Swollen Members Strengthen Links with Los Angeles

Swollen Members Strengthen Links with Los Angeles
Less than a year after his ban on entering the United States was rescinded, Madchild of Swollen Members has shed light on the group's increased links with Los Angeles.

The Vancouver rap heavyweights just finished touring Canada to promote their ninth studio album, the newly released Brand New Day, and both Madchild and fellow MC Prevail say that they've found a new creative playground in California.

"I've actually moved to L.A., and it's the first time I've come to Vancouver and not had a place to live," Madchild tells Exclaim! "It's kind of strange. And it's tough, because my family and close friends are here [in Vancouver]. Prev already has a second apartment in L.A., and it's not a super-drastic thing for him because he goes back and forth."

Madchild, born Shane Bunting, was turned back at the U.S. border in 2010. Immigration officials believed he had links to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, and refused to let him in. It was only in July 2013 that the ban was finally lifted. Since then, he, Prevail and group producer Rob the Viking have done everything they can to reestablish links with the group's Stateside fans.

According to Prevail, Los Angeles was a natural spot for the group — a place they already had plenty of links to. "The people are fantastic, and we've got some great friends," he says. "We've been able to maintain and build those relationships: people like Evidence and Rakaa and Babu [of Dilated Peoples] and Alchemist. It's helped us be taken as more than just an underground Canadian rap group."

Swollen have collaborated with Dilated several times in the past — their very first album, 1999's Balance, featured the L.A. trio on "Counterparts," and Evidence appeared on 2006's Black Magic.

Brand New Day, released this week via Battleaxe Records, is a self-proclaimed fresh start for the group. The past three years have been rough — not just because of Madchild's inability to tour in the U.S., but because of his struggles with drug addiction. He's been clean since 2010, but says it's been a very long road to getting completely sober.

Two singles from the album, including the title track and "Power" are already on heavy rotation across both the U.S. and Canada. Madchild says the third single from the album will be the riotous, horn-driven "Cock Blocker."

"We're waiting on a cool director, who's doing this crazy South Park type cartoon video for the song," he says, "so hopefully we get that in time."

For now, you can stream all of Brand New Day below.