Terminally Skilled – An Interview With Contagious
So give me a little background on how you got started musically and feel free to elaborate as if we are in a normal conversation, this will be the easiest interview you have ever done.
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Music has really been a part of life for me since as far back as I can remember. My Uncle Eric was a drummer in a band and had a bad ass drum set in my grandma’s basement when I was little. Sometimes he would let me try and play around and shit but I knew I was terrible, and he was awesome, so I would get more enjoyment just watching him do his thing.
But my mom was the one who really (inadvertently) nurtured the writer in me. It was just her and I for the majority of my young childhood, so we did everything together. She mostly listened to 70’s and 80’s rock and all the time she would make up little lines to songs or even video games I might have been playing just to be funny or whatever. That’s definitely where the creativity comes from.
So I grew up on (now “classic rock”) but my lid was blown back when I was like 10 or 11 and I got my first rap tape…Beastie Boys “Licensed To Ill”. Back at that time there was a chain of record stores in Lansing that had a spot on every side of town and I was in one of em every time I had some money buying new rap music. The 2nd tape I got was DJ Quik “Quik Is The Name” and it was over after that. I eventually gravitated more towards the east coast artists like Wu-Tang, Notorious BIG, Nas, Redman, Mob Deep, and a lot of Esham and The Dayton Family, but I listened to everything really. Obviously I also liked a lot of 2Pac, Dr. Dre, and of course the GOAT Eminem.
In 1999 I moved from Lansing to Charlotte and through mutual friends I eventually met Smitty. We figured out that we both liked to freestyle rap with our friends, so we decided to have a cypher one night in my roommate’s living room with a couple of other guys and we recorded it on a karaoke machine. We both spit some lines that impressed everyone and had us thinking maybe we should do something with it.
So a couple months later Smitty met our friend Cody Page and made a song at his studio with a couple other guys. When he showed me the song I instantly wanted to go do something myself, so we did with another one with one of our friends Ryan Guthrie, who eventually made up the original 3 man group of Terminally Skilled.
We recorded an E.P. titled “Mental Mind State” in 2000 and gave our first ever live performance at a house party in East Lansing on NYE 2000. We burned a few copies of that album for a few homies, but that was about it lol. Ryan eventually moved to Florida, so Smitty and I continued on as a 2man group after that.
Tell me a little about some of the projects you have released and what you are currently working on.
So our latest project we released a few months ago is called “The Secret”. To any of the readers who are familiar with the law of attraction, this is definitely where the inspiration for the name and the cover art came from. We were very fortunate, through the diligence of our best friend and manager Tomas Parsons, to have had the opportunity to meet, work with, and become friends with I4NI and Dammit Boy Entertainment down in Nashville.
David Ray, Jon Conner, and Jonathan Knight in particular, were huge contributors to this album and really made us collectively better artists by working on this project with them. Not only is it our best work to date, but it’s also the best list of features we have had on an album to date. We shot a video in the Las Vegas desert for the first single “Tomorrow’s Another Day” feat. David Ray. You can find that on YouTube, and have plans for a few more in the near future. We will begin recording on our next project titled “P.S.” in the next couple weeks back down in Tennessee, so make sure you follow us to stay up to date on release info on that.
This is the part of the interview where you are free to let the reader know something that maybe you haven’t shared and freely speak on anything you would like.
I’ve always been able to draw really well so way before I ever thought I’d be any kind of musician, I thought my career path would involve art somehow. My dad’s old man used to make and sell life size birds out of wood. He would carve them, etch every feather with a wood burner, put life like eyes in them and then paint them spot on. I remember when I was little it seemed like he had a thousand different little sanding tips for his shaping tool in his shop. I wasn’t ever sure what exactly I wanted to do with art, but it seemed natural when I was younger.
I’ll just say here that I’m very thankful for every single fan, friend, and family member who has ever bought any of our music or merchandise, or came out to one of shows and showed love, or gone on social media and supported us, or done anything to help us in any way along this journey so far. We are so fortunate to do something we are both so passionate about and to have so many people that rock with us, it’s just amazing to see that in people’s faces and hear it in peoples words when they show us love. I used to be the kid in English class who stared at his paper when having to give a speech to the class…now I’m watching people sing the words to my songs with me while I perform them on stage. Fucking amazing!! So thank you, sincerely, I appreciate each and every one of you…
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