It’s not a chick, it’s a group, a group of three cats and one of my personal favorites over the past couple years. Ilyas, Don Will, and Von Pea make up the three man group and dropped the incredibly dope debut album, Moonlighting in 2006. They are on the return again, with the recent release of The Bridge EP, while they get their tour on and prepare for Brooklynati, the groups second album. We sat down with the three and they gave me the “what for”…..
WIN THREE FREE THE BRIDGE CDs
In celebration of WYDU’s third birthday, the good people at Audible Treats hooked us up with some goodies, including some The Bridge CDs. All you have to do to get your name in the drawing is hit me up at WYDUBLOG@GMAIL.COM and I’ll put your name in the drawing and we’ll go from there.
“Be You” featuring Czelena
“Hip-Hop Is Dead 2″
WYDU: Hey guys thanks for your time. We’ll start off with the generic questions and get those out of the way….for those of us who might be new to the group, do you care to share the early beginnings of the group?
Von: Don and I met by way of me putting a bunch of songs online back in 2001. He then sent me his music in the mail with him and Ilyas. We started doing music together a year later and we became Tanya Morgan in 2003.
W: Moonlighting was one of my favorite albums of that year. Looking back at it, how do you see it after it’s all said and done? Did it accomplish what you set out for it?
Von: It went above and beyond what I expected to be honest. I just wanted people to hear it by any means, but it ended up being the start of our career. I’m mad appreciative of where that album took us.
Don: Moonlighting is our cornerstone. I would definitely say it did what I expected it to. All you ever want as an artist is to be heard and dropping a critically acclaimed album on your first shot is pretty damn impressive.
Ilyas: Moonlighting was just an introduction to me of what we could do as a group with little effort. This is because those were just the first songs we did together that we lumped together and made an album of. And I would say yes it did accomplish what we set out for it.
W: One thing I found refreshing from y’all was the humor aspect found on the album, and even reading some of your other interviews. Do you feel that is something lost in hip hop? If so, why would that be?
ILYAS: It is something lost in mainstream hip hop. I feel that happened with the rising popularity of hardcore/gangsta rap.
Don: It’s hard to be humorous when you are being an image or a character. You cant really come out of that role during public appearances. We don’t really have an image and while it tends to really fuck up the marketing of an album it makes it that much more sincere for the people who find us. We are just us, no frills or gimmicks. We’d rather let the music be the selling point in an age where the music ain’t selling…
Von: I don’t really think so, I think most artists have a sense of humor but they don’t always show it, we just choose to show ours more! lol
W: You tend to be one of those groups that drops a mix tape or two before projects, what is your take on mix tapes and how has the use of them changed over time? Do you feel they’ve helped in building anticipation for the upcoming projects?
Von: The mixtape thing is good when done right. I think people should take time to work on mixtapes like they’d work on an album, if its to make people want the album….
Don: You know I’m torn on mixtapes and street albums. At the end of the day it depends on how the artist themselves treat that project. It’s one thing when you are Lil Wayne and you got people doing unauthorized compilations of your work, there is no way you can promote them all. But when you are an indie or upstart group and you took time out of your life to actually make a body of work treat it like you care. Don’t just drop it and ignore it. Basically if you make your music disposable I’ll listen to it as such. TM is a Rap Group will be an integral part of this campaign. We put alot into that tape and people are still discovering us through it.
W: The EP was titled, “The Bridge”, which I read is supposed to be a bridge from the last album to the new album…is it a good representation of where the group is currently at musically?
Von: Yeah its present day Tanya Morgan, but the LP Brooklynati will sound different from that too.
Don: Yeah it is. It was recorded and released over a short period of time and it’s very focused. We each had a personal vendetta to fulfill with that project and I’d say we really made an effort to impress everybody with it. Anytime people wish a project was longer you won because it leaves them wanting more and we did just that.
W: When crafting an EP such as “The Bridge”, to you tackle the project differently than you would an full album?
Von: I don’t think we went at it differently, It wasn’t as much pressure but the same amount of attention that goes into the LP went into the EP. There’s more pressure on a full album because that’s the project that has to carry you for another year or two.
Don: From a writing standpoint nah not really.
W: You kind of tackled the “hip hop is dead” view on a song from the EP, “Hip Hop Is Dead II“, what do you see in the future of the “alive” hip hop genre?
