Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gummy Soul: Kurtis Stanley

We've been knowing Kurt since before he was Kurt and before we were CONCRETE. He's always had a presence on the mic. Freestyle sessions at Bracey's crib in Knoxville during Monday Night Football were a must see! In the years that followed Kurt Stanley has harnessed that raw presence into a flow and show of irresistible feel-good. Most recently he got down with producer Wally Clark and helped solidify the Gummy Soul brand. They've been churning out some bangers and raising their bar on every record and with every show. Here's a quick Q&A with Mr. Kurtis Stanley.

CONCRETE: How did you link up with producer Walter Clark and start working together?
K. Stanley: It was a mutual friend Dave Meador, DJ Tommy Ill. He's a DJ. We me t in Knoxville. Josh (Walter Clark) knew Dave. That's a long story. Basically we all met up in Atlanta through Dave. It wasn't here until recently that Dave made the bridge between me rapping and MCing and Josh actually making beats. He was like, "Hey man you should get in touch with one of my dudes. Actually you know him, Josh." I was like, "Cool." He put us in touch and from there we kind of felt each other out. See the different styles and made sure it meshed. Then we immediately got to work. We didn't even have a solid plan moving forward. We were still just feeling each other out. The first thing we recorded was "Right On" the mian single from the Gummy Soul album we released.

CONCRETE: What projects did you do between Obtuse Music and Gummy Soul?
K. Stanley: During that time it was kind of like a lull. The same thing, a friend of a friend Bracey Halbrook he went to school with a cat Kent Gillum who is at Dirty Cabin. The Obtuse thing was a great experience, but it wasn't necessarily the exact sound that I was looking for. I wanted to get more into the sample based production. Bracey pointed me in the direction to find Kent. Again, me and Kent got together checked each other's style. It worked. We made an album called Time's Flying. It was very, very underground. It turned out great though. We really want to go back and release that. Those guys are still in the picture. I always talk to Bracey. These guys are in my group of peers that I like to send new music to. The relationships were never ended on any kind of sour terms. It's just life happens and on to the next. But they're still very close friends of mine. Kent actually mixed the Gummy Soul project for us. That was courtesy of Dirty Cabin. The sound on it was excellent.

CONCRETE: What is Gummy Soul?
K. Stanley: Gummy Soul is really a collective. Amerigo and Wally were already doing so many things. It started with Wally, and Wally had a radio show at UT but also the most prominent one and one he became known for was the show at Vanderbilt, WRVU. He had a great show with a wide listenership across Nashville. That's really where the brand got it's first recognition and starting getting a feel for what this guy is about.

CONCRETE: Today, is Gummy Soul the collective?
K.Stanley: Yeah. There's a lot of different dynamics. We put on a hell of a show. At the same time it is a production house. There's two producers Wally and Amerigo, but they're also DJs. Multi-faceted, multi-talented, and where I fit in is I'm the artist on the label with the lead project titled Gummy Soul. It was fitting because it was kind of an introduction in terms of them being producers not DJs. I'm the MC which is what I'm known for. We combined forces. I think that best describes Gummy Soul currently. That doesn't limit it to what it could be. The plan is obviously to continue growing.

CONCRETE: You also did Gummy Soul Meets The Stuyvesants. How did the project with that Brooklyn collective come about?
K.Stanley: That was something that Wally told me about and introduced me to that project.I listened to it, probably for a week straight. I was like, "Man this shit really, really feels good." And it feels similar to what we were already doing. Why don't we bridge the gap? This is music city. We're known for all kinds of different music. Obviously a lot of country, but there's so many scenes that are going on in Nashville right now. There's this new breed coming up, all these different cats, different sounds. We wanted to open the listenership for people who are here in Nashville for those guys up there. Because we really respected and appreciated the kind of music they were doing.

CONCRETE: How did the recording process for that work?
K. Stanley: It was pretty much, at the time, they had no idea that we were doing this. They had no idea. I think that was their purpose in releasing an instrumental album, to see if they could get cats on there who were actually flowing and send them some stuff. I think ultimately they appreciated what we did. It was a sincere effort on our part, because we really appreciated what they were doing and respected their craft as producers. Wally pointed out to me that they were using basically the same kind of production that he was doing. It immediately felt right. We just went in and tried to pick (our favorite), cause the whole instrumental album is dope. We selected a few, went in. We didn't want to make it too long. We just wanted to make it a nice feel good, summer release. It worked out really good. We got a lot of activity because of it.

CONCRETE: What project are you working on now?
K. Stanley: I got a lot of things in the pipeline. Because of recent things that have happened, the Fela Soul, we've had people reach out. Also my track record just as an MC here in Nashville, there's a lot of people that I didn't realize recognize my name and my brand. They've reached out to me for collaborations just to get on different projects. We're trying to get heavy on the show circuit with LoveNoise and Kidsmeal. We're working on the next Gummy Soul project with these cats. The project is close to being done. It's about the same length as the other one. We feel good about that length. It's like 35 minutes. It's still meaty. It's streamlined. For me, I live outside of Nashville, and I can put on one of our projects and come into town and listen to 90% of the project. That's where that idea came from like, "I want to put on a project I can bump continuosly all the way on my commute from my house to work. Just one project the whole way, but it has to be solid. That was obviously the goal, it's everybody's goal. With the production that we've got it's such a good flow, a good feel. It typically works out, so far it's been working well for us.

CONCRETE: When do want to release the new project?
K. Stanley: There's really not a set time or anything like a deadline. I would say right now we have 80-90% of it done. But working with these guys, I'm telling you, Wally will make about 5-10 beats a week. And that's on top of the thousands that he's already got in his library. So he'll forget about beats and he's like, "Man I made this one five years ago." There were probably 2 or 3 tracks that he made pre-2000 era that went on the Gummy Soul project. He's got a serious vault. So much that he forgets about them. It's stupid man! (laughs)

CONCRETE: If you guys are recording all the time, and have that much material, there must be some throw-away tracks. Are there? What do y'all do with all the music?
K. Stanley: Don't misunderstand. That doesn't mean I'm rapping on every single beat. There is a selection process. Some tracks that we do happen to throw-away, we're like, 'Ah this is good, but it's not the right feel.' Bear in mind, at this point, we've only done one project. So some of the other stuff that we have previously recorded could probably go. That's why I'm almost done with this next project. Really we could stop right now and have about three projects released like 'Bam!' But we're trying to be strategic with it. We don't want to just throw it all out there completely. Some people get in the habit of droping stuff (all the time), and I get that. Your audience is totally different from what it was when I first started. It's just changed.

CONCRETE: Like their constant thirst for new material?
K. Stanley: Yeah. It's constant, constant. It's not that we lack the output to do that, but I think that's one thing that makes us kind of different. We're trying to build solid, whole projects with even mean singles. The lead singles for each one, first, second and third are going to be hot singles. But at the same time the project can stand completely by itself. The singles can stand by themselves. Strategically we've been doing this a good year and a half. So it's still fresh to us. We're still strategically inline. That's how we've been going about it up to this point.

CONCRETE: Any last word for our readers? Any shout outs?
K. Stanley: Shout-out to all the folk that are supporting Gummy Soul, Kurtis Stanley, Amerigo Gazaway and Wally Clark. Shout-out to you guys, CONCRETE. I've been messing with y'all for I don't know how long, even before CONCRETE. You guys are growing, we're growing, I'm growing personally, so thing are good. It's an exciting time for us. I appreciate y'all having us.

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