ARTIST NAME: Samurai Champs
SONG TITLE: Bae
ALBUM TITLE: Cabernet Sauvignon
RELEASE DATE: 2019
GENRE: R&B / Soul
Hailing from two Canadian cities – “The Bridge City”, Saskatoon, and “The Queen City”, Regina, Samurai Champs is a recording and performing future-hip-hop / R&B duo.
Samurai Champs comprised of new-wave rapper Jeah and dark-R&B/soul singer Merv Xx Gotti, the duo draw influence from their Southeast Asian heritage while taking pride in their urban-Canadian identity.
Blending Jeah’s versatile rap delivery with Merv Xx Gotti’s emotional R&B vocals, the duo create a smooth, yet dark coalescence of contemporary hip-hop / R&B.
Tell us your real names, country of birth, and childhood experience.
Jeah is a first-generation Cambodian-Canadian, whose real name is Savan Muth and was born in Thailand. While Merv Xx Gotti is Thai-Chinese-Canadian whose real name is Marvin Chan and was born in Canada.
Our relationship stemmed from meeting through high school and playing shows in separate genres. Already being there to support one another in our music journey individually – we decided to also draw our musical talents as a duo, therefore creating Samurai Champs.
Tell us your academic qualification.
Merv Xx Gotti went directly to university after high school. Attaining his degree in software engineer and currently writing his master’s thesis.
Jeah finished high school and tried the academic life in post-secondary studies for a couple of years realizing it was not for him, dropping out of college shortly after.
Elaborate on your music career, band name, experience, and skills.
Samurai Champs was created from the duo being heavily influenced by anime.
Having watched the anime series Samurai Champloo multiple times; we felt the dynamic style and theme we share is relatable to the two heroes in the movie.
Within the past 12 months since their Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMAs) – Urban Artist of the Year nomination, Samurai Champs have risen as the prairies’ premier hip-hop / R&B artist.
The official video for their debut EP’s single and the title track, “Crayons”, premiered on VICE Noisey, while Crayons (EP) itself premiered on Exclaim! The duo recently released their latest single, “Dripping”, blending the diverse sounds of Toronto’s OVO label with the soulful minimalism of L.A.’s Soulection movement.
“Dripping” was mixed by Jazz Cartier’s Juno Award-winning producer and engineer, Michael Lantz, and mastered by Drake’s Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer, Chris Athens. Upon its release, “Dripping” was placed on Spotify Canada’s Just Vibing playlist, and has since amassed over 23,000 streams. “Dripping” is now available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, and all music platforms.
Samurai Champs has toured across Canada, and internationally, sharing the stage with hip-hop heavyweights such as T.I., Flatbush Zombies, and k-os.
They have performed at international festivals such as South by Southwest (SXSW) (Austin, TX), North by Northeast (NXNE) (Toronto, ON), Reeperbahn Festival (Hamburg, GE), and The Great Escape Festival (Brighton, UK).
Surrounding their European tours, the UK’s largest independent music blog, The Line of Best Fit, featured Samurai Champs in 20 Of The Most Exciting Bands On The Planet To See At The Great Escape.
Following this, award-winning UK music news site, Gigwise, featured Samurai Champs in 11 New Bands From The Great Escape That You Need In Your Life.
Most recently, Samurai Champs were also named in Gigwise’s 5 Top Acts To See at Tallinn Music Week.
Tell us your genre and idea behind your music video or song.
BAE is an R&B / Soul single with hints of hip-hop.
We wanted to make something that was more laid back and feel-good; something that is easy to listen to but still has a bounce to it.
We wanted a song that brings good vibes and a positive message.
Tell us how to run a record label based on your experience as an artist.
Everything is DIY.
Every show/festival/conference we are constantly reaching out to meet new people that we can build with.
From answering all the emails to scheduling all our own shows on tour. Punctuality is everything and your presence can do a lot.
So making sure we can pencil ourselves into optimizing our work output is crucial to staying afloat as an artist.
