Interview by Jibril Osman
Louis-Phillipe Celestin, better known professionally as Lou Phelps is a Canadian rapper and producer from Saint-Hubert, Quebec. Phelps started his career as Louie P in the group, The Celestics with his brother Kaytranada. Together they have released two projects, but alone, they have both carved their own lane. After changing his name to Lou Phelps, Phelps released his Juno nominated debut album, “Experiments,” and recently has released the follow-up called, “Love Me.” And before his show at the Drake Hotel on November 10th, I got to sit down and chat with him about his early upbringing, working with his brother, making a name for himself, his discography and the current tour.
So, I know you grew up in St. Hubert, Quebec, can you tell me what it was like growing up there and what the music scene was like?
Basically, growing up in Saint-Hubert was pretty boring because there was nothing to do and I don’t think there was any music scene. It was just me and my brother making beats and like rapping and stuff like that and like everybody that was rapping was sort of like not taking it seriously. So, it was kind of, it was kind of wack. And then when we branched out and went to Montreal, everything changed and we found like a new way to like explore our music and make sure that you know stuff was happening.
How old were you in Saint-Hubert from the time you eventually moved to Montreal?
I’m still in Saint-Hubert now, I still live there. I still live at my moms and I’m going to move out soon. With the Montreal scene, like I feel like I don’t think I need to be in like in there or you know, I don’t have a need to be in in the city. So, I’m good with like the suburbs, you like staying away from all the madness, the energy and all that.
Oh okay, now I know you feel at home in Saint-Hubert, but with Montreal having such a big music scene and there being a lot of things going on, do you see it as home as well?
Yeah, I mean since I go on tour a lot, like I see when I come back to Montreal, it always feels like home. Just basically I got on tour a lot, I see other scenes and all that and It makes me miss my place, like Montreal is like a home when it comes to artistry, but where I always live and where my family is that is basically home for me but for art stuff and you know, basically exporting art and all that Montreal is the place to be for me.
Yeah for sure and who was your early musical influences? Like growing up with your brother, were you guys in tune with the same kind of music or were you guys different in terms of what you guys were listening to?
Yeah, we listen to the same type of music, like we did have some sort of variations, but you know, like I would listen to some Soulja Boy, he would hate Soulja Boy, but in the end, we would still meet at like the J Dilla’s and the Mad villains and all of that.
And when you guys came together as a duo to make music, was it like an organic thing?
Yeah cause It’s like we always love the same music, like me and Kay are like twins. So, like anything we do, there’s some sort of, there’s some sort of like connection, like we meet each other somehow some way.
Yeah, so how long did it take for you guys to think of your own name for the group as your last name?
Yeah, well we used to be like because we always had fantasies of being rappers and being like in the music industry since we were young and our first name was the Fresh Brothers and then we called ourselves the God monsters and then like, it is what it is now.
So that takes us to now, the last time you guys released a project together was in 2014. Is it at a point now where you guys are just working on things separately or are you thinking of doing a new project together?
We definitely think about it, but I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon. I feel like when I get to the level where people don’t know that kay is my brother then it’s going to have a much bigger impact than if we just drop a mixtape right now.
So, for you, when did you come to the realization of just wanting to branch out and not be under kind of this kind of shadow of your brother?
So that happened when kay told me, like the press was always like mentioning that Kaytranada’s brother makes music too and it’s great. And it’s cool, but if you don’t mention my name never yeah, it’s not as cool, it hurts your ego at some point. So, I always like alright I’m going to take a hiatus and focus on bettering myself and that I’m able to hold my own and then maybe we’ll go back to what we used to do. But yeah, kay basically was the one who told me like you should do your thing and like meet up with me later. You know what I mean?
Yeah I do, now talking about your first album, can you tell me about the process behind that one? And of course, it garnered you a Juno nomination, so that must have been special.
So, basically the album, I took some time off from rapping and I was like, you know what I need to drop something because I want to, I think I have potential to do something good and great but for Canada, and even for the world. So, I just like, I just worked on a couple tracks, you know went back into like album mode and then I put it out and submitted for the Junos and then I got nominated. Everything was great. That’s pretty much it, man. Like there’s no real meaning behind “Experiments.” “Experiment,” was pretty much an experiment, you know?
And did you immediately start working on this new album because it came out just a year after experiments?
Like a few months after I made experiments, I made “Love Me,” within like one year of experiments, it took me like six months to make “Love Me.” So, it wasn’t that hard because I was really in a bad state of mind at the time and that’s when the arts the best, you know like when you’re feeling emotional and all that it’s best. But yeah man, I didn’t go right away though, I took a little bit of time off and I did my shit and made it happen.
And now when it comes to performing songs, how has it been performing these songs for the past couple of years and being on tour right now? Has being on the stage been something you’re used to or is it something you’re still getting better at?
At first, I’m a performer before anything. So, like every time I perform, every time I’m on stage like, I feel like I’m in my element, you know. So yeah man, like it’s easy to me now, like I used to be scared at some point. But I remember the first time I got on the stage and I rapped, it was for a karaoke show and I was rapping A Tribe Called Quest and it was great. So I mean I took that element and then flipped it and used it on my own tracks. I love my performances. I love my stage presence, I feel like I look good when I’m on stage and I feel good when I’m on stage.
So, now has the tour been so far?
The tour’s been good man, not as many people as I thought it would be, but the thing is the people that were there were real fans and that’s what I appreciate about. You know, it’s always like people dancing people and it would be kind of be fake to have a sold out tour when I don’t even have a hit single yet.
So, back to the new record in terms of features on the album, can you talk about that and why you decided to put these artists on the album?
I mean everybody on my album right now are people that I have known for a long time, except for Jahkoy, I just met him a couple of months ago. He’s a great guy, everybody I work with, I have to connect with them on a personal level because, I don’t know if it’s not organic, if you don’t like that person, it won’t sound perfect. And Jazz Cartier, I knew him before he even blew up in Toronto or even around the world and I was like yo, we got to get into the studio and when we got into the studio, we made “Come inside” and it was great. What else, pony who is from way back in the day, like he used to be an MC at these, like at these parties, like underground parties and it was great man, like just connecting with a homie that used to be there from time.
And lastly, for your family, it must be really cool to see you and your brother doing music together and doing well, how have they viewed both of you progressing with your careers?
All my mom was waiting for was pretty much was for me to do my thing and me to branch out and do my own thing and for me to blow up on my own. And then once me and Kay were together, like me and Kay always work together, but you know, It’s just like being an artist and being a rapper, a successful rapper is like one in a million, you know, but when both of your sons are one in a million, you know, it’s a crazy vibe, it’s great.