In Conversation: Kid.

If we could choose one word in the ever-growing list of what Toronto currently stands for, it might be “Kid.” The city has a newfound voice coming from the intimate and very late gatherings of Toronto’s young creatives.

PULP sits down with Glenn Michael and Vincent Tran, purveyors of this voice and the creative duo at Kid.a design and film studio based out of Toronto. Glenn and Vincent, who are equal parts influencers and mischief-makers, have infused Toronto with some much needed darkness and mystery. If you haven’t watched it already, you will see what we mean in The Weekend’s “King of The Fall” music video, which was directed and produced by Kid.

We start by looking back at the project that started it all –  the sound and energy that is Toronto after-hours, the “God Bless Toronto” mix – as we chat with Glenn and Vince about their inspirations, the underground creative scene and the city that influences them.

PULP How did “God Bless Toronto” project come to be?
Glenn Michael The initial idea was to create a sweater. The phrase came from a friend, Red, who said “God Bless Toronto represents a good night out in the city.” Hitting up all the criteria in terms of what we feel makes a good night: music, friends; but all encompassed within the hours of 12am-6am. Basically the after hour underground scene, something not a lot of people in Toronto see.
Vincent Tran But we knew naturally that idea was bigger than itself and we needed to do more and find out ways to roll out the sweater. So we thought, let’s do music. Glenn always said music is the Trojan horse that connects to a lot of different people and avenues. There’s also a collective energy of wanting to get away from the Ossington, King St. night scene. Not be part of the mainstream and show a different side of the city.

PULP The project description on the site is powerful and poetic, how did you come with something that fits perfectly?
GM Teddy Fantum, who is featured on the mixtape, he came up with the words in the synopsis of the project. We wrote out bullet points and he really just brought the words to life. A lot of people have been saying a lot of great things about the description, of how it’s perfect.

PULP What were you looking for when reaching out to the featured artists?
GM There was a particular tone we were looking for. It’s a little darker. People who also explore the same avenues: partying, creating, hip-hop, art etc. Another criteria was to not be well-known. We wanted to push. We have a lot of talented friends and artists who we wanted to push.
VT The way the tape turned out we weren’t really looking for that different sound. We were pretty open and flexible to the type of genre I guess you could say. We were just going for more of that overall feeling because that’s how the project started. It’s an emotional project, an encompassing feeling.
GM It’s all in terms of personal experience, a moment in time.
VT Two years from now, even 6 months from now. Toronto might not be the way we portrayed it. It’s our point of view of the moment and time of what Toronto was to us during those hours.

PULP Before creating “God Bless Toronto” did you feel that there was a need to support artists in this city, or on a larger scale, Toronto as a creative force itself?”
GM/VT 100%
GM Toronto is a huge influence on everything that we do. So it’s very organic for us to keep Toronto in mind when we create something to give back to the city.
VT And being so close to these people and going through the groundwork and understanding that it’s not that easy to get your work recognized or appreciated on a grander scale. We definitely had that in mind, to help people progress. 

PULP What are your thoughts on bringing the underground to the foreground?
VT I think the people and the city, the generation that will be relevant in having the most impact in the city; will instinctually find something else that’s new and make their own underground. Like when this comes to the foreground, there will be already something else in the works that is creating a new underground. I think that’s how it’s always been.  It’s just we’re in this generation now.

PULP So you are kind of just keeping the cycle going?
VT Who knows what the next cycle will be influenced by, you know? But right now we are very much in it and a lot of people in the city are as well. What’s kind of trippy is the whole thing where Toronto is voted one of the most youthful cities in the world. I think the city will take care of itself – it’s already on the right path.

PULP The mix-tape can be described as the soundtrack to the coming of the minds after-dark, after-hours. What do you think of those creative interactions versus the ones you have, let’s say, during a 9-5?
VT I feel there’s an apparent presence of energy and creativity involved when there’s a coming of the minds like that. Compared to a 9-5, where there’s a lot of conscious thought process. So I think it comes down to feeling… I can’t find a way to describe it.
GM I feel like the nighttime is spontaneous. So it comes down to routine vs. spontaneity.

PULP What does this project mean to you personally?
VT Outlet for sanity.
GM Yea, the whole project is a huge creative outlet. It helps maintain our sanity when we have client projects that aren’t necessarily the most creative. This helps us maintain our creative thoughts. To me, if it helps with the growth of bringing any attention to the city, it means a lot to me, and to us. Just contributing to the energy of the city, which is something that we think is important.
VT And when we say that to people, there is no denying that we really fucking mean it right. With anything, any idea that someone comes up with, just so long as it comes from the right place, if it’s genuine and transparent in a sense. There’s no knocking that, right? Which is why I think there has been no negative feedback, everyone feels it.

PULP Where do you derive daily inspiration?
VT I would say it’s synonymous to why we started Kid. Our name was derived from shared nostalgia, a lot of shit that we grew up wanting and aspiring to be.
GM I mean our name says it all. We are influenced by the past and our relationships with the people of the city.
VT And the constant progression of the city, the ever-changing emotion of what the city means to us. And family, always family first.
GM We try to approach all our projects with a mind state of a child. Meaning the thought process is really pure. There’s not much outside influence as when you are creating like a child. It’s just what’s happening in the moment.
VT Usually the best things come out of accidents but the only way to get into accidents is by trial and error. It’s more of an organic thing. And yea, we’ll see what happens. We’ll see where the city takes us.

“God Bless Toronto. A project that represents the nocturnal underground life of the city. When it’s so late that it’s early, inside of a basement or a loft that you have to enter through an exit… Toronto’s creatives, hustlers, artists, tastemakers, users, insomniacs gather, give thanks and indulge in music, habits and hugs. It’s these peculiar moments in unexpected locations at ungodly hours where inspiration is indirectly conceived. It is the obligation of the like-minded to protect and nurture these moments.”

- Words and Interview by Elaine Regio

Photography by Paolo Azarraga
Opener: Glenn wears Acne sweater at Nomad and Topman t-shirt
Vince wears Topman denim jacket
Portrait: Glenn wears Acne sweater at Nomad, Topman t-shirt and Persol sunglasses at Spectacle
Vince wears Topman denim jacket

godblesstoronto.com