|FootsXColes with all collaborators of the project. Courtesy of Ahriel Nari.|
In the beginning of our conversation–after a couple of rescheduled times, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure photo edits on Facebook and Instagram, and configuring the technology for all participants involved in the virtual interview–Maryland’s coolest musical duo and I chopped it up about our thanks to the other for each other’s respective grind in elevating the culture by emphasizing the immortalizing of pure art through writing (myself) and music that lasts beyond a single haphazard run-through on a modern music streaming site (them).
It’s evident upon hearing FootsXColes, being around them in public, or even seeing their pictures that the two complement each other’s energy. Both exude remarkable amounts of astonishing musical prowess, but Coles is more of the cool, laid-back member while Foots (no pun intended, but get used to Foot puns during this interview) is more of the go-getter, extroverted person of the group. The genuinely pleasant part of their candid introduction to me was that the contrast in energy was elucidated immediately through Foots’ praising of Coles.
|FootsXColes at Bias Studio, Foots Pictured. Courtesy of Ahriel Nari.|
MV: That’s pretty amazing how you two really bounce off each other in the way that you do in order to create the music that you do.
Foots: Coles is one of THEE most talented people I’ll EVER meet. If you’re a drummer, you have to have that eye and ear.
Foots describes his origins and getting his musical alias through his years of playing and building a reputation for gettin’ down on the drums. Foots was a Senior at Bowie State University, an HBCU in Maryland, when he heard Coles, a Freshman at the time, “humbly killing it” as Foots described. This interaction jump-started their working relationship and long-term friendship.
Coles is really about it, he wears [music] on his sleeve.”
|Coles in his element. Courtesy of Ahriel Nari.|
If you were to hear the incredible songs on the project per the review, it would verify Foots’ brazen appraisals. Coles steps in at this time in the interview to shed light on the journey. According to Coles, the group’s initial style had no set standard or procedure, and that’s what helped develop them more than anything. Coles, currently 27 and hailing from Largo, MD, and Coles, currently 30 and residing in Lanham, MD, have been on a musical journey together for roughly 4 years now as a duo, making beats together, singing (as Foots began to experiment with his own voice), working with different bands and eventually releasing their first demo on SoundCloud. They didn’t forget to shout out all the individuals who helped them across the way, especially Funky Bob and those from Bowie State University (such as Dr.Knight) that assisted the duo in developing their passion for music.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.
|All in the Family. Courtesy of Ahriel Nari.|
MV: Can you both describe the entire process of creating a project so damn dynamic and even taking a year off to do so? What was that like?
Foots: Hey, that’s a GREAT question! We had to go through the process of experimenting with what we wanted to do. All you’re doing is documenting a time in your life.
As Foots describes the intentional focus behind the eclectic jazz-tech fusion of a project, he relates it to Kendrick Lamar’s locking himself away to curate a live jazz sound strictly for the critically-acclaimed To Pimp A Butterfly album. According to Foots’ description, a lot is required to “take off” in order to deliver a phenomenal project, or just enthralling music in general. Coles would describe the specific process in creating their five amazing songs.
|Maryland Duo of the Century, as shot bu Shaungh Cooper. Courtesy of Ahriel Nari.|
- Making a lot of beats through freestyling, jam sessions and producing sessions where him, Foots and their community full of musicians would cut up.
- After getting the raw sounds, FootsXColes would add more “experiences” as they described it to the sound and vibrations: drawn from their real life journeys as a collective, individuals, and all the emotions, words and lessons gained along those respective journeys. These “experiences” would then be reflected in the songs, as one could tell by listening to the project through the lyrics, changes in tempo, timbre and many more intricate musical elements.
- The last part of the process was fine tuning the live instrumentation to each track made thus far, with To Pimp A Butterfly levels of meticulousness and intentionality.
MV: So you said that you have many more songs in the chamber? You’re still holding out on us, eh? What was it like for the last part of the song creation process as Coles described?
Foots: We had songs that we had in mind…We drew influence from different places. [It was] just a jam! Just us being in a space and from there, it just comes together. It’s really organic.
|Official cover art for ‘A Happy Home.’ Courtesy of Ahriel Nari.|
I asked the group about their bold decision to not debut the project on major streaming sites like Apple Music or Spotify, proceeding instead to sell it exclusively on Bandcamp or in person. “That’s why I hate metrics,” Foots passionately interjects as we discuss the implications of artists elevating hard timelines, streaming numbers, likes,and shares over the most paramount part of the process: actually focusing on making the damn music. Artists should want their art to be exposed to the world as much as possible, but sacrificing that organicness of the creation process to put out the project defeats the purpose. It’s like spending all of your money on the plates to serve the food but not having any more money to actually purchase the ingredients needed for cooking the meal.
|Official Bandcamp site banner for the group. Courtesy of Ahriel Nari.|
Thus, the Maryland-collective moved through the game with wisdom, patience and intentionality. Foots would further elaborate on how accumulating following, even by one by one, gains consistent grounding, as those fans follow you based off of genuine affinity for your product over gimmicks and social media schemes with the foundation of conditional support.
That’s one more branch on the tree!
MV: What are you able to tell me about what’s coming next, given with how powerful this last project was with just 5 songs and the composition that it contained?
Foots: Moe, the next project is ACTUALLY going to be crazy.
When you got it, you got it. Coles recanted the story of him and Foots joining bands and going their separate ways from this large band collectives because of creative differences. While there is no bad blood, the FootsXColes were thankful for the excursions on their own because it allowed for less hassles in the creation process, which is the main part of the progress.
|FootsXColes @ Songbyrd. Courtesy of Ahriel Nari.|
Chuckling as they’re telling me this in a confident way, the group is sitting on a crap ton of unreleased music that’s sure to slap in due time. For now, the group is performing at multiple venues and bookings throughout the remainder of the year, pushing the project like product in the 80s. While they’re still about the hustle, FootsXColes continue the musical crusade of genuineness and harmony for those like you and I.
That’s who we do it for. For people who love music and are inspired by music.
You can purchase FootsXColes’ project on Bandcamp and follow the group on their social media accounts (@FootsXColes on Twitter and Instagram) to catch them at shows across the region.