Myron & E are a rarity in today's day and age. I first heard them whilst doing an assignment for the editor of this publication. I was sent a soundcloud link of their amazing 'If I Gave You My Love' and fell in love with its lo-fi charms and its sizzling vintage aesthetic straight away, describing it as "a brilliant, inspiring piece of retrospective music that is sure to find favor with both the new breed of soul cats, as well as the people who were around when funk and soul were the most vital, exciting and emotive forms of music the world had to offer."

Fusing and combining authentic, old school, 60s and 70s soul and funk vibes with classic vocal harmonies and a real ear for melodic figures that stick in your head for hours after listening, the dexterous vocal duo have created their masterful debut album Broadway for Peanut Butter Wolf's legendary Stones Throw label. Out now, I took to the internet and had a short chat with E (aka Eric Da Boss) to find out a bit more about the pairing, how the album was put together, the sound they were looking for and more.

Thanks for your time; firstly the album is brilliant, a real slice of authentic American soul for 2013. You come from a hip-hop background, toured with Blackalicious and have in effect released hip hop in the past.

Yes. I have released hip-hop projects on a couple of different labels over the past 11 years as a DJ/Producer and Myron has made a lot of vocal guest appearances with several Hip-Hop acts in the past.

What made you want to make a straight up soul album/start a retro soul project in the first place?

I was signed to a label doing hip-hop singles and the first record I did for them went really good and they asked me to do another but wanted me to make the next record sample free. I reached out to the Soul Investigators in Helsinki for a track and they told me they would give me music but I'd have to sing on a track for them. I accepted the challenge.

What were your primary influences for this project?

Mainly trying to recreate the classic soul records we loved growing up but to do them with our own twist.

You will be known to some of our readers as an emcee first and foremost, but obviously your album is based around a vocal duo, have you always been good at singing? Did you have any formal training, singing lessons for example?

I always played around with singing. Friends and family members would always encourage me to take it more seriously. But I have not had any formal training beyond doing vocal warm-ups. Myron has had some professional training in singing and piano.

How did you hook up Myron? Were your tastes the same from day one?

We meet working tours for the hip-hop act Blackalicious. I was the tour DJ and Myron was background singer. Our taste in music was very similar from the start as we both grew up on older music played around our homes and the hip-hop and R&B music from the late 80s - early 90s.

Do you write together or do you do your own thing then mesh the ideas together at a later date?

Both.

One of the most appealing things about your sound is the vocal harmonies you come up with - they really channel the old school vibes of times gone by. How do you work on your harmonies? Do you nail takes first time or do you find yourself having to re track?

We generally work out harmonies during the writing process. And nailing the first time happens but it really depends on the vibe when recording. Just depends...

Where does your inspiration for your lyrics come from? The content seems pretty personal…

Life!

Can you tell us a little bit about how you hooked up with your band, the Soul Investigators, the Timmion Label's in-house group? Had you heard them before you started working with them or was the hook up a massive coincidence?

I meet the Soul Investigators for the first time in 2005. I was on a hip-hop tour and we had two shows in Finland. The show promoter shared studio space with them and I was introduced to them. I had heard their music before then. I heard the Didier Sound Spectrum LP and a few other 7"s from the Timmion label. It was during a jam session at their studio that I grabbed the mic and started singing and they liked it. So that's why when I reached out to them four years later wanting music for a hip-hop project they said yes! But only if I sang on a track for them.

Before you met them, was Myron & E as a project on the cards or did the Soul Investigators force your hand?

No we were not a project before then but I had (and still do) get Myron to do vocals on some of my beats. We did not come together to sing until I had the music from the Soul Investigators and it was really by chance because Myron had just come to my house, I played him the rhythm track for 'Cold Game' and asked him to help me write a song real quick so I could fulfill my end of the bargain with the Soul Investigators.

Let's talk a little bit about the process of making the album. Obviously it sounds like it was recorded back in the day, which is a good thing as it gives it the authentic vibe that sets it apart from everything else out at the moment. Was it recorded through analogue equipment with sexy compressors? Was any of it sampled? Break it down a bit…

The album is all live. No Samples at all. The Timmion studio and sound is all pretty much all sexy analog compressors from the 60s and 70s! The sound of the record is a true Didier Selin production. He knows how to hook it up for sure! We did record vocals here in the states but the bulk of the album was recorded in Helsinki at the studio.

The vocals were mixed in Finland and the US, and were then mixed down in Helsinki by Didier.

How does that kind of back and forth process work when recording with a band? I say that as internet collaboration is becoming more and more prevalent nowadays, but I have a feeling this must have been different, as it's not just a case of slanging a beat over the net, surely it was more involved than that?

Well we had all the rhythm tracks set to us via the internet. We wrote together and separately to the tracks. Then we went to Helsinki and recorded vocals for two weeks non-stop.

Once a preliminary arrangement mix was complete we did some additional recording in the US and sent tracks back to Helsinki to be mixed into the final cut.

Did you have any stipulations in place about how they went about making the backing tunes? How did you articulate the vibe you were after to them? Who decided what was in and what was out?

It was a bit of give and take. Sometimes the band would have a tune they really liked and would say "guys…. You gotta record something to this track." Or we would send them track ideas and try to have them flesh it out. Sometimes I would send a YouTube video of an old song and say "HEY! We want something like this!"

Hooking up with Stones Throw is obviously a massive deal. How did the hookup come about? Were there any other labels sniffing around for a piece of the pie as it were?

The Stones Throw deal came about while Peanut Butter Wolf was on tour. Whilst in Helsinki he wanted to hang at the Timmion studio, which he did. They played him some things they were working on, he liked what we were doing, so he made offered to put the record out. There were a couple other indie labels interested but Stones Throw seemed like the best fit as they have worked with this type of music before and have had success with it.

Do you think you are a good fit with the label? It must be strange making tunes for a label that has made its reputation sampling the kind of stuff you make?

Not strange at all. They have had success with Mayer Hawthorne and Aloe Black doing the same kind of music as well as reissuing old soul stuff so we thought it would be a good move.

Quite a few of the tunes start off with straight up drum breaks that are rife for sampling, was this done purposefully?

YES!

Has anyone sampled you in a released track yet? If so how does that feel? Would you be supportive of people sampling you? How would it work? Would you demand clearance or would you just let them get on with it?

No one has sampled us that I know of. We would be supportive of being sampled. We understand the many ways of making music and see being sampled as flattering. Clearance to sample our music would be nice but I guess it all depends who's doing it.

Are you planning on touring the album? What does the live setup look like? Will you have time to practice with the band before you embark?

Yes we have a tour in the US coming up soon and in Europe hopefully in the fall. We will definitely have time to practice with the band before going on tour. We will probably fly to Helsinki for rehearsals and then start the tour in Finland.

Live set up includes four piece rhythm section and two horns.

Finally, what's next for Myron and E?

We have already started to brainstorm song ideas for the next album and I'm sure we will make more hip-hop, boogie, jazz, you name it music!


Broadway is out now on Stones Throw.