Thomas White is a Montreal based electronic music producer and co-founder of RAW Records. The soft spoken and laid back artist describes his sound as "Future Emotional" music with slap hitting bass and rhythmic melodies. Thomas has paid his dues in Montreal's music scene playing countless times at a sold out Belmont and other venues. The producer is currently focusing on creating new music and remixes instead of playing live performances. He recently released his "Killah" EP on Hyperboloid Records. My conversation with Thomas White took place in a breather at the Drummond location and was shot by Josni B. Enjoy the talk!
DT: What's the story behind your stage name Thomas White?
TW: Well my full name is Arthur Thomas Éloi Leblanc Ringuette [laughs]. So yeah, I just took Thomas Leblanc and translated it in English. Simple as that.
DT: You changed the way you spell it though? I believe you had a cross through the "O" like the Scandinavians write it.
TW: Oh yeah you're right, but I had to change it because it was impossible for people to find me online because of it. It was pretty bad. Also, there's another Thomas White out there who does Folk music, so I did the scandinavian "O" to differentiate myself. But after a while, I said screw that guy and went with the classic spelling.
DT: What's the biggest night you had playing in Montreal?
TW: As Thomas White, I'd have to say Le Belmont, played some cool shows there.
DT: You used to be a dubstep producer. Do you still listen to it?
TW: Not really, I can't bear the "bro" side of it anymore. I mean, there's still some good tunes but I stay away from it.
DT: It's crazy how quickly music trends are rising and dying these days.
TW: Yeah for sure, I went to Bass Drive (Le Belmont) the other day which is a night dedicated to bass music like dubstep and it's still packed all the time. There's definitely still a market for it [laughs].
DT: Your new stuff is a lot more versatile and can feature a lot of different sounds in a single track.
TW: Yeah for sure, it comes with practice, time in the studio and always trying to mix things up and experiment. That's why I really like the versatility of Sinjin Hawke. He isn't doing the same thing over and over again. Same goes to Mr.Carmack and Cashmere Cat.
Cashmere Cat, Trends and "Bravo"
DT: With the amount of love you give to Cashmere Cat, it's fair to assume you would love to work with him?
TW: Yeah for sure! He's a beast. He just produced for Ludacris, he blew up. Cashmere is definitely one of my faves, his productions are always so clean and fresh as hell.
DT: What's the next trend in electronic music?
TW: Big funky tracks à la Kaytranada. UK Grime is starting to pop up again too. Jersey Club is coming up as well.
DT: My favorite track of yours is your remix of Jacqueline Teib's "Bravo". How did that come about?
TW: A guy I know told me to listen to her track and thought it would make a dope hip hop track. I asked him to give it to me and ended up remixing the track the same night.
DT: That track got a really good response.
TW: Yeah, it got alot of plays [laughs]. Jacqueline Teib actually wrote to me which was pretty funny.
DT: What did she say?
TW: "Thanks for the buzz, keep up the good work!" stuff like that.
DT: You recently came back from your first eurotrip and "eurotour". How was it?
TW: It was crazy man. I played in Switzerland and the Ukraine. It was more of a mini tour [laughs]. I played two shows in Switzerland and one in Kiev. I was the only tourist in the plane to Ukraine which was funny.
DT: Can you compare the shows in Switzerland with the shows in Montreal?
TW: They were smaller but the vibe was so dope. It was great man, really enjoyed the atmosphere.
DT: People don't necessarily know it but there's a big underground world in Switzerland that doesn't really fit the Swiss stereotypes.
TW: Yeah man definitely, I was there in the less posh places and I can attest to that. But their "ghetto" spots are still super clean and beautiful so it's not that bad. With all the beautiful cobblestone streets and old statues, you can still feel the wealth.
DT: How about Kiev?
TW: Kiev is just a big city. Bigger than here (Montreal) but you still have the same feeling as you have in Montreal. I was lucky to go there before shit hit the fan though, I've got mad love for my ukrainian family going through a rough time right now.
DT: How about the shows and crowd?
TW: Not as much people but god damn the women are beautiful. It's ridiculous.
DT: Got a question about DJing etiquette. There seems to be two school of thoughts among DJs. In one hand, you've got DJs saying they have to be absolutely sober to mix. On the other hand, you've got DJs who go up there and have no problem getting drunk and mixing at the same time.
