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Interview: 2021 Must-Know - MONEYPHONE

Interview: 2021 Must-Know - MONEYPHONE

MONEYPHONE is built on friendship. The genre-bending duo - David May and Enoch Ncube - first became friends in high school, and eventually made the move to Toronto together. After each pursuing solo music careers, they ended up deciding to work together instead, and the magic of MONEYPHONE officially began. Two EPs (2017's 'Tolerance' and 2018's 'Athletes') preceded the 'Faith*' mixtape from last year, which showcases the pair's truly unique approach to music - part hip-hop, part pop, and always grounded in their friendship and community spirit.

Using spoken word samples from their tight-knit friend circle, the mixtape sees the pair trade lead vocals on songs, with the title-track imploring, "Never lose faith in each other." As they put it: "Faith* MIXTAPE is an homage to everything that informs us. Every musical influence that shaped our taste lives somewhere in our around this record."

MUST-LISTEN: 'Indecision', 'Everywhere', 'Dashboard'.
YOU WILL LIKE, IF YOU LIKE: Brockhampton, Slowthai, Deb Never, MorMor, Kevin Abstract, Dominic Fike, Vince Staples... and working on a collaborative art project with your best friends.

COUP DE MAIN: Your 'Faith* MIXTAPE' features five audio notes from different people - what is the significance of each of the people, and why did you want them to be a part of the mixtape?
MONEYPHONE - DAVID MAY: Over the course of the record it actually ends up being around six people that are featured - we snuck a few people into actual songs just to really glue everything together.
MONEYPHONE - ENOCH NCUBE: The voices are just our friends who have always really inspired David and I throughout our time living in Toronto. They got to watch 'Faith*' grow, talk about it with us as it was happening, and really be a part of the music. Jeff for example, who starts off 'Jungle' does ad-libs on 'Civilian'.
DAVID: Including them was important as a way of showing the world that we live in, and the world and people who shaped this project with us.

CDM: In the title-track you say, "Never lose faith in each other," and "never lose faith in me." Why is the concept of faith, and being there for those around you, something that you were so drawn to when working on this project?
DAVID: We had a few relationships fall apart throughout the process of recording 'Faith*'. At the same time, we were meeting some new people and reconnecting with others we had known since our time in Toronto. It was in that time that we started to figure out what a team was, and what it meant to make a family. Having this undying belief in each other to make something and share our lives while doing so.
ENOCH: 'Faith*' couldn’t have been what it was without all the people who were around us while it was being made.

CDM: How does the MONEYPHONE songwriting process work?
ENOCH: It’s really, really fluid. David and I record at home, so the typical day starts in the morning where we talk, listen to music, make jokes haha. When songs are being built we write at the same time as producing, just because if someone's working behind the computer the other person is free to write and think. What’s cool is words are always built off the backs of each other and that’s how everything stays organic — David will sing one thing that inspires me, and we go back and forth.
DAVID: We get to trade our interpretations of what a song could be to make something that neither of us could’ve imagined individually. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

CDM: Enoch, what is your favourite thing about making music with David?
ENOCH: He’s full of ideas and life, once he gets going he won’t stop until he’s proud — it’s incredibly inspiring. The best part of working together is that we hold ourselves accountable to be the very best we can be in that moment. Sometimes it’s hard to do it for yourself, but it’s easier when you know someone is counting on you to be the most honest and focused version of yourself as an artist.

CDM: David, what is your favourite thing about making music with Enoch?
DAVID: Enoch can write a verse in ten minutes that will completely floor me. Seeing him do that is a gift.

CDM: Do you write your lyrics specifically for the songs, or do you write poems or prose and then evolve them into song-form?
ENOCH: We kind of mentioned it before, but lyrics specifically for songs. It often happens that way because the song tells you exactly what it should be about. For the new stuff we’ve been figuring out titles that don’t really have anything to do with the lyrics, just for the fun of it haha.

CDM: Lyrically, what's your favourite song that you’ve written?
ENOCH: It hasn’t come out yet, we've been writing like crazy for the past eight months. Getting better every single day. Off top, I’d say 'Louisa' because I haven’t rapped better (yet), or 'On Lock' because I’m really proud of the way all the words melt together.
DAVID: A song called 'Altitude'. It won’t be out for a while though.

CDM: What do you think is the difference between a good song and a great song?
DAVID: A great song is timeless.

CDM: What do you hope for people to take away from listening to your music?
ENOCH: The stories that we’ve lived - moving on from 'Faith*' we’ve tried to embody everything that we’ve seen and all the new memories we’ve made along the way. That and honesty — if we choose to be honest haha.

CDM: If M.O.N.E.Y.P.H.O.N.E. were an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
M — Money, blessings, family, friends all that
E — Everyday.

CDM: What’s on your bucket-list?
DAVID: Go to Europe. I’ve never left North America.
ENOCH: Recording at Shangri-La in Malibu, getting a billboard in another city (paid for by us, no companies), and getting to see people move and react to the new music in person.

CDM: You’re one of our 'must-know’ artist picks for 2021... who are yours?
DAVID: Benedicté, Josh Maison.
ENOCH: Ghost Orchard, Oli XL, Bad Child, Ouri, Chivengi.

CDM: If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be?
ENOCH: The whole inventory of Eckhaus Latta they keep at SSENSE.

CDM: If you were a country, what would be your national anthem?
DAVID: 'Rockstar Made' by Playboi Carti.

Watch the 'Civilian' music video below...

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