Introduce yourself, clans, posses, crews and clicks.
My name is Tony Trimm. I am a film director for Joone Studios and partner in Golden Floyd Records. Don’t really roll with any crews or posses. I have a few side projects. I produce quite a bit for Serengeti and I do raps and stuff.
Tell me about the new label, Golden Floyd Records.
Golden Floyd is a DIY label started by Serengeti and I. It was sort of an impulse thing, like taking a fresh idea and trying to get it to the public as quick as possible. We figured if we cut down on stuff like publicity and promotions and just make good art then people would eventually catch on. Yeah, it’s pretty whimsy.
Haiku was the first name I came up with when i started rapping. It’s sort of overstated. I mean come on, an asian guy named Haiku? Blah! Then Serengeti started calling me Kim all the time because my last name is Kim and that eventually turned into Trimm and then Tony Trimm. It sounded good, I like the phonetics of it, so it was basically a gradual process. Growing up I guess, plus Tony Trimm sounds less serious. This new album I’ve been working on called Trimm City will be out early next year. It’s lighthearted; it was a perfect transition.
I’m assuming you’re handling all the production on Trimm City, which do you enjoy more rapping or producing?
Actually… my roommate Ami Dukes is handling production. I’m weird about rapping on my own beats. It’s like a cow eating a steak. Even on the Conversations With Kenny I had my guy Alo produce the three main songs I rap on, then I did one. I’ll eventually do a whole album myself, although I don’t really see it being a rap album. I’ll probably vocode and do some singing and things of that nature. Who knows though? Truthfully, I never thought I’d be producing back then. Producing is intimidating; it’s new to everyone who does it. There’s too much to learn, so much new technology out there. Sure people get a swing of things and find their groove and go with it, but that’s the easy way out. With rapping, you find your voice and stick with it; principles and such. You’re just there being yourself basically. If you’re an amazing person with a good craft then you’re already there, or at least have some fresh new ideas or a reason for people to hear you out. Producing is nice because that kind of pressure isn’t there, I love both rushes! Depends on my mood. Lately I’ve been writing a lot, but when writer’s block hits I know I won’t be a completely useless and lazy sack of shit.
What is your production setup like?
It keeps growing; I started with a midi keyboard and a macbook, then a Novation synth, then two Korgs and a vocoder. My next purchase will most likely be an analog one.
How long have you an Serengeti known each other, how’d you first meet?
David and I have been friends for around six years now. He’s one of the most important figures in my life. He’s both a good friend and artistic companion. We inspire each other consistently. Our relationship is based on checks and balances, ideas bounce back and forth until they’re gold; it’s pretty much been that way since we met in college.
Tell me about the making of Conversations With Kenny / Legacy of Lee? Do you find yourself always having multiple projects on the go or do you like to finish things before moving onto something new?
Again, the way Dave and I work is the merging of ideas. i’ve always wanted to do an album with Kenny, so what began as a Kenny and Trimm album turned into an EP that merged with the Lee stuff. Dave developed the Lee character around the same time at a friend’s studio. Both characters were there, both were going through some sort of turmoil, so we wrote the story together revolving around the Trimm character who became the connection between the two.
Dave always has several projects going on in his head. I’m usually there to paint the soundscape for them. I live in my studio; Dave’s always hanging around. We discuss whatever’s on our minds and put it down. If it works we push until it’s done, if not, we move on to the next idea. It’s actually pretty simple how we work.
Yoome was one of my favourite albums from last year, are you guys planning a follow up to The Boredom of Me?
Thank you for the compliment. Yoome is still very well alive. We completed a handful of new songs, but now they are in limbo; not sure which direction we’re going to take. There eventually will be a follow up, but we’ve been so caught up with the Kenny/Lee stuff that there’s no telling when that might be.
Does that mean there’s even more Kenny/Lee stuff coming soon?
Oh most definitely, but i can’t reveal anything ‘til shit is solid enough for me to say. Sometimes we say we’re gonna do stuff and either we never finish it or get distracted or start all over again, but you can definitely bet on some very left field stuff to come from Lee. Ideas are cooking. Kenny is Kenny, he’ll always be around making cameos and what not. that’s more Dave’s thing than mine.
You directed a couple of videos for Yoome last year, do you have any other new video projects in the works?
Yeah… I just finished directing a music video for the solo project and i will be shooting a series of 6 music videos for the Kenny/Lee album. All of which should be out by sometime spring.
So what does your family think of the whole rap career thing?
My mother supports me and my dad thinks i’m nuts. Doesn’t really matter though, I’d be having fun either way.
Are you able to make a living off music right now or are you still working a day job?
Depends on what you call a living. Golden Floyd is an investment thing. Obviously since we just started, it’s purely a risk. I’m what you would call a renaissance man. I have my hand in a few things, I like to invest and see returns, stocks are fun. I’d like to invent something as revolutionary as the zipper and make millions off it. But no, besides djing regularly, I don’t make anything off music, but i’m okay with that… for now.
Has Chicago’s hip hop scene changed much over the last few years?
Chicago hip hop has pretty much been the same since the 90’s. Although there has been this sort of party throwback hip stuff that’s been doing really well. Like the tight pants rappers and party vibe cats. Kinda like what Kanye is doing. It’s a give and take, but I gotta give it to them, when they throw shows, there’s some fine ladies around instead of sweaty backpackers and angry fans. I don’t hate.
Who would you say are some up and coming Chicago rappers to check for?
Hmm… that’s a good question. Of course Serengeti. This guy Rift Napalm. Open Mike Eagle is in L.A. now, but he’s from Chicago and he’s super fresh. This dude named Steve On, but he needs to get back in the game.
What was the last album you purchased?
It was at a Micachu and The Shapes show. It was the only vinyl they released, I bought a shirt too.
These days, if I can’t get an album on vinyl I prefer a digital copy over a CD. What are your thoughts on media formats?
All of them have pluses and minuses. Digital sales have no manufacturing costs, so it’s pure profit, but they tend to spread throughout the internet faster; illegal downloading and what not. I guess you can say the same for CDs after you rip them. I know itunes has that lock thing but it’s so easy to work around that. So yeah, it’s the same to me; but there is something about actually having the physical copy in your hand, ripping open the cellophane and pulling out the insert, there’s something special about that. Vinyl, now that’s a whole other experience. We as Golden Floyd are planning on releasing everything on vinyl in the near future. If everyone owned a turntable, the music industry would be a better place.
What is your favourite Chicago venue that you’ve played at?
?It changes… a few years ago it was The Abbey Pub, then it was The Empty Bottle. I’ve never played Schubas, but that’s where i’d like to play next. As long as there’s a significant amount of bass, the mic is clear and the place ain’t infested with chachies, then I’m good with it.
What’s the story with your album, Dawn of Mystique, is this ever dropping?
Dawn of Mystique is my prior label, Bonafyde’s responsibility. They say they’re gonna put it out soon. Maybe next two months or so, only jesus knows.
Shout-outs, last words?
Yeah… shout outs to Jayme Joyce and Jessica Christopher at Joone Studios. Big ups to my guy Polyphonic and also Allyson Lindsey Campbell Burns. The Legacy of Lee short film adaptation will be out shortly, look for that one.?