Once upon a time, back when humans were still allowed to roam about the planet freely, crossing borders, meeting in person and even going so far as to shake hands, the good people at Nervous Records decided to indulge in an intriguing project. Flying three different acts from different parts of the world into one NYC studio, the label decided to find out what happened when they put music producers already bursting with creativity in one physical location together, with all the studio bells, whistles, flanges and knobs they could wish for. The resulting body of work, the Brooklyn Sessions EP series, is a sonic love letter to one of the world’s most vibrant cities. EP1’s four tracks, from Germany’s Ben Delay, Portugal’s Moullinex and the UK’s Trutopia, have the heart, soul and vibe of NYC house evident in every bar, every chord, every topline and every baseline. DMC Magazine caught up with duo Trutopia, now back in London and on lock down, to learn more about the project, the experience and how they’re handling a world where these kinds of connections are no longer taken for granted…

Hi guys, welcome to DMC World! Tell us where in the world you are right now and what you’re doing?

Hey, right now we’re in London which is currently in full swing of the ‘lock down’ implemented by the Government to keep everyone as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How are you coping with the current situation? Has your diary suffered much?

We think we’re dealing with the situation with a positive outlook, we understand that it’s in everyone’s best interests to stay at home & luckily for us, we live together and we have our studio to keep us busy creating. Our diary has unfortunately suffered, we’d planned to head out to Asia and Australia this year as well as Ibiza, but now this can no longer be possible, however we are still staying active on the decks streaming live on Facebook and Instagram as frequently as possible just to break up the time and have some fun!

What are your top tips for staying sane on lock down?

Keep yourself busy! We’ve been saying for the last few years “we really need to sort our folders out on record box” which we never do, now is the time to do those things so we can come out of this crazy time feeling brand new.

What’s the perfect mix to listen to if you want to lift our spirits?

Ohhh so many, but our go to is Luke Solomon’s monthly ‘Business As Usual’ show, it’s the one!

What’s the perfect album to listen to if you want to lift our spirits?

Louie Vega’s NYC Disco on Nervous Records will deffo get you lifted! We actually caught the launch of this at Phonica Records in 2018 when Louie & Nervous Records came to town, the place was a roadblock with such good energy.

You’ve been producing as a duo for the past six years. Were you making music before separately? How did you journey into sound and what bought you together as Trutopia?

So we are actually brothers and have been making music together since our mum bought us our first drum kit at the age of 3 and 6 (which she later threw out of our bedroom window haha!). However it didn’t stop there, it seemed like every birthday since there was a new instrument brought into the house until we finally stuck to producing dance music in our late teens. There was something about the soulfulness of classic house from labels like Nervous & Strictly Rhythm that we found our sweet spot in & we continue to be inspired by everyone contributing to the scene.

What do you each bring to the Trutopia equation that the other doesn’t?

Kris has a wicked ear from drum programming, making original baselines, sounds and riffs, where Ash usually programs the vocal hooks and chops, direction as to where records should develop too as well as chord patterns and structures. Bringing this together, we both have a big passion for doing us and not really following trends or what’s relevant. We think that building our body of work is so important so when we look back in 10 years, we could still say ahhh we could play that out tonight!

How do you work together in the studio? What’s your creative process when building a track?

Before a session, we’ve usually got something we bring to the studio, whether it’s a new vocal or baseline. When we get in the studio seat and have the idea in front of both of us, we always ask ourselves, where do we see this idea going and what sounds are going to be right to complement the direction. Once that is established it’s all trial and error until the feeling we all wait for jumps out of the speaker.

That brings us nicely to the new EP ‘Brooklyn Sessions’ which is out April 24th. How did your relationship with the Nervous team come about?

Nervous Records have played a huge part in nurturing us from the early stages of our career up until present. We first met with Mikey Nervous & Andrew Salsano in London after signing our first track ‘Soul Heaven’ to them in 2018. After meeting them we instantly clicked and 2 years with six releases from us on Nervous later, we speak weekly if not daily which bought forward the conversations leading to the ‘Brooklyn Sessions’.

The premise behind the EP series is about artists getting together in person rather than making tracks digitally by file sharing. Did you find there was a significant difference in the music making process with the other producers?

This was such a unique experience, building relationships with all of the producers, singers, musicians, studio technicians and even the interns at the studio. The influence you get from real life interaction is impossible to duplicate working remotely, you simply cannot get the magic any other way.

The other artists you worked with, Ben Delay and Moullinex – had you worked with either of them previously?

We have been big fans of both Ben Delay and Moullinex over the years but have never got to work with them before the sessions. We were really intrigued as to how all our sounds and musical knowledge would come together.

How much input/control did you have over which other artists were on the project or was that all the choice of Nervous?

Nervous gave us free range to do whatever we wanted to do at these sessions and it was an easy choice to get stuck in with the artists, giving and receiving feedback on records as well as firing up the hardware to build our collaborations.

How much did the location you were in influence the music you made?

How Nervous put this together was incredible, 3 acts from all around the world living and working together in the heart of Brooklyn, in a state of the art ‘Key & Needle’ studio, with the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline from the studio window & taking us to check out Danny Krivits’ sold out 718 Sessions just to put the cherry on top. The inspiration oozed from us & into the sessions.

How has the music been received?

Brooklyn Sessions has yet to drop, however we have some wicked industry love from DJs across the board.