Kaytranada Explains Why He Left Montreal

"Montreal is not a celebrity town, but I get a celebrity treatment"

Photo: Hannah Sider

BY Megan LaPierrePublished May 30, 2024

All of a sudden, we're just over a week away from a new Kaytranada album. Ahead of the June 7 release of Timeless, which he announced just last week, the producer is now the latest Rolling Stone cover star.

In a wide-ranging interview with journalist Jeff Ihaza, conducted back in early March at Montreal's Igloofest, Kaytra opened up about leaving the city where he was raised behind in favour of Los Angeles.

He explained that he made the decision to relocate shortly after Bubba won Best Dance/Electronic Album at the Grammys in 2021. "Montreal is not a celebrity town, but I get a celebrity treatment," said the producer, who grew up in the Saint-Hubert borough. "It doesn't make me feel like myself." 

In contrast, living in Los Angeles, he "could be in a room and there'll be six other celebrities." Kaytra explained, "That makes me more comfortable, like all eyes are not on me."

His infamous shyness and humble nature are something Ihaza goes to lengths to paint in his portrait of the producer. He and his brother — who raps under the name Lou Phelps — released their first album as duo the Celestics, Massively Massive, in 2011. 

"I think we went separate ways because I got too successful with the electronic things I was doing, and that was not easy for both of us," Kaytranada reflects of the success that he had been simultaneously finding as a producer at the time. "People were bringing up 'Kaytranada and his brother.' My brother really didn't like that. I didn't really appreciate it either. I just wanted us to be called a duo."

He added, "In my heart, I always wanted to be the producer, but the Kaytranada thing just … I wouldn't say got out of control. More like, 'Oh, that really works. Continue with that.'"

Elsewhere in the profile, the producer discussed how 2SLGBTQIA+ representation in hip-hop has changed since he came out in 2016, as well as how touring with the Weeknd in 2022 has inspired him to consider launching a new project as a vocalist: "It's probably going to be a different moniker, but it's going to be Kaytranada production on my own vocals," he told Ihaza. "The new wave and the grunge era, people did not have the best voices, but they made amazing music. This is just simply art, and it's how I feel."

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