Lunch With Tall Black Guy by Chris
September 15, 2014, 7:13 PM
Filed under: Interview, Lunch With | Tags: , ,

Lunch with Tall Black Guy had its issues at first- the main one being that it was 10:15am for him in the UK and 8:15pm for me in Australia and neither of those times are good for lunch. He assured me that even if it was lunch time, he had no food readily available anyway. But that’s ok right? I still got to sit down and chat to Terrel Wallace, somebody who has left an undeniable mark on the face of the hip-hop beats scene- won the prestigious Robert Glasper remix competition and is gearing up for a tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Tall Black Guy

FTR: When I got the call to interview you, I happened to be hanging out with some of the peeps who are opening for you at your Melbourne show- so I asked them if they had any questions. First up, Jackson Miles of Coco Noire wants to know where you got your name from?

TBG: Ah, well, I was in graphic design school- one of the assignments was that we had to create a company to represent ourselves. I was one of the few black students in my class, so to have more of a pro-black approach I decided to go with Tall Black Guy Productions, actually, before that I called it ‘Right On Productions’. I used to have this little guy with a fist and a pick and all that stuff but I changed it to ‘Tall Black Guy Productions’ and it stuck from there.

FTR: Well fair enough! Seeing you through the webcam- you are obviously black, but how tall are you?

TBG: (Laughs) I am a ‘guy’ too yes… I’m about 6′ 5″

FTR: Man that’s not that tall I’m about six five

TBG: (Laughs) It’s not that tall.

FTR: The next question is from Amin Payne, but before I ask- just on this note- have you peeped any of the Melbourne guys?

TBG: Actually Amin Payne I’ve conversated with him a few times, we’re friends on Facebook so yeah, I’ve heard of him before. And I also just got in tune with this other group called POLY, but they aren’t from Melbourne, they’re from… oh I’m trying to think of exactly where they are from… But anyway yeah, those are the only two from that way I think.

FTR: Cool, so Amin wanted to know, we’ve had a Hollywierd 1 and 2, will there be a third?

TBG: Nah, not really- those are more the experience that I had while I was in LA- I stayed in LA for about a year and a half- so I made that music in that place to capture my experience of being there so, I think that’d probably be it. For the next series what I’m trying to do is like, every-place that I live, create some type of media from that place. So when I went back home and stayed in Detroit, 8 Miles to Moenart that was the time capsule for that period of my life. Since I’m in the UK I’m definitely going to try and make a peice of music while I’m staying here as well, you know, at some point.

FTR: How would you say the London scene compares to Detroit or L.A? Are you more inspired? Is it totally different?

TBG: Well to be honest, with living in Detroit or LA I never really got out there as far as experiencing the scene of those two particular places so I can’t really comment. I have been to London for a few shows, I would say that the crowd is more diverse, it’s different types of people who come out- so that’s cool. When I was putting in the ground work while staying in Chicago, you had more or less artists coming to support the artists. There were fans, but it was mainly artists coming out to support the other artists, whereas over here, you actually have ‘fans’ and people from everywhere coming down to check out music so that’s pretty cool.

FTR: Oh! And I’ve been mistaken, I thought you were in London, but you are in a different part of the UK?

TBG: No, I’m outside of London- by train it’s like… two hours, driving is about three to four hours.

FTR: Oh snap! So what was behind the decision to move there from Detroit?

TBG: Detroit was not the best place to me at the time. It was very depressing. My wife is British, so it was one of those things… we actually just came over to visit, and her parents said you should explore the possibilities of trying to make something work over here, so we went through that whole protocol, it worked out for the better and we’ve been here almost three years now.

FTR: Cool- so it wasn’t a musically motivated decision?

TBG: No, at the time I knew at some point we would want to do it because my wife is from here, she had already been in the states for like six and a half years or something around there, so, you know, at the time I had never been outside of the United States except for once back in 2009 when I visited. Moving wasn’t even on my radar back then so when I did make the move I was like “this is the best. thing. ever!” (laughs)

FTR: Absolutely! Now another thing I want to know, break down your studio set-up for us; is it largely software based? Are you an analogue guy? How are you working on your productions?

TBG: I have a super duper limited set-up. I work with Sony Acid, a midi controller, and that’s it.

FTR: What controller are you using?

TBG: An M-Audio Keystation 61

FTR: So it’s apparent through your music that you are a jazz lover, you use a keyboard midi controller, and not long ago you put out a Grandmaster Flash flip in 6/8… Are you a musically trained guy? Or is it something that you just self taught and picked up?

TBG: Nah, just over the years listening to so much music and, you know, you pick up little different things. That 6/8 stuff, I was actually doing that for like, years and years. I’d say about four or five years before I started letting people even hear that stuff, so like, that 6/8 I used to just do it for practice. Know what I mean? One day I was like “Man, I wonder what The Message would sound like in 6/8″… I thought of it at work or something and it took me like a month to chop. I had to chop the beat first and then the hardest part was making the vocals stay in the pocket and make them say it in 6/8. That was very time consuming, I would work on it for a few days, stop. You know, I had to like mimic what I wanted them to say… but in 6/8 you know what I mean?

FTR: Lots of little chops.

TBG: Yeah, exactly. Very time consuming, but it went over well.

FTR: For sure! And your show, are you using the keystation to play live as-well? Are you DJing? What’s the live set-up?

TBG: The live show I’ve been practising for about three months, I’m using an APC40- I’m going to do more of the live thing, I got my tracks all tracked out into Ableton and you know, hopefully that goes over well!

FTR: Is this the first time you’ve done anything like this?

TBG: Well I got Ableton last year, and the APC40 last year as well, so It’s been a year since I’ve had it. When I first got it I was doing more of the DJ set up, you know, you do ‘A’ and ‘B’ with the cross-fader, tap in the track and stuff like that. But now I want to bring the live element to it and really try to ‘perform’ these tracks. This is my second time bringing it out live, I did it in Croatia literally like two weeks ago, same thing with the tracking it out and it went over really well so this one is going to be a little bit more, I have tracks that I’ve made over the years, all different types of tempos and everything.

FTR: Dope! Unfortunately that’s all we have time for, but I gotta ask one more question- if somebody sees you at a show and they want to buy you a drink- what’s your drink of choice?

TBG: Uh… I don’t know…

FTR: You don’t know?! 

TBG: Some water or something probably at the time because I try to keep it straight until after I do my performance- so when we are in the middle of a performance I’ll probably just have some water and some fruit or something I don’t know (laughs)

FTR: (laughs) For sure dude, well on that note I’ll probably see you in two weeks at your Melbourne show!

TBG: Cool beans man! You have a nice night.

If you also would like to check out Tall Black Guy bring his new live set to Melbourne, click the banner below:


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