When Johnathan Stoddart moved to Calgary in 1999, the hip-hop scene was virtually non-existent in the city. In the fifteen years since he first set foot in the city, the scene has grown, and he has been front and centre for the ride. Stoddart made a name for himself as Ricca Razor Sharp, building a reputation as one of Calgary’s “go to” MC’s.
After building a solo career, Ricca has put his concentration solely on a collaboration between friends he has met along the way. Ricca is now part of a five piece crew, Blades of Steel, that continues to make their marks in a scene they helped cultivate.
Flanked by bassist Pastrami, Ricca Razor Sharp sits inside a bar in McKenzie Towne, crediting his band mates with his individual growth as an artist, and the production of a record every single individual in the band is happy with. With the help of the second MC Soleo, Shoez at drums, Roop at keyboards, guitarist Ru, and bassist Pastrami, Blades of Steel have created a 5-track EP that shows a progression of sound, without a regression in a music that has earned them a loyal following of folks who hit the clubs to have the time of their lives.
Their first EP released last year Like A Calf in a Tube Sock, was according to their new bassist, “a little more rock,” while their new release Frontal Full Nelson and the Boxcar Bolsheviks is defined by Pastrami as ,”a big shift towards the funk.” The minor change in genre is not something Blades of Steel fear, what matters is not the maintenance of a signature sound, it is what the songs do for their loyal fans.
“The energy within the band is why we have our fans; I don’t think our fans are here because we maintain a sound,” claimed Pastrami, whose MC agreed with the sentiment by adding, “I don’t think we are sitting down writing some style we don’t want to play just in order to fit in some niche.”
The stage is a different world; you come to this place of tranquility… as soon as you stare in the crowd, nothing else matters.
What carries the strictest of importance within the group is the fun they have on stage. No matter what personal problems they have in their private lives, or how much they drank the night before, once they hit the stage they express love and an energy that seeps into the soul of the crowd. In return, the audience leaves the show knowing they experienced a performance they will never forget. They went to a show and had the type of fun they often take for granted.
“The stage is a different world; you come to this place of tranquility… as soon as you stare in the crowd, nothing else matters,” said a reflective Pastrami a former fan who has had a front row seat in both worlds. He knows what Blades of Steel creates, and how they create it.
The group has created a diverse collection of songs that draws different personalities and tastes into their group. Blades of Steel favourites like H.E.M.P, and Do You In the 80s have become staples of their shows, but with the release of Frontal Full Nelson, fans will be drawn to new tracks that sound like music created by the love child of George Clinton, and Grandmaster Flash. Tracks like the opener So Fast, and the party track The Mexico Song will soon act as signature Blades of Steel tracks.
On May 31st, fans of Blades of Steel will know what to expect, and those expectations will be matched with a bone shaking energy that has created, and maintain a legend within the local hip-hop scene.
Blades of Steel “Frontal Full Nelson & the Boxcar Bolsheviks” EP Release
May 31 @ Local 522 – Show Details