In anticipation of their West coast arrival next week, last night LAHHE had a quick conversation with Grammy-nominated, The Foreign Exchange.
LAHHE: I’m going to try to make this painless because I know you have done a lot of interviews and you get asked the same questions over and over. I just want to give the readers a little insight into who you guys are and tell them about your upcoming show at The Roxy Theatre on Sunset. Last time you were there you mentioned how much you enjoyed it and you had a sold out show! Was it your first sold out show?
Phonte: No, it wasn’t our first sold out show…
LAHHE: But it’s the one where someone threw their undies on the stage, right?
Nicolay: Nah (laughs) I wouldn’t say “undies.”
LAHHE: Well, maybe “toppies” but hey, its L.A., that’s what you get!
Nicolay: The Roxy is a place where legends have played and you are aware of that when you play there…you can feel it.
LAHHE: I saw you guys at the UCLA Jazz/Reggae festival and the dude with the cue cards was on you!
Nicolay: Maybe earlier someone had gone over but it seemed like we were two songs in before he came out with the first card! But the last card he held up said “Wrap it up” and that kinda lightened the mood because it was funny.
LAHHE: So how long will your set be at The Roxy?
Phonte: We don’t know yet, but you know it depends on the energy of the crowd.
LAHHE: I don’t think you guys will have a problem with that. For most of the summer you’ve been doing shows here and there are you thinking of going on a full tour soon or does being an indie group make it more difficult to do a full tour?
Nicolay: Well, it’s not just that we are indie but we have about 7 to 8 people that we have chosen to be on stage with us to help put the music together in a way that’s costly.
LAHHE: You’re building a Dream Team over at +FE, right? You have yourselves individually as solo artists, together as The Foreign Exchange, YahZarah, Zo!, Darien Brockington. In one interview I noticed that you didn’t like the term “label.”
Nicolay: The word “label,” we wouldn’t seriously have problem with it. But we want to give people a choice, to make things happen that they wouldn’t own their own. We do a lot of stuff that a label does, with some vital differences. It doesn’t matter what you call it.
LAHHE: And you’re trying to build a songwriting slash production team thing, right?
Phonte: Yea, but we are kind of failing at that right now because we are keeping everything for ourselves, well, not really to ourselves but to our fans, old fans, new fans…
LAHHE: What do you think about online concerts, would you be open to doing one?
Nicolay: It could be interesting but the large part about enjoying a concert is being there and you can’t fake that any other way. It’s a very different experience than a live concert, but you can reach a lot of people. And we have done some live sets for Sirius XM radio so, maybe.
LAHHE: Phonte, I read somewhere that at BB King’s last month you gave the crowd the remedy to bringing commercial and underground music together but there were no details. Can you give me a quick run down?
Phonte: Well, take some of what is on the radio and remix them with like some smooth jazz/neosoul music. We do that at our shows and the fans take to it and really like it, it was something like that.
LAHHE: Can you want to tell us anything about the new album, Authenticity? Can you give us a little teaser some of the track titles or some of your special guests?
LAHHE: Ok, well I’ll take that silence as a “No.”
LAHHE: Well, is it still coming out in October?
Phonte: Yes, but it’ll still be out before you know it.
Nicolay: Right now we are still keeping it under wraps. But I’m happy to say that we are at the finishing stages. It’s been a lot of work, it’s really been a great experience, another interesting turn musically and once again, very interesting.
LAHHE: Ok, well we will keep waiting for that one. Anything else you want to tell the readers?
Nicolay: Yea! If you are in the area come check out the show we will have everyone there we’ve got Yahzrah, Zo!, Darien Brockington and special guest Sy Smith (also appeared with FE for UCLA Jazz festival) for some jams and it’s going to be a great show!
When: Tuesday, July 20th
Time: 9:30PM (doors open 8:30PM)
Tickets: Presale $21.50/$25 at door
For more information: Peep los hyperlinks, get tickets and see you at the show! View photos and video from event here.
Listen to the full +FE catalog online for free here (excellent quality)!