Voodoo, aka Joey Werapitiya, is a hip-hop artist and songwriter from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. In September 2014, he released his debut album Delusional Kids which is possibly one of the most sonically interesting, underrated and unheard hip-hop albums to come out of Canada (if not North America), in the last few years.

We caught up with Voodoo to discuss the inspiration behind the album, and to ask whether the heavy-hitters of Canadian hip-hop have opened up the doors of exposure for under-ground Canadian hip-hop artists.

Voodoo, could you give me a bit of background on your life? Has Canada always been your home?

I was born in Regina, the youngest of three. I finished high school and moved to Saskatoon for University. I moved to Vancouver, BC (British Columbia) for about three years and then I was based in Australia for a year, which allowed me to travel around for a while. I'm back home in Regina now and Canada has pretty much been home always.

What was the concept behind the album?

I really just wanted to make something that showed life from the point of view of my friends and me at the time. I wrote the songs and realized that I was pretty much just telling how a normal Saturday night to Sunday morning is for us. So there is definitely some angst and frustration and just a variety of emotions I was hoping would connect. Party Saturday; find peace Sunday. The good and bad.

There is a really nice blend of electronica, trap and traditional instrumentation on the record. Did you want the record to show off your musical influences and interests or does this myriad of sound purely suit your rapping style?

It took me about a year before these songs started to materialize. I was working on a lot of different beats and sounds before getting to what eventually became the album. I knew the sound I was going for had to be a mix of dark and happy. I feel like my life is a canvas of black, white and grey with random splashes of colour, and I was hoping the album would end up sounding like that.

I was going to a lot of festivals and shows at the time and I was hearing so much different music that I really wanted to tap into everything I enjoyed and put that into the composition of this record. I wanted to take what I loved about the music I was hearing and create an album that was able to stand on its own and really have a distinct sound to it. I made something that at the end of the day sounded like me, and that's really what I set to accomplish.

Where was Delusional Kids recorded and how did you go about penning bars for it?

The album was recorded in the basement of engineer/producer/Artist Amoz NewKirk of the Stoop Kids and Deadlighters Beats. I was fortunate that things worked out and I was able to work with him, he really took the album and gave it life.

When I wrote the songs I was just listening to beats and let things come to me. The first song I wrote that I knew was going to be on the album was 'Out My Mind' and that song really set the tone for me. After that I just began visioning how I wanted to hear the album and how I pictured it would sound and feel. I finished writing the last verse of the album ('100 Gold part 2') in about 15 minutes about 2 hours before I had to catch a flight. I thought I would hear it when I got back and wouldn't like it, but that is the same verse I wrote that night and I'm happy that a lot of the album was like that; meaning I did not have to go back and revise a lot of verses, when the idea formed they usually stuck. I guess I just got lucky and found the right beats to bring out what I wanted to say. All praise to the producers for that.

Was the album self-produced? How hard is it for a hip-hop artist from a smaller city in Canada, to release something like this off their own back?

The album came together with a lot of help. Executive Producers Amoz Newkirk and Noel Castillo helped guide the album in the right direction and helped give energy to the vision. The music and beats were created by James "Yaameez" Baschak, Amoz Newkirk (Deadlighters Beats), Omar "Phoenix Flame" Johnson and Bob "A Static" Deutscher. They are all beat-makers from Saskatchewan and friends I was able to work with.

It is difficult to release projects as an indie artist, but with that said I also have complete freedom to do whatever I want, which is awesome. I think as I continue to make music I'll hopefully get better with the promotion and overall rollout of each release. It's fun, but it's also a lot of work. The goal always remains to reach as many people as possible and give them good music, being an indie artist gives me the ability to create what I want and I savour that.

I have to say '100 Gold Chains' (Part 1 & 2) is huge - could you tell me a little bit about its creation? And who is Cailee De La Cruz because her vocal is fly?

'100 Gold Chains' pretty much sums up who I am, that's why it was split into two parts. The first part is me just having fun, pretty much just wanting to stunt with '100 Gold Chains' on. The second part is using the '100 Gold Chains' as a bigger meaning, beyond the shine. The producer of '100 Gold part 2' Omar "Phoenix Flame" Johnson asked me once, if I was in a room surrounded by five Gods, what would I say to them, so I wrote that verse with that in mind.

Cailee is a star, she's dope as fuck and she is a singer from Regina. I am lucky enough to be friends with her older brother and that relationship helped me get her assistance with this album. I wrote the hook for '100 Gold part 2' and as soon as I wrote it I knew she would kill it. She listened to what I had a couple of times over and then put the headphones on, put her flavour on the recording and it came out great.

Another song I can't get enough of is 'Sunday' - to me the music paints an image of a cold night walk after a few beers to exorcise one's demons. Is that how you intended the song to be?

The producer of this song James "Yaameez" Baschak was playing me beats and as soon as I hear the first 30 seconds I knew this would close the album out. The way you describe it is pretty much how I envisioned it. This song is that end of the night after the party you come home a little drunk and you grab a J and maybe another drink and you and your friend have a deep ass conversation about life and it just helps bring everything back to reality. At least that's what I wanted to be.

I also have to give the biggest shout out to Cailee for this song, she wrote the hook for 'Sunday' and completely made the song what it is. She really gave the song its soul and without her I really don't know if it would've turned out the way it did. So if you see this, thank you Cailee!

Is this your first full-release?

This is my first release as Voodoo, and with The Delusional Kids crew.

What has your relationship with music been like; particularly hip-hop?

The culture and music of hip-hop has been present in my life since I was a kid. I was fortunate that my older brother was so immersed in the music because it allowed me to hear albums and songs from artists that normal little kids don't listen to. Hip-hop to put it simple is just a part of me, it helped shape me and give me character. I've built life long friendships because of hip-hop. I love this shit.

How much of an effect did Canada have on you, in terms of shaping interests in hip-hop?

Hip-hop was never the most popular music in my city when I was young. So I would usually be by myself or just around a couple other friends when I would listen to it. So it became sort of like an imaginary friend to me.

Growing up in Saskatchewan people listen to all types of music and all types of people hang out together so I got to experience life and music through the eyes of so many different people and that definitely helped shape me and my interest in music. It was always an influence, I think it was a positive influence, but either way I appreciate growing up here and everything that it offered me.

How do you feel about Canada's hip-hop scene? Do you feel people like Drake and Shad have opened up a lot of doors for Canadian rappers?

I think Canada has a crazy amount of talent. There are a lot of people doing great things musically and of course Drake and Shad have done a lot to show the level of talent that we have in Canada. I feel like they have definitely opened the doors up, especially for their cities.

Regina is not a big place, so the doors that Drake and Shad have opened have not necessarily extended all the way to us. But I feel like the momentum is on our side, there is just too much creativity and talent here. A lot of crews and artists are putting out great music and material, all different from each other. We want to be like those artists for our city, the Drake's and the Shad's and I hope that my team can be part of that and be leaders in that effort.

Is there anything you would like to mention?

I just want to say thank you for the opportunity. If anyone would like to contact me for booking information or collaborations they can email me.


Voodoo's album is on iTunes everywhere and can also be streamed or purchased over at Bandcamp.