Everything Down With Webster vocalist Cam Hunter needs to know about writing rap songs he learned in English class.
“It’s like writing a poem or writing a piece of literature. Going to English class helped me,” said Hunter, who performs with his energetic party band on Friday night at Westerner Days.
Hunter studied multi-media communications at McMaster University in Hamilton before dropping out to become a full-time musician with his Toronto-based hip-hop/funk/rock group. But if he had to do the post-secondary thing over again, he said he would apply to be an English major.
“That was what I was always good at in high school. I was never a math or biology guy.”
Hunter is all about encouraging kids to stay in school. But lest he give parents the warm and fuzzies, Hunter is also all about swearing when the mood is right.
Occasionally, Down With Webster will be booked for an all-ages shows for which band members are contractually obligated not to swear, but Hunter doesn’t like making these arrangements. He isn’t sure what the deal will be at Westerner Days, but he’s looking forward to playing at Red Deer’s fair, saying, “Honestly, do people think 13-year-olds won’t be swearing at school?
“There’s nothing malicious or mean about our language,” added the lyricist, who draws on “things I see, things I do, things I read about, and things that I say that are cool” for his songs, which have included Rich Girl$, Your Man and Whoa is Me.
Down With Webster has already released a single, One in a Million, off the band’s yet-to-be-named next album, which is due out in the fall. A second single called Party for Your Life will be out soon.
Hunter admitted this pre-release period always leaves him jittery. “I’m excited,” he said, but the band tends to want to re-do songs “until they are near perfect,” so countdown time can be stressful.
One In a Million was written by the six group members after several unsuccessful writing sessions with other artists. It’s not that the band doesn’t like to collaborate with others, said Hunter. It’s just that members now know each other so well, it’s almost second nature to work without outside interference.
Still, there will be a few tracks off the upbeat new album that include contributions from other artists, he said.
Although Hunter gets mostly positive fan feedback, he’s amused by the “mindless” negative comments his group’s videos occasionally get online. “It’s nothing constructive. It’s things like ‘you suck!’ or “you’re gay!’, and I think, that’s not exactly a concise (thoughtful) critique. …”
While he grew up in the Internet age, Hunter believes some people use computerized commentaries to “lash out,” saying things they’d never say to someone’s face. For this reason, he encourages kids who are being bullied online to stop paying attention to what’s being said.
“Don’t listen to it. They’re probably just trying to get a rise out of you. … Don’t dwell on it because it’s not real.”
Down With Webster’s 8:30 p.m. show at the Centrium is free with fair admission. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Rush seating.