Monday, 14 October 2013

Myron & E: Soul from Sea to Sea [Interview]

Written by Imran Mirza

The release of Myron & E’s ‘Broadway’ has come as one of the genuinely well-received surprises of the year.  Long gone are the days when Stones Throw were simply known as an independent, underground hip-hop label – now becoming increasingly more recognized for their innovative soul music output, including current heavy-hitters, Aloe Blacc (whose mammoth release ‘Good Things’, spearheaded by the classic-in-making, ‘I Need A Dollar’) and Mayer Hawthorne (currently riding high on the success of his third album, ‘Where Does This Door Go’).  But now, we can add Myron & E to the already impressive lineup.

Initially, each exploring careers as solo acts, it was the release of Eric Cooke’s independent solo record, under the moniker of E da Boss, that led him to Finland and to the music of The Soul Investigators.  The group’s head honcho and producer, Didier Selin, began exchanging music back and forth with E, prompting him to start collaborating with Myron Glasper as a singing and songwriting partner.  The two met while touring with Blackalicious, and while the work in this instance was intended to be short-lived, ‘when it works, it works’, and thankfully, the vocal duo ‘Myron & E’ was able to come to fruition.

Extending their relationship with The Soul Investigators further, Myron & E released a collection of funk 45s with the Finnish band’s home, Timmion Records (‘Cold Game’/’Can’t Let You Get Away’, ‘It’s A Shame’ and ‘On Broadway’) before finally signing with Stones Throw to release their debut album for 2013, ‘Broadway’, with The Soul Investigators on complete production and instrumental duties.

The inclusion of The Soul Investigators is, frankly, a genius move.  Didier and the team – already with one incredibly strong win under their belts this year with the long-awaited sophomore release of Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators – once again prove that their lack of major notoriety is criminal.  With the support of such fantastic musicians, Myron & E flourish with a distinctly exquisite soulful sound, encapsulated by such gems like ‘On Broadway’, ‘They Don’t Know’ and the show-stealing, ‘Everyday Love’. 

At the time of writing, the duo’s success sees them touring across California, Finland, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Paris, all before the year is up, which makes us even more appreciative that Myron Glasper took time out of an insanely busy schedule to talk with us. 

Ladies and gentlemen, from Myron & E, may we introduce, Myron Glasper…

You must be overjoyed with how 'Broadway' has been received so far?

Hey hey hey! Yes, very excited about the response to the album! You just never know how people are going to react and thus far it’s been pretty good.  I try not to worry too much about it.  I don't want to be in my head you know, just want to stay focused.   I think the ‘Broadway’ album is pretty solid and I feel safe saying it can get in there and move around with other contemporary soul releases.

How did the two of you initially meet and start recording music together?
As for us meeting, we both toured with Blackalicious, both starting around 2002/3.  Me, doing the background vocals and E, DJing.  We started recording as a result of me popping up over E's house.  We were just in the middle of moving back to Oakland California.

And from there, how did you hook up with Didier and The Soul Investigators?
Eric and [I] visited Finland and met the Soul Investigators a year or two before.  He reached out to them for some music.  They agreed but only if he promised to sing on some of the music they sent.  He asked me to help him being that I had years of experience in writing and recording.  The first song was ‘Cold Game’, followed by ‘Can't Let You Get Away’ and the rest, well, here we are.

How did the making of 'Broadway' come together? Did you record separately from The Soul Investigators or record together?
We recorded the first two in Oakland Ca., later to record the bulk of the album in Helsinki, Finland, and a place called Kaapeli (old fiber optics cable manufacturing building) in an underground bunker.  We all just kind agreed on the singles together with different opinions of course but it all worked out.

How does the music from the album transfer to the live stage?
On stage, depending on which group of musicians we play with, it’s always different but we try to bring as much of a party/show as possible.  Some of the songs on the album are a bit laid back but we bring an exciting dance vibe to the stage.

Have you given any thought to what a follow-up album would sound like?
As far as the next album, yes, we have given it some thought.  We're kind of talking about it and writing ideas now.  We want to get a jump on the next project so there's no down time or lag.  We don't want to lose sight of building the ‘Broadway’ album so not much beyond that has been done.

What song would you play for someone who had never heard anything by Myron & E?
If I played a song from ‘Broadway’ for someone that has never [heard] anything by us, it would probably be ‘If I Gave You My Love’, but I'm not very good at choosing the songs that way.

Who would be a dream collaborator for an album or performance?
Well, before her passing, I wanted to work with Amy Winehouse, rest her soul.  I really liked what she did musically and enjoyed listening to her songs.  Others would be Raphael Saadiq, Norah Jones (her early releases) and Sheryl Crow.  There's more but I'll keep it short for now...

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