A few weekends ago, the Montreal based dream-pop outfit Men I Trust opened up the main "Camp" stage at Tyler The Creator's Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival around 12:50 PM to a sizeable crowd of festival early risers. The trio ran through a succinct & breezy set of their some of the more notable tracks off of their last two LP's as well as some singles and brand new unreleased material without missing a beat, with front-woman Emma Proulx naturally leading through the performance with grace & charm.
EARMILK was given the opportunity to meet up and speak to the band later that day in order to find out more about the group's origins, their initial inspirations, and what they have in store for 2019!
EARMILK: Hey guys! To start could you give your new fans a little insight into how you guys came up with the name Men I Trust?
Emma: Contrary to popular belief, I had nothing to do with that name hahah. My bandmates Dragos and Jessy already had picked that name before I joined the band. The origins of the name were them wanting to have a positive moniker, and the name 'Trust' was already taken so they decided to take on the name 'Men I Trust', with the 'Men' not referring to just males but to the human race. Before I joined the band on a permanent basis, it was primarily Dragos and Jessy on production utilizing a bunch of different vocalists on songs.
EM: So how did you guys initially find each other?
Dragos: Honestly, I stumbled on a video of Emma singing in a mutual friend's video on Facebook. I was really fond of her voice so I reached out to my friend who connected us, and I invited her to record on a few tracks back in 2015. But the chemistry between Jessy, Emma, and I was so strong we decided to make her a permanent member.
EM: So it was just a random connection through the Montreal music scene?
Emma: It was more so just through friends of friends. Dragos and Jessy were pretty involved in the Montreal music scene but I was more so isolated making music on my own.
EM: How would you guys describe the Montreal music scene? Is it super welcoming and fostering or competitive?
Emma: I would say it's very welcoming and kind of intimate. It is a truly creative indie space with all of these great bands and acts supporting each other. Since Montreal isn't really an expensive city to live in, I think it's ideal for smaller bands to build a solid base while working part-time or something.
EM: Did you guys find it hard to break out of the Montreal bubble and play other cities/countries?
Emma: Not really because we have never been signed under a Montreal-based label so we never felt completely tied down to the city. We always did a thing by ourselves, and over time we started to build a larger fanbase in the United States than back at home, so sometimes we feel like we are more of an American band haha.
EM: If you could describe your sound in three words, what would they be?
Emma: It's really smooth and I think its groovy for sure…
Jessy: Smooth, groovy, and it is very uplifting while maintaining a coherent story through the lyrics and melodies. I think a lot of our music has a visual component and is always associated with strong imagery..
EM: So like cinematic?
Emma: Yes! Cinematic, groovy, and smooth. That is a perfect description!
EM: Who would you guys point out as the primary initial influences on your sound? Or bands that initially inspired you rather?
Dragos: When we first started, Jessy and I were very much inspired by Daft Punk and bunch of French House from the early 2000's . But as we began to write more and more tracks together the sound evolved to the more indie guitar lead sound we have today, but the Ed Banger camp was definitely the most influential group for us musically.
EM: That's awesome we definitely have a lot of love for Ed Banger Records here at EARMILK! Do you guys ever plan on going into a more electro-pop/disco-pop type of sound in the future based on that?
Emma: We are open to all types of possibilities and genres, but we just want to remain our true selves no matter what direction we decide to go in. Our next album is going to explore a whole new range of sound that our fans may not expect, but I believe will ultimately love. We try to not stay boxed into one sound or scene too much.
EM: Are you guys currently signed or in the process of being signed?
Emma: Nope we are a hundred percent independent. We aren't currently looking for label situation at the moment as we enjoy the creative and financial freedom. We seem to be doing pretty well on own. Even us having the opportunity performing at this festival was just through Tyler having a genuine connection with our music and reaching out to us on his own. We prefer that sort of relationship rather than having some sort of transactional arrangement.
Jessy: We also like the idea of having 100% control of our projects from all perspectives. Not to say that we are completely against the idea of signing to a label, but it would have a pretty good deal that allows complete creative freedom.
Emma: But that hasn't happened yet…
EM: You guys had an incredible set earlier today. Do you guys find it way more difficult to translate your music to a festival setting versus your more intimate performances? What would you say is the hardest part of performing at a large venue/festival?
Emma: I think both settings are really cool but are obviously really different. I think our music translates better in more intimate spaces, but today felt like one of our best festival performances to date. People were so receptive to our type of music and even sang along at parts. To perform on such a big stage is super intimidating but the crowd reception made it all worth it.
EM: Who have been your favorite acts of the festival so far?
Dragos: For me, so far it has to have been Tyler, The Creator and SZA. Both had amazing stage presence and energy.
Emma: I was sick yesterday and couldn't make any of the performances sadly, but I'm really looking forward to seeing Jorja Smith this evening!
Jessy: Really looking forward to seeing Lauryn Hill tonight. Hopefully, she doesn't arrive tooo late hahah. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is One of my favorite projects of all time and to be able to hear live in its entirety is a blessing.