Toronto Hustle talks new EP The Detoronto on Freerange Records and working with Sean Roman, Javonntte and Demuir


An Interview with the Insider

Fresh off an EP for Local Talk Toronto Hustle has teamed up again with Sean Roman for a sublime deep house EP The Detoronto EP on Freerange Records. With a rapidly building reputation as a producer with both feet firmly in the underground who is turning out some really brilliant music we thought it was time have a chat with Toronto Hustle and dispatched the Insider to see what makes him tick.

The Detoronto EP is out in full on May 10th but you can already grab the sublime track Deep In This feat. Javonntte HERE. Classy timeless deep house.

Hi Toronto Hustle,

Thanks for talking to us. Where are you this moment and how are you spending the day?

Hey man, no problem! I am currently in my studio organizing vinyl for a gig next week in Montreal at San Soleil.

Where were you born? Where are you based now?

I was Born in Kingston, Ontario. I grew up in Belleville, Ontario and moved to Toronto in 1995. I have been here ever since.

What do you love most about where you are living? What keeps you where you are today?

Toronto is a massive city, full of culture, art, and the music scene here is incredibly vibrant and has been for many years. We are located between New York, Detroit and Chicago (all driveable from Toronto). That has heavily influenced the sound of Toronto, and the scene in general.

How long have you been making music? What was your first step as a musician?

I have been making music for over 10 years, and have released on labels including DNH Records, Local Talk, Strobe, Distant Music, Something Else among others. I am not a trained musician, so I would say my first step has been learning the basics first. My strong points are drum programming, arrangement and writing lyrics.

What came first Djing or production or being an artist/ musician?

Djing definitely came first! When I started it was 92/93, it as a natural progression from having a hip hop background to playing and collecting house! I had been collecting records however since 1985.

What kind of artists, DJs, genres were you into growing up?

I was first and foremost a hip hop head. I was exposed to hip hop in the mid 80’s. I followed artists such as Run DMC, Beastie Boys, B.D.P, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Kool Moe Dee. I was really into early Hip Hop DJ’s like Scott La Rock, Grandmaster Flash, Marly Marl, Pete Rock, Afrika Bambatta, Kid Capri etc. I was also heavily into skateboarding and listened to early Chilli Peppers, Fishbone, some Ska and punk rock like the Dead Kennedys etc.

Who are the artists that you follow right now?

Kai Alce, Kyle Hal, Demuir, Jimpster, Glenn Davis, Jon Dixon, Lea Lisa, Kerri Chandler, Louie Vega, Norm Talley, Glenn Underground, Ron Trent, Byron The Aquarius, Karizma, Stefan Ringer, Ash Lauryn, Moodymann.

What is the most recent record you purchased or downloaded?

The most recent Vinyl I purchased was James Curd x Osunlade – Chocolate Pudding (Kai Alce remix) on Get Physical music. I ordered it as I have been crushing the digital copy at all my gigs and needed to support the Vinyl too 😀 As far as digital music, my friend Stefan Ringer just sent me some crazy production he has been working on, and I am really excited to play these out!!!

If you could choose a few words to describe the vibe of TORONTO HUSTLE what would they be?

Ha! I guess if pressed, I would say “true to the underground”. I have been a champion of the underground since day one.

Talk to us about the new EP and the initial idea. When did you first approach this concept and what was your original intention?

That’s a great question!!! This EP came about in a very special way! Last year I made the decision to focus on writing new music and shifting my attention to the studio. I wrote the track “Deep In This” while I was at work, and recorded the lyrics into my Iphone. I went back home and created some drums, part of the bassline and the main chords.

Sean Roman and I had been chatting about working on some music together for quite some time. I called him and sent him the stems along with my really bad singing lol. He added some elements, and I went over to hear what he had done. We both felt the track needed a proper vocalist and some additional Rhodes. I just had Javonntte do a remix for Selections, my vinyl only label, so I called him up and sent him the project and the lyrics. He added some incredible Rhodes and sang part of the track.

When we received the project back from him, we were both really happy with what Brian had added. He didn’t use all the lyrics, which at first I felt we should have included, but after listening, we realized the track sounded excellent the way it is!

The title of the EP is a combination of Detroit and Toronto – hence “The Detoronto EP” was born! We also added a late-night dub of Deep In This, as well, we collabed on another track called Fall In Love, and for that I had my friend Demuir do a remix!

Sean and I work very well together in the studio. Usually I will make drums in Maschine or on my MPC, and will add some rough chords and a bassline and send the project file to him, then we will have a session together building on that foundation, and vice versa. We have similar and different tastes which really helps to create a different sound than when we make music separately.

Who are the other artists/musicians on this EP that you would like to shout out?

Other artists on this EP include Sean Roman, who is my partner on this project. Sean is incredibly talented and has an extensive catalog of music and not just house, but all sorts of genres including drum and bass (Look up MUTT).

Javonntte (Brain Garrett) is also on the EP and he played some Rhodes, sang the lyrics on Deep In This and also wrote and performed the lyrics to “Fall In Love” as well as played some additional Rhodes on that track too. Javonntte needs no introduction. He’s possibly the hardest working musician in Detroit! He’s also become a friend.

Demuir is someone I really admire and I also consider him a mentor, I work with Demuir as label manager for the vinyl only imprint “Purveyor Underground Limited” He graciously added his own signature sound to the ep in his remix of Fall In Love, which really rounds off a special package.

What drives you to create music?

I think what drives me to create music is my overall love for this thing!!

What has been one of your favorite moments from the past year?

A favorite moment from the past year would definitely include playing in Brooklyn at House Of Yes this past November with Demuir and Derrick Carter, and our special instore sets at Razor N Tape in Greenpoint. I also had the chance to Play 2 gigs with Jon Dixon from Detroit. We also released back-to-back EPs on Local talk records. That is definitely a bucket list moment for us!

Where do you find the most inspiration when it comes to discovering new music?

I find inspiration in the artists who make this beautiful music that we all love so much!! I feel there is a renaissance of new underground dance music being produced right now and I am really excited by what I am hearing!

Is there anything that you would like to tell us about you?

I love this music and culture and I am really excited about the future! I also love fashion and collecting vintage. It all goes hand in hand for me! I also love to discover new places and I love to eat great food!

What can we hope to see next from TORONTO HUSTLE?

Next for Toronto Hustle, watch out for more music, events, and traveling!! I am also working on a full vocal EP with Sean!!!

For more info on Toronto Hustle and Freerange Records please check:

Toronto Hustle Facebook
Toronto Hustle Instagram
Freerange Facebook
Freerange Instagram
Freerange Twitter/X
Freerange Bandcamp

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