Ocular orgasms, crispy beats, and arm-gnawing lyrics, all rolled up in one sweet, sweet, Susan baby blue are just some of the visions conjured up after a performance used to describe Eye2Eye, a Montreal concept hip-hop act that combines rap music with live theatrics.
The name Eye2Eye resulted from the group’s members, Mark Broady a.k.a. Second Thought, Doug Barber a.k.a. June Sixth, and Jeremy Rubin a.ka. DJ you know Who, ability to agree on things, and if you catch the “Best of the Montreal Bands” May 8, 2003 issue of the Mirror, their fans also agree. Eye2Eye was voted the number one hip-hop band in Montreal.
“It isn’t one of those you either get it or you don’t type of statements we try to make to our audiences,” says 26 year old Mark Broady. “We are thick with metaphors. People who listen to our music only once or twice won’t catch our lyrical tricks, poetic devices or the hidden messages. It’s not like pop music where they sing ‘cha la la’ and get away with it because it is a catchy tune.”
“We would never ask our audience to clap your hands in the air like you just don’t care,” says Barber. “We have too much respect for our audiences.”
The trio had been performing ad-hoc for years at high schools but they never took their work seriously until 2001 when they began to write down their lyrics. It was then that they realized they had much more to offer than simple rhymes and riddles, which gave Barber an idea.
“I thought that we should start incorporating the songs into a play and perform it like a Broadway Musical, only with Hip Hop,” says the 25-year-old Baie D’Urfe resident. “I wrote a script that created the spine for Eye2Eye,” he added. “Each Vertebrae was a Second Thought [Doug Broady] song that later gave us the back bone to create this wonderful child we know as Eye2Eye.”
The move was logical given that Barber [June Sixth] has been performing as an actor for almost seven years, in theatre, television and has written, directed and acted for the Untimely Ripped Theater Company’s comedy shows. It was almost as if Barber was looking for Broady, who writes the unique lyrics that forms the structure of the performances.
“I like to imagine scenarios or predicaments that I might possibly find myself in one day.” says Broady, who writes most of the lyrics. “Whatever scenarios I come up with, no matter how unlikely, always help me to better understand my own predicament and my own life as a whole.”
The idea was further developed by the creation of onstage characters.
“Sometimes I find myself second guessing,” Broady says, which fits his on-stage personality, aptly named Second Thought. “Second Thought is an introverted, reserved thinker who tries to always reconsider his thoughts before acting on them. He brings rationality to the table, but sometimes finds himself thinking to hard and he becomes removed from the realities of the present moment.”
Barber is highly volatile and short fused. “June Sixth is like a scared but brave soldier ready to face the beaches of Normandy on June Sixth, 1945. He is scared to death, but ready to face anything.”
The evolution of each character emerges as the lyrics and stage show emerge.
DJ You Know Who, Jeremy Rubin had worked as a sound and lighting technician throughout High School and College. The 26-year-old Beaconsfield resident and Psychology major at Concordia brought some much-needed experience to the live productions.
“Jeremy was a logical choice given his musical background and technical experience,” Barber says. “He is the central nervous system.”
By the end of September 2001, Eye2Eye won their first battle of the bands at Clydes. Since then, they have performed 30 shows, including The Shiver Show Halloween Bash, and performances at the Caf