Interview by Tess Martens
I had the opportunity to attend Kazoo! Fest’s opening day in Guelph, Ontario (Wednesday, April 10th, 2019). I witnessed TRP.P.’s powerful vocals and strong beats. TRP.P. (pronounced "trippy") is a duo from Toronto, Ontario that consists of Phoenix (singer/ songwriter) and Truss (producer, singer/songwriter). Phoenix is extremely personable on stage and Truss is very modest and humble. The dynamic duo began their collective artistry in the Summer of 2017. In October of the same year, they released their self-titled debut EP. I was lucky to have the chance to interview TRP.P. for Culture Fancier.
1. What intrigued you two to make music together?
P - Truss and I have many mutual friends in the industry and upon hearing his production, I immediately knew I wanted to work with him. I wasn't sure how many songs, or even if we would create something together in the studio, but I knew I wanted some Truss production in my life.
T - The first time I saw Phoenix perform, I fell in love with her voice. She had bars too, but the soul in her voice was so captivating and refreshing, but at the same time so nostalgic; and I never felt that way listening to local talent, so [laughs], you know.
2. How did you hear about Kazoo! Fest?
P - Our first time hearing about Kazoo! Fest was when our former manager told us we were booked to perform. I love cats, and when I saw the logo was a cat, I immediately thought it was a cat-related festival [LOL], but even after I realized it wasn't an annual cat-lady convention, I was still excited to be a part of Guelph's music scene and festival culture.
T - This was my first time hearing about the festival too. I enjoyed being a part of it, and it was beautiful to see Guelph showing so much love and support to local artists and vendors. I love the community feel to Kazoo!.
3. How did you feel performing for Guelph?
P - I always get nervous before a show because the audience is so diverse. You really never know what kind of people show up, or if they even show up for you. But when I got up there and saw people dancing and enjoying themselves, I eased up and began to enjoy myself too.
T - This was my first time in Guelph, and honestly I didn't know what to expect, but it was so heart-warming to see how they received us Toronto kids, and even just seeing the amount of people in the crowd on a Wednesday night; Guelph really showed out.
4. Phoenix, you have a big stage presence and you are so relatable as a person. What makes you want to share your personal lyrics to your audience?
Wow! That's a great question. I feel like a lot of us hide behind who we think others will like instead of being who WE truly want to be. I call it "Imposter Syndrome", and we all suffer from it from time to time. However, as an artist who is truly comfortable in her own skin, I find that being comfortable in front of others encourages them to be themselves, and in turn, be comfortable as well. What makes it easy to share my personal lyrics is that for every song I have written, there is at least one person who can relate, even if it's only partially. And with each song relating to one person, there is so much relatability in the room that people just enjoy the fact that someone sees them as they are, and it encourages them to put aside the mask, the facade, the show of face, even just for the 45 minutes I am with them.
5. Truss, I love your music productions especially the Whitney Houston production. Any more songs in mind?
There are way too many songs out there, but I have always wanted to make a mixtape where I sample all of my favourite songs. It would probably feature samples from artists like Roberta Flack, Donnie Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Whitney, of course, some D'Angelo, and maybe a little Lauryn [Hill]. It would cost a grip to clear [laughs], but that's the dream: a soulful sample selection.
6. What is TRP.P all about?
P - Literally, TR is Truss' initials, and PP are Phoenix's. We really didn't put too much thought into it (lol). The dot was more to help with pronunciation, but in hindsight, it really doesn't help that much. After building on our image and brand, we realized that "trippy" is a term that for a lot of people refers to drug use or transportation of the mind/body via "medicinal assistance", so we decided to let our music be the "drug", and create a listening experience with each performance.
7. What music festival would be a dream to perform at?
P - For me, I would love to do Coachella in California, USA. As well, Camp Flognaw would be pretty cool. I love me some Tyler [The Creator].
T - Phoenix had some good choices, but my dream performance isn't necessarily a festival, but I would love to do an NPR Tiny Desk series. Ooo! And Afropunk.
8. What should we expect in the future from TRP.P?
T - More shows, more music, more live production, the whole 9. I just finished mixing and mastering our album, and we just received the final cut for the video for our second single. We will have singles all summer and an album by the time the kids go back to school.
P - I'm actually so proud of Truss, who executive produced this album and engineered the sessions fresh out of Trebas!! Way to put that paper to use!
T - Haha thanks.
P - New TRP.P coming soon! #keepitTRPP
#keepitTRPP and stay up to date with TRP.P here.
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You can spot Tess Martens performing with all her heart during karaoke night because she has to compensate for her singing voice or cracking jokes at a music open mic night. She is a performance artist and painter that exploits her vulnerabilities and humour. When she is not doing art, she is working with seniors. She recently received her Masters of Fine Art at the University of Waterloo. She now resides in Waterloo, Ontario. Follow Tess on Instagram.