ARTIST SPOTLIGHTS: Myquale, Spider Creek
Cactus Club got packed up for a stacked bill Saturday night featuring Chicago-by-way-of-Milwaukee rapper-producer Myquale, Milwaukee collective Spider Creek and North Carolina-based hip hop artist MAVI. There was lots of love in the room all night; both Myquale and Spider Creek said that Saturday was their favorite show that they’ve had so far.
Myquale was born and raised in Milwaukee, moved to Queens for a bit, and has been living in Chicago for the last eight or nine years. He describes his style as jazz rap, influenced by artists like John Coltrane, A Tribe Called Quest and Kendrick Lamar. All of his music is self-produced and his set on Saturday was completely unreleased material.
“Jazz just really speaks to me,” he explained. “When I was in college I took a jazz class and it was the first time I heard people personify music, like if a song sounded like someone running through the forest. Before that I didn’t know we could do that with music, so that course kind of gave me permission to look at art in that way.”
Describing the place his lyrics have been coming from lately, Myqaule shared, “I give the analogy where you have jazz, but each of our favorite jazz musicians interpret it differently. I had to recognize that although my perspective may differ, that’s what’s going to make it unique. I’ve been leaning into that more and hoping that people understand the language that I’m speaking, whether it be weird thoughts or funny ways to articulate stuff.”
Myquale’s got an album coming out sometime this year that he spent some time in LA this past year recording. He’s got a single and music video dropping soon in the meantime, so stay tuned!
Spider Creek consists of seven members: Lizzie Kay, LOVEPeso, Keyba, Ian James, MAKATA, Saintre and Khal!l. All creatively gifted in their own right, the group explores and collaborates on many different styles of music including but not limited to hip hop, soul, R&B, and rock. Formed in 2020, their first show was around this time last year with MKExpanded. Everyone in the collective went to high school at Wauwatosa West together with the exception of Khal!l although he was still in close proximity; Keyba is the oldest member and LOVEPeso is the youngest.
“We all found each other a few years after high school and that’s when we started kicking it and working together,” Saintre said about the group’s formation.
Ian James added, “In 2020 when the pandemic hit, a few of us were going to go to New York and stay with my family for a week and just work on music. Nobody knew what was going on with COVID and they were talking about shutting down travels, so instead we just went up north to rent out a cabin on a body of water called Spider Creek, and that’s where the name comes from.”
With a group so diverse and eclectic, Spider Creek strive to support one another by setting egos aside and putting the music first. “Lizzie first got the loop for “Better” and she immediately thought of MAKATA,” Saintre gave as an example. “That was fully off of her vision.”
Going off of that, Lizzie Kay shared, “Last weekend we went to Timeless Studios and locked in for almost twelve hours. We had a bunch of producers just send us packs of beats and we’d be bouncing between two studios listening to stuff to see if we’d like to get on it, and that’s where a lot of the genre-fluid music comes in. I got on a trap song with Khal!l and MAKATA and that’s not something I would have expected to have gotten on.”
Lizzie Kay released an album with Spider Creek last month called “Behind the Red Door.” On what she wanted to do with the project, she reflected, “I didn’t start picking up music until we had gone to the cabin. I wasn’t even going there with the intention of making music; I was there to do visual art and they roped me into it. For it being my first album, there was a lot of stuff to get off my chest about life experiences I’ve had in the last six years, so I made this album about who I am and to make my personal experiences somewhat relatable. It starts pretty dark in the beginning and then starts to lighten up, and by the end things are better. When Spider Creek started it was a bleak time for me but now I feel like I’m on top, and it’s because of my family here.”
“Up All Night” is Spider Creek’s latest single; it just dropped Friday and features LOVEPeso, Keyba, MAKATA and Saintre. “It fully encapsulates how we approach music because there’s nothing that we wouldn’t try,” Saintre said. “Once we try something we might really love it, and at that point it’s worth putting out. It’s a Jersey club, drum-style, drill type feel.”
Keyba added, “I think it brings in the essence of what we really do because I really do be up all night (laughs). I spend long hours not going to sleep or going to sleep and waking up a few hours later to keep working on music.”
Everyone in Spider Creek is working on something cool right now; Ian James has a tape called “With or Without Doubt” dropping in April, Saintre has around 60 unreleased songs in the vault, Khal!l just dropped a new single called “Fast Break” ahead of a self-produced tape called “Heart” coming out in April, MAKATA is collaborating with Saintre on something plus he has his debut solo release coming at the end of February, LOVEPeso just dropped a new single called “FMLU” and is currently working on an alternative-pop punk project, Keyba has a tape coming called ‘Sad Girl Demos” that she’s got a lot of music for plus she’s working on an additional mixtape, and Lizzie Kay has her album to keep promoting.
Spider Creek play Anodyne on March 4th.