After shifting into the dubstep area for an extended period, Christchurch electronic duo Truth have made a return to their dnb roots with new single Pass Me By, the opening track of their 2020 EP ‘Without You’. Members Tristan Roake and Andre Fernandez spoke to Sam Smith about how they wrote and recorded the song.
Based across different time zones, with Tristan Roake living in their mutual hometown of Christchurch while Andre Fernandez is much further north in Washington state, the duo can’t remember the last time they were in a studio together, but realise this is the new way of working.
“We have developed methods of working back and forth through Dropbox and all that, bouncing out project files,” says Fernandez. “It is still a pain to be honest, like I will be hitting Tristan up a lot saying, ‘Hey have you heard this tune?’”
With Pass Me By the Truth duo were fortunate that guest vocalist and regular collaborator Lelijveld [Phoebe Leyten] lives in Christchurch, so avoiding any further complications to recording the track. Roake explains how they discovered the singer who puts in a dreamy trip-hop like vocal performance on the song.
“We found her when we put a message up on our Facebook saying we were looking for a vocalist. And of course, we received a thousand responses, and the demo that she sent in was like, ‘Hey, I live in Christchurch, I don’t have a demo, but here is a recording of me playing live.’ And it was her playing keys and singing and we were like, ‘This is amazing, it is not even a studio take it is just a live recording and it’s perfect.’ So we hit her up.”
Lelijved wrote the lyrics for Pass Me By, while Fernandez and Roake handled production duties, a process that by this point and despite their separation, is fine-tuned as Roake says.
“With this one, Andre started the beat initially and then Phoebe was with me. He sent the track over, it was like a little loop and she just came up with the vocals. As we listened she was writing notes.”
Pass Me By represents a return to their drum and bass origins, the music style they cut their Truth teeth on before dubstep caught their attention, as Fernandez explains.
“Dubstep just didn’t exist when we were making drum and bass. Drum and bass is what we loved and that is what we did for many years, and it wasn’t until we heard that dubstep sound that we really got into that. Making this track was like going back to our roots and it came naturally, we wanted to make a drum and bass EP so it just felt right, and it didn’t feel like we were trying something new or having a go at some other genre.”
“I mean the Truth sound, we don’t really define what it is, we just make music,” says Roake. “But the drum and bass tracks we made definitely have elements of dubstep in them. Some of the tracks are more dark, moody, almost scary sounding, some of them are more melodic. It’s all within the Truth canon.”
The song comes accompanied by a James Anderson and Johnny Agnew-directed music video, something that excited Fernandez in particular.
“We just love their work and when we got the video grant from NZ On Air they were the first guys we hit up. They were super keen to work with us as well. They had this story in mind and they went away and worked on it. They basically pitched the idea to us and we right away just loved it, and it went from there really.
“For me personally, it is very rewarding seeing a music video with my music in it. I think our music does get often described as quite cinematic sounding, and we do always try to create this suspended reality feeling in our music. That is where we are trying to head in the future with our music, you know doing more film and video games and stuff. We love the whole music video process.”
The EP ‘Without You’ is out now, while a new Truth project is on the way set for a July release.
Made with the support of NZ On Air