tour took place at one of Canada’s most prominent and coveted venues, the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on March 27. Martyr’s Devin Size talked to Boyd the following day while they were on route to the next show in Montreal, then Ottawa the following day covering all three of eastern Canada’s largest cities. He says the experience, although surreal considering the scale, is nothing new to him as he’s always enjoyed being the hype man to Classified – the Robin to his brother’s Batman. Why you ask? Well, Boyd is shy, and getting answers out of him was no easy feat. Something a music journalist usually doesn’t encounter in the hip-hop industry, but let’s pass him the mic anyway.
DS: First thing I wanted to ask about, was the eclectic mix of three genres on the tour, how did it come about that Hedley, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker [USS], and the Boyds ended up on the same bill?
Mike: Hedley actually reached out to us. I know Dave [Rosin] is a really big fan of Luke’s [Classified] stuff. So I’m not sure whose idea it was in the first place. They just invited us on the tour. We also did the Hedley tour a couple years ago, it’s an awesome show to be on.
DS: So how was the show for you guys? I mean I was there and witnessed it, but how did it go?
Mike: Last night was obviously the first night of the show. We got there late and didn’t even have a chance to meet the guys from USS, we were busy setting up and scrambling. There were a couple kinks we need to work out in the set, but it was a good show and it’s only going to get better. We had a few mix-ups in the set, hopefully nobody noticed the slip-up. We had an after party with contest winners after so that was awesome.DS: What especially stood out to me – about your set in particular – was that all three Boyd brothers were on stage together: you and Luke – the oldest – rapping together and now young Jacob playing guitar all together. It’s awesome to see each of you bringing unique talent together, how does that kind of family unison feel?
Mike: It’s great. Luke and I play off each other so much, that obviously it all adds more chemistry. To be honest I could barely hear or see Jacob on his little riser behind us. Touring together is amazing, we all grew up together and lived together, so it’s all good, get along easy.
DS: Before the music came about, were you guys always so close?
Mike: Hmmm… No, not really. Luke is five years older than me, and Jacob is a couple years younger than me. Luke moved out when I still young and I didn’t really hang out with him at first, not until I moved back to Halifax anyway. It wasn’t until he had a home studio, quit his job, and got serious about rapping. I was always into the music, but never doing it myself. I liked watching Luke doing his thing, but I never started until after high school. I’m so shy, I used to get a doctor’s note on presentation day at school [laughs.] I never thought I’d be doing this, just kind of happened.
DS: So now you’ve branched out, released your own solo work, and the first track on the album “Mr. Mike” struck me as a self-introduction. One line in particular stood out to me [middle brother tired of being secondary.] So do you feel this is your chance to claim your independence as an emcee?
Mike: Yeah I do, any of Luke’s newer fans, or people that have heard is latest stuff, all they know is the verses they heard on his last two albums. I dunno, I mean, I want to branch off as my own artist, but I don’t expect to be on Luke’s level or anything. It’s pretty ridiculous what he’s done. I want to be… But then again… I don’t want to be. I don’t really care about people paying attention to me. I’m fine with being the hype guy, the background guy. I’m not a “steal the spotlight” type.
DS: Well, listening to the second track on the album “Soar like a Butterfly,” it sounds like there’s still a part of you that wants to “soar” in some way.
Mike: Ah yeah, I have to agree with you there. I put out an album like seven or eight years ago, and that was more of a side hobby and stuff. My main concentration then was just backing up Luke and helping him with his stuff. On this album I’m definitely trying more to be an official artist. Like you said, to stand alone, on my own.DS: Your album not only features your brother, paying homage to where it all began, but also many other prominent Canadian artists like Madchild, D-Sisive, and Shad. Tell me how it felt to have all those guys on the album supporting you?
Mike: Oh man it’s amazing. At first when we started doing it I had no idea I was going to be able to get features, especially not of that quality I guess you could say. I mean Shad is ridiculous. I remember touring with him when he was first coming up. We had a good relationship built from that. Same with D-Sisive, we’ve worked with him many times. He was down to do it so I was happy cause I love him, he’s a crazy lyricist. It’s scary doing tracks with him. Madchild I’ve met maybe twice, just in passing. Never got to know him, but he wanted to do it as a favour to Luke, they go way back. And He wants Luke to do some production on his next album. It just worked out great.
Interview by Devin Size, photos by Ftfphotography