Reported by Stuart Neatby
Isaiah Lehtinen, who studies business administration at Langara College, is better known within Vancouver’s all-ages scene by his hip-hop stage name, Hermit.
The 18-year-old has been performing for over two years. A manic, wickedly fun stage performer, Lehtinen’s set at an east Vancouver all-ages show last Friday ended with a crowd sing-along cover of Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl.
A different on-stage personality
Lehtinen, however, insisted that he’s naturally a homebody.
“I’m not a super sociable person. These shows, those are my big social events of the month,” said Lehtinen during an interview before the show.
The hermit theme, along with his love of Japanese anime and video games, flows through his songs, which he described as “ethereal trap music.”
His newest track, Akihabara, an homage to the Tokyo district and anime mecca, features lines like “catch me I’m leavin’ my body/I’m runnin’ shi Gendo Ikari/y’all gettin’ mad because Hermit’s at home/he’s not at your party.”
Lacking venues and support for all-ages music
Lehtinen said he isn’t confident when it comes to the state of Vancouver’s all-ages music scene.
He said that Vancouver desperately needs a sustainable all-ages music venue. His set on Friday occurred at a licensed-but-informal East Vancouver venue known only as ‘Half Satan.’
“We’re throwing shows at warehouses and at dilapidated parts studios where the foundation is cracking,” he said.
Karlan Morrison, the 26-year old artistic director of ‘Half Satan,’ said that the work of maintaining all-ages venues are rewarding because of the exposure it gives for artists like Lehtinen.
“They’re just trying to produce art and have a place to be able to perform the art that they pour their soul into,” he said.