With all kinds of different music initiatives and collaborative events happening all the time in Calgary, it can be easy to forget how small our city is and how insignificant our music scenes can seem. With a small but tight-knitted hip-hop scene fast growing with local talent, Calgary often sees a loss of its talented artists in the hip-hop community to Toronto—a city well known for its bustling reputation as the Canadian music industry hub, and with its close proximity to New York, also notorious for being the place for Canadian hip-hop. OverNight Hits, a local duo consisting of Anthony Biafore and Tony Tootoosis, are working hard on a shared vision based on the notion that Calgary might not be somewhere to flee for much longer for artists looking to further their careers in hip-hop.
The duo came together after Tootoosis made the three-hour move south from Edmonton to Calgary and met Biafore. Tootoosis had a rough experience that in turn became a blessing by inspiring him to begin producing hip-hop beats. After an unfortunate run-in with the Edmonton Police Department, he was put under house arrest for nearly two years. Indeed a wake up call for Tootoosis, he realized that he needed to change his life around and began searching for something to focus his attention on in an attempt to keep himself out of trouble, which lead him to discovering his passion for producing hip hop. He eventually moved to Calgary, where he landed a job and Axe Music and met Anthony Biafore. Biafore, who had playing guitar and keys for many years before going to school to learn the science of audio, had been spending time engineering albums for other artists. After a successful jam session, the two decided to begin collaborating and found that they worked so well together that it was not long before OverNight Hits was formed. Tootoosis and Biafore mostly focus creating beats and recording local talent. “We are currently not working with any labels, just artists at the moment. We have been sending music from artists that we have worked with to OVO Sound” [a Toronto-based Canadian label founded by Drake, his manager Oliver El Khatib and prolific producer Noah “40” Shabib and in 2012]. “I met a connection in Toronto that was willing to share our music with Drake’s producer, Noah Shabib,” says Tootoosis. “No call back, as it is always a longshot, but we were at least given that opportunity.” As for 2018, OverNight Hits is working on releasing a large collection of instrumentals for licensed use with the digital production marketplace BeatStars, which provides a forum for producers to license their beats to songwriters and artists for purchase, giving rights to commercial use. The duo will also be focused heavily on collaborating with as many local underground artists as they can. While much of the hip-hop “game” has been sold as being about coming out on top, Biafore and Tootoosis believe that it’s better if everyone is coming up together. “This year, we are looking to collaborate with as much local talent as possible,” says Tootoosis.
Artists that OverNight Hits have worked with include Polo Sho AKA Shosho Dania as well as Choppa both of which have singles produced by the duo dropping in the spring. “We are always searching for our next project and we are open to creating any type or vibe of music. We are hoping to brand ourselves as a label by 2019. As Calgary’s hip-hop scene is growing, we look to be one of the go-to production teams, both locally here in YYC as well as making noise all across Canada.”
The two believe that the Calgary hip-hop scene, bustling with all kinds of talented artists, has a lot of potential and they want to have a hand in putting it on the map. While many are heading east to get their careers off the ground, this duo knows the value of Calgary and seets its potential as a future music industry hub. “Our end goal is to open a commercial studio here in Calgary where artists can come to create. Most people in Canada feel that they need to move to Toronto to get their hip-hop career popping. We want to change that.” “Location does not determine your sound or talent.”
For artists looking to collaborate with the duo, you can check out some of the sounds OverNight Hits have been producing on their Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/overnighthits or Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq41-aNE0e7ARoLgaJBHRhw. Follow Overnight Hits on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/overnighthits/