Pardon The Introduction: Airplane Boys Talk Breaking Into Music, Drake and The Weeknd’s Influence On Toronto [PG.2]


Vibe / August 9, 2011

That’s dope. Tell me about coming up as artists in Toronto alongside artists like The Weeknd and Drake. Is there a really active music scene?

BON VOYAGE: It’s especially dope to be around after Drake did what he did for the city. For a long time, the city had like this fake infrastructure and there was nobody really doing anything on an international level or even over the border. Finally, Drake came through and opened that door and inspired a lot of different artists. A lot of talk is [surrounding] Drake and The Weeknd, and now people are hearing us and we’re just happy to be a part of it. There’s a lot of good energy. Everyone’s inspired and pushing themselves to be more creative, and the city just sounds better. It feels like a real place now, I think, and the people look at it as a state. It’s a melting pot where people try to come and see what’s poppin’ in the water, you know?

BECK MOTLEY: Yeah, it’s a beautiful thing in the city that’s happening right now. Like Jay was saying, the infrastructure is growing, especially [with] OVO Fest and big artists coming down like Stevie Wonder – are you kidding me? Toronto’s becoming that place where music is starting to grow. Jay and I were having lunch with our lawyer and another tastemaker, and we were just conversing about Toronto and what’s happening and how exciting it is to be an artist coming up now. It resembles Atlanta back when it was TLC, Outkast and that whole movement there. It’s happening in Toronto by The Weeknd and Drake. We’re being inspired and humbled to be from here at the right time [while] we’re making music. It’s not like we stood by and said ‘Okay, guys, let’s wait!’ Jay and I just kept writing and making music and performing and when we decided to take it serious, the energy and the world started to take it serious. We’re just blessed.

No doubt. There were talks of you guys working with The Weeknd’s producer, Illangelo. Are you guys affiliated with The Weeknd in any way? Have you worked together?

BON VOYAGE: We were working with Illangelo for a while. He produced like half the mixtape and was executive producer of the whole thing. Illangelo has been a big part of what we’re doing and at the same time he was working with The Weeknd, so we were all working around the same vicinity around the same people, but no real connection per se with The Weeknd. Illangelo was just the dude behind both of our projects.

BECK MOTLEY: I can never forget the day we were in the studio working on Where’ve You Been and we heard about The Weeknd. [Illangelo] came in and he played [his tape] for us and was like ‘Let me know what you think.’ And we were like ‘Yo, the world is gonna love this.’ And a week later, they released it and the rest was history.

We weren’t even introduced to Illangelo. We were in the studio mixing Where’ve You Been when we had like four tracks done, and he was in the other room and he came in and was like ‘I like you guys’ sound!’ and we just started talking and networking and we became brothers. More so than the music, we would take lunches and stuff and just talk about life and women and cars, places in the world we wanted to travel to. He’s a great mind and forward thinking guy. The world is his and he’s the future of the sound for not [just] Toronto, but for the world.

Word. If the opportunity came about, would you want to possibly work with The Weeknd on a joint project? 

BECK MOTLEY: We would want to collab with any artist that’s looking to break barriers and The Weeknd’s one of them. It has to be a natural situation and it would be mutual. We’re still figuring out our sound, so we want to experiment with what we can do as individuals, as The Airplane Boys, Jay and Manny, Beck Motley and Bon Voyage. We’re open to working with any open-minded artist that’s breaking barriers from The Weeknd to Andre 3000. We’re open to anything, but we need to just discover who we are first.

Yeah, I feel you. As far as established artists, who would you say are some of your influences? I can say from listening to a couple tracks from Where’ve You Been, namely “Weon,” I personally hear a lot of Kid Cudi. Is he somebody that you’re inspired by?

BON VOYAGE: Yeah, Cudi is definitely somebody that we look up to. When he came out, we felt a lot like we related so much to what he was saying and his whole vibe. We already had something similar. It was kind of ill. We listen to a lot of his stuff. Kanye, that whole G.O.O.D. music team, Jay-Z and obviously Andre 3000 as well. N.E.R.D. – that’s a big part of our live set. We really relate to those guys. Michael Jackson, Prince. Those are all influences, even on a fashion tip. And everything is part of what we do, part of what we feel. Everything matters.

BECK MOTLEY: We take a lot of reference from and are inspired by artists, especially Drake and The Weeknd, and how they’re doing things and how they read music. You know, their timing and phrasing and everything like that. Frank Ocean – we listen to a lot of Frank on our car rides. Man, the list goes on. The XX.

BON VOYAGE: James Blake.

You guys definitely have a full package going on. With you, it’s not even just about the music. You guys are really invested in art as a full expression and you can tell it’s something you’re really passionate about.


I actually saw on your Twitter you guys just did a show with Snoop Dogg?

BECK MOTLEY: Yeah, we went on tour with him last month, actually. It was a mini tour in Canada.

Awesome. What’s that been like?

BON VOYAGE: It was really insightful. We got to smoke up with him. He dropped some knowledge on us about what the game is and the hard work we need to put in. To come from him – a dude that we’ve been a fan of for years, we’ve recorded to his songs, our first songs were recorded to his beats – to be able to tour with him was crazy surreal.

BECK MOTLEY: His exact words were ‘That’s a good thing.’ At like 13, like 11, we were recording to like “Gin & Juice.”

Haha, nice. Being new artists, you’re at a point where you can kind of do whatever you want. Are you guys trying to really hit the mainstream hard and get signed and all that?

BON VOYAGE: Yeah, definitely when the time is right. That was one of the goals for Where’ve You Been as well – to show people that we’re gonna do a lot of things and see how they feel about it. It’s really like our audition for the world so we tried to give you like taste samples, you know? And we feel like we did that successfully. People are feeling what we’re doing. We know that we wanna take it to the best level, you know what I mean? And I think [we will] all in the right timing and in the right situation, but [we’re] definitely trying to take this to the world on an international front, tour and see everything.

BECK MOTLEY: Yeah, and as far as labels and stuff, that shit will take care of itself. We write for ourselves and we write for the people who listen to us. Cliché, but at the end of the day, that’s what we started at. We’ve been taking meetings and stuff and we’re into what we do and we’re into how we build and our whole crew from Beau Monde to The Airplane Boys – that’s what we’re about right now.

Nice, nice. So what do you see happening next for Toronto and how do you guys want to be a part of that? What do you ultimately want to come out of this whole Airplane Boys venture?

BON VOYAGE: We want the people to respect it and grow with us. We’ve been blessed with a lot of people at an early stage to follow and believe in it. Actual believers and not just fans, you know? And we’re glad that you take it as a movement and a whole package. We want everybody to feel it like that and respect it in that kind of light.

BECK MOTLEY: And alignment. In the future, we’re just looking for things to align. We’ll see.

Anything else you wanted to add?

BECK MOTLEY: Just follow our lives. Grow with us – and download the mixtape Where’ve You Been at Bon Voyage and I are just getting started. We’re already putting concepts together out the woodwork, sitting down with other tastemakers and just enjoying life being young and letting loose in Toronto [laughs].