Home Grown Talent

Harold_pic_bw

Harold of MORE

It was November 2007 that we had stumbled across an event entitled: MORE Atlanta.  We had never heard of MORE before and didn’t know what to expect from that night.  Well, let’s just say that we were stupefied that such an event, let alone the music and crowd existed in Toronto.  We quickly found out why the event was entitled MORE Atlanta, as the entire night, we heard beautiful music from the likes of: old school Monica (“Before You Walk Out Of My Life”), TLC, Usher, Ludacris, OutKast, T.I. among many others.  The music (real music) for the entire night was from ATL…now that was a ground breaking concept that we’ve never encountered.   From MORE Soulquarians to MORE Divas, these nights have not only given us real music, but it has also given us confidence in the fact that a dope jam still exists in this day and age.

With our Home Grown Talent series, we had originally intended it to showcase the diverse and talented musical artists representing Toronto.  However, we quickly realized that home grown talent in our minds doesn’t necessarily mean just music artists from our city…nor artists in general.  Our definition of home grown talent is a person who is not only successful at what they do (whether it be musically, artistically or socially), but a person who inspires others with their perseverance in life.  Oh yes, and not to mention, a person who showcases Toronto as a city…our city, that breeds creativity.

For this Home Grown Talent, we are honoured to present the “father” (or as he likes to put it, “the head of Voltron”) of the MORE team.  Harold is not only successful at what he does, but he is also exceptionally ingenious.  Yet, despite being successful and gifted, he is also quite humble in his achievements.  A cool and down-to-earth guy, he still never ceases to amaze us with his concepts for MORE…and the fact that at every MORE jam, we are surrounded by good people, amazing music and stay until the last track is playedNow, that is what an amazing night looks like. We had the pleasure of chatting with Harold about his story, how MORE came to be and when we would be able to hear some Chi music.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born in Toronto and raised in Scarborough (shout outs to Malvern).  I went to university at York/Sheridan and graduated with an Honours Degree in Graphic Design. I was always interested and excelled in the arts growing up whether it was painting, drawing, sculpting, music or creative writing, I knew I was going to be involved in the creative field at a young age.  My family didn’t have too much money growing up so instead of playing with the newest toys and video games I had to be inventive and resourceful with what was available around me. I was inventing my own games, building my own toys, and writing and animating my own story books.

Who or what inspires you?

Life itself is inspiring. You really have to just open your eyes to see it, there’s inspiration everywhere even in the places you least expect. I would also contribute my close circle of friends to being one of my main sources of inspiration. I admire people who love what they do and are passionate about what they are doing. To see people excel and be great at their talents only encourages me to do the same. I guess you can say I’m a product of my environment. MORE people should be that way and not settle for being comfortable. Greatness is inspiring.

Growing up, were you the kid that skipped school to do your own thing, or were you a teacher’s pet?

I was actually the kid who did good in school but hung out the “bad” kids. Definitely not the teacher’s pet but I rarely skipped class. I hated homework so I would finish it in class so I didn’t have to worry about it when I got home. My teachers in high school were actually surprised that I did well in their classes. I remember the look on one of my teachers faces when I graduated an Ontario Scholar at the ceremony. This teacher tried to fail me because I was perpetually late and because he had a problem that I sagged my pants. He called me a “thug” and said he felt sorry for me…LOL…his expression was priceless. They put me in the Gifted Program when I was in elementary school but I decided to opt out in high school to pursue sports and hang out with my friends. I always did my own thing.

MORE_logoBefore MORE, were you involved in any other projects? If so, we’d love to know more about it.

Before MORE I was doing a lot of freelance design work and working at the local radio station (FLOW 93.5). I never did any parties before so the MORE Party was the first venture into the “Party Scene”.

How was the MORE concept born?

The MORE concept was born when my partner Neijah Sampson (of King Sampson) and I decided we were getting tired of the monotonous party scene in Toronto and wanted to bring something fresh and different to the table. I introduced the MORE idea to him one night over some BBQ and beer at a friend’s house and it was a wrap after that. A month later, we executed our first party “MORE Timbaland” (which was a huge success) and we haven’t looked back since.

So we know there’s a MORE crew, what’s your role compared to the others?

I would say that we’re MORE like a family (shout outs to Neijah, Tona, Richie Hennessey, Agile & Boogeym’en). My role would probably be the Father..hahaha… Or if we were Voltron, I’d be the Head.

What is the MORE philosophy? What do you hope to achieve with these jams?

