Photo by Vickey Ford (SneakShot) for Okayplayer.
A train rumbles as British actor Geoffrey Sumner utters the words, “This is a journey into sound.” Let’s Take A Trip, the sophomore album from Terrel Wallace, better known as Tall Black Guy, is exactly that. It’s a journey into sound. The concept of the project is simple: Let’s Take A Trip is merely about taking a journey whether it’s physical, emotional, spiritual or some combination of the three.
“A journey, which along the way, will bring you new colors, new dimensions and new music,” Tall Black Guy told us while interviewing him for Okayplayer. On Let’s Take A Trip, Tall Black Guy composed a musical soundscape which provides the listener with all of these components. It is more than simply a brief escape from reality, as it is an adventure into the sonic supernova that resides in Tall Black Guy’s cranium. TBG originally came up with the concept for the project on yet another boring, mundane commute to work at the American Airbase, which is an hour from his Norwich home. “I’m going to my job. I don’t like my job. Like I hate my damn job,” he proclaims. He began taking his recorder on the long, boring journey to use in case inspiration struck.
Throughout the three plus years it took TBG to complete the project, it went through many sonic and conceptual alterations, which were all just reflections of personal and professional growth as well as life changes. The initial idea of going on a journey remained intact, but events in his life, such as the death of a close family member, added some personal and emotional layers. “It definitely changed over time.” TBG stated to us plainly. “There was just a lot going on. One of my dear cousins passed away. And on top of that, I was just trying to figure out my growth as a musician,” he reflects. “I knew [that] I wanted to try and challenge myself by putting more of my own vocals into the composition. Like on the track ‘Come With Me And Fly,’ which was me sampling myself.”
As an American (born-and-raised in Detroit) living overseas, TBG also had to deal with hearing about racism and police brutality happening back home in the U.S. “I’m in the UK and I’m basically viewing everything on the other side of the world.” This feeling of helplessness and emotional vulnerability added another layer to the project. And over time, it began to incorporate even more spiritual and emotional elements. “Whatever the human, mind, body and soul goes through,” TBG explains. “Those were the kinds of things that I tried to add in.”