Animal Nation plays Layback Lounge in Harrison Hot Springs May 18.

Not just a hip hop group

Animal Nation bringing funky beats to Layback Lounge in Harrison

Hip hop isn’t all about the bling, the swearing and the money.

It’s about the music. And for two Whistler-area musicians, it’s about being yourself.

“We like to say we’re hip hop, but nothing like 50 Cent,” says Garnet Clare, one half of Animal Nation.

He and Mike Armitage have been creating beats together for the last seven years, and will be in Harrison Hot Springs at the Layback Lounge Friday, May 18.

“We are not just two emcees and a DJ,” Clare says. Sure, they have all the trappings of a hip hop group, but they also bring in instruments like the slide guitar.

“We’re trying to find the fine line there,” he says. “We gotta be true to ourselves.”

Animal Nation has just returned from a tour that stretched out to Saskatchewan — one of their favourite places to tour.

“We met up with a band (Sly Business) from Saskatoon on our first tour,” he said, and they’ve been working with them consistently while touring.

The vibrant music scene in Saskatoon was a bit of a shock to Clare when he first visited.

“We’re from Whistler where everyone can ride a snowboard,” he says. “Out there, everyone can play the guitar. The live music scene is so good.”

Animal Nation has a strong online presence, with a website, YouTube channel, Facebook page, iTunes products, and more. But like most musicians, it’s the live music experiences that keep them going.

They’ve just performed at the Telus Ski and Snowboard Festival, and will soon be heading off to the Vancouver Island Music Festival, playing alongside acts like kd lang and Emmylou Harris.

“We’re surrounded by other fans there,” Clare says. “Everyone there is in love with music. It’s like a buffet of music.”

Catch Animal Nation at Layback Lounge on May 18.

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