Is that Teenage Dirtbag?
Kanada The Loop was once an enigma.
When he appeared on the pop and hip-hop scene last year with ZOOM IN, the young Sydney-based Luritja artist quickly featured on the National Indigenous Music Chart with Y U NO LIKE ME. Keeping some mystery, we won't reveal his name - the wigs are off, though, and Kanada The Loop has introduced his artistry to the world with his most significant statement yet, his debut EP, Toyota Reckless.
Where did that stage name come from, though? "There was no inspiration behind the name; I wanted something that didn't really make sense," Kanada says. However, he tells us there's a character in the Japanese anime series Akira, which he loves, with the name Canada, so perhaps he found the idea there.
Toyota Reckless is an amalgamation of hip-hop and pop-punk and an example of exhilarating creative freedom.
An acoustic guitar opens the EP's first track, Blurr, welcoming a confident artist who could take over indie-pop. The second track and newest single, Cali4nia, contains an addictive hook pulled from Teenage Dirtbag; not that Kanada was planning on sounding so much like Wheatus.
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"Me and [musical collaborator] Teddy Failure wrote the riff, and I was like, this song kinda sounds like Teenage Dirtbag," he laughs from the Sydney Sony Music Australia office. The song makes me chuckle, too, with its reference to Adam Sandler's The Waterboy character, Bobby Boucher.
"Then we started riffing around and just thought it was so funny. We were writing kind of dumb melodies and dumb lyrics. I think that's why the chorus is so simple and so grimy. We were rhyming every single word that we could with marijuana or California," he says. So, it only made sense for the guitar to follow Kanada's direction. "The general vibe sounded like it. And then, I literally recreated the drums from Teenage Dirtbag as well. People often think that it's the melody or the guitars, but it's actually the drums that really make you feel like you're listening to Teenage Dirtbag."
Of course, Kanada The Loop isn't the first and certainly won't be the last artist to blend hip-hop with pop-punk music resembling Weezer hits. "I'm definitely not a pioneer in it," he confirms. "People have been doing it for a long time. I think it's just the general thing of not being able to tie down one genre you like because you like so many [types of music]. I was just putting stuff together, and a lot of time, it straight up does not work.
"The ideas go song by song. If I put a hip-hop melody or a melodic rap thing over a more punky vibe, it won't always work. Sometimes, it sounds fucking terrible," he admits with a laugh. "It can be such a fine balance, [mixed genres] can clash with each other or sound very cheesy and forced."
Pilerats have dubbed Kanada The Loop a "byproduct of internet culture", while The Line Of Best Fit described him as a "vibrant mix between Superorganism and Gym Class Heroes" - two acts he is not overly familiar with. Kanada takes any reference to another artist and the appreciation of the millennial teenage life of growing up online as a compliment.
"A lot of the songs that I wrote where I was trying to push the boundaries or talk about things that weren't typically talked about in songs, or talk about them in a way that was like a bit more on the nose kind of thing, is probably where people were referencing internet culture in my music," he says. "It comes from the lyrics being very direct and very non-metaphorical. But yeah, some of the lyrics didn't come across as what I thought they would, and they did not make it on the EP."
As for the songs that didn't make the cut, Kanada says they contained lyrics that sounded too negative despite his intentions to deliver some giggles. "I was trying to talk about things I didn't like," he confirms, but it was never in a hateful way. "I was trying to talk about things in a funny way. You know how you talk to your friends about shit? You'll be like, I hated this, or I hated this. Or, I hate this thing, but you don't actually hate it. You're just talking for the sake of talking and saying those things. But yeah, I think I came across as a bit of a hater, and I was like, Okay, that is not coming across the way I wanted it to come across. I need to be a little bit more metaphorical or have a few analogies in there to ease people into that."
Kanada The Loop taught himself to make music on his laptop through much trial and error. "There are so many demos I made when I was younger, and they were so bad," he shares, wondering how he ever thought some of those ideas were good. "Getting on to a specific program called Ableton, which is pretty standard these days, just made sense. It's a lot easier to make music on that and make it sound half decent with the standard stuff that's on that program compared to other programs.
"If you know your way around the Ableton, you can put things in place and throw things on. Most of the time, it can sound pretty good. But also, these days, you definitely don't need top-of-the-line studio equipment. You don't need any of that anymore. Like, it's almost purely irrelevant. You can get away with making way cooler shit with just your laptop."
The Nuh Uh singer thrives in an industry and culture that demands 24/7 content and interaction by enjoying the constant stream of content and music himself. "Everyone's inspiring everyone, even if it's subconscious," he says. The music he hears every day is inspiring.
"Sometimes, or most of the time, people tell you, there's a new song that you're likely to vibe with every single day. Like, there's music being released every single day. It's just super easy to be inspired by other artists that you're connecting with all over the fucking world because there's just so much music and so much content that you can literally go on TikTok every day you find a new song or a new video, you can find anything."
Toyota Reckless is out now. Buy or stream the EP here.