Von: its here, its all about supporting new/current artists though. People gotta do that so things can keep going! Come to the shows, get the music and keep listening to it, put other people on to the artists you like, and tha’ts how we keep it going. Us as the artists we have to just stay fresh…and not quit! People always want to quit sometimes but its all worth it in the end.
Ilyas: Honestly some new flavor instead of the rehashing of what we’ve already seen in the past. I’d like to see a showcase of the genius I know this generation of hip hop has.
W: What can we expect from the new album, Brooklynatti, in terms of concepts and producers? How is it going to differ from Moonlighting?
Don: It’s gonna differ in terms of experiences we have went thru and the narratives on the album. Moonlighitng was very lighthearted, whimsical even. This time around its not like we are jaded or angry but we have lived thru enough experiences to make a more heady album with deeper concepts. There was no way to address the topics we do on Brooklynati in the moonlighting era because we hadn’t lived thru them yet.
Von: The production lineup is the same as Moonlighting, me and Brick Beats. Also a producer named Aeon produced a song on it too. It features Blu & Phonte among others. It’s the same vibe as Moonlighting but it fits 2009. It’s not too much of a throwback sound
W: Do you still get the weird looks for the name Tanya Morgan, or are cats out there finally catching on? Any humorous stories to share with confusion with the name from the main stream media or something to that effect?
Don: The name is the textbook definition of the gift and the curse. I’m not gonna pretend like it hasn’t thrown some people off to the point of just writing the music off as a whole but i will say that it definitely gives people an ‘oh shit’ moment every time they get what we are doing. Those moments are important in life, lets you know you are alive.
Ilyas: People assuming we sing backup for a singer named Tanya Morgan lol
Von: It seems to be catching on more! Thank God! People still wonder about the name but they accept it faster now.
W: Obviously, the internet play a fairly major role in the evolution of Tanya Morgan, from the groups conception to being a major force in the groups promotion and just spreading the word (as it does for just about any group these days). It’s also the cause of some problems in the industry, what is your take on the internet and it’s Dr. Jeckyl & Mr Hyde importance?
Don: The main problem is caused is monetary with regards to selling albums. You can’t sell music anymore but that was coming regardless. Once people began to associate image and music then well they aren’t paying for the sounds so much as the sights. To me the internet is the new paradigm and artists like us know this. It’s just another tool for the indie artist to use…
Von: You have to have the bad with the good, without filesharing we wouldn’t be here, and without it being easier to make music we wouldn’t be here either.Those are 2 things that also make it harder now. It hurts and helps, everyone has to find new ways to make filesharing work for them and it seems to be happening with the blogs becoming the newest way to promote nowadays.
W: You just got off tour with Hiero and Blue Scholars. How was the tour? Was their a particular city or event that stood out for you? I was talking to my man DJ Low Key and he seemed to favor the NC show….
Ilyas: CENSORED lol
Don: The tour was crazy. We got a lot of love in Canada, they respect the hustle up there man. They know coppin a CD is the difference between support and just being a body in the room and I love and appreciate them for that. But don’t trip man we got a lot of love stateside too. Seattle, Chicago and Columbus come to mind immediately. but nearly every city appreciated us comin out to rock.
Von: It’s been
the SHIT! The Canada shows were the best in my opinion. Those and Hollywood was dope. It’s all about the energy the crowd gives you. If they don’t know you they might stand still, but when the crowd rocks with you, it’s the best feeling.
W: I know personally myself, I always wonder about what a typical day on the road is like, can you give us a quick run down what that might entitle for the members of Tanya Morgan?
Don: It’s like groundhog day. Basically you spend alot of time at the venue. hotel checkout time is usually at 11am everyday so its not like you sleepin in too late. At the venue its pretty much sound check, greenroom antics and going to find food until the show starts. After the show we just kinda hang out with the fans and sell merch until we leave. It’s a hectic schedule to be honest. We documented it all at www.kyte.tv/tanyamorgan
Von: Shoot, get up, shower, eat, get in the car and drive FOREVER, check in to the next hotel, relax for like 30 minutes, go to soundcheck and wait and wait and wait, get on stage, sell some cds and tee shirts, eat again and go to sleep, probably tipsy lol…do it all again the next day.
W: Thanks for your time!