Tell us how you are promoting your music.
We have our music released on all platforms, working with playlist curators to help with the push of our music with heavy support from Auteur Research based out of Ontario and Mystic Sons from the UK.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
Explain the story behind the song.
The lyrics identify a special someone in our lives. Recognizing the importance and significance of their presence in our lives. It is about love but in a bigger picture.
The song speaks about more than just your bae or significant other. It’s about appreciating and recognizing the amazing people that are down for you. We really felt like we captured that in this single.
State the names of other members of your band, music producer, crew, or music video director.
The song was recorded in blue doors studio and mixed with recording engineer Walt J Music. The beat was made by C’mar Productions and the song is mastered by Chris Athens from Austin TX who has also done mastering for multiple celebrities including Drakes’s Grammy-nominated album views.
Elaborate on the song and music video.
BAE is one of the main singles released from our upcoming album Cabernet Sauvignon.
BAE represents all the feels you get when you are in the beginning stages of falling in love with someone. It’s the best and most memorable time of any relationship – wanting to be down for all the good and the bad. We wanted people to experience that in this record.
Plus our last single “Still Mine” was a sad one, so we wanted to give some positive vibes.
Tell us how long you have been in the music business, your experience, and your future goal.
Samurai Champs has been in the music business for just a couple of years now. So we’ve kinda got an idea of how it works.
Its trial and error since everything we do is DIY. We hope we can generate enough noise to make a dent in the music industry so we can create a platform for the rest of Trifecta.
Tell us what makes you unique from others.
Merv Xx Gotti’s punk background enveloped in Jeah’s hip-hop style creates quite the dynamic. Especially during live, you can feel the difference in energy and contrast.
From Merv Xx Gotti climbing to the top of the speakers or the second floor at our Liverpool show or to Jeah moshing with the crowd; it’s definitely not as subtle as we look when you see two south-east Asian kids that are both introverted in raising energy at a show like this.
Tell us your weakness and strength pertaining to music.
Where we are from for music being a minority does make it hard in the sense of really starting from the ground up and not having any urban platforms to already work with, but Saskmusic and creative Saskatchewan has been a huge help.
But where we are from, the province doesn’t have a very big platform for urban music. So we do struggle to reach out for inspiration and perspective.
But also being from Saskatchewan allows us to begin and build everything we have now for a strong urban music community. The groups are much closer here because we are all we have. So everyone does their best to support one another. That’s why we have Trifecta.
List your five favorite songs including the artists.
Weston Road Flows – Drake
Wet Dreams – J. Cole
Time – Snoh Aalegra
Fuck Love – XXXTENTACION featuring Trippie Redd
Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2) – A$AP Rocky
Tell us your position on “Do It Yourself” and signing to a major label.
Right now everything is DIY and we will do it this way until we meet the right person or label that we feel will value our music the same way we do. Otherwise, we feel like it’s a waste of time and energy when we can work through the necessary steps and do it ourselves.
As we get more noticed it does get more difficult for workload, just because you need so much time with yourself to be an artist. But the business side is just as important or even more so.
Tell us other activities you are pursuing apart from music.
Marvin is a software engineer who is writing his master’s thesis on how to bring the scene and audiences closer together.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Jeah is the name Savan’s family calls him when he was younger. He was very ill and his family would always say in Khmer for him to heal, which is Jeah. Until Jeah became the name everyone started calling him by.
Merv Xx Gotti was the name given by friends as Marvin always goes in the hardest and comes back with results regardless of what we are doing. Marvin uses to be a part of the punk scene so its antics add a certain flair and flavor to the hip-hop side. That’s why giving him the name of Merv Xx Gotti felt right from the beginning.
State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the title of the album. The title represents a specific type of wine. It symbolizes a conversation piece. A drink that someone we use to hold dear to us loved and so the wine represents the pain and the growth – So the album Cabernet Sauvignon and all the songs in it.
It is the conversation and story we are sharing with the audience.