Mad Child and his group, Swollen Members may not be a huge name among mainstream hip hop circles, but they’ve been running the underground hip hop music scene for quite some time now. The Canadian born trio of Mad Child, Prevail and Rob the Viking have been one of the most consistent rap acts out when it comes to dropping potent albums that speak to the core of what hip hop is all about, promoting a truthful yet positive image of what’s going on. So it came as no surprise when fans were a little shell-shocked after hearing 2008’s Armed to the Teeth, a relatively darker and colder album than anything the group had previously released.
Fast forward to the present and the mystery behind the album’s dark tone has been solved – it’s since been discovered that during the recording and release of that album key member of the group Mad Child was in the midst of a vicious battle with drug addiction. It took some time, but the self proclaimed wild man has finally beaten his demons and with that, Swollen Members has come back to life with a new outlook on life and music. The revitalized Mad Child has taken some time to sit down and explain some of the mysteries about his troubled past and what he looks forward to moving on.
Why did the group feel now was the right time to come out with the new album, Daggermouth, only two years after releasing Armed To The Teeth?
Well I don’t feel like it’s soon at all. In this day in age with the way the game is now I feel like I want to put out records at an even faster pace than we are at the moment. I think with the listener’s attention span the way it is because of how much music is at everybody’s fingertips with the internet now I feel like you have to put not only your best foot forward with every song and project that you put out, but I feel like hitting the fans over the head a couple of times a year with al album is something that can work with the way the music industry is today. I think that waiting two years to put something out isn’t necessarily soon. I would like to start putting out an album as Swollen Members at least once a year. I think that’s a realistic target for us as a group now that we’re a fully functioning group again and moving forward at the pace that we are.
How has the internet affected you guys as a group?
Well you have to realize that I just came off a four year pain killer addiction, so I was out of the loop for four years sort of. When I left and got into my trials and tribulations there was already of course downloading and the MySpace thing was kind of starting and getting big, but when I came back the social networking side of things had completely exploded and the amount of music coming out on the daily basis, because music is free now, was overwhelming to me at first. It was like how are we supposed to be a group again and make music for a living when music is free and everybody is just putting out songs and mixtapes everyday, but I realized in time as I studied how everything is going with the artists and the fans that there’s way more positives with the way the internet is than negatives. For example, with social networking sites there is such a great way to connect with your fans now and let everybody know you have a show coming up in their city or whatever. I just love the fact that I can make a song in a day, press a button, it’s on the internet, and I can hit everybody on the social networking sites that are fans and they can listen to the song right then and there, or say it gets leaked on a site, they can check out the song and leave a comment and it’s such a feeling of instant gratification and a connection between artists and the fans. I’m actually really excited now because of all the possibilities with the way things are with the internet. It’s such an important part of music and such an important part of the business compared to when I left that it’s really just been a dope experience since I’ve come back so far.
So, would you say that the increased connection and criticism from the fans has affected the quality of the new album?
To be honest with you, what has really affected the sound of the new album has been my sobriety. I’m ten months sober now; I like to call it ten months normal. It’s not like I’m this guy that goes to AA meetings because I don’t, but I just don’t do drugs anymore and I choose not to drink because I don’t really enjoy it, so I’m just living life like a normal person now. I would say that when I made the decision to get my life back and get my head on straight it was just an automatic thing for Prevail, Rob the Viking and me as Swollen Members to just reconnect and go back to what we’ve always done in our careers. We’ve always had a certain type of sound with a certain type of lyrical content and I think with our last project, Armed to the Teeth, it threw some of our loyal fans and listeners through a loop because some of the lyrical content came from leftfield. When we got back together to make the new album, Daggermouth, we just wanted to be ourselves again and Daggermouth was the outcome. Looking at it retrospectively, yes it’s a reflection on our previous work, but that’s just because we’re being ourselves and doing what we do best again.