It's pretty surprising that Matt Kliffer, MC of hip-hop group Three Sheet, is awake this morning, approaching noon the day after St. Patrick's Day. While most people are sitting in a dark room eating last night's cold pizza in an attempt to stop their pain from the night before, Kliffer is busy at work.
When Kliffer (aka Expedyte) picks up the phone, it’s at the Dalhousie geology department. The fans who see him bounding energetically across the stage during performances with guitarist Ryan O'Quinn, bassist Kevin Tilley, the beat-boxing Eric McIntyre (aka EMC) and soul vocalist Vanessa Furlong, it's a good bet they don't imagine him waking up the next morning to examine sediment in a lab.
Moving from St. John, NB to study at Dalhousie, Kliffer was focused on pursuing a career in architecture when he stumbled into earth sciences. But as he began to rock out in the laboratory, his musical career began to solidify into a full-time job as well.
“As my career intensified, so did my music career, and they both started getting crazier together,” says Kliffer. “The only relationship between them is they don't allow me to have enough hours in the day.”
But his success on stage and off is no accident. After countless shows around the HRM and three tours of Ontario, Three Sheet has become one of the most successful live acts in the East Coast, playing the ECMAs and winning both Best New Group of the Year and Best Hip Hop Recording at last November's Nova Scotia Music Week. These accolades wouldn't have happened if Three Sheet hadn't become one of the tighter live acts in the city when a disenfranchised Kliffer started the group to refreshen the stale state of local hip hop shows.
“I think the live show in hip hop is kind of lacking and that's what I felt as a solo rapper rapping to a beat all the time,” says Kliffer. “I just felt like, 'This doesn't have any zest.'”
And although the creation of a more intricate live sound invigorated his approach to rapping, capturing that same energy in a studio proved to be difficult with Three Sheet's first album, *In Circulation.* Although Kliffer is humble discussing the band's critical recognition for the album, he sounds way more excited about their current activities in The Sonic Temple studio with the new release Sheet Music.
Recording the tracks live off the floor for the new album has allowed Three Sheet to harness the power of their live show more accurately than ever before. He describes running the beat-box drum sounds of EMC through different amps to achieve a full tone on the record, one which he felt their previous effort was lacking.
But as the band approaches the May release of *Sheet Music* and an upcoming cross country tour, Kliffer will soon have to stop getting his rocks off in the lab and focus on the stages of Canada full time.
“Everywhere you can play in this country, we're going to play there.”
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