ttwwrrss reaching lofty heights
Sean Thompson is a Hamilton native who has made a name for himself as a producer-DJ extraordinaire with the moniker “ttwwrrss” (pronounced “towers”). ttwwrrss’ self-titled debut album was released by Hamilton’s own Maisonneuve Music this past April. The eight-song record is a compelling listen that combines pristine synths with the natural grittiness of hip-hop and more unorthodox electronic elements.
In a world where everyone has Fruity Loops on their computer and feels entitled to add “producer” to their Twitter bio, ttwwrrss’ masterful use of sampling is a welcome breath of fresh air. Standout tracks ‘Jungle’ and ‘Sabre’ are fire, whether you let them knock in your car’s speakers or hear them through a club’s more finely tuned sound system.
How old are you now and what did you study after high school?
I’m 20 years old now, and while at Sheridan I was in their Media Arts program. It’s a great school and I highly recommend it.
What prompted you to adopt the name “ttwwrrss”?
To be totally honest I can’t remember how I came to towers... but I do know that once I had it set in my mind that I wanted to be towers, the next task was to get all the necessary social media accounts. Obviously “towers” was taken, “twrs” was open but I didn’t like it because that was right around the time Trust’s album “TRST” came out and I felt like I was stealing. Eventually I decided to double the letters and here we are.
You grew up in a sleepy suburb and went to a high school that was monocultural in the worst way. Bearing that in mind, what compelled you to begin making music that doesn’t sound like anything that you’d hear Stoney Creek bros playing out of their Honda Civics?
I wanted to make music with machines and computers, but I didn’t want to be pidgeonholed into EDM or anything like that, so I always tried to be like NIN.
I never really felt like I had to make a certain type of music based on where I grew up, but looking back I realized everyone else I knew who got into music either “produced” questionable electro-house or trap beats, both essential bro car music genres, so I guess there was a pressure and it just didn’t get to me, thank god.
Did any artists influence you from the get-go? I know you were a big fan of Justice.
Justice was huge for me; Nine Inch Nails is what really made me want to make music. DJ Shadow & Daft Punk made me realize how intricate sampling can be.
Those are the artists that I would consider myself inspired by, rather than simply a fan.
How valuable has the experience you gained during your internship been to you?
I am so thankful for my internships at Catherine North Studios & Cable 14 Television Studio. Although I learned a lot of technical skills that I use everyday from the internships, I really value the personable skills I learned during these times. I used to be very shy but I quickly realized that trait needed to go if I wanted to be successful.
Could you walk me through your normal production process when making a new track?
I used to always start with a sample and I would craft a whole idea then start to build the track around it. I found myself starting with a bass or a lead synth for a lot of my new album. With the new music I’m working on now, almost every song started with a drum kit / beat.
What are your thoughts on the current music scene in Hamilton?
I love the Hamilton scene; it’s super cool seeing it grow with me. I have started to notice more and more people coming to shows and supporting local acts. I am very excited to see where this all goes.
Any acts you want to see at Supercrawl this year?
If I’m not a last minute addition opening for Four-Tet, I’ll most likely be in the front row.
If you could collaborate with any Canadian artists right now, who would you choose?
Grimes! I love her stuff. It might be impossible but I also think a ttwwrrss x MSTRKRFT collab would be rad.