Interview by Jenkin Au and Alan Ng
Words by Amie Nguyen and Alan Ng
Photography by Jenkin Au
Please introduce yourselves to our readers.
J: I am Justin.
N: I am Neal. We are Gentleman’s Vibe.
J: We started Gentleman’s Vibe two years ago in 2010. We are a hip-hop duo in Vancouver trying to make music.
How did you guys come up with the name Gentleman’s Vibe. What does it mean?
J: Like any group name, we just came up with it at first. I’ve always had the word “gentleman” at the back of my head. I really liked it. I pitched it to Neal when we were going to start a group and said we’ve got to use the name. I told Neal that I really like the sound of it and then he added “vibe”. It’s just how it came to be, but eventually it started reflecting our music.
N: People keep asking us what Gentleman’s Vibe means, and basically it defines how we do everything proper, in our way.
J: We carry ourselves well; we carry our musical styles properly. It’s proper not in a sense of clean and uncensored, but in a way that we do it right.
N: And we speak our minds, and we are real with what we do.
Expanding on that, tell us a bit about your style. How is it embedded through the Gentleman’s Vibe?
N: Our style of music is not the electronic stuff, it is more alive, as in instruments, guitar.
J: Very natural. That’s what we like to incorporate with our music.
N: Trying to pull away from what everyone else is doing. Trying to do our own shit.
J: Making it classier and real.
Do you feel like you two are adding something new to the scene that’s lacking?
J: I feel like as an artist, you have to be marketable and you have to have an image. I wouldn’t say our image is well crafted or perfected in the industry.
N: We are slowly getting there. It’s like we have to do it this way, and not do it how those guys did it – so we are not copying them.
J: I feel like we have the will power that other artists don’t. While other people just do covers and remixes, we do them in a way. We tend to stray away what others are doing. We hear music and get inspired by artists, but we try to find something that is for “us”.
N: We don’t want to be portrayed just as YouTube artists. You know how the YouTube community is like; they do covers and remixes on the same new song. We want to pull away from that, and just be as real as possible.
There comes to a point when you get to a certain commercial status or whatnot, you have to maintain your marketability or make yourself even more marketable. When you do get to that position, do you guys think you will have to compromise your music to continue on and get more success out of that?
J: We don’t really see a point in making it to change us.
N: We want to make it stay true to what we do.
J: We will change it if we feel that it is what we like. You know what I mean?
N: Things change over the years.
J: Trends change but we are not going to change because of what’s popular. Dubstep is in, but we are not going to base everything around dubstep. I feel like whatever we feel is good and is truly connected to us, it’s going to be more genuine and our real supporters will support that.
Recently, you guys collaborated with IFHT, Cheng Man, and Peter Chao on “Fuck Christmas” and “All About The LGS” video. Tell us how those collaborations sparked. What was the idea behind both of those projects?
N: Basically, Cheng Man and IFHT came up to us first and said they wanted to do a project.
Who does the production for your music?
N: Right now, we basically find music on Sound Click, and we also have this producer, KThxMusic.
J: He produces the beats that we get. We click, and we work with him to create sounds we like. For vocals, I do the engineering for that.
What style do you see you guys progressing towards?
N: it is something that we want to figure out ourselves too.
J: Obviously it is going to be hip-hop but we want to mix it up. We don’t want a specific genre. In the future, we want to be at the point where people can know the GMV style.
How did you two meet and what made you two start making music together?
N: I started rapping in grade 8; I think Justin started in grade 9. We ended up in this group called Armageddon. It was a Filipino/English group. We started there, but we felt that we should go about it in separate ways.
J: We were more comfortable with English, but we met through that group. We heard about each other because Richmond is a pretty tight-knit city. Eventually, that group put us together and we became friends through that.
N: Then we separated from the group, and kept doing features together.
J: We were doing our own thing, and then eventually we joined forces because we were already doing songs together. We are good friends and we see each other every weekend to chill, so it wasn’t difficult for us to be part of the same group.
How old are you guys now?
N: I am 18.
J: I am 19.
Tell us how the year 2011 ended for you guys.
N: I would say it ended really well. It ended up way better than we expected it to be. In the beginning of the year, we kept wondering what was going to happen next. It seems like it was a dream that was going nowhere. Then 2011 happened, and it just opened so many doors for us. Whether it is shows or features, it’s been very cool.
J: We didn’t expect such buzz to come in 2011. Yea, the song ‘GMV Till Infinity’ reflects on how blessed we were for us to meet the right people and for people to actually give a chance and stick with us.
What is HYPE?
N: HYPE is what’s in now.
J: Honestly, HYPE is not what’s in now. It’s what people perceive what’s in.
N: So it’s what’s in now.
J: You can be different and you can be HYPE. You don’t have to be coming out of a Tumblr picture to be HYPE.
N: HYPE is how you portray yourself.
J: I feel like HYPE is something that is you. It is the way that you portray yourself, and the way people perceive you.