A Tribe Called Red want to know if you are a part of the Halluci Nation. The powerful musical and cultural force are about to drop a new album which includes collaborations with a diverse range of artists from across the globe, exploring the idea of an inclusive 'nation' of like minded souls, the 'Halluci Nation'. According to the band, It’s no accident that Native American activist, poet and musician John Trudell is the first voice you hear on the third album, considering him a forefather for the movement.
Tim '2oolman' Hill told NITV how the title came about. "We Are The Halluci Nation, started from a poem that we got from John Trudell. We linked up with him a couple of years ago in Santa Fe after one of our shows and talked about collaborating. And these poems came out of it, they basically gave our whole album this shape. The poems (which you hear on the album) describe the idea behind the movement perfectly."
Two of John's poems feature in the album, as intro and outro. The counterpoint is what John calls the AlieNation, which has two meanings, as the word is written. "It's John's amazing poetry and writing that shaped the record. So I can't wait for people to hear it because, when you hear the intro and outro you will get a sense of a beginning and end."
(the album) is an idea of a nation without borders, a collective of like minded people coming together for the greater good, or for issues that we think are important
The Canadian native producer & DJ collective A Tribe Called Red came to life in 2008 after they noticed that there was a distinct lack of parties that catered specifically to First Nations incorporating a safe space that celebrated traditional and modern culture. ATCR’s Electric Pow Wow nights on the second Saturday of every month have become an institution at Ottawa’s Club Babylon and is getting stronger and stronger.
With the release of two studio albums already, the collective have gained a global following, renowned for their own unique style of blending traditional pow wow music with the hottest beats. Their live shows are electric, often including a live performance element of traditional or hoop dancing on stage and a specially curated visual element.
We Are The Halluci Nation, ATCR's third album, is a culmination of three years touring the world and the unique relationships and experiences that they have formed with Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists alike. The first release off the album is the huge thumping track R.E.D featuring Yasiin Bey, Narcy & Black Bear . 2oolman says that getting to work with Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) was a dream come true. "(Mos Def) was one of my favourite artists growing up as a kid. It's been an awesome experience working with him. It was surreal and crazy, definitely intimidating, an artist of his stature and all that he's done musically, it was a crazy moment for us. We both enjoyed it though, it was easy. Hopefully we get a chance to do it again."
The collaboration with Yasiin came about through ATCR tour manager Buddha. "He was a DJ for Narcy who is tight with Yasiin. Yasiin was a fan of our stuff and we were a big fan of his so it was natural, the seeds were sown then."
With busy schedules the collaboration took over a year, but the end result was worth waiting for the elements to come together.
The music video which was shot in Capetown, where Yasiin now resides, was a collaboration with DAIS and ATCR, Yasiin and Narcy, who directed the clip.
We are not the leaders or the captains of the Halluci Nation, we are just as much a part of it as everyone else.
Another powerful collaboration on the album involves the Chippewa Travellers and Australia's own Sunshine Coast based Indigenous roots collective OKA, fronted by talented artist Stu 'DidgeriStu' Fergie who has forged a strong connection with A Tribe Called Red through years of similar paths as musicians mixing traditional & contemporary sounds.
2oolman says the track is up there as one of his favourites, "Stu is an amazing artist, everything he does, from his artwork right down to his musical craft. Working with him I really got to understand the didge and what his lineage and connection with it is. It goes super deep, right through to his great great grandfather's. So it was cool to get educated on that. The marriage between OKA, Tribe and the Chippewa Travellers just worked. The title of the track 'Maima Koopi' (Mother Warrior) also came from Stu." Fergie told NITV "(I'm)super stoked on the whole album !! It's gonna change the world !!"
A Tribe Called Red promotes inclusivity, empathy and acceptance amongst all races and genders in the name of social justice. They believe that indigenous people need to define their identity on their own terms. If you share this vision, then you are already part of the Halluci Nation.
The collab with OKA runs a close second to 2oolmans favourite moment on the album which comes in the track The Virus featuring poet and artist Saul Williams. "He came to the studio for two days in Montreal and we just sat down and talked about issues and music. I love talking about music, especially with someone like Saul, he's so knowledgeable, it was great to hear what he has, his mind. Working side by side with him on production was probably one of the most frightening things I've had to do, mostly because I'm intimidated by the brilliance that he has, his crazy mind. But it was awesome because he pushed us."
The album contains several other collaborations including visual artist and musician Lido Pimienta from Colombia, Swedish-Sami singer Maxida Marak & Polaris prize-winning Canadian throat singer Tanya Tagaq. On the track 'Sila' which means air, breath or breathing, depending on which language it is spoken in ("it paints a picture rather than just being a word") Tagaq who ATCR are huge fans of, lends an intense, breathy vocal to a driving electronic beat and drum.
We Are The Halluci Nation is sure to be on high rotation thanks to it's strong message of unity, powerful vision and world class production.
To find out more about A Tribe Called Red head to http://atribecalledred.com/ and look out for the new album which drops on 19th September.