“We, The People, Are More Powerful When United In Numbers”-Unknown Mizery | Exclusive Interview

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Unknown Mizery – aka Mizo – just dropped another album. Between touring the world, and recording in studios, this man also invests his time working at a homeless shelter in Vancouver, Canada.

Obviously, a man who wears this many hats has a LOT of stories to tell, so we went ahead and interviewed Unknown Mizery – during his (very little) free time. And here’s how it went…

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DHH – Hey how have you been bro? Where are you right now?

Unknown Mizery – I am feeling blessed. I am currently in Vancouver Canada

DHH – Where did you grow up most of your life?

UM – I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. I was born in an area where many immigrants from India settled during the era when my parents came to Canada. My parents are from India, Kolkata to be exact. My grandfather was born in East Bengal and ended up settling in West Bengal after British colonialism divided our people.

The building I grew up in Toronto were called ‘P*** Palace”, a quite racist term that we grew up dealing with and fighting against in Canada.

My parents are from India, Kolkata to be exact. My grandfather was born in East Bengal and ended up settling in West Bengal after British colonialism divided our people.

DHH – So tell me about Sacred Soil 1 – the first album between you & Lay Low.

UM – Sacred Soil 1 was recorded and released in the fall of 2013. This album was produced, written and recorded within the span of 2 weeks.

We recorded this album in Toronto by Lakeshore in Lay Low’s studio and sent the files to DJ Jordi LaForty to lace the cuts on the album, he is also the DJ on Sacred Soil 2. This was a moment in my life when I also needed to heal through music, I was going through many feelings of expression at this time and music has always been my therapist.

So we recorded and released this album about a week after it was completed.

DHH – I know that your work at the Homeless Shelter inspired Sacred Soil 2. Tell me about that experience.

UM – Well I speak about the struggles of addiction in a song called ‘Jhonny’s still a walker”, this song is a follow up from “Jhonny was a walker” on Sacred Soil 1. The story in the second version of this song is a blended story between my own addictions and the addictions of the clients that I work with at my work.  Some of them deal with heavy mental health and addiction issues.

I have seen many friends from my past and residents in the shelters I work at pass away as of recent. There is a Fentanyl crisis in Vancouver, this crisis is slowly leaking into the rest of Canada. Fentanyl is a drug that can bring you to an overdose quicker than before with less physical warning signs. This drug is not only found in the heroin, it is also found in other ‘party’ drugs such as Cocaine and MDMA. This makes the crisis cross lines of ‘class’ and ‘race’. Everyone can be affected by this crisis. The sad thing is, that the same people that manufacture Fentanyl are the ones who manufacture the Naloxone that we administer to our residents via syringe to reverse potential opiate overdoses. However Sacred Soil’s intended theme to me is much broader.

DHH – How did the death of one of the residents effect you? 

UM – I would say the stories of many of residents I work with, their lives, struggles, triumphs and unfortunate deaths have influenced many bars throughout this album. Since the album was written in such a short time frame, the themes and energies throughout the album pretty much transfers from song to song.

I do not want to get to personal about resident information due to respect, however I freely share that through music as I use it as a tool to heal and teach.

DHH – That’s interesting. What does the term ‘Sacred Soil’ refer to?

UM – Overall, the album is about the sacred soil, the sacred soil that makes up the human existence, we are made up of all the elements from this earth. Therefore, GMOs in our vegetables are related to Pharmacies acting like cartels.

The earth is connected with our health, our wealth, and our existence. Therefore this album really touches on the social themes of Anti Pipeline movements, self sustainable issues we are facing as a population, saving the trees, addressing other systemic issues we face within this broken system we live under.

We, the people, are more powerful when united in numbers. We, only when united as ants, will over throw the colonizing governments that run our lives.

DHH – And, how about ‘Ant Monologue’? What’s that all about?

UM – We wanted to give Sacred Soil 2 an alternate name as well. I can see future scared soil projects with me and Lay Low which would all have alternative titles.

Ant Monologues represents the people. The Ants are living creatures that work together, they work in unity in order to survive and thrive. However ants also rebel, the working ants are often known to revolt and overthrow the colony. The book “Empire of The Ants” had a lot to do with inspiring this name.

We, the people, are more powerful when united in numbers. We, only when united as ants, will over throw the colonizing governments that run our lives.

