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Jai Nitai Lotus 'Spirituality is a part of everyone, but it needs to be awoken' When you run into an animated discussion here in Belgium, there's two subjects you're gonna talk about: crisis and language. Being an independent, English-speaking MC/producer from Canada, Montreal, Jai Nitae knows all about it. Being creative, expressive and spiritual helps him to tackle these issues. 'If you can tap into your own timing and personality and move forward fearlessly, you can create innovative music.' Proof? His latest self-made album 'Something You Feel'...


On the album's single 'Hard Times and Bless' you rap about balancing life and music...how comforting has music been throughout your life?

Music has always been very comforting to me. It has also been a source of inspiration, expression, creativity, meditation and so much more. Music is life's soundtrack.

How hard is life in these difficult financial times for an independent artist from Montreal?

It's a big struggle. It's hard enough being MC/producer anywhere but there's an extra struggle when you're an English-speaking hip-hop artist in a French-speaking city. But there is a very strong music scene in Montreal.

What's the advantage of living over there?

Its mix of cultures makes it a charming city. Lots of talent and art. And it's also a relatively cheap place to live. So a lot of artists thrive here, and even visit to rejuvenate.

Tell us more about your early music memories...

My father is a musician. I remember going to a temple when I was 4 or 5 and hearing him leading these big Kirtans – call-and-response, devotional music- while I was laying on my mother's lap falling asleep. It was a very comforting feeling. I always loved music. But when I was 12 and I got my first drum set, I was really psyched about that.


The single 'Hard Times And Bless' features Georgia Ann Muldrow and Declaime…

They are incredibly talented and have a very strong work ethic. Their music is spiritually charged, so it really speaks to me in a deeper way. I feel very blessed to have them on my album.

Does rap lack spirituality?

Yes, I think it's a reflection of society as well as it is not always fitting into 'industry protocol'. But I think it's slowly changing. Especially with artists such as Georgia Ann and Dudley. I feel that spirituality is a part of everyone, but it needs to be awoken.

Georgia Ann Muldrow is inspired by 'old people in the church type of music'. What inspires you?

Hip-hop, Jazz, Soul, classical Indian music, Qawwali, so many styles and genres. Mainly music that is honest and comes from the heart.

You describe your music as 'experimental'. Please explain.

It's funny; I feel odd about that term every time I say it or read it somewhere. I use it to prepare people to have an open mind when they listen to my music.

A lot of people say 'everything has been done already in music, a hundred times again'... So what's 'innovative music' to you?

They have a point. I often think about it like that. It's important to always pay homage to what came before us. At the same time everybody has their own timing and personality. I think if you can tap into that and move forward fearlessly, you can create innovative music.


The track 'Mingus Clap' is a nod to the late, great Charles Mingus. What do you admire in him?

The fact that he was a master musician, improviser and an epic composer. He stood for what he believed in, and his music was mad soulful.

What's your fav Mingus LP? 'The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady'?

His body work is too vast for me to say one. But that's a big record! I oddly listen to 'Mingus Plays the Piano' often, it's a trip since he's known as a double bassist. But his piano improvisation and timing is fresh.


Your baseline is 'Art with Intention'...

Yeah, I think it's important to have an intention when you create art, and to also understand what your intention is. I think it helps you get focused and put more care into being honest with your art.

You also put a lot of care in the making of your video's, photo's, art work,...

I'm a very visual-orientated person, and I've been fortunate to be surrounded by such extremely talented artists who deserve much praise. It's very important that everything you do stands together as well as on its own.

Instead of paying a casting agency, you invited people to the video shooting through a YouTube video...if you're independent you need to be creative right?

More so then ever. We're very spoiled by technology, so we really got to put extra into the creative side of things. I thrive off simple creative ideas.


If you ever were to be interviewed by Nardwuar, what records should he discuss with you?

Grave Diggaz - 'Six Feet Deep'
Alice Coltrane - 'Transendence'
Old WASCANA cassette tapes

Let's save some for Nardwuar....

What's the last book you've read?

'Ascension: John Coltrane and his Quest'. When I came to know Coltrane, he was already a legend. But reading about how much criticism he received during his musical journey, it didn't put fear in him or stop him. And his belief in what he was doing. His constant searching is part of why we know him as a legend today. Thank you Coltrane!

You've released the 'Anti-Cupid' EP with Troy Dunnit, a member of Obscure Disorder, one of our all-time fav Canadian rap acts besides Maestro Fresh Wes...

Yeah, Troy's a really talented MC. He has stories. You'll have to ask him. (laughs) Obscure Disorder definitely holds weight over here. The '2004' 12"? was a game changer for me personally.

Why did you decide to put Jai Nitai in front of Lotus? Too many confusion with Flying Lotus?

Yes. I went by the artist name Lotus since 1997ish. Then when Flying Lotus got international success,
I decided it might be good to add something to it. What about my real name? A lot of people in Montreal especially, still call me Lotus...hence the reason I haven't given it up completely.

What's next for you?

The 'Something You Feel' album dropped November 6th. I got some more videos dropping. Launch party with live band, and much more music!


POSTED 11|26|2012
conducted by cpf

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