Gazette Interview – Rap is a many-splendoured thing for local MCs – Mic-key Boston Kovaks, Regimental Oneton change topics with ease – By E.K. Hudson

Posted on February 22, 2017


MONTREAL – “One thing led to another,” Mickey Boston Kovaks says in explaining the title of his new album with Regimental Oneton, Enter the 36 Tentacles.

“It’s just utter stupidity that kind of works,” is Regimental’s rationale.

Making the album, Mickey (as in his boast “key to the microphone” — Mic-key) and Regimental (friends call him Reggie) had one rule: no editing, of oneself or one another.

The two friends come from vastly different backgrounds. Mickey has two McGill master’s degrees — one in American lit, the other in librarianship. He taught high school for four years and his dream job is to teach at the CEGEP level.

Reggie got out of academia as soon as he could, so loath to read a book that he’d rather do just about anything else — and he did: music, painting, graffiti, poetry.

Both Mickey and Reggie were involved in graffiti scenes in their early teens. Mickey is known in the underground hip-hop scene as one-third of the group Journeymen, while Reggie’s paintings are regularly featured in such Montreal art events as Mural, and has also published a book of poems.

Now, sitting in Reggie’s kitchen with the duo’s first album in hand, and with Reggie’s dog lying on the table, they interrupt each other in explaining their music.

Mickey: “If you’re not working various jobs, you’re not going to connect with the general universal human condition.”

Reggie: “I don’t like politics, I don’t like government, I don’t like the police …”

“Accountability, transparency and punctuality …”

“… I don’t like being told what to do.”

“… if you carry those three characteristics, I think you’ll be a successful person not just as an artist, but as an individual in life.”

“I have a saying: I manage the 10 feet around me the way I want.”

These are the ideas behind Enter the 36 Tentacles, and though it may not be groundbreaking, the album marks a change, and a risk, for both MCs.

Previously, Mickey rapped exclusively about social justice issues, especially indigenous land struggles. On this album, he touches on such concerns in only one song — a conscious choice, he says.

“A lot of artists like to stay in their comfort zone. You can listen to an album, Track 1 to Track 21, and it’s always about the same thing … but I don’t want to do that, because I’m a multi-faceted individual.

“This album delves more into my love of science fiction and galactic weird stuff, and I think this album is liberating Regimental to be Regimental. He’s being himself, I’m being myself.”

For his part, Reggie was so frustrated with seeing his intellectual property rights and royalties evaporate that he decided five years ago he was never going to do music again.

But Mickey saw an opportunity. Their collaboration started after Reggie did artwork for one of Mickey’s earlier albums. He gradually got back into rapping with Mickey’s encouragement.

They’d pick a beat, then write their lyrics separately. The result is an eclectic 15-track collection, changing topics as the microphone changes hands.

Take the lead track, Cocaine Android. Mickey raps in character about artificial intelligence out of control, while the hook is by Reggie, about cocaine. There is, however, a singular message: question the “normal” — in fact, smash it.

“This is an album that’s trying to break every convention,” Mickey said. “Hip hop has this aspect of hyper-masculinity and chauvinism, and we wanted to break all those norms.”

“I just want to give (listeners) an honest piece of art, something they can actually relate to,” Reggie said. “I want to destroy all those elements of false machismo.”

For listeners who also want to destroy the machismo, Enter the 36 Tentacles could be their soundtrack.

Enter the 36 Tentacles is released in online music stores, including iTunes, on Wednesday, June 19. Mickey Boston Kovaks and Regimental Oneton will perform the album at an official release party in July (date and venue to be confirmed). For more information, visit or

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

By E.K. Hudson
Read more: