Earlier this year, Ottawa’s hip hop hippie, Alex Silas, put out his first full length album, Roots. And the much awaited launch party is finally happening this Saturday at Ritual. A culmination of many years of growth, this album is a belle of a blossom.
Alex began rapping at the age of 15, as a way of expressing himself. He spent most of his high school life staying up all night writing songs – all of which were garbage – but it was a start of something so much more.
It took him a while to begin to open up, to write lyrics that really meant anything to him. Half a decade passed and he dropped his stage name, making music and performing as, simply, Alex Silas.
Alex’s first public performances were at his high school talent show and then at a VJ talent search in a mall, where he lied about his age in order to get a spot. His first real gig was in the basement of a bar on Elgin Street, at the age of 18.
For Alex, as for most, writing is cathartic, therapeutic. “It helps with personal growth, to examine yourself and your experiences and reopen old wounds, work through them, and write a song about them” says Alex.
A year ago, Alex and his producer, Bryan Ruckstuhl, didn’t really know where they were going but, slowly, an album started to take shape. They took their time, making sure that each and every song on the album was exactly what they wanted it to be. “I don’t think there is a song on the album that I didn’t write, rewrite, scrap all together, and start again a dozen times” says Silas.
Throughout that year, he lived for the album, never having worked so hard on one thing in all his life. He spent nearly every day at his producer’s, especially as the completion of the album drew near. He took his time to really live with the songs, listening to the beats on repeat on his headphones and going over the lyrics, again and again, in his head. “A lot of the album was written on buses and trains” remarks Silas, for whom motion helps spawn creativity.
Roots, the album’s title, stems from the overall theme of the album – it is where you come from and from where you get your growth. The album encapsulates the year the album came to be and life leading up to it. A lot of the album was written in Ireland, where Alex travelled during that time. It tells stories of romantic encounters, growing up in the Maritimes, and Alex’s relationship with his father. Throughout the creation of the album, Alex also spent a lot of time going back to the places where the dark came from.
For Alex, there is not one song on the album that does not mean something. Each song tells a story. Some, even tell stories he didn’t think he was ready to share just yet.
From start to finish, Roots is a brave reveal of stories, told in clever lyrics and creative beats. Come share these stories and spread Roots with Alex this Saturday.
Watch the full video for Mouton Noir below:
Alex Silas & The Subterraneans perform the Roots album launch party at Ritual (137 Besserer St) on Saturday, November 15. Doors at 7:30. Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased at Fall Down Gallery or online, $15 at the door. Opening guests include: Missing Linx, Eddie Quotez, The Stringers, The Adding Machine and more.