VANCOUVER, B.C – One of Canada’s most prolific rappers has been through more than a lifetime of ups and downs in his career. The 38 year-old Shane Bunting, better know as MadChild is now clear as day as he turns the page on a chapter of his life that almost left him dead.
MadChild was spiralling out of control while addicted to OxyContin, Percocet, and Heroin. The North Vancouver, native, lost millions of dollars, and half a dozen properties. He saw friends around him betray, disappoint and disappear from his life. As a musician he was banned from entering the United States. With drugs becoming the main focal point of his daily life, everything he had built up in his career was crumbling away.
MadChild is one of the lucky ones because he was able to get help, and slowly get his life back on track before it was too late. He talked to his family, and close people around him, as he began a lengthy recovery process .
The Swollen Members are back better than ever with MadChild as the main attraction. A new album will be released early this spring with a subsequent tour announcement in Canada, and the U.S. MadChild was available for an interview at Fortune Sound Club in Vancouver where he talked openly about his past drug use and his new outlook on life that has him as happy as he’s ever been.
What was the turning point during your addiction where you knew you need to get help?
MadChild: Basically, I had sort of run through all my money. Even though I was sort of in a cloud I could still sort of see through it and see all the life decisions I was making, from who I was hanging out to all the stupid choices I was making.
I remember I was fifty pounds overweight and driving on some excursion looking for pills. I looked in the mirror and a tear ran down my eye and the left side of my arm was numb. It was time to make a decision, either I’m going to die or either I have to talk to my family and get help.
How are you doing today with your recovery and new outlook on life?
MadChild: Great, everything’s awesome. I sort of went to the point where I went three-years completely sober. I was in a relationship, I stayed home a lot and I decided after 3-years that it was time to start living life again in moderation. Kind of almost like my final step of recovery to going back to being a normal person.
What people have to realize is, I sort of lived my whole life being able to drink or party a little bit and then go back to functioning like a normal human being. Anybody that’s going to unfortunately induce a large amount of opiates for a long period of time it’s inevitable that you’re going to get addicted to it. You can’t just say oh I’m strong or it doesn’t affect me, it will have a physical effect on you.
I kind of got tricked into becoming addicted because I would have never have tried heroin for example. I would have never got caught up in something like that and when I started doing pain killers there was no epidemic at the time, there was no awareness about it. It seemed like a harmless thing to do and by the time I found out it was actually synthetic heroin, it already had its clutches on me and it was already in my system.
How have your two dogs helped you with your recovery?
MadChild: They’re everything to me. I think I’m probably a person who realized that maybe being in a relationship is not the right thing for me, especially where I’m at in life and my career right now. I’m probably not going to have kids, you never know but probably not. My dogs are my kids, they’re my family. They make me smile every morning when I see them, they make me smile every night when I’m hanging out at home with them. They are my everything.
Human beings let you down all the time, human beings disappoint and so many times humans have disappointed me or betrayed me or whatever. I’ve never been betrayed by an animal in a situation where I couldn’t trust my animal. Man’s best friend, and it’s pure unjudging love.
What is the overall message and theme from your latest album Lawn Mower Man?
MadChild: Basically just a celebration of life. My first album Dope Sick, was reflecting on all the difficult times and the struggle that I went through and life being a beautiful struggle. Lawn Mower Man was a much quicker album that I made. I would say if I was to choose one of the two being a masterpiece, Dope Sick would be sort of be one my masterpieces and Lawn Mower Man would be something to tie the fans over until my next masterpiece which is going to be Super Beast.
Lawn Mower Man I made pretty quick within a couple of months. I caught a vibe and I caught a feeling with Rob The Viking, C-Lance, my DJ Dow Jones and we just went with it. We were banging out songs every time I’d go in the studio. The whole album from front to back really sounds like it goes together because it was done in a very condensed period of time.
What has been the overall response and fan reaction to Lawn Mower Man?
MadChild: I think it was great, I think the underground hip hop purists would agree that Dope Sick was a more thought out album. It was more time and private solitude put into that album, where as Lawn Mower Man life is going good again, I was kind of just making it and starting to experience life again and having fun. I they both served their purposes and I’m very proud of both albums.
What do Swollen Members have planned for 2014?
MadChild: We actually just finished the new Swollen Members album and it’s really crazy. I’m super excited about people hearing it. Swollen came to a realization for the rest of our careers as a group that there’s no reason to try to reinvent ourselves. We have a sound that just happens organically when the three of us get into a room together and that’s very much the case with this next album. We are setting up tours for the first half of the new year and I believe the album will come out in March or April. We’ll tour the world with it so it’s going to be great, I’m looking forward to spending a few months with the guys.
Will the new Swollen Members album have any guest appearances on it?
MadChild: Nope, there are no guests on the album. We wanted to do the opposite of what is trendy and we feel that this album really holds its weight on its own. We have an incredible fan base that we don’t have to up-sell what we are doing by getting a bunch of features so this is going to be our first album with no guests.
Do you think you Swollen Members can still attract the fans who grew up listening to you?
MadChild: We’ve been very fortunate that our fans have sort of grown up with us. We’re also very fortunate that we have a whole new generation of fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen year-old fans. We’re just one of those groups that’s been really lucky. In the next year or two we’re coming up to our 15-year anniversary. We’ve just been one of those lucky groups that’s been able to stay relevant by doing what we do. We have an incredible loyal and wonderful fan base which is our family, and they’ve grown up with us. We’re not throwing them any curve balls so we’re not giving anybody a reason to turn away.
What is the new album going to be called?
MadChild: We don’t have a name yet. The album is done but we haven’t quite come up with a name yet.
When and where will Swollen Members be going on tour this year?
MadChild: Once the album comes out in March/April we’ll tour Canada first, then America, and then we’ll tour Europe, and maybe Australia.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re away from music?
MadChild: Hang out with my dogs, watch movies. I like to go to movies and I sneak Lola in with me. Now that I’m single once in a blue moon I’ll probably go on a date. I haven’t really had much time for that yet but that’s something that I will allow into my life. I’m not really big on going to clubs because that’s what I do for a living. I like going for walks with my dogs and when I’m in California I like to go walk the dogs and check out the beach. I’m starting to get back into the gym and I enjoy that.
You’re a heavily tattooed person, do you have a special work of art that means a lot to you?
MadChild: Probably this one (on his Left Biceps) of my Grandpa that’s kind of fading that Mr. Cartoon did. He’s a very famous tattoo artist from Los Angeles.
Do you have a message to all your fans who have supported you through your ups and downs?
MadChild: I sort of installed this theory into my life recently and whether it’s five-minutes or five-seconds of everyday I focus on positivity. It’s as simple as allowing yourself to focus on positivity, focus on loving yourself, focus on forgiveness, and focus just on not letting little things bother you anymore. I can honestly say the last six months of my life I have not had a bad day.
I really want to share that with my fans, and my family and I really want them to know that it does work, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Also if you’re in a bad situation you can do five-million things to try to change that, but unless you pick yourself up and remove yourself from that situation things aren’t going to change.
Lastly I’d like to thank everybody because I don’t know if they understand how much it really means to me that they support my music and Swollen Members music and that they actually go and buy our albums when it’s so easy to download it for free. It shows the world that we do stand for something. It shows the music industry that there is more out there than just being a sheep and following what the suits or the people in some office building depict what we’re going to listen to – for example the radio.
We are a force to be reckoned with because of the loyalty and support of our fans and I really need them to know how much that means to us. They are equally as responsible for my happiness and I hope that I bring happiness into their lives as well.
Best of luck in the future and thank you very much.