Due to timing and big changes in the industry, combined with a baby being born Hip Hop Mecanix got put on hold for good reason, Juice continued performing live briefly but ultimately stopped to pursue his DJ career by starting the "Prime Collective DJ's" in Vancouver and developing the alias
DJ Goodspin as his handle. DJ Sorce started working in sound production and editing for video games with a local studio while starting his own project called Alfred Nobel, a trip hop future beat project. Short Top moved back to Edmonton married, became a father, developed his own clout and respect rapidly as a DJ and MC also.
The industry was going through major shock as new technologies and formats began to gain a foothold in the music world and those who had previously controlled most aspects had to also put operations and projects on pause also to adapt. For this reason looking back it was the right choice at the time though we didn't know it then. Geffen Records had been looking at us via one of their talent scouts and when Geffen went through a major restructuring we were lost in the chaos of it all at the label. So close yet so far is how it felt at the time as talks to come and perform in L.A. were in the works. Hip Hop Mecanix had picked from a box of CD's they had sent Juice to do a show with punk band "Jaw Breaker" in L.A. that would be for signing consideration.
The show never happened. The restructuring gave many people pink slips at the time and the scout that was our guy ended up moving on also.
We still have the Geffen letter as a reminder of hard work pays off and timing is as important as image. No regrets. The future is what you make it.
Juice reconnected with Shortop and they began discussing the album that never was and all the classic material they had created with a full length release in mind. It wasn't before long that they decided that they would reform and focus on getting it done. An album designed to capture the original essence with an updated feel. Where old school meets new and the golden era they both loved would be emulated and the focus of this fresh start. The synergy was once again obvious and vibrant.
The only thing that will ever separate us is time.
A face to face reunion and chance to reignite the mic was planned, Juice flew to Edmonton in July of 2017 to stay a few days with Short Top and catch up.
This was the first time Juice met Short Top's son Zion. upon arriving on a Thursday. It wasn't long before the sound was set up and the mics were ready to go. Rolling through a half dozen originals back to back it was as if time had stood still. The energy and hype was in full effect, perhaps showing a slight rust that had been completely polished up by the time Sunday rolled around. It was an epic weekend and the start of a new beginning. Hip Hop Mecanix were back MODIFIED but back none the less. A few months later Short Top flew to Vancouver to record in the studio with newest DJ member K Rec.
This coinsided with a live performance for North Vancouver's "Fun City Fest" a 2 day street party in the heart of beautiful Londsdale.The performance was very well received and a triumph that day as it proved that Hip Hop Mecanix were back. This was the first time Time Traveling and Modified were performed live ever being the 2 newest songs that they had combined with other HHM material like Props Don't Stop & Let Me Show You. It was a great couple days.
Building an online presents and tracks being available via itunes, Spotify, Reverb Nation, Bandcamp Hip Hop Mecanix is now focused on finishing the full length album titled MODIFIED with a few showcase performances factored in as well. So far 11 songs have been recorded and 3 have been released with the newest one being The Doobie Song 420 Anthem which is their take on the legalization of marijuana. "Boo Mow Mow" is schedualed to be released next a track that has been re wrote and recorded at Song CIty.
Its an exciting future the sky is the limit, we are truly blessed to be doing what we love in these days and times.
In the beginning.
Juice Man met Short Top in the Summer of 95 at the DJ Sound Wars in Vancouver, held at the University of British Columbia. DJ Sorce met Juice just after this and it wasn't long before they began to share their love for hip hop formally as a group once Short Top moved from Edmonton and Juice moved from Nanaimo. Couch surfing, living in a dive hotel and then a one bedroom cockroach infested apartment that they got by pure luck was where they started.With practically nothing but their drive and dreams both still in their teens. Peanut butter, crackers, Mr Noodles, hotdogs and Kraft Dinner was heavily featured on the menu as roommates until they both had stable jobs in kitchens as dishwashers. It was a megre start and both struggled to make ends meet but together their crash coarse in big city life was a small price to pay when hip hop music was the inspiration. Digging for beats and breaks they bought 2 of each at record stores like Beat Street in preparation for what was to come, recording and live performance.
One of their first shows was at the legendary Town Pump in Gastown opening for a power band called DDT. To our knowledge this was the first time in Vancouver a local rap group had crossed over into the predominately rock & punk live music scene, at a premier venue with one of the hottest live acts at the time on a Friday night showcase.
Sonny was the sound man at the Pump, his first question at soundcheck when we walked in with turntables and a custom collapsible table was "Where are your guitars?"
2 mics, 2 D.I. boxes for our Technics 1200 decks and barely a line check it was over before it started. Nervous & worried about our sound at that point was when someone said "Smoke one with him and he'll make sure you sound great". So we did and relaxed a little when he starting asking about how we wanted to be mixed and monitored for our set.
He was great for us, the low end was where it needed to be as we performed half the show freestyle straight off break records and the other half off a small DAT player.
Walking on stage to a packed house of rockers and hardcore music lovers jeers and stares welcomed us but by the time we were half way through our first song we had started to move the crowd to the front of the stage. The first track titled "Keep it Coming" had a sample from Lenny Kravits "Freedom Train" as the main loop with huge heavy drums and DJ Sorce cutting & scratching over the DAT tape. The room lit up and we just kept on going, it was scary fun and a natural high you only feel to this level when your living in the moment, rocking the house at the mercy of a room of strangers, in a venue you don't know your not supposed to be in. We didn't know at the time we were breaking ground.
