Written by Brandon Krupa
If you happen to tune into an Unsigned BC broadcast, a volunteer-based local radio show on CFRO airing every Tuesday at 9:00pm and Saturday at 4:00pm —you will more than likely hear an eclectic mix of genres, from classical to hip-hop and country, by artists from Atlin to Zeballos.
In its brief history, this local radio station has quickly become the largest music platform for local musicians to share music and find new local artists to support and collaborate with.
And also, a plethora of resources can be found on music genres, history, or groups traditionally underserved by mainstream media. Each episode supplemented by episode write-ups and track lists are on Unsigned BC‘s website. These sessions are complimented by in-studio performances, notifications regarding events and releases on their social media
Driven by the sheer volume of talented (yet relatively unknown) looking for a platform to exhibit their music, the volunteers behind Unsigned BC will be throwing a fundraiser -“Cold World: A Benefit Concert for Ukraine“. The evening can be considered a showcase as it touches on multiple genres throughout the night, including folk-noir, pop-rock, rap, dark hip-hop, trap metal, Mandarin hip-hop, and finally hyper-pop. All proceeds raised will be donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross.
Eight local artists and a DJ were hand picked to perform at the show’s first fundraiser. Unsigned BC recognizes the importance of providing a platform for traditionally underserved communities when it comes to local media coverage. The appreciation for the importance of hearing from diverse voices is reflected in the lineup, which features exclusively BIPOC, Queer, and ESL artists as headliners.
While the time will be split somewhat evenly between artists –
Illest Behaviour, Azk, and Howl will be headlining Cold World: a Benefit Concert for Ukraine.
If you like good music, these are three artists you probably want to about.
The artists haven’t even met for soundcheck yet but there is already an early fan favourite.
Originally from Guangzhou and currently residing in Richmond, female hip hop artist Azk blends dreamy pop with hip hop stylings, effortlessly switching from Mandarin to English mid-verse.
Outside of the novelty of hearing a bilingual artist, Azk is crazy good with vocal melodies. Hearing her perform live at Unsigned BC’s 2021 Virtual Summer Showcase – the spiritual predecessor to this event – was transcendent.
The small on-site crew was unanimously blown away by the music coming from this small and seemingly shy girl who primarily communicates in Mandarin. She has apparently had the same effect on the few ticket holders who have gone ahead to check out the music from the artists they are coming to see
As another artist who appeared in the 2021 Summer Showcase, Illest Behavior has a proven track record of providing high octane entertainment in an absolutely professional matter. Artists on-set were impressed by his ability to present his catchy, original songs with such stage presence. His music can be considered dark hip hop, trap metal, and/or R&B. His in-studio performance of “WANNA CYB3R” at the first Unsigned BC Studio (and now closed) was the most acclaimed clip filmed at that studio.
Something to ‘Howl’ about
The show will close with the most well-known and easily most unique artist of the evening, Vancouver’s hip hop/hyper pop artist – Howl.
Although it has received less airplay, his recent work is a pivot from his traditional hip hop to hyperpop – a genre that almost always elicits strong reactions from listeners, positive or negative. Wikipedia defines as a loosely-defined music movement and microgenre, characterized by maximalist or exaggerated take on pop music.” The sound resembles to a marriage between pop, hip hop, and electronica.
Howl’s first attempt at the relatively new genre came in the form of a single titled Waking Life. The titular track is a high energy banger that gets your heart pounding like you are in the club and the DJ has just put on your favourite hype song. The production is bright, shiny, and bouncy. At times, almost exaggerated. The rap verses are as catchy as anything you will hear on the radio. It is a perfect club banger. In fact, it was the runner up for the host’s pick for our 2021 Song of the Summer Competition.
If you have never heard of hyper pop, or you haven’t had the chance to see a hip hop performance in Mandarin, this night is the perfect opportunity to explore new experiences while supporting local culture and helping fund humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
Support Ukraine and catch Azk, Illest Behavior, Howl, and five talented supporting acts at an all ages show, May 28th at the Red Gate Revue Stage on Granville Island. Doors are at 7:00pm and the event wraps up at 11:00pm. Tickets are $20 each and are available on Eventbrite and Unsignedbc.com. Please note Vaccine passports remain mandatory at this venue. There will also be a cash only bar available.