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Tall Black Guy

8 October 15 words: Jack Garofalo
"I was born in Detroit, and moved to Chicago in the late eighties. My first experience with music was hearing my cousin beatbox and trying to mimic her style"
Tall Black Guy

Tall Black Guy will appear at the Don't Lose The Groove launch

The people of Nottingham aren’t too familiar with the underground beast that is Tall Black Guy. Tell us a bit about yourself Terrel…
I was born in Detroit, Michigan and moved to Chicago in the late eighties. My first experiences with music was hearing my cousin beatbox and trying to mimic her style. Years later I wanted to learn how to make beats. My main inspiration within the hip hop production are; DJ Premier, Pete Rock, The Neptunes and Timbaland.

You now reside in the UK, in Norwich to be precise. How do your humble beginnings being raised and cutting your skills in the famous motor city of Detroit compare to the Norfolk city?
I started in Detroit, but I honed my skills in Chicago. The way I make music hasn't really changed but my equipment has been upgraded a little bit. 

You’ve seemed to have really cracked and flowered that nu jazz funky beats sound that was heading to a possible extinction going into the 2010s. Do you see yourself forever being an underground artist with a strong cult following or breaking the mainstream and achieving success whilst adhering to your beliefs and the music you love?
I'm not really trying to be classified into making any one genre of music. I'm really just enjoying the process of making music that is inspired by collaborations with other artists or through personal projects. If an opportunity to do something more mainstream came up I would do it only if it made sense.

One of the first 45 records I purchased was one of the TBG Mini Therapy Chops Series back in Manchester last year which has a wonderful sample of the Marvin Gaye classic What’s Going On. Talk us through the journey and the creation of the archetypal sample cut for a TBG record?
I just listen to a lot different types of music! My process varies from track to track for example sometimes I might find a cool part in a sample and play keys around it and other times I might practice keys and find chords I like and build the track up from there.

You seem to have really achieved making socially conscious and liberating music your own way, even finding your own record label Tall Black Guy Productions. Is it time for a lot of artists who are true to their music, to self-release their own stuff instead of signing a crappy record deal for genuine peanuts and getting screwed over in the long run?
I totally agree with what you are saying. I think that starting out as an artist now, it’s best to focus on creating relationships with independent labels who have a similar vision or put out projects yourself if you have the budget to do so.

If you have to name three artists who have influenced and inspired you the most to make and create music, who would they be and why? 
DJ Premier for the style of chopping, Lonnie Liston Smith for his style of keyboard playing and Timbaland for pushing the envelope of creativity. 

Finally, what are the plans for the future and any messages for the Nottingham folk?
I'm currently working on my second instrumental album which will hopefully be out sometime next year, I hope that everyone has a good time at the show! 

The Don't Lose The Groove launch featuring Tall Black Guy is at The Bodega on Saturday 10 October 2015. Facebook event.

Tall Black Guy website

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