We speak to Michael from TEN TRIBES OF TEXAS about the band’s latest release on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora and at all good download and streaming stores.
The latest releases of my songs are by TEN TRIBES OF TEXAS and feature Adaja Black on vocals. Adaja is a great young Australian singer and I was lucky to get her as a guest artist. I chose songs that I had written for female vocalists but, in future, releases will be of songs I wrote for male voices as well so I will probably sing them myself or get another male singer in as a featured artist. There are four tracks on the latest TEN TRIBES OF TEXAS EP release. I have tried to provide a bit of variety so we have Heart of Stone, which is pop dance electronica track, Curfew (Reclaim the Night), which is a song about stalking or a girls fear of it and in which I try to fuse pop, dance and dub, Stronger (Everyday) which is pop gospel soul and Black Woman which is soul with a slight jazz feel. Black Woman is a tribute to black women all over the world and throughout history who have suffered prejudice and discrimination. I like to give my lyrics some substance and relevance to contemporary social issues without making that too obvious or that the musicality of the song is lost.
I guess I would describe the music as multi-genre crossover music really. I like a bit a diversity in the music so while Heart of Stone is poppy and dance it also has an electronic feel. Curfew is a sort of hip-hop dub mix with some grunt. Stronger is soul with a gospel feel but using electronic instruments while trying to retain the acoustic earthy feel of gospel. So it’s hard to describe it in a single genre. I try to pull the songs together and give some consistency and commonality between them in production. I produced all the tracks as well as composing them and I recorded the tracks at a number of studios.
I have been a musician since the age of 12. I started playing the guitar and singing in bands when about 14. My older brother was the guitarist in our high school band and they kept losing bass players. Because I could play guitar and he needed someone he could rely on they recruited me to play bass but I had already been playing guitar for a while up until that time so I understood music basics which enabled me to pick up bass quite quickly. I began singing in the band at that time too. Playing bass and singing at the same time is not easy when you are 14. I wrote my first song at about that time too. I began writing by playing around with the chords of well-known songs I had learned by just changing the sequence of chords around, adding a different chord here or there and adding my own lyrics. I wrote a couple of songs and instrumentals for the bands I was in so I first got played and performed publically when I was about 14 or 15. As a guitarist I had learned mostly guitar based songs so I tended to write guitar based songs in traditional genres like rock, reggae and folk that type of stuff. I was also always interested in lyrics – in the poetic quality of language and in storytelling. In those early days Bob Dylan, Marley, Lennon and Mc Cartney were a big influence on me. Dylan’s lyrics are exceptional. I got interested in pop songs as I got older as I really liked melodies and I saw the conventional structure of pop songs as imposing a challenge and discipline requiring economical and precise expression while utilising a strong melodic line. Pop songs require an efficient and concise communication of content, a bit like poetry really because conventionally they require expression within a very limited time span. I was always attracted to the imagistic character of the language in many popular songs. I guess my love of melody comes from my early love of singing.
I don’t have any musical prejudices and I can write in virtually any genre due to having played many so it’s always hard for me to get a stylistic continuity between the songs I write and put on a release. I have to think of a multi-track release as a ‘concept album’ to get some stylistic consistency in the song genres and, of course, I can also get that when I produce the song. A songs style can be changed in production. It’s like doing a cover or remix of your own original song. For instance, I wrote Heart of Stone as a retro 60’s pop ballad for piano and with strings but I converted it to a dance, club-pop track in production.
As I became more experienced as a musician I also became interested in keyboards and other instruments so I tend to write on both guitar and piano these days. Ten Tribes of Texas is the project whereby I try to keep music in my life. Many of Ten Tribes’ sets and recordings so far are pretty much part of my back catalogue of songs. There’s always a question of whether I should record more recent stuff or keep recording the back catalogue. I reckon I have about four albums worth of back songs and I am still writing more. I produce the recordings so it’s pretty much up to me what I record. I have the next EP sorted out but I think the release after that maybe some of my more recent material.
When the next EP is finished we hope to hit the road. Would like to tour the world playing music so I hope TEN TRIBES OF TEXAS can get a live audience through our recordings.
Connect with TEN TRIBES OF TEXAS at these links:
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tentribesoftexas/sets/ten-tribes-of-texas-trax Reverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/tentribesoftexas?profile_view_source=header_icon_nav