Miss Tahloulah May - Sharing Love of Music and Hip Hop Culture Unapologetically (003)
RT Welcome to Episode 003 of The Rec Show. Today’s sound wizard goes by @TahloulahMay Enjoy! ✌🏾🖤— The Rec Show (@TheRecShow) February 7, 2021
Music: RUGGED https://t.co/Tsacq1mwwA
The Sound Wizards Blog: https://t.co/VhFbXsJcc4 pic.twitter.com/8l63Q3Cmf7
1. For those that don’t know who you are, explain who Miss Tahloulah May is, where you’re from and how you got your start making beat.
I’m Miss Tahloulah May, a beatmaker/musician who lives in Holland. I was born September 1986 in Paramaribo (Surinam). Inspired by my mother, I developed an interest in Soul, Funk, Jazz, Kaseko (Surinamese traditional folk music) and Caribbean tunes at a young age. Around 1994 I started to develop my love for Hip Hop music and the culture. The way creative boundries were pushed within the entire Hip Hop culture and all of it’s subcultures inspired me to look for my own musical and creative identity. This lead to me finding my musical voice decades later.About 2 to 3 years ago I started making Hip Hop music and discovering my musical identity.
At the age of 14 I began analyzing all sorts of musical genres and styles and started hosting local radio shows. I also started getting serious about dancing and practiced different dance styles like Ballet, Jazz Dance, Afro Jazz and Hip Hop, until at the age of 18 a back injury prevented me from exploring this creative path any further.
Because I kept craving a creative outlet, I started to write. This lead to a succesful international blog, Kick out of the box, about the Sneaker culture as a subculture in Hip Hop. I made it my goal to outline the history and journey of the Sneaker culture. To do so, I had to shine light on the journey of the Hip Hop culture as a whole, eventually leading to the start of my musical career.
My sound is known as old school Hip Hop, but with a unique twist. It’s a mixture of Boom Bap, Lo-Fi and Electronics. At first I made instrumental Hip Hop music solely using sampled material. But because I felt that this limited my creativity, I started studying bass guitar, synthesizer and keyboard.
2. You’ve been making beats for a long time. Can you explain your approach to your sound?
I haven’t been making beats for a long time, but I did spent most of the time I have been making music analysing and customizing my own workflow and working on my craft. I discovered that making music with the help of a computer (DAW) makes me uncomfortable. The fact that I can SEE my music makes it less organic for me and distracts me from the essence, creativity. I get insecure when I see that my drums are off, but I hear that they sound funky. LOLI learned that the best way to make music for me is to trust solely on my ears and my heart. I also learned that I love the seasoned sound of old school gear combined with the futuristic sound of synthesizers and the funky sound of a bass guitar. And so that is what you’ll find in my set up.
‘Sup Hip Hop, it’s beatmaking time and I’ve got a surprise for y’all... I get lots of questions about how I make my beats and tonight you’re invited in my kitchen where Tahloulah May cooks it up. So after watching this one, head over to YouTube (BIO) and check out how I made it. pic.twitter.com/vDoQoIC7Fj— Miss Tahloulah May (@TahloulahMay) March 4, 2020
3. What is your process prior to crafting a beat? Kind of the pre-game to the your process i.e. light incense, candles, relax etc etc.
I usually start with either sound design or listening to records. Just focusing on what I’m hearing relaxes me and gets the creative juices flowing lol.
Sometimes I make music to work through some personal stuff. Then I start by trying to get in touch with my feelings. Just me with my headphones on sitting there in my own world of sorrow or bliss.
Either way I try to release myself from all goals and expectations before I start making music. If I don’t do that I can’t get in “the zone” and I produce microwave sh*t without a soul.
4. You have a YouTube show called Room 404 Live you and your husband host which airs the last Saturday of every month and features Hip Hop music from around the world…What was your though process in the creation of this show?
I know how difficult it is to get your music heard as an independent artist. And I also know that a lot of us just want to be heard and want to spread love and/or a message through music. That why Hip Hop was invented/born. To spread hope and a message. To build on a community that was broken and hurt. To bless those who weren’t automatically blessed by the world. In that spirit I had to give something back to the community. I receive a lot of love and even praise (which keeps humbling me) and that is something I should give back!
"Rugged" is a Hip Hop album made without a Digital Audio Workstation, DAW. Instead the E-mu SP1200, Akai MPC 2500, Roland SP-404 and the Roland System 8 synth amongst others were utilized to build the album. Beat making, vinyl digging, (vintage) hardware and raw Hip Hop are the ingredients and cornerstones that make this album come to life.
Rugged originates from a need for creative freedom and letting go of conventions. I had an urge to experiment with sounds and feelings instead of working with a clear musical idea. Every track on Rugged is build from a tabula rasa, clean slate, and is inspired by the feelings of that particular moment. Being as close to Hip Hop’s heritage as possible was my wish. This project needed to reflect the rawness of the recordings back then as well as the creative freedom for which Hip Hop is known. Vintage hardware is very intuitive and has that gritty, unpolished sound, therefore it fits the idea of Rugged perfectly.
At the same time as I was building the idea of Rugged behind closed doors, a Hip Hop OG got the urge to pass the torch by giving me his SP1200. I took this special moment as a sign that Rugged was the path to take. Like it was meant to be.
This album is an ode to the authenticity and creativity that Hip Hop has brought us all these years. It’s a tribute to those who came before us like Dilla and RZA amongst others. It’s a celebrations of their lessons of unconventionality.
"What I want to show with Rugged is that it’s still okay to stand for what you believe in, even if that means not taking the easy road.
I love to keep reinventing myself and to make projects which are me, but all sorts of sides of me. In that spirit I’m working on a new project which gives me a new sence of creative freedom. I’m afraid that is all I can spill right now… Stay tuned J
New artists currently in my rotation:When I’m working on a project I tend to stay away from (new) music within my own or similar genres, because I want the project to be as much of myself as it possibly can. I mostly listen to other genres like old jazz, salsa, merengue, bossa nova, etc. Kind of like a wine taster who needs to neutralize their taste with bread or water. Sounds weird as I write it, but that’s how my crazy brain works I guess.