Nomadic Massive Explores Their Journey With New Album ‘Times’

The Group’s New Album Accompanied by European Tour

  • ‘Times’ marks the first album released since 2016. Courtesy Manikmati Photography

Times, the latest album by Montreal-based hip hop band Nomadic Massive, is an exploration of their evolution and roots. Where did Nomadic Massive come from, and where are they now after 15 years on the scene?

June 13, Times drops, marking the first album release in three years for the group. It’s a culmination of a decade and a half of creation by a varied and large group that has found success both locally and abroad.

They’ve been a staple of the Montreal Jazz Festival, toured across the ocean, and put together a body of work that spans years. What they’re putting out now definitely comes with some nerves.

“Sonically it’s a progression of the Nomadic Massive sound,” said MC and vocalist Nantali Indongo, explaining that this album is very much an extension of past work while also trying new things.

Thematically, Times is an exploration of how far they’ve come, blending the stories and cultures of the group in a brand new way.

This means going back as far as the 2004 founding of Nomadic Massive, and exploring its origins through the album, something completely new for group according to MC, drummer, and beatmaker Butta Beats.

It’s a new musical experience that lays their history and journey open while exploring where it has brought them after 15 years together.

The album deals with topics like gender, identity, and climate change. It’s important for the group to keep a thematic and communicative connection with their community.

“We feel we have a responsibility to address the issues that are pertinent to our community,” said Beats.

“We’re like kids in a candy store.” — Butta Beats

Indongo explained that doing that effectively in a relatively large group after such a long time together is not always an easy thing. It can be hard to blend everyone’s ideas, styles, and talents into one cohesive creation at the end of the day.

With six members in the group, putting this album together in a completely collaborative way offered some difficulties. But with a healthy amount of trust and openness to criticism and concerns from each other, it became possible.

That key trust doesn’t just come from the decade and a half of experience working alongside each other but from an understanding of the combination of effort and talent that each member of the group is always able and willing to bring to a collaborative effort.

Indongo described an important complicity between members that comes from that blend of experience, trust, and talent that allows Nomadic Massive to create in the way that they do.

“We’re like kids in a candy store,” said Beats on the topic of how much the group still enjoys getting to work with each other. The variety that each person brings to the process is a strength of both Times and the group as a whole.

The Tour

Nomadic Massive is doing their name justice and taking their sound across countries. The group will be performing in Germany in late June before heading to France for about a month of performances across several festivals.

These kinds of tours are special moments for the group, according to MC and vocalist Meryem Saci. France in particular has become a second home, due to a great deal of care and support for the group when they’ve been there in the past as well as a collection of strong festivals.

The band will be touring in Europe after ‘Times’ release. Courtesy Nomadic Massive

“There’s a whole new market of people […] It’s beautiful to see [our music] connect to people all the way across the ocean with different cultures and different people,” said Saci.

While travelling and performing are incredible experiences in and of themselves, for Saci, the best part of these tours is the group getting to have real bonding time together.

“These are some of the only times we get to be together [as a group],” she said.

With solo projects and the general busy-ness and obstacles of life, Saci said that it’s a luxury for the group to be able to go into the studio together to rehearse, record, and write.

It’s why Saci’s biggest takeaway from these tours is the time that the entire group gets to spend together.

With a new album dropping and an overseas tour on the horizon, it’s a special, major moment for Nomadic Massive. Beats is definitely enjoying it all right now, and has a simple wish for things moving forward.

“I just hope people keep on fucking with us and coming to live shows.”

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