Hermitofthewoods is a hip hop and spoken word artist based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A musician and voracious seeker of rap tapes since childhood, he began recording his own songs with friends and a 4-track at the age of sixteen. After audio engineering school, and its daily focus on sound recording and manipulation, beats and loops and raps soon followed and in 2003 he started jumping into ciphers at local shows, parties, and street corners.
Soon after he met East Coast beatbox legend EMC (Second Front/Three Sheet) and the two began performing together as The IMF – Intelligent Motherfuckers. Energetic live shows were complimented by regular appearances at political rallies and demonstrations, and by facilitating youth workshops exploring social justice through hip hop culture.
Hermit’s self-produced debut album, The Woods Are Burning, was released in 2007. A collection of recordings made in his early days in Halifax’ rap scene that run the gamut from the personal to the political with a rapid-fire flow, dark, grinding beats, and featured vocal turntabilism from EMC. The aftermath of a divorce led to his second, also self-produced album, in 2009. Nominated by Music Nova Scotia for Rap/Hip Hop Recording of the Year and named by The Coast as one of the year’s best local albums, Love’s Dark Season is an electric symphony underscoring “a skilled, soulful patter that’s forever on the cusp of breaking.” (Alison Lang, The Coast).
Hermit’s involvement in the Halifax spoken word community since 2007 has defined his lyricism; bringing poetry into rap and rap into poetry. A three-time member of the Halifax Slam Poetry Team, most recently in 2012 as the team’s captain, Hermit has competed at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in 2009 (Victoria, BC) and 2011 (Toronto, ON). He has also featured at the TD Halifax Jazz Festival (2009), on CBC Radio’s All the Best (2012), and has co-curated Halifax’s Oral Tradition poetry series since 2012.
In 2011, Hermit started to work with Scott Da Ros (Triune Gods, Deadly Stare) on a project that would become Land of the Lotus Eaters. This new album brings together hip hop, spoken word, folk, rock, and primitive signal coding in a collection of songs about a man caught up in an invisible revolution. Borrowing from the underlying theme of Odysseus’ encounter with the Lotus Eaters in Homer’s Odyssey, the album lives in a world where reality is obscured by fantasy and everything is thrown into question. Land of the Lotus Eaters will be released through Endemik Music in 2013.
Somewhere Hermitofthewoods is showing his son how to play piano with a nail gun and singing songs of doom and redemption. Or, possibly, teaching cultural studies at an East Coast university.