Thelonious Martin is a pivotal producer who seems to be growing quickly year by year. Hailing from Chicago, Thelonious already has multiple records under his belt and started from a young age, working with artists like Vic Mensa and Action Bronson. I sat on the phone with Thelonious and got the scoop of his genius. He talks on Wunderkind album, Chicago segregation, Jersey roots, and much more. Below is a summarized version of the interview but you can listen to the audio at the bottom of the page.
IH: How you feeling today?
TM: A little on reverse jet lag, I’m still on L.A. time.
IH: Tell me about your musical background and the influence living in New Jersey because you moved from Chicago when you was 5?
TM: The musical scene for me in Jersey was staying with my mom. Being able to go back and forth between New Jersey and New York taking in culture like that. Like in high school I was able to go to fat beats every Saturday and check for new records coming in. Got a chance to do a program at NYU where producer Illmind was my teacher.
IH: I noticed that, what can you say you learned from Illmind as a teacher?
TM: It’s endless, but you sitting with a guy like that for 12 weeks you start picking up little details. Its a experience to be around people you respect in terms of your craft and you get to learn the smallest details.
IH: Your doing live instrumentation with the Wunderkind album. Let us know whats coming out of that?
TM: For Wunderkind we been bringing in live musicians; bass guitar, piano, and bringing in vocalist as well making everything bigger. I wanted to go back to actually making records and putting people together for one recording.
IH: What were you expecting or not expecting when you dropped Polo Sporting Goods with Retch?
TM: At the time I dropped Polo Sporting Goods that was my third month in a row of dropping collaborative projects. Before that I dropped a project with Evan Holt in October and in November with JB of OKC. My expectations for the project was for it to be received well. I never was thinking “Oh, we’re gonna get signed off this”. I feel like everything is supposed to set you up for your next move and that’s the expectations I have on everything I do.
IH: What does Chicago mean to you because it’s so different right now?
TM: Chicago is home; it’s where I rest my head at, it’s where I go to school, and its where I make my art my craft. To me, Chicago is everything. If you don’t live here you definitely wouldn’t know what the music scene is like.
IH: Let us know the influence that Thelonious Martin music will play in the future?
TM: It’s most definitely going get back to the music, with Wunderkind coming out, with who’s on it and what we’re doing with this album. People is gonna see that its really about the music and nothing else. I want the music to speak for itself and I feel the influence that we’re gonna have is going to be a major one.
IH: What artist can we expect to be on this album?
TM: Hmmm, I’m trying to think what details I can give off top right now. If anybody peeped me and Mac Miller just had a session so expect for him to be on there. I also talked to the big homie Freddie Gibbs so he bringing some special guest through.