Interview Trust: ‘It’s Always Inspiring To Me’

Robert Alfons tells us all about how growing up in the Canadian suburbs effected his art.

It’s a rainy afternoon that we’re spending in an East London coffee shop with Robert Alfons, whose band Trust is a partnership between himself and Maya Postepski – a name whom some eagle eyed readers may recognise from another Canadian electro outing, Austra. Having released their debut on the other side of the world back in February, to widespread acclaim, ‘TRST’ found a place on our own record shelves earlier last month, and with a few dates supporting Yeasayer under his belt, the Canuck’s assault on our eardrums is gathering momentum.

And so it should, although the obvious comparisons to Crystal Castles need to be got out the way first - boy girl electro band from Toronto, eh - it’s bound to get mentioned. But whereas no one who’s ever seen the Castles live could accuse Alice Glass of being shy or retiring, despite their synth-based similarities it takes only a few listens to ‘TRST’ to spot the fundamental differences; for whilst it’s an album of 80s influenced electro-pop, there’s a real delicateness about this music. And after a few minutes chatting to the softly spoken Robert, it seems apparent that introspection comes naturally to him.



“I’m from Winnipeg originally, I only moved to Toronto about five years ago.” He tells me, “Growing up, I was very introverted, I didn’t have a really big social life, I didn’t go to shows, I didn’t go to clubs. I grew up in an inner city suburb, if you will, it’s in the middle of the city but it’s known for it’s elm trees, these huge elm trees. It’s like a very lush neighbourhood to grow up in, and I just used to listen to music and walk around.”

Now, were you looking for a reason, beyond the financial, as to how Canada produces such a huge volume of musical treats, then it’s been said that you need to look no further than what is outside their windows. Entire studies have been carried out that all point in the same direction; being so surrounded by nature and vast expanses of land, well, that in itself is inspirational. I ask Robert whether he thinks this holds true of his own music, and he readily agrees. “Definitely, definitely. In Winnipeg, because you can see the Prairies from there, and you can see the sky everywhere; I mean, it’s no bigger there, but it seems huge because there’s nothing in the way. I think it has left me in tune to nature, and it’s always inspiring to me, that’s the lasting effect it’s had.”

Having packed up and moved to Toronto, Alfons is keen to expand on the influence that living in such a creative hotbed has had on him, too. “There’s definitely a nice handful of really excellent Toronto bands, or at least in my opinion. There’s a lot of really interesting people doing creative things there, whether or not it’s on the same realm, I don’t know, it changes. A lot of people have many projects that they do, and only one of them works.”

“But Canada seems to have a nurturing ideal in place for musicians,” Robert continues, “I mean, I’ve worked day jobs of course, up until earlier this year, and that’s just the necessary steps you have to take. But there’s definitely support built in, with grants and whatnot, if you’re a musician, and it’s not really available to other forms of art; like, if you’re a fashion designer or something.”

With the release of ‘TRST’ on these shores and momentum building steadily, it seems as though Robert should get used to spending a little less time at home now, though. He concurs that this is the case, but seems pretty pleased about it. “This year has been full of touring. We came here in May for a few shows, but mostly we’ve been touring North America; the last show we played in New York was insane, people were crazy. But we’re going to come back here next year. It’s been a good year, it’s been really exciting.”

Trust’s debut album ‘TRST’ is out now via Arts And Crafts.

Tags: Trust, Features

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