Robert Alfons is Trust, a moniker he created officially in 2010 when he enlisted the help of friend and drummer Maya Postepski from Austra. BeatRoute is on the phone to a busy and seemingly energized Alfons amidst prep for his upcoming tour. Trust’s first full-length record, TRST, released in 2012, was met with a slew of positive feedback. Humbled by the amount of positive reinforcement the album has received, Alfons is happy that there is a real connection with what he is creating.
His anticipated follow-up album, Joyland, released March 4, 2014 is described by his label, Arts and Crafts, as “an eruption of guts, eels, and joy.”
“I feel humble and happy to see that people come out to the shows and that people said nice things about the record and genuinely connect with it.”
Alfons, a self-described introvert originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba has pushed aside modern musical influences in order to create something that is a little off the beaten path. Channelling his darker side, Alfons has been packing dance floors with his intoxicatingly melodic goth, synthpop/darkwave grooves and, in the process, bringing aspects of underground, above ground.
“For this new record, I think I was embracing more of the stuff I listened to when I was younger. I was really attracted to dance music — that was before the Internet before you were able to search up anything — but when I was younger, the stuff I got my hands on was stuff my aunt and sister were listening to.”
With so much attention following the release of his debut album, one would imagine there is a pressure to create something that surpasses or rivals their previous work. Alfons is committed to forward motion when it comes to creating his music and welcomes any spontaneous reaction to it.
“There’s always room for improvement. I think that it’s going to continue to let me challenge myself, the two records work well as siblings next to each other but there’s still a lot of differences.”
Music is everywhere and means something different to everyone. The way we relate to a specific genre highly influences our perception of said music. Trust has given listeners something they can dance to as well as something that can trigger a soothing state of mind, drawing on inspiration from ambient and meditative music.
Alfons describes his music simply: “[It is] a means of me figuring out stories inside — it’s a way for me to play around with characters and to express these stories.”
Trust begins a three-month tour this month, travelling throughout North America and parts of Europe. Although Alfons is no stranger to performing, he admits to being slightly nervous, however, mostly excited to get back at it. Alfons wants to switch things up a bit throughout this tour so show goers can expect to hear some new versions of old material.
“I feel like even if you don’t perform for a week it gets scary again, it’s like you forget where to plug in cables and things like that,” Alfons says with a laugh. “I want to play around with remixing some of the old songs and trying to present them a little differently.
Two records in and a tour underway, Alfons’ hauntingly monotone vocals are ready to take listeners on a space odyssey adventure through black rooms, shiny vinyl and thick air filled with sexual tension. Though he has experimented along the way through other creative outlets, music has always remained a constant.
“Music has continuously been the easiest trajectory for me to create. I can experiment with other things but music has been the easiest or most fulfilling to me.”
Joyland was released on March 4 via Arts & Crafts.
By Chrystal MacLeod
Photo: Seth Fluker