This summer Terrell Hines joined by Vince Staples to remix and release “Get Up”, saying American policies are not for the well-being of the people, so stand up for what’s right. Today, Hines drops his newest equally powerful outspoken single “We’re All Gonna Be Killed”, reflecting on 2020 where nothing feels okay. Mixing southern funk, hip hop, post-punk and alt-pop, he is unapologetically singing his truth once again.
Hines sits down with us to share inspiration, advice and art, we talk a little Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Assata and learning the language of the Pirahã people. He shares since we can’t control others, let’s control what we can; our state of mind. “We’re All Gonna Be Killed” says what most of us have been thinking this year, but to a well developed beat and unique chords. Having first made the music scene when Apple Music used a song of his, he’s been rising since he started and we expect to hear a lot more from him.
Growing up in Georgia, how did that impact your art?
Growing up in Georgia impacted my art and creative perspective in many different ways. The culture around me was a very creative and musical. Every weekend classic records were playing and on Sunday I was playing drums at church and I can’t forget to mention the creative tones and timbres of everyone’s voice which I’m intrigued by. Growing up in Georgia helped me internalise the music and my artistic vision.
You are a songwriter, rapper, vocalist, drummer and producer; when did you start these art forms and were you self-taught or did you have some help along the way?
I taught myself everything about music and the arts. I spent a lot of time going down musical rabbit holes. I started beating on pots and pans at the age of 2 and from there I would go to concerts with my mother. She was in a singing group, so all of the musical vocabulary was around me and I was soaking it all in. After high school I decided to study at Berklee College of Music and it only amplified what I had already internalised creatively.
You found influence from Andre 3000, Joy Division, Kendrick Lamar, Kayne West and Tom Waits; all very different styles, share with us how they inspired you?
In short, every one of those artists are impactful and do their own thing. You can also feel the time put in their music or whatever project they’re working on creatively.
Fashion is heavily impacted by music and vice versa, having studied fine art and fashion design who are your favourite creators? What designers do you wear most and would you most like to collaborate with?
Rick Owens is one of my favourite designers. His work is always impactful, and the vision and concepts feel raw and uncut. When there’s a creative statement to be made he makes them whether that’s the intention or not. In the fashion area I like to explore texture and form and how it relates to the things around me. Functionality is something that I like to explore within fashion and the intersection between functionality and sensory elements.
Which fashion photographer do you admire most?
Luis Alberto Rodríguez is my favourite photographer he really naturally catches the moment, body structure, and a feeling in his portraits.
Which musicians and songwriters do you think are doing the most unique work right now? Is there someone lesser known you’d like to work with? If so who?
FKA Twigs is definitely owning the space she’s in creatively and the music is just beautiful compositions. I’ve also been bumping all the SAULT records. They are definitely doing something impactful and it’s just good music with something to say. I would love to collaborate with them at some point.
How did you end up collaborating with Vince Staples?
It was just a situation that really came out of nowhere. I really respect Vince Staples’ work, so he was into the record so I’m always down for people to amplify records. He cut a verse on it and it just made the record even better. I couldn’t have gotten a better feature on the record.
“Get Up” came at a serendipitous time given the Black Lives Matter movements recent progress. How do you feel this song can help young people cope? What message do you have for those struggling?
The song is just to bring you a certain energy. Its ok to understand that the policies put in place in America are not for the well-being of the people. Plutocratic societies are outdated, and the song is an unapologetic way of saying we live in an outdated system. “Get Up” should give the confidence to stand for what is simply right. I will say during these times taking care of your mental health is very important and shouldn’t be taking likely. You can’t control other people’s irresponsibility, but you can control your state of mind.
Speaking of process, share with us your music process? And is there something you do daily that helps you stay balanced when the world feels so upside now and uncertain?
My process changes by the day. Usually I’m brainstorming on concepts for months at a time and when I hit the studio, I just put all of those thoughts and ideas together. Somedays I might just play chords and something magical happens. Daily I take time for myself to just organise my thoughts. Being introspective keeps me balanced.
Capitol Records is such an iconic label, how did you end up working with them? What advice do you have for other artists with your same ambition?
It was just networking and the on the ground grind from interning at studios, people passing on the music. I met with Capitol and explained my vision. They were open to my creative vision and we started working from that point on. Some advice I would give someone is trust your ears, listen well, and be authentic to you. I would also tell someone to keep going because the work isn’t pretty work all the time. Rejection is a part of the process, but those moments made me go harder and the work is paying off.
You attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music, tell us about that experience and how it came to be?
So, I didn’t know what I wanted to do until my junior year in high school. Being an athlete, I had to make a decision of playing sports or doing music. I came across Berklee College of Music one day and was like, “This is where I’m going.” My high school basketball coach, band director, and fine arts teacher really helped me with the audition process, along with local musicians who I can’t thank enough. I went to a 15-minute audition and I got accepted along with a scholarship. Berklee was some of the best moments of my life. The city of Boston was just a good experience for me, it was a game changing point in my life. Berklee just gave me more creative vocabulary just by the environment.
In 2019 your music was chosen for the Apple keynote, yet you had never released an album or done any touring, so this was the largest exposure to people your music had reached, can you share its us how that came to be and what you learned from that?
The Apple keynote situation is just a result of making something unique and showing music to people. You could be one call away from the next elevating moment.
Right now due to home stay orders, regulations on masks, and civil rights movements, we are all facing an intense amount of emotions; how are you handling this? Any advice for others?
We are in an outdated system. I’m observing but also taking action making people more aware of the things going on in the best way I can and I’m just always looking at ways to contribute. The best advice I have is stay grounded and well-read. We are in the results.
As a fan of linguistics and psychology, what books or classes do you suggest for people to help during these uncertain times? What have you been studying lately that has helped you?
I would recommend Assata: An Autobiography, The Social Leap, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. And if you have some down time check the language of the Pirahã people.
You‘ve been quoted as saying you are “trying to engineer the future” while considering which metals you would want to gather during a catastrophe, then gathering those metals and sampling them in the studio. Tell us more about this please? It sounds like you are a proper alchemist, like that of the ancient times. Which metals should we stock up on?
I like to get good results and engineer timeless things – things that are infinite and have the potential to last forever. Any concept, whether materials or microbiology, I just explore all parts of it and connect the dots. If there’s something to connect to make something, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, it’s all about trial and error at its core. But as for metals I would stock up on many. I’ll pick one, let’s say titanium and figure all the possible forms and how it interacts with other materials. It would be cool to have a bottle of cool liquid titanium that I poured into my hand and it grossed into a sleek titanium fitted suit and could take heavy impact.
Wonderland has always been about sharing beautiful works of art in all forms, offering inspiration and escapism, creativity and imagination are imperative to us all, what do you describe as your ideal Wonderland for yourself and your life?
A place where data was currency. A place where every idea was taught as a concept only filled with humanoids of some nature trying to reach their highest level of optimisations to solve any issue in that space.