Human-Kebab brings synergy
By: Jaime RoseHe scratches with every usable inch of his body - or someone else’s.
His limbs tirelessly flail from behind the turntable.
Positions vary via the introduction of new sounds or situations.
From any angle you could imagine, all with props to match, this head banging, energy ensuing guru is here to break the bounds of being an indie act.
“We believe in possibility, and we don’t put limits on anything,” said Jason Parsons, known as Human-Kebab and hype-man to USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) alongside singer/songwriter Ash Boo-Schultz.
Witnessing USS perform is a testament to the philosophy of having no limits.
Ash is often seen hoisted atop Kebab’s shoulders – still strumming and singing, all while Kebab scratches the sample with Ash’s shoes.
“Ash is way bigger than I am, but for some reason, I can carry his weight. During our Western tour with illScarlett last December, I lost a lot of weight and I was really unhealthy for a while. Things were a bit messy in my world, but I was still able to carry him every night.”
At an equally messy 102.1 The Edge sponsored, Everything To Do With Fred show that went down March 5 at the Sound Academy, Fred proved his truly fearless nature.
Climbing atop Kebab’s shoulders, subjecting himself to a crowd-wide ovation - this hands in the air, moment of super-hero triumph, all happened to the initially funny, then notoriously good time, that is the USS version of Outkast’s Hey Ya.
What started off as a joke, initially used for stand-up comedy pursuits, the pseudo name Human Kebab was coined for all future creative pursuits many moons ago.
While Jason Parsons was getting his school on at Trent University in Peterborough at the time, Human Kebab the rapper made his debut, and the alias has remained solid to this day.
Through associations with the Canadian indie music scene, opportunity arose when friend and fellow indie performer, B.A. Johnston approached him about doing an opening gig for the G.I. Joe KIllaz (now known only as the Killaz).
The night before the name-consolidating performance, Human wrote the number six track on Questamation, Stationary Robbery.
Fans who’ve been around from the ground up, will recall the track being performed on an instrumental version of Beanie Man’s Who Am I in the early stages of their career.
“It worked really well. It seemed to resonate with people. The lyrics and the concept are both very simplistic. It really seemed to loosen things up on stage, so we decided to release a USS version.”
Before either of them were in the place to do USS-released music, their first few encounters were at first silent, then spoken – and both so random.
The stars must have aligned twice, because the fit is absolute.
“He was such as weirdo when I met him,” reminisces Kebab, smiling.
“He was doing a one-armed pushup, and he wouldn’t look me in the eye - on a Superbowl Sunday, Jan. 2004. Then, fast-forward to the summer 2004, I ran into him at a Bar at Unionville, Ontario and he remembered our encounter.
“He sat down at the table with me, with the female I was dating at the time, and her friend.
His opening line was, ‘So I was at the library today, and I figured out why asparagus makes your urine smell.’
“The girls were instantly weirded out, and I was like, ‘No, no, no – go on, go on.’” Although the asparagus incident is common knowledge amongst their fan base, the story behind The Original Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker business card is not.
“It was a simulated, Old Dirty Bastard, Return of the 36 Chambers, Brooklyn Zoo album cover, with his hair all messy.
“Ash took an Ontario Health card and he just super imposed the font and the text on it, and made himself look like ODB. I wish I still had it. It was hilarious.”
When Kebab wakes up every morning, he loves embracing the randomness the little things that bring such potential to each new day.
Realizing that it only takes one person to shake the foundation of anything, Kebab remembers that every occurrence is relative.
“I think some people don’t realize that opportunity exists as a result of what you’re putting out to the world. In Turquoise 111 for example, a track from Welding The C:/, it says, ‘Your world is a direct result of your thoughts.’”
After a moment of pause and evident appreciation, he adds, “The shows, opportunities, the experiences… are ridiculous. “
Going from a childhood in the small town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario, to travelling the country and getting to live out a satisfying life, is a mind trip and a half.
“It’s cool to now be taken seriously enough that we can work with people in the big leagues. We can only hope that we can continue to work with even bigger producers and fellow songwriters. If you keep showing up, people will notice.
“More so, if you leave yourself open, there are opportunities around every corner. You just have to embrace what comes to you.”
Although always wide open, full of beans and sprouting at the seams while surrounded by others, Kebab cherishes his solo time, to recharge and soak in all that has come his way.
“Being in front of a crowd has always come naturally, but it humbles the shit out of me. I leave rooms when I get recognized. I’m ultimately not doing it for me. It’s about the people out there every night. I’m just the vehicle to deliver the good time.”
A statement that couldn’t be any more appropriate, since Kebab is a Gemini, the sign represented by the multitasking, tireless twins and the exciting air element.
On the side, Kebab pursues his passion for doing voice work and has attended several job interviews.
An eventual dream is to travel to Hollywood and do movie trailers. Beyond the vocal, all aspects of investigative journalism appeal.
Kebab hopes to one day travel to war zones and try his hand at making documentaries.
Musically though, his ultimate dream is to collaborate with DJ Premier, who he refers to as the “greatest hip-hop producer ever.”
“As for the present moment, we’re doing a headlining tour all the way to BC and back - bringing a band from Durham, The Stables.”Kebab is aware that some critics have not taken to them, but it doesn’t change his tone one bit.
“A lot of the indie rags in the country don’t want anything to do with us. Some writers don’t like our name, some think our music is cheesy… but at the end of the day, people are going to like what they like.
“Our big thing is emotional responsibility. For Ash, he has the tendency to go really deep and obscure in his own thoughts and it sometimes plays out in our music.
“It makes you stronger as a person to be in the spotlight and put out something to the world that you believe in. It makes you realize you have to trust yourself, love yourself and love what you do.
“Compare it to dating somebody your family liked for 10 years. Why would you do that?! Live your life without filters.”