Matt Monday & friends reveal R&B side in 'Love Rants'

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City Paper
Award-winning hip-hop artist Matt Monday has been busy this year. He was featured recently in “Flowers,” a new single from Benjamin Starr, and on Mon. Nov. 21 his latest collaboration Love Rants dropped — a three-way effort from Monday, long-time friend and producer Max Berry, and first-time producer Traewhatitdo. We got a chance to hear the EP last weekend during a private listening party at Truphonic Studios, during which all three creators went into detail about the making of the record.

The seven-track EP was inspired by heartbreak. “I had just gotten out of a relationship,” says Berry. The need to get out of a rut and into a new project was the catalyst for calling up Monday. The two made like Bon Iver, who Berry had been listening to nonstop, and headed to the North Carolina mountains to record most of Love Rants over the course of a week. The result combines melodic R&B and hip-hop with palpable loss. In "Lois Lane," for example, the pain is felt through delicate piano chords and during the chorus, “I was waiting for you, but you never came.”

Traewhatitdo’s role came in at “Jovie/Church,” with the producer providing drums and beats around “their crazy-ass melodies” both in real time from afar and at the second recording location, a rented house in Daniel Island.

Other than Bon Iver, Berry and Monday were also thinking of acts like Ron Isley (“Lois Lane”), Juvenile (“Jovie/Church”), and Jodeci (“Lie to Me”) during the creative process, ultimately with the goal of making something akin to what they’d typically listen to outside of the studio. “I told him, ‘We need something different; we need to start making music that we really, really listen to, because that music is really melodic,” Berry says. “And the stuff we were making before, while we liked it, it wasn’t like that. The stuff that we listened to in our cars was completely different from the stuff that we were making."

But there’s another element that makes the record unique. “Being that neither of us can really sing, I had the idea to — I found this box that’s meant for live stage performances ... and it has vocoder-type abilities to it,” Berry explains. “So we tried to make just a weird sound that was melodic but that we liked. And we’d never really tried anything like that before.”

Monday's favorite track "The Night" evolved during a trip to the store while in the mountains. "There were no streetlights, no nothing," Monday remembers. "We were in this town and it's all white people, and I was literally the only black person in this town. So I made this theme song for us to get to the grocery store and get back.'"

Love Rants is streaming now on Soundcloud, and you can listen to it here.

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