It’s been a long time coming for Myron and E. The Bay Area-based soul duo has worked together for years, touring the country, putting out a string of singles on 45s, but never a full-length album–until Tuesday. Now signed under Stones Throw Records, Myron Glasper and Eric Cooke are ready to make things a little more permanent with their debut, Broadway. It’s about time; the soul world has been waiting.
RESPECT.: You guys have a new album coming out on July 2nd, Broadway. There’s always some curiosity as to how artists name their albums–what made you decide to name this LP Broadway?
E: Well we were tossing around a bunch of names, but I think we decided on Broadway because…before we were signed to Stones Throw, that was the single that really stood out to [Stones Throw founder] Peanut Butter Wolf. It was suggested that maybe we use that as the title. So yea, that’s what we went with; we thought it fit.
After working together for so long and putting out so many 45s, including “Broadway”, what made you guys say ‘Okay, it’s time to put out an album together’?
E: We had wanted to do it the whole time but we had kind of bounced around a little bit, from [Finland-based record company] Timmion, and then Now Again, which is a subsidiary sister company, to Stones Throw. They picked us up. So, we were kind of a part of a juggling act, and finally the buck stopped with Stones Throw and here we are. We’re excited about it.
What made you sign to Stones Throw specifically?
Myron: Well Stones Throw is the sister company of Now Again, and I think Peanut Butter Wolf heard the music and he liked it. He came to the decision that he thought would be a good fit for Stones throw, and we were extremely happy that he thought that because it’s one of the last good independent [labels] left that’s putting out hip-hop, soul, and music across all genres, but is still considered a pretty powerful indie in the industry.
Did the fact that Peanut Butter Wolf is a DJ himself play any role in your decision to sign with them?
Myron: No, I think it’s more that it’s a really good fit, because it’s such a myriad of eclectic artists there, and they don’t mind taking chances. But he does have a thorough understanding of how to get things done, and that helps.
Why do you think it’s important to continue making soul music as opposed to other genres?
Myron: I think it’s important to do good music period. I think the sound of the 60s was so enticing and unique and infectious. To me, it was one of the best sounds that ever existed throughout the history of music. And I’m not saying there’s nothing better or nothing greater, but it was just a really good, fresh sound.
E: Now today, people crave more than what’s coming out on your commercial airways. And there’s an audience that has never stopped listening to soul music. You have DJs out there, you have collectors; it gives them something new. Because there is a lot of uncharted territory when it comes to 45s and soul music. People still want something new and something fresh. The beauty of what we’re doing is that we have the old soul sound and we have newer, up-to-date melodies, and it totally worked out. People are receiving it well and I think it’s a good thing.
When you two play shows are there certain areas or venues that respond to your music more than others?
E: It seems like the response has been pretty decent everywhere we go. We’ve recently been playing shows in L.A. and that’s been really really good. A lot of the shows we’ve played there have gotten overwhelmingly good responses. Last year we did a tour throughout the Midwest, and that went over pretty well. We’ve also had the opportunity to play over in Finland with [our long time collaborators] The Soul Investigators. So it’s been well received. We’ve never had a bad show.
Myron: Even though some people are really excited and anxious, while other people don’t know us at all it’s still a good response. We just have to go out there and do a good job.
Where does Myron and E’s sound derive from?
E: Oh man, I think it started at the house and just built on from there; all the music that we’ve been fans of, for all the years we’ve been listening to music.
E, you come from New Jersey, and Myron you’re from LA. Even though you two grew up on opposite coasts, was it the same type of music in both households that you were listening to?
E: I think it was a little bit of both, the same music and different music. One of the things that we bonded over before the Myron and E project was ever going on when we were just friends was us knowing a lot of different music, especially from the late 80’s, early 90’s R&B. And even ‘til this day. We were just hanging out a couple of weeks ago doing the same thing, playing some old music. We both grew up the same time so we’re both familiar with a lot of the same music. The other thing is that Myron may know something that was more West Coast where I might know something that was more East Coast, it’s always fun to discover new regional music through people.
Before you became the soul duo that you are today, Myron you were a dancer and also sang backup for hip-hop group Blackalicious, and E you were their tour DJ. There are always aspirations to leave the background and be in the spotlight, so why did you guys decide to take that step to be the stars?
E: I think it was a little bit of luck of the draw. It just happened to be a set of circumstances that put us in this position. I don’t think it was anything that we initially said like, “Hey let’s put this group together and try to do something”. It was more like a really happy set of circumstances that brought us together.
You all recently made your radio debut performing live on KCRW, and put on a great show at last year’s SXSW. Why are live shows still important to you?
Myron: Live shows give people that don’t know us or haven’t seen us or heard us a chance to say “Oh wow, great.” It also gives people the chance to hear it live. There’s always gonna be different variations of how we do the songs on stage. So you have to bring a little more to the table and step it up. And it gives people something visual, it kind of adds a little more oomph to it. And–gah–just being able to spread it out and get that personal intimacy, not just listening to a recorded version.
What’s the one thing each of you would like to get out of making music and being musicians? What’s your ultimate goal?
E: For me, Ive been such a music lover all of my life that I think the ultimate goal is what is happening right now, just to have a project out and get good feedback from it. And just to continue to make more good music. That’s the ultimate goal for me.
Myron: To continue to make good music, but also to continue to have fun, and of course make money at it. And continue to accomplish short term, midterm and long term goals which is more albums and more music. And just enjoy life.
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