On the heels of success in major junior hockey and then business school, RAC alum Credless is embracing his purpose as a meticulous beatmaker in the hip-hop scene. Together with Houston rap group New Nation, his latest release “Missiles” pays tribute to the journey that built him and sets a confident pace for what’s to come.
Favourite “I’m in a session” meal:
Pizza (need napkins though or this is a no-go)
Best way to get in the zone:
Watching music videos in the same style of music that you’re trying to make!
Your best trait as a producer:
“If God’s got us then we gon’ be alright” – Kendrick Lamar
Many creatives will tell you that their greatest accomplishments came from taking chances, from believing in a dream with just enough conviction to completely transform their reality. This is the story of Winnipeg’s Garrett Armour, better known as Credless – in just a few years’ time, this passionate hip-hop producer and engineer has taken his aspirations to another level and crafted a portfolio worth celebrating.
Influenced by the distinctive trap stylings of Travis Scott and Metro Boomin, Credless continues to pave his way in the industry with an enthusiastic hunger for collaboration and education. On his latest release “Missiles”, Credless teams up with Houston’s New Nation to deliver an energetic earworm fit to get any party started.
We connected with the ambitious beatmaker days before the release of “Missiles” to reflect on his road to creative freedom and get a taste of his next big moves.
RAC: Hi there Credless, thank you for taking the time to chat with RAC! To get started, tell us more about your roots. What was your relationship with music like in your early years?
Credless: Growing up in Winnipeg for me meant being a hockey player from day one. I started skating and playing at a young age, and it became a really big part of who I was. In grade 12, at the age of 17, I moved away from home to play for the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL. I spent a full year there, before getting traded to the Brandon Wheat Kings the following year and winning the league championship with them in 2016!
Fast forward a couple years, I ended up at the University of Manitoba working through a business degree and playing for the team there as well. After 3 years of business school, COVID-19 hit, leaving us in quarantine. It was during this time that I realized I truly didn’t enjoy the path I was taking in school – it didn’t give me the same joy and drive as it did when I had started, I knew the path I was on and the things I was being taught weren’t the things I truly was going to do for the rest of my life. I had always loved music, and had been making beats as a hobby for about a year at this time – I decided I wanted to back my love for music with some professional-level education.
RAC: Which artists have influenced you the most over time? What is it about their craft that captivates you?
Credless: My major influences have definitely been Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott and Metro Boomin. The way that both Travis and Kendrick use their lyrics, vocals, effects and their choice of beat to convey their sound is truly a work of art. They are both such different artists, but they always seemed to grab my attention and make the song feel like an experience.
I have studied Travis and his main producer Mike Dean very closely; the way he uses his vocal effects and his musical choices seems to completely fill up their sound, yet every single detail is clear, precise and perfectly placed. As a listener (before going to RAC), that was always something that was addicting to me: hearing these massive productions and listening to the background details. I didn’t know how on Earth these things were happening, but I could decipher the different layers and rhythms in the song. The “not knowing” part is what truly led me to pursue music at a higher level.
Metro Boomin had the same effect on me – I couldn’t understand how his beats could sound so simple, yet be so complex and, overall, perfect. His album Without Warning had me obsessed! Every sound, beat and rhythm he chose was different, but it fit with the entire sound of the album. Simple yet complex, and I needed to figure it out!
RAC: When did you first realize that music production was something that you wanted to pursue? How did you decide to follow your dreams?
Credless: My best friend and I had always fantasized about being famous musicians, living the lives of the people we listened to on a daily basis – yet neither of us had a musical bone in our body.
One day, he decided to just get up and leave for LA; he was going to follow his dream of being a rapper. About a week into his trip, I was sitting at home doing a business assignment, and it was like something clicked! I needed to help him. I knew I couldn’t be a rapper, but I could make his beats!
That night I downloaded FL Studio, got onto Youtube and made a terrible beat. From that moment on, I reached out to some people who taught me how to use FL Studio and how to properly make a beat. It was always a dream of mine, but being a business school student and hockey player at the time was definitely the main priority. My friend leaving for LA was the true start to me pursuing my dreams in music!
RAC: Can you elaborate on your transition from studying business to music production? Which advantages do you feel that that gave you, and how does your education in business guide your craft today?
Credless: Going to business school was a huge stepping stone and one that I’m very grateful I did. It taught me how the world truly works, which I really did not know about before. It also made me very comfortable in the “postsecondary” world. I felt right at home being in the classroom at RAC; I feel it helped me tackle projects, presentations, and just being able to handle the workload overall.
