Let it be known, asking Sixtoo to explain all of his alter egos makes you sound like when your dad asks you, "What's with all this hippity-hop music I keep hearing about?"
Like the Ryan Adams of hip-hop, this guy just keeps coming up with new projects. He dropped a new Sixtoo LP in September, spent the summer throwing remix parties under the Megasoid pseudonym and does DJ shows under the name Six Vicious. To further confuse the situation, he's found an online home for each of these projects at weaponshouse.com. WTF? To his credit, Sixtoo, AKA Robert Squire, is kind enough to humour questions.
"The stuff that I've been doing with Megasoid is really quite different from what people would expect from a Sixtoo record," explains Squire, which is why he decided to create the weapons house site. "It's a place where I could have all my creative outlets under one umbrella," he says, "whether that's graphic design stuff, art projects or musical stuff. Obviously I'm not trying to confuse anybody, or anything like that. Really it's just an extension of what I'm doing."
Squire says that as the nature of the music industry has changed in recent years, so has his music.
"For whatever reason, my aesthetics and tastes have changed," he says. "I wanted to be working on live remix shit and just going back to having fun with it.
"I think in some ways, what people consider to be 'underground music' isn't necessarily the same thing. It seems that that moment in music has passed and the people that I think are doing really good underground stuff right now are actually really good club producers. Most of the dudes that are in the same genre of music that we're making with Megasoid all come from that same place of being indie hip-hop producers, but they've just switched gears and have decided to do new sounds. I think this is really a big part of what Sixtoo and my personal philosophy about music is, that you should be moving forward."
This wouldn't be the first time Squire has bucked trends and veered left when everybody expects him to fly right: back in 2003 he made a conscious decision to stop rapping and concentrate on his production work.
"It's only recently, once I started working with my friend Hadji,"—Bakara of Wolf Parade—"who I do the Megasoid project with, that that sort of interest has come back to me."
A desire to do new things is probably the best way to sum up Squire's career. He started right here in Halifax and gained fame with Buck 65 as Sebutones with their record 50/50 Where It Counts. After living in California for several years as a member of the Anticon Collective, Squire relocated to Montreal and settled with mega-indie label Ninja Tune, which has released his latest record Jackals and Vipers in Envy of Man, an instrumental record in 13 parts. The easiest starting point to describe it is DJ Shadow's "Endtroducing," with its bass-heavy beats and ambient sounds. But there's an indistinguishable quality that makes it a Sixtoo record.
"With the new Sixtoo record I really tried to put together the best Sixtoo record that I could," says Squire. "I think really I've accomplished that in a lot of ways, especially considering it's an edit-based record."
While Montreal may seem more cosmopolitan than Halifax, Squire sees both cities isolated from the outside world—Halifax due to geography and Montreal due to its heritage.
"I'm an anglo in a francophone city."
While he understands the resentment that some people feel when artists leave town for greener pastures, Squire feels he contributed enough to the local scene to justify his move. He and his girlfriend were also back in Halifax early this year looking at properties out around Lawrencetown. The ocean is a big draw when you've grown up with it.
As for his show here Saturday night, Squire promises something for both Sixtoo fans and for the people that want to get crazy.
"I'm not going to be checking my email up there or anything. I just hope lots of my old friends come out to the show."