Hype had been building about the long awaited debut of Trem One’s solo album for years – to say it was highly anticipated would be an understatement. Then on the 15th May 2010 when Unkut recordings released a YouTube video “It’s Real Promo trailer” confirming the release of For The Term Of His Natural Life the build-up went into overdrive. Last month, the album finally dropped and has been dubbed as nothing less than a flawless gem. So, when G&T got the opportunity to fire a few questions his way about the release of the most anticipated Aussie hip hop release ever, we jumped at the opportunity.
As a notorious perfectionist, Trem always had a vision of the sound he wanted, ensuring each track was headed in the right direction from the get-go. “I’m not down with making a whole bunch of filler joints and just choosing the absolute best of them, I personally don’t see the point although I know a lot of artists who do it this way, it’s just not my style. The bulk of the tracks on the album came from a clear cut idea once I got a start on them although they weren’t made go to woe. I tend to start and stop, come back to it etc. I don’t think I’ve sat down and finished a track by continually working on it until its completion ever,” Trem stated.
Trem is the complete package, along with his lyrical finesse, he is a renowned producer responsible for chops on two Lyrical Commission releases and Brad Strut’s acclaimed Legend: Official. For FTTOHNL, he took a step back from the boards, producing only three cuts himself and enlisting the skills of the likes of Beat Butcha (UK), Amazing Maze (Germany), Thorotracks (NYC), Must, Wik and Prowla. This wasn’t the original idea for Trem when he first set out, but during the process he could sense it working better and better. “It was probably a harder task though, especially when it came time to mix the album as a whole, with 6 or 7 producers on board it made life a little more difficult to get it all consistent. But it definitely helped make the album the way I envisioned it,” he added.
When it came to working with the producers, initially he had a couple of beats in the bag from Prowls and Butcha, but as time progressed, he became a little more open to potentially having other producers on board. From here, the word was put out to a couple of heads Trem thought could come with the missing parts to his puzzle and before he knew it, beats were raining in from all over the place. He explained, “shit was crazy. The amount of instros I had to choose from was unbelievable and as more producers caught wind that I was looking, the more beats turned up on my door step. As it turned out there were a couple I intended to have on board that didn’t make it and a couple of others I probably wasn’t planning to, but it just fell that way! Once I opened the invites it became a process of searching for the beats that suited my lyrics or ideas 100%.”
In addition to working with guest producers, Trem worked with some of Australia’s finest MC’s in Lazy Grey, Kings Konekted and of course LC partner in crime, Brad Strut. For these collaborations, Trem hand picked each and every one of them and although there were more artists in his early ideas, due to various reasons he refined it back to what you see on the release, stating “I think it’s pretty perfect.”
For FTTOHNL, Trem himself, along with the likes of Prowla, DJ Bonez and DJ Dcide artfully collage vocal snippets in the place of a hook. When asked why he chose this path he answered, “That’s Hip Hop to me, I’m not sure when or why scratch chorus’ or even sampled hook chorus’ became a thing of the past, but to me that’s Hip Hop. I mean you’re always going to have joints suited to rapped or vocal hooks but I seriously can’t believe how little they crop up these days.”
2010 saw the release of the track Omega Man with accompanying film clip as a teaser single and coinciding with the album release, Trem dropped Animal Kingdom, also with a film clip as the second single. When it comes to how those tracks were selected Trem laughs, stating “they’re a long way from the tracks most would choose.” However, in all honesty, no publicist or media personnel would have an easy time choosing a suitable track from his albums to push as a single, so his way of thinking was to deliver tracks that he could put visuals to. Trem went on to say, “Never once did I look at it from a viable radio angle or broader public attraction type way of thinking. Omega Man had to be told & shown first up, it sets the scene for me and my album and was my first real clip. Animal Kingdom was my second choice because it took away from the Hip Hop culture based topic of Omega Man and added another string with a hard hitting topic of the not so postcard friendly side to my city which made for some awesome visuals. It’s actually really hard to pick from a bunch of tracks which to make a clip for so rather than line them up and choose, they more or less came to us.”
Commencing with the album release, Trem dropped a Limited Edition Artist Series of merchandise each linking a leading Australian graffiti writer with a song on the album. The original idea behind this was to show that Hip Hop culture is more than just the music, while giving some additional flavour to the merchandise itself. “To my knowledge it hasn’t been done before and I thought of it a while ago. I think it works well and I’m lucky enough to have the connects to make it happen” he said.
Being one of the most highly anticipated releases in Australian Hip Hop, it comes as no surprise that word of mouth has been building anticipation for years. But, with people jumping on the whole rap things in recent times and the emergence of social media, Trem feels it is probably fair to say that the avenue allowed a little more exposure as the time grew closer to the release actually dropping. In terms of utilising social media, he says, “I was a late comer to it really, but I’d be lying if I said I can’t see its useful side now.”
The album bears the marks of the late 80′s and early 90′s Hip Hop, a factor that has played favourably with the heads. This in mind, proving he was ever the Hip Hop purest, Trem was always bound to have an interesting view on the newly dubbed genre of hipster hop within Australia. He explained, “The bits I’ve heard I can’t get down with at all. I don’t see it as Hip Hop at all. I’ve got a serious gripe with the misrepresenting of our culture and the pop music being released under the false guise of Hip Hop. I’ve got no problem whatsoever with whatever type of music people want to make, for real, but let’s not get it twisted when it comes to promotion time. Pop music and Hip Hop or rap are a real far cry from one another but somehow the lines have blurred recently and music that is in no way Hip Hop related apart from the fact some of the lyrics may rhyme, is being perpetrated as Hip Hop. To say it’s just the evolution of Hip Hop or progression or whatever is utter fucking shit. If it aint Hip Hop, please don’t call it Hip Hop.”
In terms of Hip Hop’s role in society, Trem feels that unfortunately the culture has been stolen, raped and misrepresented stating, “everyone’s had a bite. Taken what they want from it to get a foot in or a leg up with popular culture over the years but never really gave it its due respect. It’s come and gone and it’s nothing new to see elements of the culture jacked and portrayed in various forms of arts and media from visual to music. It’s a shame that only the kids who really dig deep get the opportunity to actually experience it the way its meant to be.”
Trem would like to give thanks for your time and has much respect for the love. “If any of your readers haven’t had a chance yet, please be sure to check the clips, grab a quick listen to the albs and hopefully it’ll re-ignite that lost feeling for everything we all loved about real rap and you’ll cop it! CD out now, Vinyl, tape and more on the way,” he adds.
Trem’s album For The Term of His Natural Life is out now on iTunes