Collaborative trio featuring members of Mery Steel taps into R&B, jazz and life-tearing sadness on debut EP

The way Max Platitsyn remembers it, he was sitting on Charlie Trust’s porch toward the end of 2017 when the two friends decided they should make music that was “emotional.”

“I've wanted to start an R&B project for a really long time,” said Platitsyn, a multi-instrumentalist, producer and beat-maker who joined up with vocalist Trust to launch Stellar Trust.

“I hadn't done anything musically that really represented how I felt about the relationships that I'd been in,” Trust said. “My lyrics used to revolve around more political things. [Stellar Trust] is really just a way for me to connect to the other side of things that I have deep feelings about. And Max was just ready for R&B.”

The band became a trio when co-writer Ryan Stolte-Sawa/Mery Steel (who plays with Platitsyn in the 2020 Band to Watch) joined on bass and backing vocals. Today (Friday, May 8) Stellar Trust is issuing its first release, Too Late, a silky-smooth, six-track EP that documents the band’s progression from those early R&B concepts into an amalgam of Wurlitzer jazz and vaporwave beats with electro-pop and hip-hop flourishes.

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“As we started to write, a lot of those ’70s R&B influences fused naturally with more of the indie-rock stuff that we used to play in our previous bands,” said Platitsyn, who mans the keys and the computer in Stellar Trust (Glenn Davis also produced track “Goin’ Somewhere” and mastered the EP).

The introspective, emotional aspect of Stellar Trust has remained a through line, with Trust digging into his relationships and unearthing a raw vulnerability. Or, as Trust put it: “I'm a sad, sappy sack of shit. … My life is just tearing me apart.”

After the EP’s first track, a strange interlude cuts in over top of an old blues song as the voice of an unknown man shouts and berates someone. “We actually went back and forth on whether we should include it, because it's kind of a triggering track. There's a lot of yelling,” Platitsyn said. “It's a sample of David O. Russell popping off on Lily Tomlin on the set of ‘I Heart Huckabees.’ ... I really like it, because the whole time Lily Tomlin is just laughing at him while he is exploding and projecting so hard. He's calling her a baby; meanwhile, he's not able to control his emotions on set in front of everybody.”

“The reason why I ended up being OK with it is because I had been in two back-to-back relationships where I would get in explosive fights with these women over nothing after drinking,” Trust said. “And at the end of the day, it just seemed honest in the way that I wanted the EP to be, so that's why I signed off on it. Because that's the kind of f***ing idiot I sounded like.”

“It was kind of weird for me to pitch that, because it's almost an indirect allusion to what I had seen, and that can be uncomfortable,” Platitsyn said. “But at the same time, since we are collaborating on this, these are the kinds of things that we should address together.”