The confidence man
The quietly self-assured Trus'me spins his deep-house collages in NYC.
Wed Jun 4 2008
“The very first time I heard his music, I was totally into it,” recalls Justin Carter, one of the residents at the Yard’s Sunday Best! bash. “I started playing every single one of his tracks, as much as I could. His music is a hybrid of so many things; it’s got a boogie element, it’s got a disco element, it’s got a soul element, it’s got an element of chunky Detroit house, and he blends them together in a way that isn’t at all obvious. It’s incredibly subtle, yet really grabbing stuff.” Carter isn’t talking about some wizened Motor City cat like Moodymann—instead, he’s referring to a 27-year-old production neophyte from Manchester, England, named David Wolstencroft.
Working under the name Trus’me, Wolstencroft, who’s spinning at Sunday Best! this weekend (with a warm-up gig at APT on Friday 6) has become a hero to those who worship the sort of deep, soulful and meaningful music of veteran artists like Moodymann and Theo Parrish, two producers with whom he’s been compared. And Trus’me has done so on the strength of a mere handful of releases, culminating with the stunning Working Nights LP earlier this year on the Fat City label. Not bad for someone whose debut single, “Narda,” was released only a year ago, and who describes himself as “a white guy who listens to a lot of indie.”
Trus’me’s M.O. is to weave a tangle of samples from soul, disco, soundtracks and world records; anchor them to live drum, bass and keys; and manipulate those sounds into a near-psychedelic swirl. Working Nights’ second track, “Drilling,” serves as a good introduction to his template: Starting with African chants and Latin percussion layered over a midtempo beat, it then introduces elements like a synth-bass reminiscent of Imagination’s “Just an Illusion,” jazzy Rhodes piano keys, rhythm-and-blues vocal snippets, organ blasts and something that sounds like out-of-tune slack-key guitar, all fading in and out of the mix. It sounds messy on paper, but in reality it’s funky, hypnotic and supremely confident.
“This has literally just all happened,” Wolstencroft says with bemusement regarding the acclaim with which his music has been received. “I mean, I’m quite confident, but I certainly didn’t expect people to throw around words like ‘Theo Parrish–esque’ when my tracks started coming out. The whole music-production thing is really new to me. I touched on it at my university and liked it, so after I was done with uni I took a course here in Manchester. I was more interested in learning about the analog side of production than the usual computerized, digital thing, and I think the fact that it’s analog is why people sometimes compare my stuff to older music like Detroit, or even Manchester stuff like Factory Records used to put out.”
That might go a small way in explaining the music’s timelessness—these tracks could as easily be from the late ’80s as from last year—but it doesn’t really speak to the talent that Wolstencroft brings to the studio. He’s definitely got an ear for samples, which on Working Nights range from the familiar (ghostly remnants of “Car Wash” and “Bad Luck” pop up) to utterly alien snippets that only a single-minded music archivist could know about. The modest producer hastens to say that he couldn’t have done it without a little help from his friends. “I know a lot of people around here in Manchester who know about so many kinds of music and are helpful in turning me on to things,” he explains. “Even when I go into the record shops, the guys that work there just hand me a pile of records, knowing that I’m just looking for the best of the best. I don’t even have to listen before I get them—they don’t bullshit, they just give me the music I like, and then tell me about stuff they don’t carry that I should be looking for. After a while, you can’t help but to generate a good ear for music. At least, that’s what I’m hoping!”
Trus’me spins at APT Fri 6 and Sunday Best! Sun 8.