What a time to be a Truth fan. They’ve released one of their most diverse albums to date (Wilderness Of Mirrors), their label Deep Dark & Dangerous has been on absolute overload this year with no less than 20 releases (and counting) from a healthy range of newcomers and trusted sources alike and they’re just about to drop a new project of stone cold freshness with Youngsta: Shadow People.
What a time to be in Truth, too… On top of their prolific and on-point output, Dre and Tristan have recently won Best Electronic Artists in the New Zealand Music Awards, they’re currently in the midst of celebrating 10 years since they started the Truth project and remain one of the elite force of acts who have the ears of every label across the vast dubstep spectrum from Disciple to Deep Medi.
10 years deep and more driven and focused than ever before, we called up Tristan (the one with the sick moustache FYI) to find out more…
Congrats on the award first of all!
Thanks! It’s been incredible. We convinced ourselves we wouldn’t win and the night before we thought about writing a speech but it felt too weird. Then we won and were like ‘fuck! What do we say?!’ We didn’t want to get too excited, we were up against some great competition and were really honoured to be nominated in the first place. It was such a surreal day. The prime minister was even there. So yeah, it was a really cool humbling experience.
Who were you up against?
K-Lab who makes some really cool glitch stuff and Chaos In The CBD who have blown up hugely in the house and techno world. It was stiff competition.
Dubstep beats house!
Exactly! We’re stoked.
The fact it ties in with your 10th anniversary is very neat…
Yeah totally. When we got nominated and knew we’d both be in the same country for a week so planned on getting loads of studio time in. We thought about hosting an event and when I checked the calendar I realised it was exactly 10 years since we started on this path. Almost to the week. Mala came over in the end of November 2007 and that’s where this began.
You knew each other before then though, right?
Oh yeah we’d been working together for seven years, promoting shows. Some hip-hop but mostly drum & bass. We did around 200 shows over those years and the whole end goal was to write music.
But promoting took up all our lives. Like 60+ hours. There was a point where I was like ‘I’m out, I’m done with promotion’ so I could just focus on beats, promoting shows was too distracting.
Did you book Mala for a show?
No that was another crew called Subtle who are still active now and still hosting amazing parties. They booked him and he needed somewhere to hangout for the day. Our mutual friend Vanessa was touring with him and they turned up at Dre’s house out of the blue. I didn’t meet him that time but I came over the next day and Dre was buzzing about all this music Mala had given him.
You were aware of his music right? Or where you deep in the D&B bubble?
We were aware of dubstep but it felt like a new big thing, blowing up. There were some interesting nights popping up but we didn’t think about trying to write dubstep because we felt we’d be jumping on a bandwagon, that’s not what we’re about. But the music Mala put us onto was a whole new world for us. Very spacious and experimental and raw. It was refreshing compared to the drum & bass that was happening at the time. It was like listening to Ed Rush & Optical for the first time. That was the very beginning.
And the idea of albums, awards, 10 year celebration were miles away from your mind… How much of the future did you plan? Was this always a career or a full-on hobby?
We knew we wanted it to be a career and to make it our lives but we still treated it as a hobby and passion if that makes sense. I think the original plan was ‘if we’re not making a living off this in five years we’ll re-think it’ I was never too sure how we’d work touring when we got older but we’ve made that work and been able to work out a good balance of writing so we have scope for the more non dancefloor music.
Yeah about that side of your music. Inside Your Thoughts with Lelijveld is beautiful. It’s like Portishead. Are you planning on doing more of those type of tunes with her? Also Smoke with Animai. The smouldering soul of Truth, if you will.
They’re my favourite songs to write. We’ve got an EP coming soon with a track with Lelijveld on it. We’ve also got a project with Youngsta which is kinda more towards that tip.
Yes. It’s got Lelijveld on it and other vocalists such as Ace Boogie, Animai and Spikey Tee. It’s been a really cool project. The original plan was to make it all 808 drums and bass but it’s developed from that. It’s more stripped back, more subby, more dry with less reverb. Very bassy.
Sounds awesome. When’s that landing?
Soon. The vinyl pressing has held things up a bit. But it’s out pretty soon on Deep Dark & Dangerous
Yeah about the label… Feels like you’ve properly ramped things up this year! Established names, brand new names, so much cool stuff. This is a reflection of where dubstep is at right?
Yeah for sure. It’s always been bubbling away, we’ve never had trouble finding great music but it’s definitely had moments when there is less good music around but we’ve stuck through it, it’s coming back again and we’re stoked with what we’re hearing. There are so many enthusiastic, super-keen artists who really want to be involved in the scene. That’s so inspiring. The speed they fire tunes over, too. They’re super on-it and it’s a pleasure to support them.
Was it the amount of quality that increased the label output or was it always the plan?
The original plan was to release an artist EP once a month but never in the gear it’s in now. At the start of this year we started signing a lot of music. I had a load of music I wanted to check out so burnt 7 CDs of it and went on a big road trip. I was pulling over on the side of the road writing notes on it! So we signed it all and decided to put out the tracks in small releases, like single tracks, so nothing gets overlooked. For a while every week we had a release. It was pretty intense. We had 20 releases in since March.
Yeah. We tried to plan it so people would just check out what’s coming every week. It could be a big track or something a bit different, but either way people will check it out. We’ve actually taken a break for a short while because the flow was getting too intense for just us to manage. I didn’t appreciate how much time it would take.
So all of this and you release Wilderness Of Mirrors and writing Shadow People!
Yeah we’ve kept ourselves busy. Originally the idea was for Wilderness to be a little more towards mainstream and Shadow People would be more underground but Wilderness ended up being a Truth album because that’s what we do. And Shadow People was with Youngsta and had a different theme or idea to it. But yeah it’s been full-on with writing as much as running the labels and releasing on the likes of Deep Medi and Disciple.
I love how you can do that and work with both labels and join those dots
We love it too. The Disciple philosophy is cool; everyone on the label has their own sound and style. No one copies each other or is vying for each other’s place. We all have our own space. That’s smart. And yeah we honestly feel blessed to be in this position and to be able to work with everyone in the way we do. I hope we can carry on doing it for anther 10 years!
Photo credit: Topic/ James Ensing-Trussell