“I guess what makes our new songs better is the fact that we’re much more comfortable with our vision, and feel like we have solid grounds to grow from.”
Gab, one of the members of Heartstreets, said this. Going through the hip-hop duo’s old videos proves her right. Some of the earlier ones are a bit rough around the edges, and the performers seem a bit uncertain. Heartstreets overcame the learning curve quickly, though. Their more recent videos are as professional and on-point as their music, and their content is just as diverse. “Under my Skin” mixes footage of girls at a gymnastics event with goofy, charming clips of people dancing in their living rooms and hallways. It’s as homey and honest as the lyrics in the jazzy song about self-love. “Not Around,” a track influenced heavily by house music, has a hypnotic video showing people partying in a foreign city—trust me, it’s nowhere near as cliché as it sounds. (Think of someone break-dancing with a firecracker in his mouth, and now, footage of a monkey jumping and two children boxing each other in a ring).
24Our Music had the luck to chat with these two artists and get some insight into how they catapulted themselves to the forefront of Montreal’s underground hip-hop scene.
24Our Music: What strengths do each of you bring to Heartstreets, and how do you balance this out amongst each other?
Emma: I love writing to music. I feel like this is one of the strong elements I bring to the project.
Gab: I would say my voice is my strength 100%. For the past 5-6 years, Emma and her talent in writing has helped me develop my ability to write some of my own lyrics as well.
24Our Music: What are the hardships of working as a duo?
Emma: We were friends before anything and have been for maybe 14 years now so we know each other really well. We’re like soul sisters, which might sound tacky but it’s the truth. We don’t fight, we might get annoyed at each other like any humans that spend a lot of time together do, but it’s never serious. I think if anything, working as a duo is a plus, in the sense that we’ve always got each other’s back, we never really feel alone in this world.
Gab: Since Emma and I have known each other for a long time, we share a complicity that really complements the whole project. It’s so nice to able to bounce ideas off each other.
24Our Music: Your song “Not Around” seems to have house music influences, and “Under My Skin” is really jazzy. Your songs are really diverse. Who are the artists that inspire your music and impact your work as music artists yourselves?
Gab: I Iove so many artists, I couldn’t pick one. I think it’s mostly about the 90s hip-hop and housey vibe that we grew up with mixed with a bunch of today’s good sounds. Artists of all kinds inspire us every day.
Emma: Our songs are diverse because our taste is diverse. I like to listen some deep and sad old blues just as much as I enjoy trappy beats with non-sensical lyrics. It depends on the mood. I think it’s important as artists to define the type of sound you like to create but to never limit yourself to only that. Music is flexible.
24Our Music: You explain that one of your sources of inspiration for “Under My Skin” was a project designed to help young women with eating disorders explore the concept of beauty. What are some other overarching themes that you explore in your music?
Gab: We’ve always been storytellers through our music. We like to create a world that our fans can enjoy as much as we do. We’re both close to who we are and feel very strong about our emotions. On a day to day journey, it’s easy to feel all sorts of emotions and we like our fans to be able to relate to our stories and thoughts.
Emma: Human emotions and the struggle to accept them is definitely a theme that is always present in our music.
24Our Music: “Crawling South” is one of your best songs to date. What components of the song (and video) do you think are improvements on your past work?
Emma: The more you do something, the better you get at it. With the content of the song, the way you write it, the way you perform it . . . We also had our good friend Boule write this song with us, he also made the beat. It was a really fun process.
Gab: I think the more we make music the more we discover the sound of Heartstreets, and “Crawling South” is just a new beginning for us. It’s a good friend of ours, Charlotte Ratel, who directed the music video and as her first clip, she definitely got the vibe we were going for. I guess what makes our new songs better is the fact that we’re much more comfortable with our vision, and feel like we have solid grounds to grow from.
How will you be raising the bar for your next releases?
Gab: We have an entire EP we’ve been working on for a while now that is going to be raising the bar compared to everything we have released in the past. We’re very excited to unleash this to the world, and we’re pretty sure people are going to dig this as much as we do.
24Our Music: You have an EP set to release at the end of April. How long have you been working on this?
Emma: We initially planned for an album to be released, but it’s shifted its way into becoming an EP instead. We feel like a lot of people around the world still have not heard about Heartstreets, so we’re excited to be reaching these people with our EP. We’ve probably been working on some of the songs for a couple years now but some are very very new, like one we just finished yesterday.
24Our Music: Who are some Montreal-based rappers you’d like to collaborate with?
Gab: Gabe Nandez (who we’ve performed with in the past) is a rapper I would love to collaborate with, but otherwise I would really like to work with some producers in the likes of Kaytranada or Pomo.
Emma: CJ FLEMINGS <3
24Our Music: If you had any advice to give to any up and coming artists reading this now, what would it be?
Gab: DONT’ GIVE UP! Because it’s gonna get hard and you will be disappointed at times, but if this is truly your passion, it’ll all be worth the hard work you put in.
Emma: Perseverance. Keep going at it until you feel like you’re onto something.
24Our Music: What can we expect from Heartstreets this summer?
Gab: You can expect some dope beats and music videos from your girls!
Emma: Ah and so much more!
Get hyped for Heartstreet’s upcoming E.P. by watching some of their videos!