Originally published via SBTV.
I sat down with Tre Mission to discuss coming from Toronto, his new deal with Big Dada Records and his appearance on Lord of the Mics.
Hey Tre – how's it going, man?
Really good, man, thanks.
So...you've just signed with Big Dada! What was the decision behind going with them and where are you looking to take it now with their backing?
Thank you, thank you. Basically, I didn't really wanna go with a major – not that they were coming to me – but I could have gone out and [got a deal with a major] if I really had that desire. But, I just knew that with the music that I do – and because I'm not willing to compromise [musically] – it's just not gonna work in a major label situation.
So, I just thought the best way would be to go with an indie that's major in the indie label scene and then, luckily, Big Dada came to me. I actually met Jamie from Big Dada through Wiley when he was mastering 100% Publishing and also when they were shooting the video for Numbers In Action, so they'd been aware of me for a bit.
Just to take it back for a minute...Coming from Toronto, where did you first hear grime and what really inspired you to get involved with it, being that you were so far away?
Really, I found out about it just through being in love with music and always looking out for new stuff. I never really just liked the normal, straight-forward stuff. I was already making music, I was in to rap and hip hop, but I just felt like, 'Sh*t, I need something else. I can't just do this rap and hip hop thing, it's boring.' So then I ran in to grime and started experimenting with it and loved it. The first grime song I ever heard was some Dizzee Rascal song – I can't remember which one it was now – but there was a speciality show back in Canada called 'The Wedge' and, basically, they used to play all the stuff that you don't hear on regular daytime programming.
So I just came across Dizzee Rascal on there one day and I was just like, 'What the f*ck?! This is crazy!' At that time I couldn't even understand him, like, not one word. Now I can hear everything, but back then it was just so crazy to me. But then a friend of mine went to Jamaica – this was a few years later when Boy Better Know started to come out – and one of his cousins was showing him grime and then he would show it to me on MSN and I just fell in love with it. The more I [made grime], the more I liked it and the less I liked rap.
Is it going to be a struggle for you being that you're signed in the UK but still living in Canada?
I'm here enough, so I don't really need to. Even though it would be nice because this is where my music is based, and this is where the majority of my fans are. But, like, I've been here five times in the last two years, so I'm here y'know? But I do feel like it would be a lot easier if I was over here [permanently] and had a visa for things like bookings, and all that stuff.
You've never been scared to jump in at the deep end with things. A lot of UK artists can often be intimidated by the level of competition that comes with attending some raves and appearing on platforms like Lord of the Mics, so, as an outsider, it must have been even more daunting. How do you feel participating in things like Lord of the Mics impacted your career and growth?
I think it helped a lot. Shout out to Jammer and Ratty every time because that was a big opportunity for me on a big platform. Also, that was, like, my proving point. I used to [encounter] a lot of people who didn't really get it yet and when I did Lord of the Mics – obviously because Jendor has been doing this for time – for me to come all the way from Toronto, hop off the plane and stand on those stairs with him and hold it down, that was really big.
I've been following you for a while now and, at first, I feel like lots of people were feeling you, but a lot of people sort of saw it as novelty, y'know? Like they weren't fully seeing your vision as an artist. However, for me, it wasn't until I heard Hilroy and the direction which you were starting to go down with that, that I really began seeing your genius. Was there a period of growth that happened in between Lord of the Mics and Hilroy?
I heard that word so much in the beginning! Definitely. You know what the craziest thing about that is I did Hilroy before Lord of the Mics. During that time, when Lord of the Mics started, I was just happy spitting and people knowing that I'm sick and just merking freestyles and going in. But, because I was producing, I had always been more in-depth with the whole music thing, more than I had really gotten the chance to show to everyone, even my fans. Only the really hardcore fans knew what I was capable of. That's what led me to do Malmaison the way I did it; doing most of the beats myself, because I could have easily done a mixtape and just sprayed a thousand bars. I just thought 'You know what; I can make music and I know I can make music, so I'm still gonna do it the way I've been doing it, but I'm just gonna make better music now.'
That seems to be the distinction. Because, in grime, it was always the artists which took their role as a producer seriously -- such as Wiley and Skepta -- that were the ones which were really able to carve out their own sound. With Malmaison being quite sample-based production, would you say that your production is influenced by Jamie XX and his sound?
You know what, I wouldn't necessarily say Jamie XX specifically – although I am a big fan of him – but that was the reason I picked [the beat for Hilroy] because I was always in to that whole vocally chopped up, sample stuff. Even if you go back to my early stuff you'll see that there. Really, before grime, I used to listen to a lot of garage and stuff like that, and my mum used to listen to that when I was a kid. So, really, I would say it's stuff like that that's influenced the whole Malmaison project and the sound that comes with it.
Production-wise, have you got any plans to release a project solely dedicated to instrumentals?
I've always really had that in the back of my head, but I just end up vocalling too many of the tracks myself [laughs]. If I like it that much I'm gonna end up vocalling it. But, like, Got Me Too, I made that with the intention of that being an instrumental. I just need to sit down and make a lot more tunes under that same pretense. But, obviously, on the next album there's gonna be instrumental tracks as well, but I would really love to do something instrumental as well. Even producing for more artists, because I do a bit of producing for others, but if I can find more that I want to work with and they are also willing to work with me that would be great.
You produced a track for one of our favourite artists, CAS, recently and we hear you've been working with him again – what can you tell us about that?
That's my dawg. I was a fan ever since the first time I heard him anyways. It wasn't even like I reached out to him or he reached out to me, it was just mutual, you know them ones? When I sent him [the beat for Play], he wrote and recorded his verses the same day and sent it back to me. We have more stuff planned, hopefully he's gonna be on the next album. I'm a big fan of what he does and also his videos too. If you notice with Malmaison I've taken the videos in a completely different direction, we put a lot of thought in to these and they're a lot more conceptual. So, really, I admire that with CAS because he's doing the same thing.
Any artists that are coming up which you're feeling at the minute?
Obviously, everyone knows I rate Family Tree; Merky Ace, TK, everybody. Jheeze, coming up I can't even think of anybody I would name. You know what it is, I listen to so much other music, I don't even really listen to grime I just make it.
Wicked - any last words?
Yeah, the video for Got Me Too is out now. Look out for a second half of the Brunch video which is gonna be a surprise. Also, I'm on set for the 5am video right now, so that's gonna be coming soon, too.
Thanks again for chatting with us and all the best!
Tre Mission's debut album 'Malmaison' is available for free download now via www.tremission.com
Originally published via SB.TV.