BY SARAH LINDSTEIN

Fresh from winning a hefty $5,000 government grant, Proverbial is ready to give back. The Yukon band is preparing to launch a small tour in Vancouver and at the Shambhala Music Festival while prepping their latest album, Blue Eagles, for release.

Proverbial was born in a friendship fostered in high school MAD classes. Reid Parent and Charles Hegsted, two founding members of the band, fondly recall cutting beats in Hegsted’s Mom’s basement.

“Messing around during lunch hour, me with a guitar and Reid with his vocals, was a great time. We started the band then and we cut our first album in my Mom’s basement just to see what we were capable of,” says Hegsted.

Proverbial is an interesting band name for two 15-year-olds. Parent figures they chose that name nine years ago to teach and to explore beats and hip hop, the band’s original drive.

Latecomer to the band, Chris Ermatinger, beat-maker, “studio magic” man and guitarist, was asked to join after Parent and Hegsted discovered his talent at a 2002 Skills Canada workshop.

They hooked up with Ermatinger and later asked him to join the band while deciding to create an album. “He had such solid beats. We came to a head where Charles and I were on the same page and we were like, we need Chris here, now,” says Parent.

The band hopes to create socially conscious hip hop, devoid of the slickness of rap music and to bring the art form down to earthy roots. Sounds like a tall order for three young men with beat-box skills, but they have performed to great audience acclaim, which bolstered their courage to continue their art.

“You have to take it out of your Mom’s basement and see what people are feeling. It’s something to share, to experience,” says Hegsted.

Their album, yet to be released, is called Blue Eagles because while Hegsted and Parent travelled and hitchhiked throughout the Yukon and B.C., eagles became a symbol of hope and good luck.

Blue eagles, from their Mayan calendars, were magical, something ethereal that would always represent freedom and independence.

That’s not to say that Proverbial isn’t grounded. Do-it-yourself work ethic and an independent spirit drive Proverbial. After the August show at Shambhala, they are setting up a performance space in Whitehorse and hope to share beats with the community, bringing in weird acts, funky times and all-ages shows.

Grassroots influences include Run-DMC, Simon & Garfunkel, metal, blues and jazz. Proverbial takes everything from music; they even learned from Jack Kerouac, the original beat poet.

Even the wild Yukon scenery drives them, as Hegsted mentions he grew up in a cabin far from the city and yet recounts nights listening to his Dad’s ancient cassette tapes of blues music while watching the forest.

Want a taste test of this underground sound? Check out their Myspace page at: http://www.myspace.com/proverbialmusic or catch them at the Shambhala Music Festival, August 7 to 10.