by Joe Costello
The first time I met Sandy MacEachern, I had no inkling that he was a performer. Very understated in person, there was no evidence of an ego or the swagger that comes to mind when you imagine a successful hip hop artist. And as Mischif, he has definitely had some success both locally and abroad.
Writing lyrics since his junior high and high school days, MacEachern got his start in the early 2000s in the infancy of the Cape Breton hip hop scene. He got the opportunity through a friend to record a song with Chris “Chunky” Buchanan, who now DJs and produces beats for artists. He remembers the scene was still very new, with himself, Jofo, Nokes, and Mista Mack doing much of the legwork to build the scene. Many of these shows were small and the recordings were passed along from friend to friend, building an audience and underground recognition as it went. For younger Cape Breton artists, such as CASHBYFAM’s Eh Sea, Mischif was a pioneer in the local scene. “He was really the first really big thing for hip hop to CB,” says Eh Sea. “(He) had some radio tunes and really inspired me and others to try to be heard.”
“I felt like doing a backflip,” says MacEachern regarding his first ECMA nomination in 2010 for local radio hit “C.B. Summer”. The song received airplay on local commercial radio, most notably 101.9 The Giant, and the video has since surpassed 40,000 views on YouTube. Acclaim continued for MacEachern, with a second nomination that year for his collaboration with Glace Bay rapper Mista Mack called “Gone with the Breeze”, followed as well as a 2013 nomination for his song “Supernova” featuring Trouble Gang artist Jofo. Hearing his song on the radio was even more exciting. “No matter where someone was or what they were doing, if they had that radio station on they were hearing my music.”
MacEachern has spent the last two years teaching in Cape Breton, sometimes having to distance himself from his artist persona in his professional life. In 2013, he took the opportunity to move to South Korea to gain experience and travel abroad. “(I know) there are no teaching jobs here,” he says. “It was the best decision I ever made. I got to travel to Indonesia and Australia while I was there, and Seoul is amazing. It affected my creativity in a very positive way.”
MacEachern returned to Cape Breton in early 2014 with a new outlook and ready to make some of his best music yet. “I started writing some of the best stuff I’ve ever written. Since I came back to Cape Breton, I’ve recorded most of my (new) album. I’ve even found time to shoot a video for one of the songs.” Though he is considering going back to Seoul next year, he sees no end to his musical output. “I’ll just keep writing and recording. I don’t see any end to it. Even if nobody listened,” he says. “I just love the feeling of writing, recording, and performing.”
Mischif headlines a Rhymes and Beats show at the Fox Den (451 Prince St) on Saturday April 5th. Local DJs Wobblefish and KRG will be hosting the night, while Glace Bay rapper Mista Mack will also showcase his skills. The 19+ event starts at 10pm and is $8 admission.