February 24, 2020

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Super Duty Tough Work taking act offstage with new EP

Woven Masters</p><p>Super Duty Tough Work play the Good Will Social Club on Saturday, Sept. 7.</p>

Woven Masters

Super Duty Tough Work play the Good Will Social Club on Saturday, Sept. 7.

Super Duty Tough Work has been an omnipresent fixture in the local scene for the past five years.

The eight-piece hip-hop/jazz/R&B supergroup continuously pops up at venues varying from festival stages to sweaty clubs, lending legitimacy to any lineup they are part of while building a reputation as a must-see act.

And until this month, the only way to experience the group was live, but with their new EP, Studies in Grey, out now, the Super Duty Tough Work crew is offering something more permanent.

"It’s definitely taken a long time in the making and especially this particular piece of work has been pushed back and pushed back and pushed back, so we’re very happy to finally be able to put it out," says vocalist and lyricist Brendan Kinley, who also goes by Brendan Grey.

"We started as essentially you could only experience our music if you came to see us play, which is great if you’re able to come see the show, but if you’re the majority of the world, obviously that’s not possible, so that’s one of the reasons why this album is coming out, is to hopefully be able to export our sound. These were just the best tunes that I felt encompassed what this project is about, so the live show is quite different overall than the record, but the record is the mission statement."

Studies in Grey is a tight 25 minutes, each track embodying Kinley’s style of "part braggadocio and part social commentary" as he often tackles the topic of race relations, while at the same time highlighting the skill set of his bandmates, who include bassist Ashley Au, vocalist and pianist Marisolle Negash and singer/songwriter and guitar player Gaby Ocejo, in addition to booming horn and percussion sections.

It’s an EP full of swag, sass and samples from some of Kinley’s biggest influences such as musical icons Duke Ellington and Nina Simone, author Ta-Nehisi Coates and producer No I.D.

"My ears are always open for anything, for samples, so those are samples I’ve collected or noted down that I’ve had in my notebook or in my mind for years. One of them maybe over 10 years, just waiting for the right time to use it. They’re from all over the place, from documentaries, they’re from interviews, but generally, though, I try to keep them in line with the theme of the music, but also, once again, in carrying on tradition, it’s really important to sample people that I respect," Kinley says.

Super Duty Tough Work is heading out on its very first tour across most of the country, starting in Vancouver and wrapping up in Ottawa, but first they play an EP release show at the Good Will Social Club on Saturday, Sept. 7.

"After being a band that has been a work in progress for four or five years, we’ve gone through many players, though this is the solid lineup and has been for some time now, but it’s definitely taken some time to get to this place, we’ve just been quietly doing our thing," Kinley says, noting the EP was supposed to come out a year ago, but a handful of technical and artistic setbacks held it up.

"I wasn’t feeling that we had all the different bases covered in terms of musical diversity, so it was just a matter of getting all the pieces together close enough to what we wanted it to be... but you gotta just put it out and move on to the next thing."

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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