Common Grackle proves that opposites attract

FROM LEFT: Graham Murawsky (Factor) and Gregory Pepper rock out on stage.

Jessica Wallace: Arts & Entertainment Editor  Ω

Gregory Pepper and Graham Murawsky (Factor) live on different sides of the country, come from different musical origins and even have different preferences for the tightness of their pants.

All this may make you think that they‘re not a good fit for music, but their debut album, The Great Depression, shows that the two Canadian artists fit well together as Common Grackle.

Currently on their Canadian tour promoting their debut album, Pepper, a young indie singer-songwriter, collaborated with Factor, a hip-hop producer, to mix-it-up with a psych-hop sound.

According to Factor, who has been producing music since 2001, the difference in working with Pepper is that he uses more live instruments than most.

“We’re crossing hip-hop and indie,” Factor said describing Common Grackle’s sound.

“But it’s more psychedelic and folksy than others.”

The guys seemed to be having a good time in their van on the way to their next show in Winnipeg.  Pepper is energetic and has a great sense of humour. If it’s true that personality makes a difference on stage, there must be a lot of personality between Pepper and Factor.

“As well as the album, we also collaborated on our pants,” Pepper said.

“When we met, mine were too tight and Factor’s were too loose.  Now they are both just right.”

Creating the album, the duo took full advantage of today’s modern technology. Pepper lives in Guelph and Factor is from Saskatoon and the two met in 2009 through their record label Fake Four Inc.

Ceschi Ramos, founder of the label, thought that they would be a great fit, and thus the Internet made Common Grackle possible as Pepper and Factor collaborated by using online communication.

They tested out their chemistry with a remake of Old Dirty’s Bastard’s song Shimmy Shimmy Ya, and realized that Ramos was right.

They corresponded back and forth online for six months until finally meeting in person to mix the 12-song album. Six months later, the album was ready.

“It was a bit more of a commitment to work online,” Pepper said. “But because we were 1,000 miles away from each other, it was the freest I have felt with my music.”

Pepper said that if they had been in closer vicinity the entire time it would have left them nit-picking each other’s work a lot more. The space allowed them to free-write at their own discretion.

The album starts with Thank God It’s Monday (featuring Kool Keith) and the energy and tempo have you tapping your toes wanting to dance, while Magic Beans (featuring Ceschi) is strange but enticing.

Their opposites-attract dynamic is evident, and it works solidly for them. Opposite tastes and personalities force them to meet in the middle—and just like their pants, it is just right.

Common Grackle is playing at The Dirty Jersey Feb. 9 at the end of their tour. To find out more, visit them at Find their music at or on iTunes.