The ant monologues as a title refers to the stories from the people in the world we all live in.

DHH – Dope, man. What are you working on right now?

UM – Right now I am working on several things. I will let you know about them all quickly..

My rap group – Babylon Warchild – is working on a new album, Legitimate is spearheading this new project, with major production from Rex Seshunz. This album is set to release late 2017. We already released 3 other albums as a group – all available on youtube and all over the internet.

I am also working on a mixtape. I am taking my time and having fun with it, it is for a alter ego I have created called “King Diamond Tut”. This project will be on new wave hip hop beats, new wave flows with meaningful lyrical content.

I have two separate 5 track albums recorded. One of them is produced by 542 of Odessa Trickmakers (Greece) & the other is produced by Methodmaticz (South Africa). Both of these projects will be released through the EmptyHandedWarrior.com artist collective. For those of you who don’t know, Empty Handed Warriors is a international artists collective that I co-founded. This collective now has members from India which makes me really proud. Travelling across the globe, I have always felt the calling from my roots, I knew I needed to touch back to my mother land. Even though I was not born in India, I grew up in Canada as a Indian, with a first generation South asian experience. I always wanted to connect the culture in this way, hip hop has healed so many and I have met so many people in the world with whom i connected to, through hip hop, we couldn’t even speak the same language yet when the music played, we all understood what the energy was saying.

India’s members of Empty Handed Warriors are MC Kavi, Poetik Justis, MC Mugz of Jalali Set (Bangladesh), K Krew, Ninja, & ACE of Mumbai’s Finest.

Other than all this, I am always creating new music.

DHH – What do you plan to do with your Hip Hop career in the next 5 years.

UM – I plan to expand into film even more than I already have. Creating visual pieces that can entertain while educating and inspiring the youth and ‘disenfranchised’ people across the globe.

Babylon Warchild needs a international tour as a full group. We have never been able to tour with all members present, therefore this is a mission we are working on accomplishing and the stars are looking like they are aligning.

I see myself really having fun with my alter ego; King Diamond Tut. We have a few game plans mapped out for his journey through the music industry. I will be sure to keep DesiHipHop in the loop before anyone.

Unknown Mizery, well, I will also keep making music, so I’m sure in the next 5 years you can expect many more Unknown Mizery tours and albums.

Oh yea, I see myself performing across India with other great desi artists.

DHH – You’ve pretty much toured the world… Which city, or which location impacted your life the most? 

UM – I must name a few places that impacted me along my journeys the most.

I would say Greece, the energy from the Anti Fascist movement out there and the high energy of love you get at the shows are amazing. The first tour we ever did in Europe was in Athens, Greece. We landed quite late, yet we had the organizers pick us up – even though it was inconvenient for them. These people became our family for life, not “fans” in a loose sense either, I mean like real family. We went to our hotels, we all passed out for a few hours and got woken up to go to the venue. As soon as we entered the entrance to this 800 capacity building, we saw posters all over the streets, huge posters!

I LOVE how hip hop is growing in South Asia, I want to see the Desi people be recognized across the globe

Approaching the door, we saw huge lines. The venue was packed and it was one of the highest energy shows I have ever performed in my life. The next day, we performed at a outdoor park for the Anti-Fa movement in Greece. The day after that, we left our room and headed to the airport, however we had to get through protests and riot police. We made it to the airport, but that was one of our first international experiences as performers and it was great. The packed venue kind of reminded me of Colombia – Bogota, Colombia, to be precise.

When we performed in Colombia for the first time, we were greeted by a over capacity venue of over 400 people, images of us all over the venue screens and a wild crowd. That was also one of the best shows we have performed at.

Spiritually, there are many places and many stories I can tell. Many places have impacted me, however performance wise, I would say Greece and Colombia.

DHH – Lastly, bro, what do you think about the Hip Hop movement in South Asia? Hip Hop is widely growing in India, Bangladesh, and that entire region. Where do you think it’s all leading to?

UM – I LOVE how hip hop is growing in South Asia, I want to see the Desi people be recognized across the globe as doctors, lawyers, engineers…oh…wait, that’s already happened… how about, I would love our desi people across the globe to be recognized as top emcees, top graffiti artists, top B Boys, top B Girls, top DJs, top promoters, and all of that good stuff!

In the same breath, I would like to help contribute to the education and foundation of a well cultured hip hop scene for Desi people worldwide.