The MORE philosophy is simple. Throw a great party, play good music and give the people MORE of what they want. No gimmicks. We’re not trying to appeal to the masses. We prefer quality over quantity. Not everyone may like a particular concept for one of the parties but they may like the next one, or the one after that. That’s the beauty of it. Only people who enjoy the concept for the night (eg: MORE Brooklyn) will show up. So it’s almost guaranteed that there will be a vibe at every event because the people are there to hear a specific concept. We’re in it for the long run. It’s rare to find a successful ongoing party that has lasted more than a year these days. So we feel blessed that we continue to have your support.

MilkNcookies3How are the themes chosen and who has the veto power?

Well I’ve already compiled a growing list of MORE party concepts that could last a couple of decades so deciding which one is next is always a challenge. I usually throw out a couple of ideas to the team and see which concepts they feel works best at that particular time. Whichever idea gets the most excitement from the camp is usually the one we roll with. A few of the ideas we used were recommended by patrons and friends. (Shout outs to Kenny for MORE Collabos)

Have you read our review of the BIG Ticket? What did you think of our very first review?

I did read the review. You guys did a great job. I was hesitant to read it at first thinking that it might be a bad review.  It was very thorough and pretty much summed up what the party was all about. I’ve never read a review about one of my parties before so reading it was very exciting.

Peep the review for The Big Ticket here: http://freshlyeducatedmen.wordpress.com/?s=big+ticket

As much as we love Drake and got his back, there are obviously other homegrown talent like Famous and Tona to name a few, why do you think they haven’t gotten as much love from our own city’s DJs?

I think most deejay’s are willing to play homegrown talent but aren’t usually put in a situation where that music will be appreciated. If a deejay is playing at a Top 40 club than it doesn’t make sense to play a song that isn’t on the Top 40. I’ve been to countless events where homegrown talent has been played so it really just depends on where you go and who’s spinning.

We are obviously MORE fans, and we’ve noticed that the crowd at your jams are always reflective of our city’s diversity. Could you shed some light on how you have been able to consistently accomplish that?

The MORE parties are diverse in it’s themes. And we don’t put an emphasis on a particular group of people on our flyers. So when people attend our events they go strictly for the music and the vibe. Music transcends race, so I would have to say that it’s the music that brings out the diversity. MORE loves the people!

We have noticed that you’ve been at this for awhile now, what tips would you give to someone starting in this game? (the Do’s and Don’ts)

I’ve actually been only doing this for less than 2 years. I still feel like a rookie in this “game”. I feel a few other more notable veterans in the city that throw parties/events should be giving advice but I genuinely appreciate the gesture. From my experiences so far, a few suggestions to someone starting out in the game is to know and understand what you’re getting into. This industry is full of snakes and shady people so you got to have thick skin and a good understanding of the business or the industry will eat you alive. Do parties/events that you would go to and that get you excited. If you’re not excited for your own party why will others be excited and want to go. Another advice is to do it because you love doing it. That goes for anything you do in life. Don’t just do it because you think you’ll make lots a money and be popular. If you do what you love than the money and people will follow. My last advice is to do something that hasn’t been done before. Create your own lane and niche. Instead of fighting and competing with people who do the same parties, do your own concept and have fun doing it.

What can we expect in the future from you?

You can expect a lot MORE memorable parties and events  (Beau*Ties – Tuesday June 30th @ This Is London / MORE ******** July 18th @ TBA), a lot of new music from MORE and the camp and a lot more designs, artwork and events from myself (HUE). I got a few tricks up my sleeve so stay tuned.

Peep the links:

Beau*Ties Party

MORE presents Richie Hennessey – Bubbles In The Tub

Tona & Lyve present Direct Deposit – available in stores and online everywhere

– Second single off of Direct DepositFAST PACETona feat. Saukrates & T.R.A.C.K.S. (PROD. BY LYVE)

*all artwork and design by Harold Uyguangco

Ever since MORE BK, we’ve been waiting for MORE Chi-Town (c’mon: Ye, Lupe, Common, Cool Kids, Kid Sister, No ID, Rhymefest, Kidz in the Hall, GLC, R Kelly). Should we start practicing our Chi-Town style stepping?

We don’t want to let the cat out of the bag so stay locked!

Much Respect to FRESHLY.EDUCATED.MEN,

Keep doing what you do.

Beau-Ties (aka. Beau-Teezy's) June 30 2009 @ This Is London
Beau*Ties (aka. Beau*Teezy's) June 30 2009 @ This Is London

bubblesinthetub-front directdeposit_cover fast_pace_artwork6

How to Rock a Bowtie.

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