Bob Burrows the booking manager at the Town Pump was quoted as saying "I hate that rap crap but you guys rock" as the cheque was signed. This was a tell tale sign of what was to come. After the show that night we were asked to play Music West, the largest music festival at the time in Western Canada and having already submitted for the Music Waste Fest which was the hardcore music answer to the mainstream Music West Fest we were one of the lucky few who played both shows that year and were very well received.
Slam City Jam, Alley Cats Scramble and other large events followed, we continued to push the envelope with our creative ambition, regular rehearsal and networking.
As a support act Hip Hop Mecanix offered a fresh sound winning over the rock and punk crowds to many peoples surprise and first exposure to live hip hop in Vancouver.
The crowds were always warmed up and ready when the headliner got on stage, this was when we learned that our style and sound could offer a unique diversity to promoters and festivals looking for something fresh placing us almost always as the 2nd act on a 3 feature bill. We washed dishes all week to pay the rent but rocked the weekends to live.
Performing along side bands like Another White Male, Econoline Crush, Muscle Bitches, The Real Mc Kenzies, Zimmer's Hole, Limb Lifter, Queezy, Minority, Facepuller,
Noise Therapy, The Smalls, GOB, Nickle Back and Smokin Frogs were all some of the acts that welcomed us and treated us like equals and for that we are forever grateful.
Vancouver's live music scene was strong and vibrant with great venues like The Gate, Town Pump, Hungry Eye, Starfish Room, Brickyard, Magic Theater, Picidilly Pub,
Niagra Hotel, Richard's on Richard's, Cafe Du Soleil, The Railway Club and The Cobalt. Only the last 3 still stand as the live music landscape has changed in Vancouver.
Our Manager ....
Some where in the middle of all of this Chris Duncombe or "Dunner" became our good friend and was building his own marketing management team and talent roster at this time and we owe a lot of our starting success to his dedication and belief in our talent. When he became our manager hailing from Westbank just outside of Kelowna he was fairly new to Vancouver as well at the time. Before long we opened for great touring acts like POWERMAN 5000, FISHBONE, GEGGY TAH, SILLY RABBIT, WEAPON OF CHOICE, DJ SHADOW, BUCK 65, JERU THE DAMJAH and one of our biggest influences, the god fathers of rap RUNDMC. With a long list of other touring and local acts combined with some huge festival events like the Westbeach Classic in Whistler Dunner gave Hip Hop Mecanix great exposure and much needed focus. He was a god send.
We released a 2 song cassette single that was NO.1 on the independent charts at HMV for 3 weeks. It had "Let me show you" & "Props don't stop" on it, we produced it with the help of Larry Ashnel at Turtle Records just in time for our first promotional tour that consisted of about 12 dates over 2 weeks all over BC and into Alberta.
The Mecanix were on top of the world doing over 50 shows that first year with no music video but great support from the scene and promoters on the West coast. We were very honored to hear we had been voted by the industry to North By North East in Toronto the following year, where the top 3 buzz band acts to see were Kinnie Star, Third Eye Tribe and Hip Hop Mecanix. This trip was an epic one for us and a dream come true when we were on Much Music's RAP CITY for a feature interview just before we played a standing room only showcase at the Cameron House. Respected MC, Toronto's talented wordsmith Thrust and our Dunner Management roster mates Social Deviants also performed, it was of a few all hip hop showcases that night. We rocked the house that night and our performance was one of our personal best being in Toronto for the first time, once again among strangers. Hip Hop Mecanix was now gaining national attention and label interest. Toronto has a thriving hip hop scene and the graffiti artists and breakers we saw street level were a big highlight.
For about 3 years straight we were on top of the game we brought hip hop to the stage in a way that hadn't been achieved before and despite the numerous challenges that came with it and the stereotypes people would sometimes say about rap music we would just keep on keeping on and building a positive message through our talents and intentions, ultimately we just wanted people to have a good time and get loose to our music and the more we worked at it the more that happened. We were blessed but paid dues the whole way. Our family and friends, promoters and venues, rappers and rockers alike and even 99.3 the Fox playing the original Doobie Song was the support structure we needed and always appreciated.
The Name ...
Hip Hop Mecanix as a name is the invitation to experience something fresh. Rock, metal and punk has always ruled the West Coast this is why "Hip Hop" was included in our name to make it clear what we represent. Moments like "Hey were so & so who are you guys, what kind of music do you guys play?" still happened on many occasions despite this clarity.That still makes me laugh. In cases like this they didn't read the invitation or know what hip hop was, especially sound guys in small towns for some reason.
It all worked out in the end and the three of us Juice Man, Short Top and DJ Sorce establish ourselves as artists and performers that could hold our own with the best of them.
Mechanics of Hip Hop we customize and modify sounds and expectations when it comes to "Rap" music. That was always the goal and intention even still today.
Over time the hip hop scene started getting better billing and venue support, we began building opportunities for collaborating with other up and coming hip hop acts that we thought were dope on the West Coast. Telepathics, 4th World Occupants, Dope Poets Society, Social Deviantz, Monkey Massiv DJ Scratch Crew, The Rascalz, Get Along Gang, CIA Crew, Nitwits, DJ Kilo C, Vinyl Ritchie, Finesse & Showbiz and others, this was an amazing time for the West Coast hip hop scene and the unity and fellowship in the elements was strong. There were about three times as many live music venues in Vancouver back then and a great local hip hop show was almost every week.
Much respect to all those who were a part of the birth of what Hip Hop Mecanix has become. Today we see hip hop alive and well with fresh potential and grit on the West coast, we are committed to our old school roots and contributing to the futures ever evolving soundscape with our music.