We sat down the 24-year-old Montreal producer to discuss his favorite musical discoveries, potential hip-hop collaborations with Alabama hip-hop camp G-Side/Slow Motion Soundz, and his upcoming Peter Gabriel-inspired singer-songwriter album.
It seems like each of your releases has been inspired by a different genre. What influenced you this time around?
The majority of the tracks were recorded in December or January of late 2010, early 2011. It was winter in Montreal, and snow was piled up. I was about to move to Paris and I was kind of shuffling between my apartment and my parents house, just trying to figure stuff out, logistical stuff. I wanted to make less involved music. A lot of what I'd been working on was just layers upon layers of things, adding tons of instruments and drums and all these things, so this was an attempt to do something completely different, something that was stripped down and focused, without thinking too hard about it. Something that spoke for itself.
Are you going to be doing more vocals in the future?
Yeah, definitely. There are a couple of tracks with vocals on my first album [Continent]. I've been working on a couple things that have quite a lot of vocals on them, but I'm not sure when that's going to be seeing the light of day. It might be a little while, still.
You're a pretty big hip-hop fan, have you done any collaborations with rappers, or have any reached out to you?
I haven't yet. I would like to. I would really love to do it. With some of the mixtapes that I've done, I've put a few kinda rappy things out there, and there was a period where I was in touch with G-Side and the Slow Motion Soundz guys. I sent them a few beats, and they were feeling them, and I think they were gonna do a couple things with them, but I don't know what's happening with that yet. I met those guys in Austin though, they were really nice.
Their beats are amazing.
Yeah, they're fantastic.
So you've made hip-hop beats?
Yeah, I've got like a little stash of them, but I'm not really sure what to do with them. I'd rather not put them out now, they may become useful later on. A lot of them are very like, new age-influenced bangers, with a lot of soprano saxophone sounds. [laughter]
It's interesting that there's a lane for that, guys like Block Beataz and Slow Motion Soundz, but also Clams Casino, people sampling Enya and Yanni, or whatever.
Yeah, for sure. I think it opened up a whole world of possibilities when rappers started rapping over ambient music.
Do you have a favorite musical discovery, like a watershed moment?
I don't know, that's actually a good question. I feel like I'm always finding music, there's always weird obscure things, or super obvious things that I didn't know about. Last summer I was obsessed with like YMO, and a bunch of Japanese pop. A lot of the Japanese disco from the 80's is really fantastic. Then I really became obsessed with Windham Hill, which is like a new age record label [which Yanni is on], and a lot of it is insanely cheesy, but for some reason doesn't bother me. A lot of it is really gorgeous, or just really hits a certain nerve. There's tons of different stuff. It'd be hard to really pinpoint, going back so many years through all the discoveries that shifted what I wanted to be doing, or was inspired by. There's just so much stuff.
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Yeah, I think for a lot of us Arthur Russell was one of the major ones.
Yeah, absolutely! That was a huge one, a huge discovery, and it's cool because it felt like everyone was discovering it at the same time, because it was so obscure for a long time, and all of the things that had never been released before were coming out. I was saying to someone that with Arthur Russell, even though he was a recording artist from the the '70's to the early '90's, it really feels like he's an artist who belongs to our generation. He's really a late 2000's artist.
It's funny because some of his songs, like "Go Bang," or Loose Joints ["Is It All Over My Face"] really did inform people that whole time, and then some of them ... didn't.
Yeah, exactly. Plus so much of it was just never released around that time, or was overlooked. There were a few things from when he was active that I think were influential, but for the most part, it seems like his time was now. It's sad that he's not around to see it.
Yeah, it's crazy. Now, since Exercises was recorded over a year ago, what's next?
I'm working on a few different things. After this record comes out I'm working again with RVNG Intl. on something that's kind of new age-inspired, but I can't really go into a lot of details about it. It's kind of new agey. Commercial new age, is what I'd call it. And then I'm working on another proper full-length, that is probably going to be in more of a singer-songwriter vibe, but along the lines of I dunno ... Peter Gabriel.