TW: [laughs] Yeah, that's pretty much option number two for me. I always drink when I play but I try not to over do it before my set. Europe was awesome though, they really know how to party and have a good time. Especially in Switzerland, there were beds in the club so you can imagine our state of mind throughout the night.
DT: What do you mean with "beds in the club"?
TW: You had a fucking dormitory backstage! So you do your thing until three or four in the morning and you can just pass out backstage afterwards. But they kicked us out at noon so we couldn't stay there the whole day. We ended up going to Mcdonald's where they serve McRaclette [laughs]. The Mickey D's in Switzerland don't play around! It's way classier than over there.
DT: You got a crazy story from the Swiss trip?
TW: We played a lot of "Beerio Party", which is basically a "Mario Party" drinking game [laughs]. But I was pretty calm; I was travelling with all my gear so I couldn't be careless. But yeah, I got to visit a bit and had some studio sessions, nothing too crazy but I loved it! Shout out to Shake it Machine and Mr.Pigman who welcomed me into their home for the two week stay!
DT: How's RAW doing?
TW: It's good, myself and Dear Lola are running the whole thing,
TW: Here's a scoop though; we're organizing a show with ArtBeat at Le Belmont. It's gonna be Da-P headlining, with me, Dear Lola, Paveun, J.u.D., Rami B and Dumix.
DT: Are you playing many shows right now?
TW: Not as much as before, concentrating my efforts on producing right now and getting my remixes done on time.
DT: How do you decide which track you're going to remix?
TW: If I'm doing an official remix, labels and artists just send me or my manager a message asking to do a remix for a particular track. If I'm inspired and have time, I'll do it.
Love for Pho, Media and "Killah" EP
DT: What are your favorite spots in Montreal?
TW: Any place that sells Pho!
DT: Explain your love for Pho because you talk about it with such passion on your social media pages.
TW: It's just incredible man. The broth is what makes it killer. There's this spot in Chinatown called "Pho Bang New York" which is dope. And across the street you've got "Pho XO" which is also amazing, they've got comfy sofas and it's cheaper too! But the best spot is "Pho Pasteur" in Toronto. Everytime I went there, I cried. That's how good it is [laughs].
DT: You ever made your own Pho?
TW: Yeah I did and it was good! I sometimes feel like I should open my own Pho place in my apartment. I would play deep house with the stage name "Arthur Ringuette". I'm sure it would be a viable business [laughs].
DT: What about TV shows, what are you currently watching right now?
TW: Just finished the third season of "The Wire". I also can't get enough of "Adventure Time". I also love "Kill La Kill" for all you anime heads out there.
DT: What's your daily blogroll?
TW: Right now, I don't have a blogroll as much time as I used so I can't really say. But I'm always creeping on Soundcloud to see what the homies are doing.
DT: Your "Killah" EP got some great responses across the internet.
TW: Yeah man, I got some really good support, feedback and co-signs by other artists and websites. But now I've got another EP coming out in February which I'm really excited about.
JB (photographer): Yo sorry, but what about those RAW sweatshirts?
DT: Yeah! I was gonna say, those are dope man.
TW: Yeah, we don't sell those [laughs].
DT: Is it like a members jacket?
TW: Nah not even! We ordered a bunch of them but we ended up giving most of them to other DJs and producers affiliated with RAW. So we ran out, but don't worry we'll get some on sale soon enough.
BBC Radio 1 and Montreal
DT: How did you learn that your tracks got played on BBC Radio 1?
TW: People and friends tell me: "Yo dude! Your track got played on BBC Radio 1!"
DT: Do you care?
TW: Of course! Usually it means I can put a rip on my soundcloud of the broadcast which says "BBC Radio 1 rip" [laughs]. I mean, I always wanted to be played on Radio 1 because it's like a rite of passage for any producer.
DT: What do you think of the current Montreal scene?
TW: We've got a lot of good talent but there are cliques and circles forming which can make it hard for deserving artists to break through. That's why we're planning to work on more shows this year.
[Janitor knocks on door]
DT: Damn, times up already.
TW: That went by quickly.
DT: [Laugh] Yeah, well thanks for doing this.
TW: No problem.