Indigo Kids

“Pretty sure my mom did mushrooms with me in her stomach"

Illustration by Toby Reid
Illustration by Toby Reid

Born for It

Facebook posts rarely take me beyond the browser, but once I stumbled upon some online material from Vancouver hip-hop trio, Indigo Kids, I couldn’t wait to make an excuse to meet the local talent. A few clicks and clacks later, a meet up was scheduled and just like that, my love for the Internet grew a little more.

I met up with Harold Richter, a.k.a. Axiom, at the Vancouver Public Library where he soon introduced me to his bandmates, Taionnaih Akubal Hernandez Simper, a.k.a. Kapok, and Ashleigh Eymann, as we made our way to an outdoor table. Naturally, my curiosity led me to ask where the group name came from.

Kapok recounted how he unwittingly stumbled upon the name over drinks with Axiom. “We should have a group called the ‘Star Kids,’ ‘Star Children’ or something,” he recalled of the chat, before explaining how he may have arrived with the cosmic and spiritual moniker.

“Pretty sure my mom did mushrooms with me in her stomach,” he laughs out loud. As the interview progressed, it became obvious that he has a knack for catching people off-guard when he shares what’s brewing in his mind.

“My mom would play us classical records to make us go to sleep,” he further reminisces of his youth, explaining that he’d later use his mother’s turntable to develop his scratching skills. At 13, his brother would expose him to underground rap artists like Guru of Gang Starr, which helped immerse him in the world of hip-hop.

“I discovered that this is a good way for me to express how I feel,” he says of rap music. As evidenced on the troupe’s The Taron and the Trees EP, Kapok comes across quite playful. On “Goodbye,” he mentions how he and his crew “play at Ewok villages with light shows and filaments,” and later admits that he “don’t need Evisus / rich like tiramisus / throw me on some dickies / it’s a pleasure here to meet you.” For some reason these lines have lodged themselves into my mind, for their sheer ability to show his sense of adventure while keeping him grounded as a human being.

The conversation revealed that Kapok and Axiom’s lines continue to wow Eymann, but her artistic output is just as impressive. While she’s primarily known for her singing, she decided to share her rhymes on the EP as well. “I had always written that way, but I was like a closet emcee,” she explains while helplessly smiling. She also layers her vocals with light backup singing to give her a distinctively soulful, doo wop vibe. Her ability to flow from a verse to a sung hook is an asset to the group, and one would only hope to see her further develop this as it is undeniably a distinct characteristic of her style.

As for the beats, Axiom makes sure to take the less-is-more approach in his production style. Instead of going all out, he uses straightforward boom-bap style drum patterns, subdued bass lines, short melodic loops and the occasional vocal sample for that finishing touch. Though he’s rapped for years, he points out that beat production is a skill he picked up a couple of years ago. His love for the art form shines through, though.

Opening track “Parapapapum” exemplifies Axiom’s skills exceptionally. Atop the comical loop line “Show me how to use that drum,” rolling snare lines, sleigh bells and other assorted percussive tones, Axiom and Eymann steer the track decisively with their tag-team, synchronized delivery.

“The three of us cosmically come from the same place,” Axiom says of the connection between him and his celestial siblings. Though the Indigo Kids formed just last year, they’re already taking themselves to new spheres of creativity. With a yet-to-be titled full length album scheduled for release later this year, Indigo Kids are definitely a group to keep an eye out for.