Truth and Soul DJ crew Truth and Soul is here with their new compilation “Fallin off the Reel II” which specializes in obscure music from the 60’s and 70’s. Currently working with some of Wu-tang, this group is really working on a unique sound. Check out this exclusive!
interview by Will Hernandez
WHO?MAG: How did you guys come together? TRUTH AND SOUL: Originally, Jeff Silverman and Leon Michels met through Soul Fire Records which was run by Phillip Lehman. Michels band, The Mighty Imperials, were signed to Phillips previous label, Desco Records, and Jeff Silverman had been playing and DJ’ing funk records around NYC for a number of years. Both started to record steadily for Soul Fire Records. When the label disbanded, Michels and Silverman started TRUTH & SOUL.
WHO?MAG: Talk about your compilation Fallin off the Reel II? TRUTH AND SOUL: The compilation is a collection of the singles TRUTH & SOUL has put out over the past year. Both of us are record collectors so the desire to release limited runs of 45 singles is something we’ve been doing since the inception of T&S. About 80 percent of the record is music that has been record in the past two years and the rest of it is re-issues of records by artists which we admire and have tracked down so that we can release their music to a larger audience of people who’ve probably never heard of them before. The songs by Tyrone Ashley, Black Velvet, and Timothy McNealy are re-issues.
WHO?MAG: Why the interest in digging for old music and do you feel you guys will make a difference in this digital age, where most people rarely buy albums? TRUTH AND SOUL: Old music, especially music from the 60’s and 70’s, is what inspired both of us to go into the industry and make music. It is what we love. The digital age is both a curse and a blessing for the music because of iTunes and blogs and things of that nature, older records that once faded into compete obscurity have reached a much larger audience and nowadays, a new re-issue or compilation of old music comes out almost every week. The thing is, we take inspiration from the older music which we love and record new music in which we try to create something new and fresh.
WHO?MAG: I like the first two tracks “La Valla” and “Nara Se Va” by Bronx River Parkway. It reminds me of an old Fania All Stars records. How did you come upon those two gems? TRUTH AND SOUL: We actually recorded those in 2006 in Puerto Rico with a group of older musicians who have been making and playing salsa music as far back as the 40’s. A group of us recorded rhythm tracks and then overdubbed the rest in Old San Juan, PR. It is taken from a full-length that will come out this summer by Bronx River Parkway entitled, “San Sebastan 152”.
WHO?MAG: Do you feel compilations such as yours will bring an interest of fans for older music that’s not hip hop or R&B? TRUTH AND SOUL: For the most part, fans of older music is an easy sell. We are trying to bring in fans of hip-hop and R&B who have never been exposed to this type of music.
WHO?MAG: I heard you guys are doing stuff with Wu-Tang Clan. How did that come about and what exactly are you doing with them or what specific members? TRUTH AND SOUL: El Michels Affair, one of our house bands, did a few shows through Scion with Raekwon, U-God, Inspectah Deck, and Gza. Because El Michels Affair has a very gritty, cinematic quality to their own music, the pairing was perfect. Rza’s beats are so interesting as instrumentals that it just worked perfectly in a live setting.
WHO?MAG: Any other projects you’re working on? TRUTH AND SOUL: We are releasing a record of sweet soul inspired by bands like The Moments, and The Delfonics and by Lee Fields & The Expressions called “The Many Moods of…” That comes out in mid-September. We also have a band called Cosmic Force which records “basement disco”. Their first full-length will be released this year. Also, we release limited singles almost every month.
WHO?MAG: You thoughts on bootlegging and downloading. TRUTH AND SOUL: It is bad for the major labels because they don’t sell 8,000,000 records anymore, but for an independent label like ours, blogs and free downloads don’t really hurt us. If anything, it spreads the word. Maybe one day I’ll be mad at that, but right now I’m as guilty as anyone else. We also try to make all our projects look special and limited so that you want to own a copy of the physical record. I could give a shit about CD’s in jewel cases with boring linear notes, but if a record looks good, feels good, and sounds good I want to own it. People don’t care as much about packaging as they used to and that’s part of the problem. Owning a good-looking LP feels a lot better than owning a CD that will crack a couple hours after you buy it.
WHO?MAG: Any last words? TRUTH AND SOUL: Go out and buy a TRUTH & SOUL record!!