Interview with artist Tall Black Guy

Don't let the name fool you, Tall Black Guy has more going on than just height, the U.K based producer is making a name for himself based off the art of the flip and a strong work ethic. From humble origins in Detroit, raised on a healthy diet of Motown, Jazz, and Early Hip‐Hop – Terrel Wallace (aka Tall Black Guy) has been consistently building a massive online following through a steady stream of productions filled with incredibly clever sample flips and deft production chops ‐ being championed by the likes of Gilles Peterson (who included him on one of the latest Brownswood Bubblers albums), Lefto, Anthony Valadez, and countless others as well as recently being named the winner of the Robert Glasper Remix competition. We first heard TBG on his Soundcloud, (which is stacked full of exclusives, remixes, and vibey instrumental hip hop),  we were instant fans, and had to reach out for a quick interview ( after we bought a bunch of stuff from his Bandcamp).
 

What was it like growing up in Detroit? What part of the city are you from?
In the early-mid eighties I grew up on the East side. When I was there, the neighborhood was a lot more peaceful. You could go outside and not have to worry about getting shot or getting ran over by some speeding car coming down the street. There was a sense of community amongst the people living in the neighborhood.


When did you start making music? How influential was "the Detroit sound"?
I started actually making music in 2001, but when I was growing up I used to hang out with my cousin and she use to always beatbox and make crazy sounds with her mouth. So me hearing her make these crazy sounds made me want to try and make the same type of noises. And still to this day I still beatbox to create ideas for beats I want to make. As far as the "Detroit" sound, I really never considered myself to have it.
 
What brought you to the UK? How's life treating you out there?
My wife is from the UK,  We didn't have anything or any obligations going on in the states so we said "what the heck"? lets go for it. Living out here has been pretty cool. To me, a better quality of life considering that we came from the East side of Detroit.
 
You defiantly know how to flip a sample, can you describe your process?
Mostly, what I look for in a sample is harmonies and melodies. Usually,  I chop the sample first and then I try to replay the chop on the keyboard. Then from there I might use 3-5 other samples and layer those over the top. In a session of making a beats, I might make 5 beats and keep 1 and erase all the others, even with doing that, I still let the beat rest for a day or two and then see if I can do something else different. Sometimes I might take 2-5 days to complete one track.
 
 
What is your production set up looking like these days?
I have a Dell Laptop, Yamaha HS40 monitors, M Audio 61 key Midi Controller, Sony MDR V600 earphones, and a M-Audio Fast Track audio interface.
 
What we're you feeling music wise last year?
Diggs Duke, Brazilian Music, Blue Note Trip Compilations, Doc Illingsworth, Kenny Keys just to name a few.
 
How tall are you??
I am 7 feet 9 inches.
 
What do you have planned for 2014?
I want to continue getting better musically (keys, sampling, mixing, etc...) More remixes and re-edits and some secret stuff I'm working on. LOL!
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Keep up with Tall Black Guy on his site, on soundcloudFacebookTwitter, and make sure to buy some of his music on Bandcamp.