Two of the progressive soul scene’s most promising talents, the “stellar” Stacey Epps and the “solar” Everett James have joined forces and been blessing Europe with their beautiful music ; Black Athena caught up with the pair to get the inside word.
Can you tell us a little bit about where you both grew up and what gave you your initial musical direction? E – I grew up in a small town in North Carolina, an eclectic little place and when I was growing up I used to go with my dad to his band practices and hang around and learn the trade. S – Well my father was in the military so we moved pretty much every year and I can’t really pinpoint an exact place where I’m from. I always loved music but it wasn’t until late high school that I actually got on stage and felt that love; I had my little rhymes and I remember I was so nervous I had to have a drink to get up there!
Everett you had an album back in 2007 called “Life” did that receive an official release? It actually wasn’t released; I guess you’d say it was a labor of love in a sense – everything about that album was independent, even the way in which I wrote it was a part of my journey, so it was real personal in a way that a lot of music isn’t now – I didn’t think too much – I didn’t think about a single I just thought about my life; it’s real personal when you put your life into your music and kind of exploit it in a way, which you have to when you’re dealing with labels where they can think of it only as a product; when you deal with it as an artist it takes a life of its own!
Stacey, you also released “The Awakening”, can you tell us about the concept of the album? Well I’d been working on a lot of collaborations and I’d had an album called “Soul Uprising” which I did with Little Sci’, and I just really wanted to do something on my own like a solo album and so I started working with Apex and we have a really good chemistry with music… and so we started making a record after the Sisters in Rhyme tour and I called it “The Awakening” because I felt like that was what was going on at the time; I was coming into myself, still constantly learning but coming into a sound and being able to carry a whole record.
“Floatin” got picked up by Gilles Peterson for the most recent Brownswood comp, were you excited at the prospect of being exposed to a bigger audience by that? Yeah that was so cool, I have so much respect for Gilles as a DJ , Tastemaker, just an “ear” you know? When I sent him the song he just really liked it so I was like “dope!” because when someone like that likes your music… plus I got to see Brownswood for real when I was in London, and Gilles was really cool so now I just wanna study for a while and elevate – get my skills up!
And during your European tour you made a brief stop off in Thessaloniki – how was that? It was cool man! We had a great time, the place is beautiful, and we performed in this little square where people could gather. I don’t know if people really got it though, but it was cool to do and we also met the mayor!