Why Manchester is the new creative epicentre of neo-soul and hip-hop
Saying that grime is an intrinsically British thing is a statement that probably wouldn’t get you into much trouble. In the early to mid noughties the genre came rumbling out of East London, as young men started getting vocal over instrumentals that have shaped a decade of music. The grime instrumental remains ubiquitous in modern dance music, but suggesting that it’s still going the way it was ten years would ruffle some feathers – just look at Dizzee Rascal. How is it then that a 22 year old from Toronto is making music that wouldn’t have sounded out of place floating round Bow E3 in 2006? At the end of last month, Big Dada (home of Jammer and Roots Manuva, to name but two) announced they were not only releasing Wiley’s distinctly grimey new track, but also signing Tre Mission.
After releasing his debut 'Malmaison' for free in June (which you can download for free here), he’s been in and out of the UK recording and filming for his new album. He chatted to us the day after his signing, in between shooting his new music video in Lewisham.
Hey Tre. Congratulations on signing to Big Dada, you must be pretty pleased. Why did you choose them rather than a Canadian label?
Big Dada’s an indie label, but it’s one of the best. Big Dada know me, they know what I want to do and they know how to help me do it over here. The UK grime scene is incredibly important to me, it’s where all of my music has been based. UK grime and garage are huge to me, especially on the production side, so signing to a UK label made sense.
So you’re signed here, but you don’t live here. Do you think you’ll eventually end up relocating?
It would be great for me and my music, but obviously I love Toronto, and I do like flying back and forth. I love London, probably more than anywhere else. I’ve been here about five times in the last two years.
It seems like it’s not just the capital you’ve got time for. There’s a lyric in Introdeuce where you say “nobody expected me to get love like I did when I was in 0121" – is that a reference to Birmingham?
Yeah. I couldn’t have imagined the reception I got there- when I went I really felt the love. I’ve found that different parts of the UK have brought me entirely different crowds, and Birmingham was one of the best shows.
"I felt like I could relate to grime when I heard it. A lot of music, rap in particular, is just about flashy shit, but I live a real life, I want to hear real life things." – Tre Mission
You’ve obviously got a good fanbase over here- how do you find grime goes down back home in Toronto?
They love it. I’m lucky that I grew up where I did – Toronto is a huge metropolis with a lot of opportunity. I could have been somewhere else however, I could have been somewhere with a population of 1000 people, where it would have been much more difficult to get my music heard.
How did you get into it in the first place?
I got into it by just by being naturally curious, listening to different types of music. I was making rap and hip hop from a young age, but I wanted to be different from everyone else. I felt like I could relate to grime when I heard it, it related to my every day life that I was living. A lot of music, rap in particular, is just about flashy shit, but I live a real life, I want to hear real life things. The first grime artist I heard was Dizzee Rascal. I remember listening to his music religiously.
"My uncle used to rap, and when I got suspended from school when I was 11 my mum sent me to stay with him for two weeks. He said if I was going to stay, I’d have to learn music." – Tre Mission
Obviously alot of 'Malmaison' is pretty heavy, but tracks like Tell Me are much more melodic, right?
Tell Me is an incredibly raw track, but I wouldn’t play it to my mom! She does like it though. She was listening to UK garage and jungle when I was younger, so that has definitely influenced a lot of what you hear from me – I listen to a lot of it now. It’s already in my music, on the production side. I’ve been working on my next album recently and it’ll definitely come up more on that. I just experiment with everything, it’s natural for me. 90% of what I do is still strictly grime but it’s my own sort of grime.
Have you caught many garage DJs in London? It’s enjoying abit of resurgence at the moment.
I haven’t been doing that so much this time round. I’ve just been working, but I’ve been on great nights out here, I’ve been to Fabric, all the big places. They definitely have a better night out here than in Toronto. People in London love it, there’s not such a scene in Toronto. People love bashment over there, and trap is pretty popular.
What other music has come from your family? You started off pretty young after all.
I’ve been producing music since I was 11. My uncle used to rap, and when I got suspended from school when I was that age my mum sent me to stay with him for two weeks. He said if I was going to stay, I’d have to learn music. I was off for two weeks, and look what happened.
Tre Mission released his free album 'Malmaison' in June, and has just signed a three album deal with Big Dada.