London Cyr is a prolific Toronto producer who was born in Vancouver, BC. Not to be confused for an acronym, “Cyr” is his real last name. An eclectic producer, London adds a new sound to the game. “I like more psychedelic sounds, even if it’s sampled from something from the 6os, the 70s, a guitar sound, or something like that. As long as it sounds euphoric, psychedelic, and the drums slap and hit hard. That’s my shit.”
Cyr says his upbringing was “pretty regular,” while reflecting on loosing his dad at the young age of 6. “The place where I’m from, a lot of people didn’t really experience that kind of stuff at that age,” he explains.
The young producer started making beats when he was 14, after receiving words of encouragement from a friend that was in a band. Cyr’s first project was a beat tape that he made in grade 9. The producer started using Logic Pro 9 and didn’t shop his beats again until after high school. “I was still producing, but I started to engineer more,” he relays.
London met one of Toronto’s top rappers Killy, back when the two where in middle school. “Him and his boy Sega were the only other people in our area that were making music. Killy would come to my crib and record a one, two time.”
After completing high school, London Cyr and his friends started to think about how they were going to make a living. “I was originally going to go into journalism, but then I didn’t get accepted to school. I was like, ‘What am I going to do?’ Then I remembered I was pretty good at making beats.”
After having a conversation with Killy, the two friends decided to give music a try. Cyr got into post-secondary school in the UK for sound engineering while keeping a close relationship with Killy. “We started making music. He was like, ‘Yo, Ima’ go try to do it serious in Toronto and then you do it in London. And when your done in London, come link up in Toronto.’” Cyr finished school within a year with aspirations of jumping into the game right away and went on to engineer for Killy – mastering his entire first project, Surrender Your Soul. He then produced the intro for Killy’s 2018 EP, KILLSTREAK and became the tour DJ for Killy’s entire 2018 North American tour.
London Cyr has since worked with many of Toronto’s most successful upcoming artists – including Pressa, Lil Berete, Smoke Dawg, Killy, CMDWN, 88GLAM and new Toronto artist Jugger. Cyr describes meeting and working with recently passed Toronto artist Smoke Dawg as a fond memory and amazing experience. Together they made three songs including “LLSD” from Smoke Dawg’s 2018 posthumous album, Struggle Before Glory. On linking up with the Toronto rapper, London explains:
“I always was a fan of his music. I always listened to his music even before I started working with him. He was one of the first Toronto rappers I fucked with. I started meeting him at shows and stuff with Killy – talking to him every time and just becoming friends with him. Eventually he was like, ‘Yo, we gotta get in,’ so his manager set it up. He set it up this week, last year. Rest in peace to that guy, great soul.”
London Cyr also had the opportunity to meet well-respected Toronto producer Wondagurl through their mutual friend Smooth Dollaz. Wondagurl was also on Killy’s North American tour, and the two became friends before making music together. Cyr explains that he would make samples and then collaborate with Wondagurl to turn it into a complete instrumental. “That’s what I did on “Can’t Say,” that guitar part. That slow guitar that plays throughout the entire song from the beginning. I’ll make something like that and send it to her. She would throw drums on it, spice it up a little bit, and send it to the artist.”
The single he references is “Can’t Say” from Travis Scott’s 2018 album, Astroworld. “One day Wonda told me to come to the studio. I gave her a sample and she just made a beat out of the sample. When she finished the beat she said, ‘I’m going to Hawaii tomorrow to work on Astroworld.’ We were friends and we were close, but I didn’t know that she was going to play one of the beats I made for Travis.” After Travis Scott’s artist Don Toliver added some finishing touches to the beat, Travis recorded over it and put the song on his album. Astroworld would go on to be a Grammy-nominated album.
The producer says that working with Travis was always a goal of his, and that his end goal has since changed. “When I first started I just wanted placements with these artists, and I wanted the people around me to go up. And when that started to happen…now I just want to create vibes for these artists, push a new sound.” he explains.
London Cyr’s future does not seem to have a ceiling. “I got a song with Jaden Smith that apparently is releasing. Everything since the Travis thing has been going well.” Cyr explains that he has some business ventures in the work and hundreds of unreleased songs ready to be released.
The Toronto producer finishes with some advice for people working in the industry and pursuing a career in music. “You’ve got to surround yourself with solid people and people that you actually trust. You can’t give a lot of people the benefit of the doubt in the music industry. You got to know who you are surrounded by, because that will make or break you.”
Photography by Jordon Bailey