Thursday, May 8, 2014

One On One With The Foreign Exchange

Phonte ...he’s from North Carolina while his partner Nicolay is from Netherlands. Yet together they’re a duo known as The Foreign Exchange and they will be returning to Chicago May 10 to rock the Metro stage. And SouthSide was lucky enough to spend some time chatting with both musicians to discover more about Foreign Exchange, its music and what makes them uniquely different from other hip hop artists this reviewer has met before.

SouthSide: Please describe The Exchange in five (5) words or less.
The Foreign Exchange: “...adventurous soulful sexy talented driving...”

SouthSide: I’m curious why you would see TPE as “...adventurous soulful sexy talented and driving...”
TFE: “...Honestly at the end of the day, we’re ourselves ...always been ourselves ...we’re not looking to be that but at the end of the day it’s naturally like that ...we kinda do what we like to do...”

SouthSide: What makes TFE unique than most other hiphop artists and/or duos in the music scene today?
TFE “...[we’re} primarily not hiphop artists [though labeled as one] ...[we] have not been a hiphop group ...[but] it’s our willingness to experiment and not pride ourselves [in] doing the same thing twice ...always finding a new direction with each album [we produce]...”

SouthSide: What was the thought process behind the title of your current release “Love In Flying Colors”?
TFE: “...[it] sounded to me [like] a verbal representation of what the album sounded like ...[with] the different textures, sounds, colors’s a multi-colored experience ...right now the main track “Better” a music video featuring Eric Roberson & Shana Tucker, [has] good elements of the classic The Foreign Exchange sound but where we are going now [also] embodies what we do...”

SouthSide: Within your songwriting process, what comes first – lyrics or beats/rhythms?
TFE: (Phonte) – “ for me ...trying to figure out what the story [our] music is trying to tell ...I don’t write any lyrics down...” (Nicolay) “...I may [some[ have influence on the song title’s 50 – 50 shared labor [between us]...” (Phonte) “ the end of the day, it’s [about] finding the right guest vocals...”

SouthSide: From whom do your draw most of your musical influences? And is there a particular artist/musician that TPE would like to collaborate with?
TFE: “ [music] is a foundation for us ...House and R&B is a genre we play reality, the new album represents us ...[it] comes from artists that we’ve listened ...past and present like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye ...and new artists like Thundercat...”

(SouthSide mentions the recent loss of Frankie Knuckles)
TFE: “...[we like] Frankie Knuckles ...big fan of Chicago House music ...respected of how he [Frankie Knuckles] always reinvented himself...”

(Then she mentions the death of DJ Rashad)

TFE: “...heard of DJ Rashad [too] ... we like to work to work with any artist that we come across and like what they do [for example] Eric Roberson ...we do best when we work with people as part of our camp ...and people we choose to work with reflects our music...”

SouthSide: What kind of performance will TFE be bringing to Chicago’s Metro stage on May 10? And Besides the music, in your opinion, what do you attribute fans returning to your shows?
TFE: “...something that’s always fun likened to a family reunion [for us] ...[we] want people to walk out of our shows better than they did coming in ...our Chicago fans are a passionate crowd ...we love performing in front of them ...[we] played at Double Door before but now graduated to Metro ...[it] was always a great fit at Double Door [though] it’s more like a rock venue ...and we had a full band two shows are going to be the same’s important to give the fans a reason to come back for more...”

SouthSide: And lastly, any final words to fans about The Foreign Exchange?
TPE: “...Come check us out ...looking forward to seeing the city [Chicago]...”

SouthSide would to thank the duo The Foreign Exchange for taking time out of their busy schedulet to do this interview with her. For more information about The Foreign Exchange, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

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