On his fifth full-length album, Not For Nothing, Saskatoon artist and musician soso aka Troy Gronsdahl delivers a complex series of vignettes and essay snippets overtop of a haunting, self-composed soundtrack.
It’s heavy stuff, for sure, but consider it good for the soul.
The first track begins with the succinct spoken message “I will wait; I will not wait for nothing”, which could be the thesis of the album, before launching into an instrumental interlude.
Produced by long-time producer Maki, Gronsdahl has always made connections with hip-hop in his compositions, the songs on Not For Nothing are far more unique to be pigeonholed as rap – soso is equal parts MC and spoken word trapeze artist.
Connecting ethereal soundscapes with plaintive rhythms, Not For Nothing is a cerebral tempest that is at times grim and mournful but always poetic.
Ominocity recently caught up with Gronsdahl for a quick chat on Not For Nothing, the Trans Musicales festival in Rennes, France and using Chuck Berry as a muse.
Ominocity: What inspired the writing of your new album Not For Nothing – it seems to be linked with your recent (ish) travels to France?
Troy Gronsdahl: I wrote the songs over a four-year period. I was building on a few ideas I wanted to tackle and reflecting on some of the things happening in my life. I was slowly collecting bits of text, a few lines here and there. My experience at the Trans Musicales festival in Rennes, France motivated me to keep plugging away. It’s nice to know there is an audience out there somewhere who is interested in your work and it’s reassuring to know your music holds up in a bigger context.
OM: As a visual artist how did you combine other disciplines in with your music?
TG: I think having some training in the visual arts helped me develop a critical ear and pushed me to take a few risks. The issues I am grappling with my music certainly resonate in my visual arts practice. I used to feel like the two disciplines were competing for my attention, but now I try to work on whatever excites me the most. Maybe that hasn’t been the best in terms of productivity but it’s certainly been better for my psyche!
OM: Anything else fun that we need to know? Let it be revealed here.
TG: I wrote a rap song about Chuck Berry for grade 5 music class. I was beat boxing horribly.