Montreal’s LaF will release Chrome, their second album on Disques 7ième Ciel, next Friday.
Since the release of their last EP Soin Entreprise in 2020, the three rappers of the collective have been blossoming their flow and their pen by taking the solo road. Jamaz started the ball with Les Ennuis (2020), followed by Bkay with Midi-Pile (2022) and Mantisse with Colin-Maillard (2022). This time, they come back to the charge with the most assertive and diversified bouquet of sounds of their career.
As usual, Montreal producer Bnjmn.lloyd is omnipresent, setting the table with complex and atmospheric sounds. LaF called on other artists to create this project: Blaise Borboën-Léonard plays violin, rapper SeinsSucrer has a blast on Le Champ des possibles and Pops & Poolboy from Clay and Friends as well as Hologramme gave a hand to the production. Also, the winning band of the Francouvertes 2022, Rau Ze, joins LaF on Blue Cheez, one of the best tracks of the album.Chrome is a project with a rather dark visual and sonic identity.
In the album’s first track, the three men lay down some very busy, heavily UK Garage-inspired instrusions. LaF’s frantic pace in sounds such as Terrain Supérieur and Pièges echoes the rocky pace of life of the three musketeers of keb rap over the past few years. However, there is a glimmer of hope throughout the project, demonstrating the personal journey the three emcees have taken.
PAN M 360: How did the creation process of Chrome take place?
LAF : At the early beginning of the pandemic, we had the idea to go solo. In parallel, we started the creation of Chrome in July 2020. We rented a cottage for two weeks and brought our entire studio to compose there. That’s how we usually operate for albums. We weren’t quite sure where we were headed, but as time went on we accumulated demos and the project came to life. All of our other projects have been created over a period of about a year, usually. For Chrome, it took us almost three years. It was important for us to let ourselves breathe, and it shows in the album, in the lyrics and in the production. We did several sessions at the cottage and refined our songs in Montreal. The two collaborations were done in the last year. We think that this project is a true mirror of ourselves. It is the result of many hours of questioning and introspection. It’s an album that is heavy with meaning for us. It’s pretty intense to say, “Okay, we’ve finished the project for real.” The last few months have been super rock’n’roll for us, in a lot of different facets and it feels really good.
PAN M 360: Where did the name Chrome and the visual identity of the project come from?
LAF : When we were on tour, Mantisse came up with the idea of having one color for our album. We all agreed that we wanted to have something very unified and absolute. That’s when we came up with the idea of using chrome and molten metal as an aesthetic. At that point, we were still in the early stages of creation and we got hooked on the concept right away. Then, the more we created, the more we realized that the album was going to be not only visually dark, but also lyrically dark. We still talk about our individual angst and as a band. We’ve gotten older in the last few years and we definitely see life differently. Want, don’t want, it clashes with our former projects which were more luminous. There are still some brighter tracks in the second half of the album, but in general it’s pretty dark. The two music videos that have already been released are in the same vein, but the next one will have more light.
PAN M 360: What is Chrome about?
LAF: Chrome is a bit of a logical extension of the pandemic and our arrival in our mid-twenties. This project reflects a certain awareness that has come to each of us and the changes in our lives. It speaks to the times of indecision and our vision for the future. I think we tightened up around that and it defined a lot. We didn’t necessarily plan for the album to have darker moments and brighter moments, it’s just a reflection of our lives. Basically, it’s a collection of the emotions and processes we’ve gone through over the past few years. The creation of Chrome was a long journey, a kind of pilgrimage.
PAN M 360: The productions of the first right of the project are very rhythmic and very inspired by UK garage. Does that kind of echo your lifestyle over the last few years?
LAF: Yeah, 100%, the last few years have been intense. There was the pandemic which was a time of uncertainty for us and we’ve also done a lot of shows in the last few years. It’s a lot of ups and downs, a lot of emotions. It’s true that it’s a bit crazy for the first songs, the beginning of the album is 100% clearly more intense. It’s not necessarily that it’s smoother, but it’s definitely more digestible. But it was intentional, it was the idea to reflect a little bit the chaos that we all went through together and the brightness that follows. There was a moment in the beginning of the album process where we had an interest in terms of production around UK Garage, then up-tempo, drum and bass type productions. After that, we went in many other directions. It’s clear that there was a really intense momentum in the beginning of the production. Those music sessions were super intense and we went through many emotions during the creation. There was a kind of whirlwind in the studio and we became quite invested in the music.
PAN M 360: What did your respective solo adventures bring to your creation as LaF?
LAF: Mostly it gave us a better understanding of ourselves. It gave us a fresh perspective on creation and made it easier to try new things. It clearly gave us more confidence and the desire to take LaF to another level. It was nice to see that we were able to create on our own and know our own capabilities. It gave us some breathing room and it definitely helped us later on.
PAN M 360: How did your Blue Cheez collaboration with Rau Ze come about?
LAF: We have several friends in common with the singer of Rau Ze, Rose Perron, and we followed her closely at the Francouvertes. We’ve been going to the Francos for several years now. We were all very impressed by his performances. We met her at the festival La Noce in Chicoutimi and we spent some time with her. We really got along well with her. During the creation of the album, we had the idea to invite her on the track. We thought she could do really well on the production of Blue Cheez. The creation was super easy with her and her colleague Felix Paul. We are really happy with the result.
PAN M 360: Are there any other solo projects in the pipeline? Do you want to focus on LaF in the future?
LAF: We don’t really know yet, only time will tell! LaF is an artistic collective, but it is first and foremost a group of friends who love to make music together. It’s a bit like a fireplace that never goes out. For sure, solo projects are not over. We’ll always make sure that our solo and LaF careers don’t overlap. We think that our individual projects complement LaF. This collective is our life project, and we will defend it as if it were our first born.