Closer Love is the first collective effort from singer Miles Bonny and producer TE 1. TE 1 is lacing down the beats in his hometown London while Miles is adding vocals and trumpet in his studio in Kansas City.
How did you both met ? And how do work on music together?
TE 1: I hooked up with Miles on myspace, I was really enjoying his music, and at the time I was really trying to find my sound, but I asked him for a collab anyway, as a challenge. He was willing to do some work which humbled me a bit and made me want to work harder. It?s not everyday you get to work with those whose sound you appreciate fom over seas. It was all e-mail related in terms of music transfer. I?d send him some music, we?d discuss ideas then he?d send it back with vocals and horns and any other vibe his creative mind came up with. It was quite a surreal experience.I still haven?t met him yet in person, but I hope to real soon.
Miles: TE 1 is very talented and I thank him for providing the beats that enabled me to start singing. Its funny cause most people in Kansas City still dont even know me from singing, they still indentify me with my beats. Yet my singing is what?s quickly becoming what I?m known for over seas. Its dope really. I love the contrast. Life is wonderful.
Miles, your father was a professional trumpet player. Tell us a bit how it was growing up in a musical household.
Miles: I met some wonderful musicians by attending dozens of jazz & classical rehearsals and performances. He would play with the American ballet theatre, backed Tito Puente, was on recordings with Harry Belafonte, composed an arrangement of ?Cum Ba Ya? to play for Nelson Mandela in NYC, was in the Glenn Miller Orchestra, played many broadway shows, and even played on some cuts on the Beat Street soundtrack. I realized that when I opened a piece of his mail.. a royalty check. I was like?Dad, you played on Beat Street?!? he replied, ?Yeah, I think that sounds familiar.? He still plays on broadway. I grew up around a working musician; that made a large impact on me in a variety of ways.
TE1, what was the music you grew up on?
TE1: All types, but mainly hip-hop, soul, house, jungle, jazz, calypso, reggae.
How did you discover hip-hop for yourself? What was the first group / record you were into?
Miles: Man, I dont even know. I was born in NYC in 1980, grew up in Teaneck, NJ. I dont know if hip- hop ever didnt exist there. I remember hip hop at The Rink (skating rink), Hot97, Sugar Hill Records was a town over (although I didnt know that until high school), and would travel into NYC alone and search the city for all types of inspiration. I would take the bus, then train, into NYC and go to Fat Beats and buy records randomly. Slowly I learned about all the indie stuff. It was wonderful. I still love that store. But Teaneck; I remember when Biggie, Lil Kim, Jodeci, DMX all moved there from NY. I read that Juelz Santana just built his studio in his house there. Its hard to pinpoint the moment I was into hip hop. But I was a Biggie / Black Moon New York hip hop fan, and also a Blackstar / indie hip-hop fan.
TE1: My uncle Troy was the hip-hop brain of the house growing up. So I picked it up from him when I was old enough to understand. He used to make me tapes that I?d take to school in my walkman so there was never any one record I was into. My uncle would mix any and everything current at the time, from KRS-One to Pete Rock & CL Smooth to De La Soul to Slick Rick to Das Efx to Big Daddy Kane to Black Moon, the list was endless. The record that most stood out for me growing up though was ?Take You There? by Pete Rock & CL Smooth
When and how did you start making music yourself?
Miles: I?ve been playing trumpet occasionally since I was 2. Since my dad plays trumpet, they were always around. I?d listen to his records, crazy jazz and classical, mess with his recording equipment, follow him to rehearsals. I played trumpet in band all my life and in high school wanted to make beats. I heard them in my head and wanted to find a way to create them. Eventually I acquired some equipment and when I moved to go to college, got really serious about it.
TE1: I got into production ?seriously? in 2001 when I met my mentor Mike R. at the Avenues Youth Project. I wasn?t actually supposed to be there. I just tagged along with some friends and I got hooked once I had my first taste of a music studio. It was there I learned about the MPC and how to make music and cut samples etc. how to record and mix. I just took what I was learning from there to set a good foundation that I could always build upon.
