MAISON COTERIE

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Fresh off of the release their debut album Added Sugar, Planet Giza, comprising of Tony Stone (center), Rami B (right) , and DoomX (left), sit with us to talk about their origins and their latest sounds.

The group started on different paths. Rami B was making beats with a different group and eventually connected with Tony Stone back when they had to take summer courses together. “He taught me how to make beats,” Stone would later use these talents to make beats for another francophone rapper named Rowjay, who connected him with Doom. The pair then later worked together through sending each other beats over Facebook, eventually becoming the duo known as The North Virus. “But Rami was still going crazy on his side,” says Stone, “So I thought, damn, well Rami makes beats, Doom makes beats, let’s all just come to my house and make beats!”

What came from the weekend of 2K and beatmaking was Old School Convertible a beat which caught on a bit of a wave on Soundcloud. Thinking of the small scale success that their first beat had, they had continued to work. From The North Virus x Rami B(izzle) to the now Planet Giza, “we just work with him all the time, we just need something of our own, as a trio.’ indicates Stone.

Still, to simply limit Tony’s vocal input to rapping is an injustice. Upon listening to Added Sugar, one can sense that there is more melody and harmony to Tony as he not only raps but taps into singing as well. “I always loved R&B but I was really just a rap-head [...] but as it kept going and I discovered Max B, he’s a rapper who sings a lot, so I thought let me play around with this, and I just fell in love with it.” Once his first full singing track released, Ladies Move, people loved it and now whenever Tony feels like singing, the door is always open.

Put You On was a later track that made the group want to purposefully move forward in a new direction. “We thought we were out the hood with that one!” Tony exclaims, but looking back on it, they all have bad things to say about it, “it didn’t come out the way we wanted it to come out” Rami adds. However, they all come to agree that if you can’t look back on your work and not feel some sort of negative sentiment, you might have not evolved as an artist.

The group is always focused on winning over the people. Before releasing their earlier EP Detour, they didn’t feel as if people would receive the project as well as they did, “we were always saying that we think people didn’t pay us enough attention,” Doom admits. Fortunately, it was shown a lot of love but the feelings of making sure the crowd was on your side did not fade away. Some months before Added Sugar released, they had felt the need to release a short EP titled ZZZ as a way of showing the crowd that their sound is changing. “We think we need something else, just to let them know that something is coming, we couldn’t just drop the album like bang.” Which serves a good point as they admit that the leading track of ZZZ, Attention, could have also been included on Added Sugar as unknowingly to many listeners, the two projects were made at the same time.

When I arrive at their studio, I can hear muffled beats from the outside even before Rami lets me in. The room is dark and only illuminated by colored RGB lights. I’m already late into the session as the beat seems to have been made from a couple hours before. Everyone sits around on the couches with bobbing heads. The beat is already catching a vibe with the whole group even before any of the vocals are laid on top of it. The recording booth is empty and stares back at Tony and Kallitechnis as they jot down verses into their notes app. Kallitechnis, another local talent fresh off of her first headlining sold out show in Montreal, decides to put her foot first to record the hook.

Seeing the group work together is a sight as usually, “it’s all through the web,” Tony references to the fact that he is the furthest from Rami and DoomX, living in Gatineau. “It’s on Facebook actually [...] and then sometimes, we get in the studio and we knock one out.” This was one of those times. In just a couple hours, the room gets to watch a full song come together, from Doom hopping in the booth to record finger snaps to Kalli layering her chorus as Tony compliments it.

Just like that, we sit listening to the song on replay, sensing the summer heat it gives even though it is cold as ice outside. When everyone departs from the studio, their social medias are enveloped in excitement as they await the decision of when to release the song for just the right time.

To really delve deep into Added Sugar is to talk about the chemistry the trio has together. Often with groups, it can be easy to dismiss certain members that are not overtly in the spotlight. It’s easy to single in on Tony Stone’s voice and bars throughout a song, but it takes added talent to make a listener notice how his voice works together so well with the beat. In essence, this is where the magic lies with the album. DoomX and Rami B’s production make waves to bring together the whole album. The beats are even given spotlights on the album to have a voice like on Ambush, the intro track. The beats are filled with lush synths complimented by hard hitting drums that are not overwhelming to take away from Tony’s smooth melodies. The group knows how to mix together their tracks to play exactly to their strengths.

Despite having infectious chorus’ all over the tracklisting, the album also has a story element to it that definitely grabs your attention. The album plays out skits in which the listener hears conversations between a shy Tony and an unknown woman. Tony seems to be very shy and unsure of himself as he is about to do something he has never done before followed by feeling amazing from doing it. It can be very easy to assume what is happening here when coupled with the sensual voice speaking to the artist. “It might be sex, it might be drugs,” Tony explains, “people think its sex, but me, it was about the first album where I’d be on all the songs and how I felt about it and that’s why on Timeless I said ‘Aye, I ain’t gon’ hold you, I feel amazing right now…’” Ending in the final message of the woman telling Tony not to switch up or lose himself once he gets this feeling.

It’s a good sign that everyone’s favorite track seems to be a different one. Doom admits that he’s extremely flattered by it as there is something for everybody in the tracklist. When it comes to the group, they can’t even decide what is their favourite. This could be due to the fact that the group revealed that they had scrapped practically a whole other project full of tracks for this one. Clearly they are about quality over quantity running through the short run time shy of just 30 minutes.

Even after delivering an amazing debut album, the group doesn’t feel the need at all to settle down for a moment. “We already know the direction of the next project, but we just started it.” Doom says.

The group is still in their humble beginnings but they are not shy of showing their clear talent as many fans listening are acknowledging and excited about. Added Sugar, the first full length album from Planet Giza, is consistent in its quality, sound, and groove showcasing the talents of the trio whilst only making their audience hungry for more.

Added Sugar by Planet Giza is currently available on all streaming platforms.
Photos and words by Maison Coterie.

Special thanks:
Off The Hook
Victoria Gabreau
Charles Roy