Takis is an artist that brings people together. You could refer to him as a spark plug of sorts, a motivator, someone who inspires. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native thrives on merging stylistically different artists who would most likely never have the opportunity to collaborate. Take his recently released single, “Wait For Me,” for instance. The song is a team effort between Takis, fellow Manitoban Goody Grace, and Toronto-based rapper Tory Lanez, and it’s a first look at what’s to come on Takis’ Welcome Home project, a collection of songs built around his talents for storytelling and his relationship with his hometown.
His relatable backstory and his conflicted feelings towards Winnipeg provide the backbone to Welcome Home and within this conflict, he unexpectedly found common ground with the other artists he was collaborating with. It’s a story that seemed like his own, but when he got to know the backstories of his fellow artists, he soon realized that everyone has their own mixed feelings about where they came from. Takis hopes that Welcome Home can provide a place of acceptance for others who may be experiencing their own inner conflict about who they are and where they came from.
We recently spoke to Takis to further discuss his new hit single “Wait For Me,” the Welcome Home project, how he came to know Tory Lanez, and his early years coming up as a DJ.
You have quite a successful single on your hands with the recently released “Wait For Me,” featuring Goody Grace and Tory Lanez. How did this collaboration initially materialize?
Takis: “First off, thank you, I’m just happy everyone has been enjoying the record so far. The messages I’ve been receiving showing support has been overwhelming. When I started thinking about my upcoming project Welcome Home I thought about trying to make every song have some sort of unlikely collaboration, you know? I never want one of my records to be predictable, people are getting bored of the obvious collaborations, I wanted to avoid that. With that philosophy in mind I thought about Goody Grace, a pop-punk artist that’s fresh off his recent collaboration with Blink-182. Then came Troy Lanez, an incredibly talented rapper and singer. Both Goody and Tory on a pop-dance song make zero ‘sense’ on paper and that’s what inspired me to bring them both together.”
How did you all go about writing and recording the song? Was it all done remotely, exchanging parts back and forth, or were you somehow able to get together in a studio?
“Goody and I know each other so well that after only a few quick phone conversations the story, the sonics and the first demo was done like that. We’ve always been on the same page so working remotely back and forth was as easy. Certainly way easier than working with someone new in-person for the first time. With Tory, we ended up linking up in Toronto. I explained my project’s concept, my friendship with Goody Grace and how I imagined he would flow for his verse. Thankfully we recorded his parts in only a few hours and the base of the record was done after that session.”
How efficient was the writing, recording and producing process for “Wait For Me?” Is this a track that came together quickly or did it take a while to get it right?
“This song came together quickly. Personally, if the version one or two of a song isn’t effortless I get worried. Special moments, melodies, lines, whatever either happen with ease or they don’t feel special to me. Luckily after some quick calls with Goody, the first version was done in a day or two. And my session with Tory was maybe four hours, mostly just us talking because he cut his verse in like 45 minutes. The total time ‘worked’ on the music for ‘Wait For Me’ was like a week.”
Tell us about your Welcome Home project. What is it going to consist of and what can we expect from it?
“Welcome Home started as my story and was used as a form of therapy for me to find peace and acceptance. The day I started making music I had a confusing love/hate relationship with my hometown that I couldn’t seem to shake. The powerful nostalgia from past relationships, the magnetic pull to never leave, and stay in comfort. But also my urge to explore, my ambition to make a name for myself, and my obsession to make my hometown proud. But to be honest, initially, this story was selfishly mine but when collaborating and working with other artists they all had their own stories about where they grew up and I quickly realized that everybody wants to become their own person and explore.
Every one of us feels this tension and shares a complicated relationship with where they grew up or with their families. Especially in childhood, these experiences molded us and will forever be ingrained in our deepest memories. What started out as my story growing up in a small town and seeking acceptance, became all of our stories and the reflection of our earliest memories.”
Goody Grace isn’t just a collaborator of yours; he’s a long-time friend who grew up just around the corner from you. At what age did you guys meet and who were some of the artists that you initially bonded over?
“Goody Grace and I have been friends for a decade. We both grew up in Manitoba, Canada and we didn’t have many artist friends so we became very close. When it comes to Goody I’m not only his #1 fan musically but he’s stayed the same guy from our little hometown shows with 20 people in attendance all the way to his late night TV appearances with legends. Goody is a rare person in the music industry, and we’re always going to remain friends first. Making songs together is just an added bonus.”
Also included in “Wait For Me” is Toronto rapper Tory Lanez who’s had a real string of commercial success over the last couple of years. How did you come to know Tory? Have you known him for a while as well?
“I lived in Toronto for a while a few years ago and when you go out to a club or turn on the radio you couldn’t avoid hearing him 24/7. Especially in Toronto he’s a larger than life type of artist. I wouldn’t call Tory a close friend like I would for Goody, but he was a talented collaborator and I’m thankful that we made a great song together and that he completely trusted my creative vision for ‘Wait For Me’ start to finish.”
You’ve stated that you have conflicting feelings about your hometown with many things you love about it, and many things you dislike. What is it about Winnipeg that makes you feel conflicted? The people? The setting? The culture?
“The love/hate relationship I talk about surrounding my hometown comes from a million different angles. But these feelings aren’t uniquely mine, almost everyone has waves of nostalgia from their exs or are drawn to stay and never leave while also battling the pull to explore and become our own person in the world. The truth is that I love my hometown and hope to make other artists from home proud but trying to ‘make it’ as an artist while balancing those personal relationships can feel impossible at times.”
You’ve become quite a talented and well-respected DJ with your career in the industry beginning locally at small local clubs and venues. When did you know that you wanted to really pursue DJing as your livelihood?
“To be honest I didn’t think music could become a career for years. That why I loved it so much, coming from a small town you don’t think you can be a full-time artist so I didn’t stress or worry that I was making no money for years. I just loved making songs and playing shows, sharing vibes and giving people good energy. It wasn’t until I got to perform on the main dtage at EDC Mexico a few years ago when I looked out in the crowd and said ‘Wait, I think this my actual job now!’ That show changed my life.”
Tell us about what’s upcoming for you. What music do you have in the works and what collaborations can we expect to see you involved in?
“Wait For Me’ with Goody Grace and Tory Lanez is an honest first look at my upcoming project Welcome Home. I have so many songs I’ve been sitting on and so many collaborations with legends on my computer. The majority of the music for my project is done but it’s all about timing now. I’ve been saying this quote ‘patience and prayer all 2020’ and that’s truly my motto. I’m not in a rush anymore, when the time is right the next single will drop and when I feel like the fans are ready for my full project it’ll drop.
By the way, I’m a big fan of you blog and wanted to thank you guys for giving me a chance to share my story.”