Truth x Lies take listeners to the ‘Other Side’ [Q&A]
Necessity is the mother of all invention, some say, and it’s likely that New York-based, two-piece electronic outfit, Truth x Lies, would agree. After being crowned the victors of Insomniac‘s Discovery Project in 2017, Truth x Lies continued to ever increasingly turn their attentions to producing house music, specifically, deep house.
Yet, as they collaboratively worked to harness this sound, an aesthetic tide was turning for Truth x Lies, one that would push them further from their deep house wheelhouse and closer towards tech house. The product of artistic reflection, ambition to pursue their magnetic attraction to tech house, and synergistic collaboration with a sonic comrade by the name of Austin Hennessey, Truth x Lies’ new EP, Other Side, sees the production pair sharply apply their talents to a different style of underground electronic.
Other Side, out now via IN/ROTATION, is an entrancing, two-cut EP led by the previously released single, “Burn It Down.” Other Side builds on “Burn It Down’s” dark, driving beats with a tantalizing introductory track that shares the name of the EP and, centered around an eerily inviting spoken vocal, effortlessly pulls streamers into the endeavor with its mysterious allure. Ensnared by Truth x Lies’ technical shift and the kinetic sound that has ensued, Dancing Astronaut discussed the duo’s deviation from deep house and the making of Other Side in a recent interview with Truth x Lies.
Your new EP, Other Side, is out now. Can you tell listeners a little bit about the creative/production process for this project and why it’s significant in the context of your catalog?
Thanks for having us! We’ve been fans of Dancing Astronaut for years now. This EP was written around November/December of last year with our friend Austin Hennessey. If I remember correctly, we met at a show in March 2019 when we opened for Mercer at Schimanski [in New York] and he sent us a couple of ideas for tracks. We took his ideas and expanded on them, made some changes, and found some vocals that fit. We met up in person one time to finalize it and that was that. Honestly, it was one of the easiest collaborations we’ve ever done.
You’ve taken on more of a tech house sound, which has expanded your sonic purview beyond deep house. What motivated this shift in direction?
I think it’s fair to say that we were both not happy with the music we were making. Producing deep house is awesome. It’s a genre that really connects to your soul, but at the same time we were feeling very constrained musically. We were writing songs to get them signed to specific labels rather than writing music that felt authentic to us.
At a certain point, we realized that we were playing tons of tech house at our shows. In early 2019, we stopped releasing music and playing shows entirely to do some soul searching and make some changes to [our] sound. This enabled us to really reconnect with the music that we both loved and enjoyed. It was a pretty natural process.
In October of 2019, we released our first tech house tune on OKNF Records (where Austin is an A&R), and it really helped us to get off the ground. The most difficult thing at that point was essentially having to rebrand ourselves within a different sphere of the dance world and attract new fans while keeping our previous ones. We’ve since had releases on some awesome labels like Medium Rare, Holy Mole, Sans Merci, and Thrive. We’ve [also] gotten some huge help from artists like Codes and Tony Romera, who believed in our music and really worked hard to [help] our releases with them pop off.
It’s fair to say that the house genre is saturated, what with many producers working chiefly within house, and others having high-profile house side projects. What’s your strategy to standing out in this market?
It’s a challenge since it’s pretty much impossible to stand out in the house world unless you find your own lane. Being stuck in the house for the last few months has allowed us to really focus on our vision and stop worrying about trying to book a show every weekend or make sure we’re keeping up with appearances at events. In many ways, COVID-19 has leveled the playing field since none of the big artists can tour. It’s been a time to double down on production and content creation and learn how to reach and interact with new fans.
We’re both pretty private people, especially when it comes to social media, so it has definitely been a learning experience for us. Ultimately, we’ve learned that you have to work hard, be authentic to yourself and your sound, and not be overly influenced by the sounds of other artists and trends.
You’re notable for winning Insomniac’s Discovery Project in 2017. How has this experience shaped your career in the time since?
It was an awesome experience. When we won the contest, “City Lights” was the track we submitted and it was our first single. We had no idea what it was like to play on a big stage, be flown out to a show, and live the AAA artist life for a weekend. It was an inspiring experience that did and still does push us to get us back to that level. I would say that it was like a peek behind the curtain for us.
Thinking bigger picture, what’s on deck for Truth x Lies for the remainder of 2020?
More music and more streaming! We’ve been finishing so much music in the quarantine and we have been receiving amazing feedback on it. “Infinity” on Sans Merci was a big release for us, so we’re hoping to follow up strong with this IN/ROTATION EP.
We are working on a collaboration with Codes, who we recently released a remix for on Holy Molé Records, and we have another one for Black V Neck and E.R.N.E.S.T.O coming out on Holy Molé in July. We recently did a remix for the House Divided boys which will be coming out this summer. We have a bunch more releases up our sleeve, but we can’t share that information just yet.