by Toki Wright
In everyoneís record collection, there are certain albums that define periods of your life. Maybe an antiwar record from the Ď60s. Possibly a pro-Black album from the early Ď70s? .Hell, you might just have really loved Culture Club in the Ď80s. As a high-school student in the mid 1990s, there were a few albums that formed the soundtrack to my existence. Of those, the record that I never let anyone borrow was The Pharcydeís Labcabincalifornia. Iím proud to say that I owned it on tape and it was also the first CD I ever purchased. After I finished this interview, it dawned on me that I had just interviewed someone that spoke my language at a point in my life when it seemed like no one else did.
This coming Saturday, Minneapolis will welcome back Tre Hardson to the Triple Rock Social Club with Heiruspecs.
The Pharcyde in his rearview mirror and several albums deep into his solo career,
Tre Hardson prepares us for his newest chapter with the upcoming album Slim
Kid Treís Cafť. I had a chance to speak with Tre and ask him
some in-depth questions about life, music and his clearest memory of the 12th-largest
state in the country.
Toki Wright: Who were your biggest musical influences when you were developing
Tre Hardson: Itís like a conglomerate: New Birth, Sly Stone, Chaka
Kahn, Earth Wind and Fire, Quincy Jones, you know?
TW: What have you learned about the music industry now that you are a
TH: In the music industry you need to know a lot about networking and
teamwork. What I mean is that a lot of kids are trying to rush and get on these
[record] labels. You just need to have your internal team tight if a label pulls
the rug out from under you. Donít look around for other people to give
TW: From what Iíve noticed, a lot of so-called ďundergroundĒ
hip-hop audiences have lost feeling in the lower half of their bodies. By that
I mean that people donít dance as much as they used to at hip-hop functions.
I also heard that you came up through the dance culture. Have you noticed any
recognizable changes in how crowds react to hip-hop music?
TH: For some crowds. Sometimes shows are just social events. Some [people
at shows] just react to their surroundings. Maybe they are trying to impress
others. Itís monkey see, monkey do. Some artists can capture the crowd
and make them move. For me I donít give a shit. I do my thing and have
fun. If you choose to be uptight, thatís you.
TW: [Laughter] No doubt. I feel you on that one. Quick question:
8-tracks, records, tapes, CDs or iPod? What do you prefer?
TH: Right now Iíd say iPod because I like collecting music. Itís
been a while since Iíve been able to make a mixtape, and itís cool
to compile all of your music on the computer.
TW: If we looked on your iPod right now, what would we find?
TH: I still need to move from my computer to the iPod. Iím pretty
eclectic. Iím not really feeling a whole lot of R&B but Iíve
got Donnell Jones, Van Hunt, Jamiroquai, Arrested Developmentís Among
The Trees album, waiting to hear Mos Def and Talib Kweli as Black Star again,
De La Soul. Even some Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin.
TW: I know youíve been all around the world performing. What have
been the best places to rock?
Europe; they are really open to music. We had a show in Madison last night
that was good. A lot of colleges are open to new music and new ideas.
TW: What is your clearest memory of Minneapolis?
TH: Shit man. Cold as fuck! It was the first time I had ever seen two
buildings connected to each other like that [via skyway]. I was like, ďThis
is colder than Montreal!Ē Minneapolis and Siberia are like twins.
TW: Are you into books? Is there anything youíve been reading up
TH: I read a lot of Yoruba; Iím actually a certified Healer. Iím
[also] into paranormal psychology.
TW: Youíve been in the game for a long time and have been out on
the road with many acts. Who have been the best groups to tour with?
TH: The Roots were a good combination. Heiruspecs is really fucking dope,
and Iím not just saying that to blow smoke up their ass. They are a real
good example of that right combination.
TW: I want to make sure that each person I interview gets a chance to
say what they really feel. Is there anything going on in the world that you
want to shed some light on?
TH: [short pause] A lot of things. Whatís going on in Sierra
Leone. Living in America you have no idea of what goes on in life. People in
the favelas [in Brazil]. We donít know because we are in a small box.
We really have it good. America is really like a Roman Empire. I really let
the world be what is it. Iím kind of a spectator. Itís funny how
we are having these natural disasters. Its like Mother Nature is slapping us
on the handÖ
TW: [Interrupting] I think we really need to look at that idea
of natural disaster. If you look at disasters like Katrina, much of the reason
why there is such a large impact is because of man. People make situations worse
by being so focused on building and not cultivating. We need to take a second
and think harder about the ramifications of building and progress in relationship
to the land.
TH: Thereís a lot going on in the supernatural. If you donít
have the knowledge you wonít understand. We have clones, seedless watermelon,
but we canít get rid of the common cold? Death is a business. The wheels
keep turning and people become slaves. You really should check out the movie
ďHitchhikerís Guide to the Galaxy.Ē
I saw that. It was real dope. I heard that the book is a lot better than the
movie. So what can we look forward to from Tre Hardson at the show Saturday?
TH: Iíll have a compilation CD on sale with cuts from each of my
records called Slim Kid Treís Cafť Radio. In March Iíll
have an album out called Slim Kid Treís Cafť.
When artists say that they are not role models they are either not trying to
take responsibility for othersí actions or flat out lying. No matter what,
if you are in the public eye, there are some kids out there that are going to
look up to you or at least pay attention to what you are saying. Tre Hardson
has made a career out of spreading positivity through sharing his personal trials
and tribulation. Tre is living proof that there is a crowd out there for every
type of music, and that you donít have to go along with what the radio,
television or what I say is popular. ||
Tre Hardson performs on Sat., Nov. 26 at the Triple Rock Social Club with
Sims and headliners Heiruspecs. 5 p.m. All Ages. 10 p.m. 21+. $10/$8 with a
non-perishable food item. 629 Cedar Ave., Mpls. 612-333-7499.
For more info on Tre Hardson check out his official website at TreHardson.com
and also his MySpace page at MySpace.com/TreHardson.