It’s been a while since Andrew “Fresh Kils” Kilgour and Shaun “Uncle Fester” Ryan lived next door to each other in Middle Bay, but their first year at King’s was life changing.
Now, the two of them share a stage instead of a bathroom sink.
They form the Extremities, an instrumental hip hop group. They create beats and perform them live with Fester using turntables and Kils on the sampler.
On stage, Kils is extroverted—he jumps on the mic to stimulate the crowd and he performs routines with gusto. Occasionally, he shares a glance with Fester, who works the 1s and 2s near the back of the stage. He stands on a milk crate to bring him to a proper level with his turntables, and tacitly bobs his head, adding scratches and cuts to the songs.
The two of them literally don’t miss a beat.
After their performance at the Halifax Jazz Festival, The Watch spoke with them about their first year at King’s. Kils moved to Halifax from Toronto, while Fester grew up near the city.
“I really came up in high school observing the Halifax hip hop scene. I went to school just outside the city at Eastern Shore,” Fester said.
He spent his high school years driving into the city to find the latest hip hop records and check out shows at the now-closed all ages venue, Café Ole.
Fester also volunteered for CKDU in high school, where he was tutored by (now Juno winning) folk rap icon, Buck 65.
Kils and Fester, or Andrew and Shaun, as they were, bonded over their musical ambitions. They pooled their equipment and knowledge together to build a recording studio inside Kils’ narrow dorm room.
“We were both aspiring musical engineers at the time and we were more interested in the technical sides of things. I had some experience recording bands and he (Kils) had some recording equipment with him,” said Fester.
In the Middle Bay gentlemen tradition, Kils and Fester turned their musical interests into community fun by organizing their own bay party.
“We had (rappers) Sixtoo, Buck 65, and Josh Martinez,” said Fester, “We didn’t have the names for parties back then. It was just the Middle Bay party. We hustled a beer sponsor, so we had really cheap beer. We had good security. We did things no one had done at the time for bay parties.”
“Steve (Blackman, their don) was the man. He put up with a lot. He was a gracious soul,” said Fester. “He let rap be put on. I’m sure he was not a fan of hip-hop.”
As for advice for first year students, their perspectives differed. Kils said people miss out when they stay with the same group of people they know from home.
“For me it was really important to sort of not stick to the people I knew. I wanted to get to know new people,” Kils said. “I was really interested in not being a part of the clique, the Toronto, Ontario clique, which I understand is a kind of thing that happens.”
Fester thinks it’s important for day students to push themselves into the community.
“I know a lot of friends who were day students and they didn’t invest themselves into the King’s experience. They missed out on the networking,” he said.
They both agreed FYP played an enormous role in shaping who they were.
“It didn’t affect me in my ongoing studies but personally, it really affected me,” said Fester. “It really just set me on a path to discovering more literature that I might otherwise not be drawn to.”
While Kils is based in Toronto, you can catch Fester every other Wednesday at The Company House where he DJs for Droppin’ Science, a hip-hop party.