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A Tribe Called Red retraces the birth of its sound

Jesse Kinos-Goodin

A Tribe Called Red started in 2008, when Ian DJ NDN Campeau and Bear Witness, two DJs based in Ottawa, threw a party to showcase other artists in their circle. It was the beginning of what they called Electric Pow Wow, a club night that would eventually launch their career, which includes this year's release of ATCR's critically acclaimed third album, We Are the Halluci Nation.

Campeau and Bear Witness began by making mash-ups of more traditionally based Indigenous music with beat-heavy samples, the first of which was a song called "Bravestep." It mixed a grass dance song with a dubstep sample, and it was the birth of their sound. As the two tell it in our video below, it was a "run and gun" situation that was given a boost when they invited turntablist DJ Shub to play with them. Shub recorded two albums with the group, a self-titled debut and the Polaris-nominated Nation II Nation, before leaving, but he certainly made his mark. Since then, DJ Tim "2oolman" Taylor joined the group for their most recent release, which is taking A Tribe Called Red to an all new level.

In honour of the group's self-titled debut landing on our list of best Canadian debut albums, we asked Campeau and Bear Witness to look back at the birth of their sound. Watch it below.

Follow Jesse Kinos-Goodin on Twitter: @JesseKG

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