MY mind has been on the hunt…
for an artist who has the qualities and fabrics of Thayler Rhys. I have been chatting with the Toronto-based artist about his debut single, 10K Post Up, and how a rat-infested flat proved to be conducive, somehow, to songwriting – and what it was like living in such conditions.
The talented newcomer talks about his process and how his influences impact his own sound; whether we will see him in the U.K. at all; if there is time for him to relax away from music; how important Toronto and its people are – ending the interview with some great song choices.
Hi, Thayler Rhys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, Sam. It’s been exciting and stressful, but well worth it. My first single is out!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a twenty-four-year-old artist from Montreal, Quebec – now, a four-year native of Toronto.
10K Post Up is your new single. Is there a story behind the song? How did it come together?
I made the song with the producer, friend and old (rat-infested) crib mate of mine, Quin. It’s one of many songs we have cooked up together. Some took hours; some aren’t even close to being done and it’s been months - and a few were did in less than fifteen minutes.
10K Post Up was one of those few.
It was a rainy day; I came over to work on some heat, did that. Quin played this beat near the end. I was like: “JHEEZ”. I got up and he looped it for a few minutes until I started to put together some melodies and words. I left not long after and, when he sent it back to me, we were like: “Hey; damn, this last thing we did is pretty sick, man”.
Things started to come together in 2016 – when you were living in a rat-infested flat with a friend! How did that environment and condition lead to songwriting impetus?!
Rats, mould; non-functioning electro. The best yet was when the kitchen ceiling flooded…and not drops, like…I’m talking shower-game-level. We lived in a house with all the familiar symptoms of a trap house.
Consequently, we had to make some dope beats.
It seems music has been a constant – but you have tried a number of jobs and lifestyles. Did you always know, when going through these phases, music was what you were meant to be doing?!
No, I didn’t: I still don’t. But, f*ck it, I love it - so let’s do it, ya know.
Was there a moment when a lightbulb came on and you focused?
When I saw Wiz Khalifa’s Name on a Cloud video in my senior year of high-school, I knew I needed to mob with my homies and make music I would, hopefully, release some day…
Is Toronto a great city to make music and perform? What are the people like there?
Toronto is great! People are confident, hub-committed; open to all kinds of music and proud about Toronto! I really have enjoyed it here. I have been progressively meeting a lot of up-and-coming talent and everyone is really supportive of whatever your vision may be - as long as you’re passionate about it.
Can we see any more material from you later in the year? Will there be an E.P. or album down the line?
Yep; all of those…and more!
Which musicians did you grow up on? Can you each remember the first album you ever bought?
Pink polo-backpack Kanye (West) had me shook, so I think that was my first album purchase on that lucrative pocket money and chores-for-change-income back in the day! My big brother got me on the 1990s classics: Pack (Tupac), Biggie (Smalls) etc. My sister was on soulful stuff: TLC and more.
I’m pretty sure Quin would say Radiohead and more Radiohead - and Frank Ocean, since his first project.
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
Gigs are being planned for the summer! All are Toronto-orientated for now.
Do you think you’ll come to the U.K. this year? Have you played over this way?
Hell, yeah! When the expansion allows it.
Not sure if that will be this year but my mom was born in London, so one has to represent and come to show love! (Smiles).
You are quite ‘new’ to social media, it seems – Facebook and Twitter accounts are fairly recent. Was there a reason for being away from these sites for a bit?! How important are they, do you think, regards exposure and recruiting fans?
Ya. Just thought I’d hop on the social media thing when we started the wave. Wave be small now, but stay chuned (sic.). Social media also requires a lot of effort, engagement-wise, so I’ve heard, when you’re starting out. So; I figured, when I’m ready, I’d get to it…
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
A very clear sense of direction of where the wave is heading and a happy fan-base to ride the wave with (Q and I and the close group of amazingly supportive and talented artist were working with) (Smiles).
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Yeah. When I first sang at my high-school talent show and had ladies, who didn’t know I existed beforehand, come see what’s really good with me right after I performed...
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I mean; I’m a really new artist, so for all the hella newer artists: patience, bare patience; then much more patience…and even more; a good work ethic (while working in a state of patience).
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I’m still a student for a little longer - and I work as well. When Quin sends me something we’ve done and I can listen to it – and think up more ideas – well…that’s my unwinding!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Never by Dear Pressure
…or Roaches (Punken) by Maxo Kream
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