MC tronel. Photo by Fallingtree

Budda Blaze mounts his first photo exhibit

The local DJ and Tribe Called Red manager brings flicks from streets far and wide to the Fake store.

MC tronel. Photo by Fallingtree

MC Tronel. Photo by Falling Tree. 

Call him Akwirentha or Falling Tree, DJ Budda Blaze or, if you’re a mook, Brudder, but whatever you call him, you can’t front on his photo game. The longtime local rap scenester holds his first ever photo exhibition, comprised of flicks from streets far and wide, many of which were shot on the road managing A Tribe Called Red.

With Akwi out in the Maritimes with Tribe after last week’s triumphant throwdown at Bonnaroo, I caught up with him by email. Here’s what’s in the picture Tuesday at the Fake store.


Darcy MacDonald: So we have discussed your history on the local music scene but please tell me a little about how you got into photography.

Budda Blaze: I has been taking pics since 2001, but after Instagram started to blow up, and then meeting with members of Mook Life around the same time, I was encouraged to get serious and get myself a decent camera.


DM: What’s the difference, do you think, between being into the technical gear vs. into the beauty of generating a great shot, and where do those intersect?

BB: Well, if you’re a pro, you’ll likely be into the gear more than someone who buys a point-and-shoot and worries about composition, not using a light meter or light set-ups with filters. Both are striving to capture a great moment, just from opposite sides of the fence.


DM: And what have you/do you shoot with?

BB: I use a Lumix g5 and recently started to shoot all my social media pics with a new Nikon with wifi so I can transfer and edit direct on my phone.


DM: How was it putting together your first show?

BB: A lot of spot work . When I’m home, I get the prints done, then next time find a framer, then the venue. I feel the show captures the last two years of my photographic eye well: living in New York and Montreal, and travelling with A Tribe Called Red as tour manager and photographer.


Photo by Falling Tree
Photo by Falling Tree

DM: There’s a mix of street stuff, live show stuff, random cool stuff in the collection. What distinguishes your vantage point from the common person with a smart-phone and decent eye? What story does your lens tell that others can’t?

BB: Well, like Instagram, I feel like I can show people things that they just would never see because I’m on the road or in certain situations. I love documentaries about behind-the-scenes, in-the-studio-recording, those type of things, so I’m always drawn to those moments. I love candid shots, street shots, surprise shots. Only recently am I getting into models with lighting and themes. I plan to explore those in my next show.


DM: Congrats on your continued work road managing A Tribe Called Red and the role you’re playing in their growth. The band is making waves on a lotta fronts, almost all the time. What’s it like in the centre?

BB: We just stay grounded, nose to the grindstone, and take every day one at a time.We’re very proud and humbled by all the success


DM: Are you selling pieces on Tuesday?

BB: Yes, all the pieces will be for sale, as well as a custom T-shirt with one of my prints of A Tribe Called Red live that was done in collaboration with Fake.


DM: Anything I haven’t asked about you’d like to say?

BB: I just hope people come out and check the show. It’s been a long time coming and I’m happy to finally be able to share my work. I also want to think Stan and Tron as well as everyone else involved at Mook Life and everyone who has helped me with my photography, as well as the Tribe guys for letting me follow them around with my camera and capture these historic moments for our people. Niawen. ■

See Budda Blaze’s photos at the vernissage at the Fake Boutique (72 Rachel E.) on Tuesday, June 24, 1 –8 p.m., free