“I grew up in hip hop culture and I express my music well in rap music but that’s not the only type of sound that I’m into.”
Surprisingly once a non-listener of music, 24-year-old hip hop producer Lunice Fermin Pierre II, now creates it. In the short space of time the Montreal native has been making his keys-heavy, techno infused rap beats, he has managed to catch the attention of an audience as wide ranging as the genre of music he makes. Though he’s a self-proclaimed “hip hop producer”, his sound and reach isn’t limited to just hip hop, saying “I grew up in hip hop culture and I express my music well in rap music but that’s not the only type of sound that I’m into”. Playing as one half of TNGHT alongside equally talented producer Hudson Mohawke, the duo created one of the best-rated electronic albums of 2012. Aside from music, his adorable cameo dancing in the music video for Azealia Bank’s smash hit ‘212’ and the fact that he can build a computer from scratch is a reflection of his multi-talent and versatility. i-D chats with Lunice about his hometown, fishing and Lil’ Mouse…
Tell me what you do… I like to be very general. I like to say that I’m just a creative, just creating stuff in general because we live in a day and age where everybody multitasks really. Every person knows how to use a computer. And second, I’m able to express my ideas more in music because before that I was a b-boy, I did graffiti, scratching, drawing, all that stuff.
What did you listen to growing up? I didn’t really listen to much music funnily enough. I didn’t understand the importance of it. My older sister would bang out music all day. She’d play Wu-Tang all day, on repeat. In high school, break dance is really what got me into music. By then, I was listening to stuff like Busta Rhymes’ ‘Genesis’, bridging onto Red Man and that whole clique because of my sister. But I was the type of dude in high school to listen to stuff like Dilated Peoples, underground rap stuff that no one else listened to.
You were born and raised in Montreal, what’s it like? What I like about Montreal is it’s the type of city where you can be the fast-paced type of person or the slow-paced type of person. It’s not the type of town where you have no choice but to keep going and keep going. You can just chill for a sec and then go, go, go. Culturally and musically, we don’t have a specific sound. I feel like our sound is from the Internet. We influence ourselves from all types of sounds and that creates new talent and new sounds and brings people together. I’ve traveled enough to come back home and think ‘this is why I love Montreal!’
Where is your favourite city in the world? Definitely Tokyo and Osaka. I played there for the first time in December and that blew my mind. I knew it was gonna be crazy because everyone tells me it’s crazy. I get there and it’s even more crazy then I thought!
Who inspires your music? It bounces around. Like when I started, I would just think about who I’m really into and I was listening to a lot of 9th Wonder and J-Dilla, stuff like that. Only later did I start to realize that in the commercial world, there’s really dope and talented producers that I started following like Ryan Leslie, Timbaland, Mannie Fresh. Now the people who inspire my music are different. Now it’s more like, there’s no specific person, it could literally be anyone. People would send me emails and I’d hear a track and think ‘wow this shit is crazy’.
Who’s your favourite producer? In rap music, Mike WiLL. He is crazy. And Machinedrum to me is legendary. That guy just comes up with tracks and tracks of pure madness. He’s a living legend. Lil’ B is killing it too. Also Cashmere Cat has the craziest ideas. French Fries in Paris- anything he produces is just crazy. He’s not exactly a producer but 1Man from London, the choices he has are just out there, he’s his own thing even though he’s a DJ. There are a lot of folks.
How did you link up with Hudson Mohawke? We first met face to face when we booked him to play our party in Montreal called Turbo Crunk. I was doing parties before and we booked pretty much the whole Lucky Me crew to come out because we were all really big fans. Later, I was in the studio with him and he was working on something else and I was just chilling and then all of a sudden he was like, you wanna work on some shit since you’re here? We did three tracks for TNGHT that same day.
What’s it like working with him? It’s really easy, no stress. Almost no thought process which is good because it’s so natural. If hard work comes easy that’s a good thing.
Anyone else you’d like to collaborate with in the future? Right now I’m working on some stuff with Mykki Blanco. I’m working on stuff with Rocky Fresh and also Casey Veggies. There’s this dude from Memphis called June. He’s dope, he’s got a dope flow. I really wanna connect with that guy. Basically just dudes around my age and generation. Eventually I wanna reach out to ASAP Ferg and those guys and just exchange ideas.
How did your cameo in the 212 video come about? Azealia was chilling in Montreal for a minute and I was there. She stayed for a few months and one day she was filming that and she just hit me up and was like ‘hey, wanna show up for the video?’, and I did and that was pretty much what it was. It was shot in Montreal on the hottest day of the summer. Machinedrum introduced me to her back in New York and when she was up in Montreal people that knew her were myself and Jacques Green who’s in the video too.
What do you do for fun? I play a lot of fucking games, like video games. I recently built a PC, small enough to put right under the TV so I can have a home theatre PC.
You built a computer? Yeah, you just buy all the parts and put it together. That’s my hobby, I like to build computers. Nobody really knows that. I also like to go fishing but it’s been a minute. I used to go hard, I had all the tools and shit and used to wake up at 6 in the morning. I also like to cook. I’m pretty decent actually.
What are the top 5 most listened to tracks on your iTunes? I don’t have much music on my phone right now but let’s see…
2 Chainz – I’m Different
E-40 & Too Short feat. Tyga – Slide Thru
Lil’ Mouse – Get Smoked
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Song
Frank Glazer – Trois Gymnopedies
Any young new artists that we should keep an eye out for? There are lots of dude from Montreal right now actually. There’s Kaytranada, Tommy Cruz, High Klassified.
What can we expect from you in the near future? I’m working on my own album, the first one on Lucky Me. Other than that I’m just working around with some different rappers and vocalists trying to get something going and we’ll be working on some new TNGHT stuff soon. We have some TNGHT stuff that people haven’t heard but we’re gonna keep working on some more. I’m working with Mykki and the other rappers I mentioned and I also have something coming up with Vans.
Text: Hazel Ong
Photography: Seth Fluker