Following an acclaimed debut set at Southport Weekender 50, Angel Mel catches up with Tall Black Guy for an exclusive Big 50 interview.
Growing up in a city renowned for its passion for music, what was your experience growing up and what part did music play in your life at this time?
I can remember when my mom would always play Luther Vandross records at the house and when I visited my cousins they would play anything from; ATCQ, Oak Town 357 to Tony! Toni! Toné!. Whereas my dad would be playing a lot of jazz like; Boney James, Pat Metheny and Charles Earland. Music was always something that was going on in the background.
Which instruments can you play?
I am self taught keyboard player, I’ve been playing for about 5 years now, I still have a lot to learn! I would like to learn the guitar as well at some point in my life.
How old were you when you brought your first piece of music? What was the track and what made you buy it?
The first cassette tape I bought was 69 Boyz – “Tootsee Roll”, the only reason I bought it was because of the dance that was popular at the time (now you’re making me feel really old!)
Do you think you will continue to listen to the same music you did as a kid, when you are in your twilight years?
Certain things, like the old school classic hip hop joints. But the Tootsee Roll track?!! Hell Naw!
Terrel, your notoriety for productions have been gathering speed and turning heads across the globe. With support from the likes of Kev Beadle, Gilles Peterson, DJ Jazzy Jeff, etc. When I thought about how I would describe you to a person who may not have experienced your music before I came up with ‘A Hitch Hikers Guide to the Other Worldly. How would you describe your production style and sound?
For a long time I’ve said that its either music for grown folks and women, or future love music for aliens, I still feel that way!
DJ or Producer which came first? Do you have a preference?
I’m definitely not a DJ! I have far too much respect for people who have worked hard at mastering the art of DJing to put myself in that category. I consider myself to be a beatmaker/producer and I have very specific tastes in what I consider to be good music.
The use of sampling can allow for the freedom to breathe new life into record. The ability to manipulate the sounds to create something unique is a real skill.How would you describe your relationship with sampling?
It’s how I first started out, its how I first learnt music theory and how to construct a song. The way I sample now is more as a tool to develop ideas that I have, and to figure out the best way to execute them while still keeping the musical integrity of the song.
Having a continual flow of inspiration to create music can be challenging. What keeps you passionate about making music?
Finding out new music i.e. bandcamp, soundcloud. Basically being a music nerd.
Terrel you have remixed tracks from a plethora of different artists: Sade, Foreign Exchange and Grand Master Flash to name but a few. Which artists or producers (on earth or in heaven) would you love to collaborate with & why?
There’s a wishlist! : Moonchild, Dwele, Jill Scott, King, Robert Glasper, Sade, De La Soul, Musiq, Flora Purim, Faith Evans, Diggs Duke and Pharrell Williams. Majority of these artists I have been a fan of for a long time and it would be an honour to work with them.
You have been invited to perform at the much coveted event Southport Weekender 50th anniversary. This will be your first time at the event. Are there any artists or DJs that you are hoping to check out whilst you are there?
DJ Jazzy Jeff, Gilles Peterson, Mr Scruff, Mr Thing, Omar, Fatima, Faith Evans, Osunlade… there are so many dope DJs & artists to choose from.
Going back to the Detroit motto ‘We hope for better things; it shall rise from the ashes’. When you look back in years to come, what contribution to the world of music would you like to have made?
I would hope that my music at some point has helped someone through whatever situation they are going through. As God and music has helped me at the lowest points in my life.
What does the future have in store for you? Where can readers find out more about your music?
Good question! I’m just trying to be open to new opportunities and continue to have the same drive and passion I had when I first started making music. I will possibly have a few more shows this year and hopefully some more vinyl releases. You can find out more from my Facebook page and twitter: @SirTallBlackGuy
And there we have it, a whistle stop tour through a hitchhikers tales of musical interludes, Tootsee Rolls and aspirations! Angel Mel.