Words by: Nell Alk
Trevor Andrew is a force to be reckoned with. A multitalented late-twenties rhyme master, this former Olympic snowboarder has traded in his goggles and boots for a mic – and a relatively recent record deal as Trouble Andrew (also known simply as Trouble). While he's been bringing his flow to the people for some time now, EMI only snatched up this nasty rapper in November. With the support of a major label and an ever-growing base of fans, it appears nothing can stop this Canadian dude from making waves with his smooth, danceable, addictive and delicious sound. He and his NYC-based team, which includes guitarist Joao Salomao, bassist Masaru Takaku and drummer Ian Longwell, know well what it takes to capture a crowd. In the event that an audience is unfamiliar with their music, it requires little convincing to rally every ear in the room.
It doesn't hurt that the main man in question is Santigold's special friend (they are engaged now after having dated for roughly seven years) and that she supports him wholeheartedly. Were it not for her encouragement, this World Cup-winning medalist may never have taken his talents to the next level. She even tours with her soon-to-be-hubby, which is where and when we had the good fortune of catching up with him on a Tuesday night at Terminal 5 in NYC as the kids trickled in, ready to get their groove on to Santigold's platinum tunes. Meanwhile, Trevor and his instrumental men are opening for middle act Amanda Blank. Looking around, it was evident some attendees were just getting the hang of this catchy, confident foursome, but their deep beats, heavy hooks and amazing stage energy reeled in newcomers and faithful devotees alike. After their short but stellar set they exited and JamBase was ushered backstage to have a few words with the new crunk-rock king.
JamBase: You've been writing lyrics for a long time. How did you get started?
Trevor Andrew: I hurt myself snowboarding. I was doin' recovery and I was staying at Santi's [Santi White, aka Santigold]. She had guitars around and stuff. I just started messing around by myself. It was just to kill time. I ended up having a bunch of songs. I was like, "Oh, I'm not gonna do nothin' with this." Then she snuck the tapes out of the house and gave 'em to producers and it just happened. Those guys hit me up and, all of a sudden, we had a record and started playing shows. It all just came together.
JamBase: When and how did the band come together?
Trevor Andrew: The band formed once the record was done. I wanted a band of people that I'm super cool with, that I could enjoy traveling the world with. I searched around for months and, through friends, met everybody.
| Santigold & Trouble Andrew|
In addition to getting your rhymes into producers' hands, how else has Santi influenced your music career?
She's a great supporter and a great business woman. She just schooled me to the game and once I had all these songs written – it was really a private thing; I did it by myself – she was the one who took it to the next level and was like, "I'm getting these to producers." She did that and really motivated that and just encouraged me. [She said], "Just because you've lived your dream with snowboarding doesn't mean you can't have a new dream."
Great attitude. So, what's it like to not only be a successful snowboarder, but also embark on a hopefully illustrious music career path?
It's fuckin' amazing. A lot of people don't even have one thing that they love and I have all kinds of things that I love. I grew up with my parents always encouraging me to, corny as it sounds, follow my heart and my dreams and not let anyone say that they aren't real. I find myself with beautiful things because I put that energy out there.
Definitely. You've been signed to EMI for about six months now. How has that impacted your development? Obviously it accelerated the pace and contributed dollars, but how else?
First of all, I believe in my team over there. It's not just a bunch of record dudes. I believe in them and they believe in me. It's just nice to have somebody kickin' a bunch of asses to work the project and just get it out there. Right now, we're on a super grimy level, because the new record's not done, so we're just doing as much as possible, going on tour. It's awesome that Santi brought me out and we get to travel together. That's amazing 'cause it's not like work then.
| Trouble Andrew|
If you weren't touring with Santi or working with your homeboys already, with whom would you like to tour or work? Think outside the Trouble Gang!
I like Late of the Pier. Very good band. I would like to do something with B.G.; Lil Flip would be dope, too. We've played with Rick Ross before. I like to do shows where it's mixed up a bit, [where] there's a punk rock act and a hip-hop act. Whoever's got an open mind, I'm down. And they got a fan base that I can come take [laughs].
Sneaky! So, when are you playing in your hometown of Halifax?
Fuck, that's the question, man. I wish soon. It always seems to be the question. When am I gonna play in Halifax? [He looks towards his Trouble Gang] When we're rich, I'll make it happen.
So, how will this forthcoming album differ from the former one?
It'll be a lot different because I've grown a lot as a person and I have a band of people that I roll with that are creative, too. Everyone shares their ideas. I'm into all different kinds of stuff. I've grown as an artist.
| Trouble Andrew by Pearse Daly|
When is it due to drop?
I would guess sometime around October or November. Maybe in January.
How far along are you with this disc?
We have six songs done right now. I want it to be 17 songs, so we have a way to go. All of the material's written but it's a matter of scheduling recording time. I've been on the road and people are busy.
Any reason for 17 tracks specifically?
Because I have 50 or 60 [songs] and I feel like that's the only way I'll be able to put it out and be happy. Some of the stuff I've been sittin' with for years now because I've been writing this record for years. I just wanna get it out. Maybe it'll end up being 12 and we'll just give the rest away for free or something.
When might you at least leak something?
Maybe in the next couple months. We'll definitely start leaking. I've already been leaking mix tape songs, but I'll start leakin' a couple things.
Any guest appearances on the upcoming record?
Yeah, I'll definitely have my dude Jofo on the record. He's on the song "Dream On" with me. And Stunnaman [appears]. Santi maybe. I'd like to get Spank Rock on a song.
How about Hollywood Holt?
We already did a remix with him and he's gonna do some shit. That's my homey, too. Fuck, whoever's down, I don't care.
All right, I wanna be on it.
After this upcoming record, then what? Another album? Just start all over again?
Just keep makin' music. I already have, like, four records written, it seems like. Just keep gettin' in the workflow. That's what it is, just getting in the cycle of gettin' stuff done. That's the hardest thing and that's the dopest thing about having a label; having extra people to coordinate these things and get the right people involved so we can make it happen and faster.
| Trouble Andrew|
And why Trouble? Why the name Trouble? [The Trouble Gang goads in the background, "Tell her the reason!"]
I'd do concerts in Japan and they'd have a hard time announcing my name when I'd be comin' in. It'd sound like 'Trouble' or 'Terrible' or whatever. Being who I am and the crew that I roll with, it just stuck.
Better than Terrible! How have audiences across the globe responded differently to your music? Are there varying reaction, besides mispronouncing your name?
Everybody stands there and stares at me. I'm new. You know what I mean? I don't expect anybody to be singin' and dancin' 'cause when I go to a show and I've never heard them before I just stand there and stare at them, too. I love a lot of bands that I've seen and I stand there and stare at them. It's just how it goes when people don't know who you are. But, that's what I'm doin'. I'm just out there getting people to know who we are.
So, I've always wondered, who's the guy behind the mask onstage with you at every show?
It's skull dude. It's my homey from Scotia, Deuce. I grew up with Deuce. I've been on the road with him since I was 12 years old. He's also a snowboarder, so we've been rollin' hard forever.
Tell me something crazy that's happened during the tour so far.
Oh God. Two nights ago some crazy shit went down. Somebody got beat up. Cops came, stuck guns in Masa and Joao's faces. I dipped out of the room in time. It was a fuckin' junk show. There's always somethin' stupid going on. Not me though. I had nothing to do with it.
Trouble Andrew tour dates available here.
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