TE 1, please try to describe your sound in one sentence.
TE1: My sound personifies ME at a given stage in time.
Pete Rock or Dilla?
TE 1: Both. They each repectively speak to me with their music in different ways.
Who inspires you ?
TE 1: It?s more of a who and what that inspires me, because sometimes it could be a mood, or a particular thing I see on a given day that would make me want to get creative i.e. a nice day with my girlfriend or someone annoying me at work etc. In terms of who inspires me first and foremost it?s my Layne family that inspire me because they?re all music orientated, then some of my friends, my barber Paul [who I deem to be family], my mentor Mike, producers (in no particualr order) such as Quincy Jones, Don-E, Omar, DJ Premier, Jazzy Jeff, Eric Sermon, Jay Dee, Pete Rock I could go on forever....
Miles Bony : singer, MC, beatmaker, trumpet player ? how do you do it all and what do you enjoy the most?
Miles: I dont really consider myself an MC, but I love beats first, trumpet is an aid for composition, and singing is just like another instrument in my studio. I wrote some nice tunes for ?Closer Love?. I?m proud of those songs. They were writtten during a time when I was in love and exploring myself and my surroundings. I make many references to events and places in my life in those songs. ?What It Is I See? is actually the second song I?ve ever written. I?d love to hear others record it. I think it?s that good; it could be covered for years to come. Song writing is still something I am exploring. I?d love to become a great trumpet player, on the level of Lee Morgan and Roy Hargrove, but that will require lots of practicing and I?m interested in so many things that it prevents me from being amazing at them all. But I do what I can. It is definitely easiest for me to make beats. I feel most at home composing musical beds. Putting some of my beats out on MPM will be something I look forward to.
D?Angelo, Dwele, Bilal, Justin Timberlake ? where does Miles Bony fit in?
Miles: Much love to all those guys. I dont know. Take me as I am. I?m a man who just loves people, reality, honesty, possibilities, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Gil Scott Heron, Donny Hathaway, Blue Mitchell, Tom Brock, Clifford Brown, Irakere, Jay Dee, L.t.d., Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Sting, Roy Ayers, The Five Stairsteps, Willie Nelson, Curtis Mayfield, and many artists who are active now. I?ll never front on you. Nothing exists but the truth. I?ll never stop composing and recording and I?m not gonna disappear.
And what about Miles Bonny the DJ? What is your set like?
Miles: It depends on the night. My focus now is an event called The Sauce. I play old jazz and soul exclusively. Recently, my days and nights are spent listening to lots of old records right now and I look forward to playing those out at The Sauce. I had been doing other nights like Feel Sexy, which was a dance night on the Pharrell / D?Angelo / Notorius BIG / Cameo type thing; but I?m ending that night soon. After 1.5 years of successful Feel Sexy nights, I?m ready to lay back for a little bit and spend my energy with The Sauce, my new baby girl and in get back into the studio heavy.
Tell us a bit about your Innatesounds Crew?
Miles: I was working with so many amazing artists who all deserved more exposure. Producers, singers, rappers, pianists, composers, and DJs. Check out Innatesounds.com. People like Reggie B, Joc Max, Leonard D Stroy, Stik Figa, Sounds Good, Daru, Ces Cru, John Brewer, TE1, Taha, Brother of Moses, the list goes on and on. We?re already spreading around the globe. Its very exciting for me and all those involved. We make soul/jazz/hiphop ... well. We?re crushin?em.
TE 1, what?s the sound of London for you today? Most people in Europe would say it?s Grime and Dubstep ?do you realte to these styles?
TE 1: I couldn?t really say. I relate to grime and dubstep somewhat because I appreciate their unique side in the way the sounds are articulated. But that?s as far as it goes for me. I wouldn?t go as far as to say they?re the sound of London in my opinion because you could argue that with other genres i.e. drum & bass or house.