Canadian band vocalists rap with the Journal at the Calgary Stampede
The Canadian rap rock band Down With Webster was one of the 12 musical acts that headlined on Coca-Cola Stage at this year’s Calgary Stampede. This group first came together for a middle school talent show in 1998 and has since gone on to produce four studio albums, release 12 singles, earn five Juno Award nominations and win two MuchMusic Video Awards
The Calgary Journal’s Zarif Alibhai sat down with two of the band’s vocalists, Cameron “Camm” Hunter and Martin “Bucky” Seja, at the Stampede to discuss the band’s formation, some of their hit songs and their future plans.
ZA: Where does the name Down with Webster originate from?
Camm: I don’t know. It’s just some nonsense we made up when we were like 12- or 13-years-old in music class. We had to come up with a name and it was like we had “Down With” and we were trying to pick funny names of things that we could go with “Down With” and someone’s went like, “Oh . . . Webster, that kid from the TV show (1983-1989)!” And we said, “Ahh that’s funny.” And then it honestly just stuck! It was too late [to change the name] because we had already played a ton of shows. So those early choices matter.”
Photo by Zarif Alibhai
ZA: Tell me about the band having two rappers?
Bucky: It was a product of our environment. We all grew up together and just cause we are all so different. I think that’s how our music sounds so different.
Camm: [Record labels] didn’t take it at first. There were many years we were trying to get signed, trying to go to labels or hand out demo tapes. All that kind of stuff and people were just like, “No this isn’t going to work.” We probably heard “no” like 25 times and we just kept going.”
ZA: Tell me about the first songs you created?
Camm: They were nuts and all over the place. We didn’t know what we wanted to do at first. We were making some songs that sounded like Reggae songs, some that sounded instrumental and some that sounded like Jazz and stuff.
Bucky: For ourselves in the band, we didn’t even know what we were doing. We were still trying out to see who was best at what and then just from doing it and making songs we kind of found out what we did best and kind of what our sound was.
ZA: What is your hit song One in a Million about?
Camm: One in a Million is about playing with so many bands after so many years. We’ve seen so many bands quit, give up, fall off or not really follow through with it, and we are like, “Wow! We are the only ones left.” Out of the people we came up with we are the only ones that are still thriving and doing it. We are like, “That’s like a one in a million chance that we would be kind of where we are right now.”
Calgary Journal Note: One in a Million peaked at No.27 on the Canadian charts and earned a Platinum certificationin Canadian sales.
ZA: What is something in your songwriting that came out from your personal experience?
Photo by Zarif AlibhaiCamm: I think everything that you write about comes from personal experience, weather it’s your own like you actually lived it or you’re good friends with somebody who lived it. It’s always from something that you’ve experienced in your life. Or else how would you know about it?
ZA: What was it like meeting prominent producer and rapper Timbaland?
Camm: His guy, who does a lot of his engineering and stuff, saw us somehow and approached us. This guy named Demo (Castellon) wanted to get us down there (to the United States) and work with Tim (Timbaland). So we hooked up with them and went down to Miami and made some songs in the studio with Tim. That was kind of it and I guess at the time I think Tim wanted to sign us to his label, but we had other offers on the table that we liked more so we kind of went with that.
Bucky: Tim (Timbaland) wasn’t fully up and running with his label yet too. So we didn’t want to really wait around to see as opposed to get cracking!
ZA: What are your future plans?
Camm: We are working on new songs, new album. We are going back down into the States. We have been pushing into the United States a lot recently to play more shows down there and be more active. In a week we go back down to the States on tour. That will be fun and then we are back in the studio.