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Exclusive Interview: Man, I Trust Men I Trust’s Sound

Men I Trust is an indie-dance band from Montréal, Canada made up of three members: Emma, Dragos & Jessy. Their sound is made up of soothing melodies and minimal rhythms that create a tranquil and sometimes melancholic atmosphere. They record, mix, master, and shoot their own music videos – a DIY band, showcasing their skills in all areas of music production and development.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Dragos and Emma from the group on rBeatzRadio, and below, we have a written interview of the group, written by Dragos. Their new song, You Deserve This, came out last week, and it’s keeping the band on a trajectory to accomplish great things in the future.

You Deserve This was produced one unplanned afternoon, when the three members were simply in a great mood. They were sitting around, playing with rhythms and messing around with detuned and off-phase synths. The song is all about relaxing, self-confidence, empathy, and gratitude for being part of this existing universe of ours.

You know the deal. Press play on the Soundcloud embed below and read the interview below for the FULL Men I Trust experience. The first song played is their new song, You Deserve This.

INTERVIEW:

Where does the name Men I Trust come from and why did you pick it?

We were looking for a name that was light, had good values, and a nice rhythm. After a week of exchanging ideas, we particularly liked the “trust” theme and developed it to Men I Trust ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Where are you from and how has that shaped the musicians you are today?

We are from Quebec City in Canada. It’s a medium sized city which has an unusually high concentration of musicians and bands (many of which are our friends). There is a healthy competition going on here. There are lots of venues with regular live acts and frequent releases from artists. I think this environment made us stay on our toes, and it’s also great for working with other musicians and groups.


What instruments did you play when you were younger?

Emma played the piano, Jessy played and still plays pretty much everything that makes sound; he excels with the bass, the guitar and the keys, while Dragos started of as a classical piano kid and ended up a computer musician with a nag for sequencing and sound engineering.


Are there instruments that you currently wish you COULD play?

Dragos wishes that he could drum, but he’s extremely awkward with his motor skills (stick with the sequencing…). Emma wishes she could handle any kind of bass lines and Jessy would like to try getting into the upright bass.


Dragos, what was your favorite and least favorite class at Laval University?

LOL! I’d say my least favorite class was Medieval Philosophy, a necessary course for completing my bachelor degree in philosophy, which I really enjoyed. I remember the hot topics in these times were: citing the Greeks with slight Christian UpGrAdE$, discussing the physical constitution of angels and ETHER. Jokes aside, I liked going to school, so pretty much every course was interesting. I mostly enjoyed being in the University’s studio.


Tell us the story of how you started creating music on your computer?

My first contact with creating music on a computer was in computer science class in the fourth grade, using a software called Hip Hop eJay. It was mostly pre-made loops that you could mix together. We were supposed to be taking French, but the teacher preferred bringing us in the computer lab to make music and write lyrics. It has left a deep and strong impression on me. I really loved it. 6-7 years later, a friend introduced me to Propellerhead Reason 3. I began producing basic electronic and hip-hop tracks. Before starting the band, Jessy and I were exchanging instrumentals. I think he pushed Guitar Pro to its fullest extent (seriously, he wrote entire Hip Hop and metal albums on this software). I liked that Reason is an emulation of an analog console and instruments / effects racks (you have to wire everything together yourself). After releasing a full album on Reason, I switched to Ableton and started producing for Men I Trust at about the same time. At that time, Ableton projects were simpler to go in and get out, and there were more third-party plug-ins.


You mentioned in our interview with Arroe Collins that you performed in China, how did you get that gig and how was the vibe compared to the vibe in Canada?

We got the gig via our booker in Quebec City and the director of the Canadian arts festival in China. After months of preparations, we went for a 10 day / 5 gig trip between Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing. The Chinese people were really amazing! We felt like they really enjoyed being at the concerts and were perhaps even more expressive in showing it than Canadians. We’d like to go back very soon!


Do you have a favorite genre you like to produce and why?

We’re a combo of three different producing impulses or reflexes: Dragos naturally tends towards electronic and down tempo genres, Emma balances with her grunge side and Jessy is constantly rising the the bpms and adding slap bass sounds while we are away from the computer.


What has been your favorite studio moment when producing your new single, You Deserve This?

We had the most fun recording the whistling part of the song with Odile. After the melodies were laid down, we just listened to that part on loop for hours. Since it felt so relaxing, we decided, on the spot, that the track should be called You Deserve This.


What inspired the lyrics to You Deserve This

The lyrics of You Deserve This are part of a much longer, melancholic text that talks about being in an unknown place where many people have passed before and trying to do something meaningful. It’s an ode to doing things well and slow, as you might miss your awe / inspiring surroundings rushing through. The chorus “This is your past, Before you’re born, For you to see, You deserve this” is a mix of a (terrifying / humbling) joy and sense of privilege to be able to contemplate the universe and feel part of it.


Who is one of your favorite artists to collab with and why?

Working with Geoffroy on Thirsty was really nice! We’re real-life friends, he has a soft voice, we connect musically (we collaborated together on several occasions) and producing is really straightforward with him!


What festival are you looking forward to the most this year?

We will be playing in Montreal at Osheaga on August 5th.


What do you like to do when you’re simply hanging out – aside from music?

They rebooted Starcraft 1, so we lost Dragos… Emma likes to bike along the river next to her home, and Jessy likes to joke with everything.

Men I Trust interview rBeatz


Do you have a favorite or go-to sample pack?

A decent Roland 707 and 808 sample pack is a must! We use Arturia’s Spark, Native Instrument’s Battery and some sampled Roland one-shot percussions. We also like the Native Instrument’s Vintage Drummer and Session Drummer for a more organic feel.


Do you have a favorite chord progression? 

We like a lot the Dorian mode and the jazzy II-V-I progression.


What is one of your favorite or go-to VST Plugin?

Arturia’s V collection for analog synth emulations. We LOVE the Mini Moog and the Prophet, but they’re really all very nice! We also use the FM8 for its rich textures.


Do you have a key production tip for our young producers out there?

Be organized (name your tracks and projects accordingly), alternate sounds to avoid crowded mixes, do not stagnate too long on the production of a poorly composed track, get a sound library that inspires you, produce lots of tracks, but release a few… Trust your feelings.


What is your favorite color?

Green


Do you have a favorite in-studio snack?

Sparkling water and everything between two slices of bread.


What is your favorite social media platform and why?

Generally speaking, the fewer the ads, the more we like it. We also look for a platform that allows us to reach our following efficiently, organically and for free, which is difficult with some platforms right now (cough. Facebook). At the moment, we prefer Bandcamp, Spotify and Instagram.


What is next for Men I Trust?

A music video is on the way for You Deserve This. We will release it in about a month. This summer we expect to release a single or two with music videos and we are also talking of working on a third album… maybe soon? We are also moving to Montreal in June. New collaborations are on the horizon :->

Chris Stack

After graduating from Kenyon College, Chris Stack joined a branding and marketing startup, BrandYourself (as seen on SharkTank), in New York City. After leading the company to grow past profitability as a leading account manager, Chris set his sights on his passion: music. He currently runs his own LLC in New York City, helping musicians in the city with their online presence and marketability. A native of the Washington DC area, Chris Stack's passions and hobbies include music production (8 years on Ableton), marketing, baseball (Mets), football (Ravens), Netflix n chillin, and the experience economy.

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