Welcome back for another engaging interview. All the way from the city of Montreal, Canada we bring forth the duo known as ST X Liam. Both have been kicking up dust on the scene here in Mtl, from high potent collabos, EPs, opening for Slum Village, Oddisee amongst others and performing at the last Pop Montreal festival. Their recent release Inside The Circle definitely put these cats on a higher pedestal than before and as they journey on into greater things I hit them up to shed some light into their tight knit section.
1 For those that may not be privy to the team, please state your names
ST aka Simon Templar (Simon Tousignant), Liam aka #leMeilleur (Léandre Meilleur) & Fruits (Gab Cyr).
2 Where did TTT come from, is that like an in-house thing?
TTT stands for Trust The Team. Sometimes people in this music industry are not upfront with you, people don’t have the same quality and professionalism standards as you do and at that point all you can do is trust your team, the people around you that you share a musical and personal connection with. As a team, we’re building our foundation on trust. When you make music and you invest so many hours, creativity and dollars into projects, it’s necessary that you share complete trust with the people you’re working with. As time passed, our circle grew tighter and the term Trust The Team naturally became our motto and our name.
3 2 EPs deep, how has it been thus far? what obstacles did you two have to overcome to bring forth such enthralling body of work?
(Liam) I’ve never really anticipated these 2 EPs, but it was such a natural thing to do when ST and I met. I guess the biggest challenge was to be our own critics before we put anything out. Quality control is a big thing for us. And at some points, we had to take the time to really think things through. Asking ourselves: should this song make the cut? Does this beat really fit with what ST is rapping about? These questions were so important for us that sometimes we had to postpone the releases for a couple of weeks.
(ST) To further Liam’s point, I think the main obstacle was ourselves. We’re both perfectionists and sometimes it’s hard to let go of something that you believe could be better, but that you don’t necessarily know how to make better. We work really hard at having something that we feel is up to par not only music-wise, but also subject-wise, presentation-wise, etc. We feel that we have a certain grasp of what we need to do to release projects that we’re not only proud of, but that we feel will resonate with the people that listen to them but sometimes it’s still very hard to gauge.
4 I’ve always been a sucker for innovative artwork and I can say both EP covers capture the different themes from the more obvious Fresh crops to the subtlety of Inside the circle, will that be a reoccurring element in subsequent works?
(Liam) As a graphic designer, I could not put out a cover that doesn’t reflect the ideas of a record. I approach covers like movie posters: they should captivate your attention within seconds without telling you everything about what’s you’re about to indulge in.
(ST) This is really Liam’s field, but I felt it was important to have images that not only go with the music, but also represent the ideology behind each EP. Like Liam said, we’re not giving you everything, but we try to set the right state of mind for the music with the cover.
5 For ST: Lyrically you tend to straddle the lines between reality and abstract based themes. What really inspires you besides your immediate environment?
To be honest, it’s a bit hard to say. My creative process is similar to being black out drunk, in the sense that while I’m writing, I don’t really think or focus on what inspires me, I just write. It’s a stream of consciousness that’s hard to describe. I must say that the beats I write to generally inspire the themes, the emotions they bring are usually the catalysts to whatever I write. As well, I like to get inspired by my dreams. I don’t dream a lot, but whenever I do I try to squeeze them for all I can, because I feel the ideas and stories that you have in your dreams usually differ from the ones in real life, at least in my case, and it can help give a different perspective not only to the music, but also to my outlook on life in general.
6 For Liam: Sonically speaking, your sound scapes are mellow, gripping with some nostalgic element as well. Is there a ritual behind crafting the sound or do you just go with your gut feeling?
That’s a good question. I haven’t found a ritual but maybe a state of mind I’d say. I keep an open mind and whether it’s a synth, a sample or drums, these basics elements tend to influence my mood and then I create some sort of a skeleton. Also sometimes it just happens without really thinking, I guess it comes straight from the guts.
7 You two have opened for various hip-hop legends but if you could pick just 1 gig that was monumental, which one would it be?
We opened for Slum Village on May 5th, 2013. Not only was it an honour to open for artists for whom we have so much respect and who have inspired us, but it was amplified by the fact that the show also served as the release party for our second EP, Inside the Circle. It was definitely a night to remember.
8 Are you signed to any label at the moment?
All indie for now. We’re not trying to get signed at any costs since we have a very good structure that allows us to make our music from scratch and distribute it by ourselves. However, if you’re looking to invest in ST x Liam… holla!
9 Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
(Liam) I think I’d like to meet Rick Rubin. I mean, imagine having a conversation with him. He had a impact on so many artists and records. Although I have no idea of his tastes, maybe some bbq roast chicken and sauteed veggies.
(ST) Man… my ideal dinner guest would probably be female, between 5’2 and 5’8 with nice curves and a Scandinavian smile.
To truly answer your question though, I’d really like to share a meal with Aldous Huxley. His novel Brave New World really helped shape some of my most important beliefs and it would be fascinating to be able to pick the brain of – in my opinion – one of the smartest humans to ever live. I’d serve some confit de canard with potato slices cooked in the duck’s grease and some veggies on the side on some classic French cuisine shit.
10 What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money?
(Liam) I think it was Blink 182 – Take Off Your Pants And Jackets
(ST) I’ve been buying music for way too long, but I think the first tape I bought was Dubmatique’s first album, La Force de Comprendre.
11 Describe your musical style with just 1 word
12 Last words for the good people tuning in.
Trust the team! You can find us on stxliam.bandcamp.com – please take the time to listen, everything is there, we put the lyrics up for every song so you guys can follow along. Also, come check us out at Cabaret Underworld on October 13 where we will be opening for another Detroit legend – Black Milk.