The hip-hop/soul group the Boombox Saints perform for the first time in Red Deer on Saturday at The Vat.

Boombox Saints happy the way debut album turned out

Chasing that most elusive of human emotions, happiness, is what the Boombox Saints’ debut album, For the Moment, is about.

Chasing that most elusive of human emotions, happiness, is what the Boombox Saints’ debut album, For the Moment, is about.

The hip-hop/soul group’s MC, Freeky P, believes that catching contentment is like trying to hold onto water — the minute you have it in your hands, it tends to trickle away.

“We always want to be happy, but even if we attain what we want to attain, we still find happiness out of our reach because there’s something else we’re dissatisfied with,” said the 29-year-old, who performs with the Boombox Saints for the first time in Red Deer on Saturday at The Vat.

Despite being personally prone to this frailty, Freeky P (who also goes by the non-show-biz name of J.P. Pascual) admitted he actually is pretty happy with the way For the Moment has turned out.

Recording the album was an one-and-a-half-year struggle, since all four group members were also holding down other jobs to pay the bills — including Freeky P’s moonlighting MC-ing stints at a Vancouver night club.

But West Coast music critics have praised the release as a solid “reminder of the kind of heartfelt soul that rap can really deliver.”

And Freeky P is eager to perform new songs, such as O (for orgasm) and Walls, about overcoming obstacles, across Canada on an Eastern tour that will stop this spring in his native Hamilton, Ont.

“All of my childhood friends are back there. It’s crazy how many there are. They all have kids and mortgages now, but whenever we perform, it’s always a party.”

The still single hip-hop artist was born and raised in Hamilton to parents who immigrated from the Philippines, and then split up when he was a teen.

At age 21, Freeky P had a big decision to make. “I was working in the steel mills and got an offer of a full-time job,” recalled the performer, who remembers thinking he could either stay in Hamilton and get used to the comfortable paycheques, or “explore being in my 20s and go to Vancouver to do what I’ve always wanted to do — music.”

Freeky P opted to follow his then-girlfriend, and it was a serendipitous move.

Soon after arriving on the West Coast, he met his future group members, vocalists Adlib and DJ Relik, and fellow MC Huggy Fresh, through friends. The Boombox Saints were barely born when the soulful rappers won the Urban Music Association of Canada’s Urban X-posure Triple Threat competition in 2009.

The quartet went on to release The Boombox EP, featuring the infectious single Flip It and She Got in 2010, followed by a four-single release, Bringin’ the Boom Back: Based on a True Story, in 2010.

The first full-length R&B/hip-hop album, For the Moment, is a departure from the group’s earliest material in that the musical tone seems softer — more Boyz II Men than Eminem.

“But content wise, it’s harsher,” said Freeky P, who believes the release is all about dealing with life’s hardships — from overcoming relationship breakups to other people’s negative opinions.

The title track is about naysayers who try to pull you down. “You can try to brush it off, and say you don’t care what other people think,” he said, “But whether you admit it or not, at some deeper level, I think we all care.”

For more information about the show, call 403-346-5636.

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