Heartbreak. Happiness. Black love. Vulnerability. Black intimacy. Police brutality. Social injustice. What it means to be a Black man today. Some musicians just make music, and others dedicate their craft to unpacking an array of all-encompassing themes, sonically making shifts in the world – AKA making music that actually means something. One such act is THEY. – comprised of vocalist Drew Love and Dante (the brains behind the production) – whose poignant music has been stirring the airwaves even in the midst of a pandemic.
And their forthcoming record The Amanda Tape, is gearing the duo up for a big end of the year – with impressive features from Tinashe, Juicy J and Wale – a 10-track project perfectly encapsulating their fusion of indie, R&B and hip-hop.
And “On and On” is the lead single off the tape, with sombre visuals which they hope will leave listeners hopeful for better days to come. Speaking on the release, THEY explained: “This song has dual meaning to it. On the surface it’s a song about a relationship, but when writing it, we were also speaking about our relationship with the world around us. Things have changed so much, so rapidly and we must believe there’s hope that things will change for the better.”
Having worked with big names of the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Jessie Reyez, Vic Mensa, Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign and more, THEY. are set to step up their game this year – we caught up with the rising stars below…
Hey guys, how has this uncertain time been for you? How has it impacted your music and creativity?
We have been good, obviously its been a very eventful year for every one but we been hanging in there. We were working throughout most of the shutdown, it was good for us as it gave us the time to finish the album and shut out the distractions.
Where did you grow up and how did it influence you sonically?
I grew up in Denver and Drew grew up in the DMV.
Where are the most unusual places you pull musical inspiration from?
Wherever I’m feeling inspired I’ll usually put on a movie and just try to catch a vibe. I’m a very visual person and seeing a film with a really strong atmosphere/aesthetic always provides a good jumping off point.
“On and On” – why is it called that and what is it inspired by?
We pulled the title of the song from the hook. This is one of our favorite records on the project because it has a fdw different meanings to it. On one level its about a relationship and trying to pull through the tough times, but its also touching on our relationship with the world around us. Things have been changing so much these past few years, especially in 2020 with the pandemic and the social justice movements. its hard to keep up sometimes.
It’s incredible that your song has social weight to it – why is it important for artists to have a responsibility to spread messages of awareness, empowerment and justice?
I think it just depends on the artist and what they are passionate about. From day one we have wanted to use our voices and platform to bring attention to the things afflicting us as Black men in America and the rest of the Black community. I’d rather turn some people off speaking my truth than look back in 5 – 10 years wishing I would have spoke up.
And the music video is really impactful – was it really emotional concepting something that is affecting so many people today?
I’ve seen the video 100 times at this point and i still get strong feelings from it, it just really hits home. 2020 has been a year where more people were finally made aware of police brutality and what it looks like on a day to day basis,and we wanted to make sure that we used our platform to continue the conversation.
And it’s taken from your album The Amanda Tape – why the name and what pulls together all the singles as a body of work?
All 10 songs portray different aspects of a relationship. During the process of writing this record we were both in with girls named Amanda. Even our engineer was dating a girl named Amanda. Coming into the studio each day and pulling from personal experiences and feelings we thought calling this project “The Amanda Tape” perfectly described what we were both going through at that time.
You’ve got incredible features on it – Tinashe, Juicy J and Wale – why did they feel right for the record, and how did you choose who you wanted to collaborate with?
We look at features as a way to elevate a song from good to great. Each one has a different story to tell and only reach out to someone when we think the will be the right ft to tell that story and complete the vibe we are trying to create.
What do you want fans to take from your music?
Each project we have a same agenda, to introduce something new and distinct. The inspirations are going to change each time but we always want to show people its okay to approach things with a different perspective.