Published Feb 22, 2009Smack dab in the centre of Toronto's flourishing electronic music scene are Jeffrey Addison and Gavin Rough, two kindred spirits that combined to form TMDP. It's taken them a while but they've finally unveiled their debut album after building up some vital word-of-mouth awareness with local gigging. Where TMDP have an edge over their endless number of counterparts is in their ability to use variety without overloading their music. Addison and Rough work with copious influences, aligning new wave, house, electro, pop and disco, but whereas the Ed Banger crew tend to strong-arm these combos into submission with pounding bangers, this duo gently mingle them harmoniously. "Glades" and "Balcone" are their best shots at having bangers but the songs don't suffer from the excess that killed off the electro house buzz of two years ago. The use of guitar is a sublime nuance, raising the disco fever in "Montage" and with slight delay, instilling a soft rock breeze into the Miami Vice indulgence of closer "Too Much." Furthermore, it's a relief to hear an album uphold its composure without relying on contrived guest vocalists. TMDP's variant may get a little uneven at times, but as a debut, they've constructed a stylish album that positions them as ones to watch and hear in Canada's club scene.
Does the name stand for anything?
It depends on who you ask. We've heard many interpretations. It was based on something originally but now we just go by the four letters. They look nice, sound nice and are easy to send in a text message.
I saw an article about the "future sound of Toronto." Do you believe the hype about a Toronto dance/electronic music scene?
The media seems to be hyping it more than the bands. There has always been a lot of talent in Toronto. Maybe now it's more concentrated into this scene. We don't feel like a part of the sound coming out of toronto, but we must be to some extent since that's how we've been labeled.
The album has a varied scope to it. Was this a result of simply working together?
Almost all of the tracks were conceived as part of a collected album, but we knew we didn't want to just make a bunch of club tunes. All of the tracks use the same instrumentation regardless of tempo or theme, so they're all naturally bound together in that way. We realize certain audiences, even those in the scene we've been grouped in with recently, won't relate to the sound if they're looking for something clubby. But we're happy with it, excited to see who ends up listening to it and ready to start on the next one.
Was there ever any thought put into using vocalists?
We fantasized about vocalists but the album developed too quickly for us to pull anything together. We didn't have any experience working with a vocalist anyway. We're working on that at the moment.
Disco is listed as an influence. What is it about disco that drew you to making music?
We just use disco as a shorthand for melodic dance music. It's one of our more recent influences and the one we point to by default for this album. We tend toward lower tempos - you could call that a disco thing, but it makes for only a small portion of our influences.
Do you consider yourselves producers or a band?
There's no need for us to discriminate between the two right now. We hope to produce other artists work in the future, but for now we're pleased to be identified as either. We're always trying to make our live thing a bit more band-y though.
How much of the music was performed using instruments as opposed to sampling or programming with a laptop?
Most of the material was performed using a handful of hardware synths and a guitar. The drums were programmed since we didn't have a kit or room for one. Our typical process is to record a bunch of performances during a jam, work out a rough arrangement using software, and when we're mixing the final arrangement we'll record new or replacement parts to bind the track together. That's a generalization - each track works differently. We haven't had to sample anybody else's work so far.
I've read that your live show has a different feel to the album. What made you decide to perform more like a band?
It's boring for us to perform the songs exactly as they are on the album. We try to put something new together for each show to keep it interesting for ourselves, the audience, and to demonstrate our versatility. We slow it down sometimes - you're allowed to do that. We don't want to get stuck feeling like DJs, and we try hard to avoid being perceived that way.
Can you explain how you developed your performance on stage from the music? And what kind of setting do you prefer: a club or a bar?
The sound system of a club and lack of direct lighting in a bar is the optimal combination. Playing on the floor of a bar is great provided you don't flip any breakers or get tackled.
The tracks are usually stripped to the bass lines and the most defining progressions, then built upon using the pile of stuff we bring to a gig, which is most of our studio. We play through the tracks in whichever order or combination feels best, adding improvised or sequenced hooks, samples, whatever we feel like. Some new material we develop for shows ends up turning into a studio track, so it goes both ways. We're adding a drummer to the live lineup soon.
How did you get involved with YYZ?
Our manager [Craig Hill] quit his day job and started a record label. We're the first band he signed.
Do you plan to tour at all in the future?
Very soon. (YYZ)