It was also a huge breath of fresh air to be excited about class everyday, knowing that I’m learning skills and techniques that I actually want to learn about, and things that I will use in my future career. My business background helps me see music as a job as well as a hobby. I understand how the world works from a business standpoint, and learning music second made me treat it as I would if I were to be starting a company! I really do believe learning business went hand in hand with music, as the industry today is so big and saturated you have to be able to see things from the bigger picture. Having the ability to understand modern-day business, as well as how to network and market, is very valuable when trying to turn music into a career.
RAC: You’re about to drop “Missiles”, a single with producer and fellow RAC alum EVK. Describe the sounds of this project, and walk us through the collaborative process you shared.
Credless: The sound of “Missiles” is very modern trap mixed with classic rhythmic delivery in the vocals. The track gives the sense and feel of an OG rap group from Houston. The sound and grit of the New Nation team is different from the modern day genre, and they do it on a very modern day-sounding beat. They carry more meaning in their rhymes, rather than the repetitive “mumble” sound that we have become so accustomed to hearing. A bouncy beat with an OG set of lyricism on top makes “Missiles” a banger and a classic at the same time. The story told is how New Nation is COMING, and this upbeat track is the perfect start to their rise.
I created the beat for “Missiles” one day after class in Toronto. I had just bought a VI that specialized in orchestral strings and it seemed to really motivate me! After the beat was completed, I knew I wanted to add a special touch on the intro, so I actually took the sound clip of one of my hockey fights from Brandon in 2016!
I put the sound clip at the beginning and it fit perfectly, adding that bite and intensity to the song before the beat dropped. I biked over to Luis’s house in the snow the next day and showed him my creation. He immediately asked if he could send it to his rap group back home, New Nation – EVK is the group’s producer/engineer.
His crew loved it and started writing it that day! Fast forward a couple months, and the recording and mix was done, it was sent back to myself to master! Now we have “Missiles”: a single from New Nation, produced and mastered by Credless, mixed by EVK. The first of many collabs between us two RAC grads.
RAC: Tell us more about your mentors in the industry. Who is it that inspires you, and how do they move you forward?
Credless: My mentors would include: my professor from RAC, Steve Kharouba; my two beat-making mentors 808 and Wxxa; and my engineering mentor Nick Tello.
Steve was an awesome teacher and friend at school, I believe he had the biggest impact on me over my time at RAC. He is an amazing engineer and a truly professional teacher. I owe a lot of my success and passion for engineering to Steve!
Wxxa and 808 both have taken me from a bedroom Youtube tutorial producer to a high-level, respectable trap producer. They both have shown me how to get that sound and how to always stay up and ahead of the times. 808 is a multi-time Billboard-charting producer, and he inspires me everyday because his example goes to show that hard work and dedication can pay off, no matter where you’re from. We have had two collabs that have been released with an up-and-coming artist from Texas, G9godson aka “Genodaboss”.
Nick Tello was someone I sought out after school; I felt comfortable and happy with my skills, but I wasn’t totally ready to sit down with a major artist one-on-one and tackle their whole project in a smooth and efficient manner. I needed to sharpen the mass amount of skills that I had just acquired from RAC. Nick has taken me from a student to a professional, and I wouldn’t be able to truly say that I’m an audio engineer without his help.
RAC: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your craft?
Credless: My biggest obstacle has been patience. Once I left school, I thought I would have a massive amount of opportunities and placements ahead of me, but having the education only meant that, now, the real work was coming. I still haven’t even scratched the surface of what I want to do before I can truly feel that I have accomplished my personal goals in music. I had to learn that these things happen over time, and the best way to accomplish your goals is to work at it every single day. Stay patient and work hard.
RAC: What are your goals as a producer? What kind of impact do you hope to make in the music industry?
Credless: My goal as a producer is to eventually chart on Billboard. I want to own my own studio one day, and hopefully live in a place that’s a little warmer than Winnipeg! I want to leave my own sound on the music industry: the way that one can think “oh, that’s a Metro beat”, I want that to be said about a Credless beat!
RAC: Thanks for your time, Credless! Tell us what’s up for you in the new year.
Credless: In the new year I plan to elevate my engineering skills and have a catalogue of published tracks. I also plan to start and actively post to a “type-beat” style YouTube account, which will go hand in hand with regular posts to my Beatstars page. Along with personally working on my craft, I want to continue to chase and land more placement opportunities in efforts to build my brand and reputation in the hip-hop community! I hope to move back to Toronto in the new year, as well and continue to network and build on the relationships I’ve started. 2022 will be another stepping stone for myself on the path to make music my full time career!
Written by Rebecca Judd
Illustration by Malaika Astorga