Hot Tramp Records

Alicia Clara, Maryze, Janette King, Sarah Armiento. Photo by Solomon Krause-Imlach

Introducing Hot Tramp Records

An interview with the head of the Montreal label and its artists Janette King and Maryze.

It’s been a big year and a half for Hot Tramp.

The Montreal music management and PR company, which manages women and non-binary artists exclusively, launched in March of 2019 and mounted its own mini-festival last August. After being stymied by the COVID-19 lockdown this year like nearly everyone else (in one way or another), Hot Tramp founder Sarah Armiento decided to shift her focus to a back-burner project that’s become a bit of a pandemic pivot.

“One of the things I was most focused on (previously) was booking tours and showcasing at festivals,” Armiento explains. “We had a lot of that set up for this year but then obviously things changed. That’s the side of the music industry that I love so much and look forward to getting into again. Now it’s more about finding other ways to get my artists’ music heard.

“A label was always something I wanted to do eventually with Hot Tramp, and with the pandemic it made sense to jump on that a bit sooner.”

After Armiento joined forces with Canadian distributor Outside Music, Hot Tramp Records arrived. There will be three albums released over the next year, by Hot Tramp Management artists Maryze and Janette King as well as Alicia Clara, who Armiento was going to bring onboard for management when she discovered her music in January.

When asked about how the pandemic has affected them, both Maryze and Janette King reported that lockdown came with benefits as well as let-downs.

“In terms of cancelling the year’s plans, it was pretty disappointing considering what we had set up that we were so excited for: a U.S. tour and some European dates,” says Maryze. “Then it became, ‘What can we do with this time? How can we use it creatively?’ If I had kept going at the pace I was going at, and we were going 1,000 miles a minute, I wouldn’t have really been able to centre on the music I wanted to make. Creatively it’s been a pretty great time. Now, moving into the fall, the label launch has been a huge beacon of light because it feels like we’re actually moving forward.”

“I dug deeper into production,” says King. “In my life, things always roll around in seasons, regardless of whether it’s music or other things. When the fall and winter months come around, that’s really my time to dive into creativity mode, and the pandemic kind of made my creativity mode last for a whole year. I have a backlog of all this music now. Having to slow down can be really positive if you take it in stride and take it on. You can grow a lot from it and you can learn a lot about who you are as an artist and who you are as a person.”

Hot Tramp Records
Hot Tramp Records, Cult MTL Sept. 2020. Photo by Solomon Krause-Imlach

As for Hot Tramp plans for the near future, they will be involved with the POP Montreal and M for Montreal music festivals, a video for Janette King’s new single “Mars” is forthcoming, the venue they’re affiliated with, the Diving Bell Social Club, is having a soft reopening on Sept. 12 and Maryze has a new collab coming soon.

“I’m finishing up a spooky-season single right now that’ll be released in October, and it’s a collaboration with Backxwash,” Maryze says. “I’m so excited! She and I played quite a few shows together and our energy has always lined up in a nice way so I can’t wait to hear how it all comes together. Margo is a producer on that track, and she’s a really fantastic local underground ravey producer.”

Maryze also had a few words of praise for Armiento and the work she’s done for local women musicians.

“I think for all of us it’s a dream to be signing to a label that has its artists’ best interests at heart. We know exactly who we’re working with and what she stands for, which means a lot in an industry that’s confusing to navigate, and often led by gatekeepers who don’t use that power for good.” ■

This feature was originally published in the September issue of Cult MTL. Janette King and Maryze will perform as part of a Hot Tramp Records showcase at POP Montreal on Thursday, Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m., secret location, $10 at the door. For more about Hot Tramp Records, please visit the label’s website.

For more Montreal music coverage, please visit our Music section.