It’s All Donwill from Here

February 3, 2010 at 10:08 pm (interview, Music) (, , , , , , , )

The Journalist: Explain to us how did this project [Don Cusack in High Fidelity] come about?

Jasika Nicole of Fox's "Fringe" & Donwill have a song for Laura

Donwill: Long story short, me and Von[pea], we got this thing called the “brain trust,” and we kick around ideas—that’s how, more or less, Brooklynati and Moonlighting get kick started. Me and Von have these random conversations.

And one day I was like it would be really dope if somebody took one of their favorite movies and made a soundtrack to it, like an unofficial joint, like the “Unauthorized Biography of Rakim” but did that joint for like a movie, a whole soundtrack.

And he (Von) was like, “Oh yeah, that’d be cool.” So one day, we was in the Bay and I was just sitting around making beats–bored. And I made a couple beats and started rapping to them, and I was like Imma just do a soundtrack to High Fidelity, because that’s one of those movies that just touches me. I relate a lot to it.

And it kinda snowballed from it being a free EP that I was going to put on my blog to actually being an album with features, with guest producers and guest artists.

The Journalist: Now that you’re doing a solo project, how much input do the other members have in the music?

Donwill: This was pretty much all done by me. I kinda showed them in phases the album. I showed Von more than Ilyas, as I created the album just cuz he’s closer and it’s easier to let him come over, hear a couple tracks than zip up some files and send them to Ilyas.

I used their opinions. I trust their opinions. It’s like as musicians and artists, the fans love or hate the music but the fans don’t understand that there’s a council of like five to ten people that every artist has. It could be the guy at the newsstand, the dog walker, and their roommate. And those are the people that dictate if the music is actually good or not to the artist themselves. Because that’s the opinion I trust.

I trust Von’s opinion. I trust Ilyas’ opinion, the guy Dom’s at the label opinion, our manager’s opinion; there’s a couple more people. But when I bounce my ideas off of those heads and they tell me, “Nah, that song ain’t really, you know.”  There might be somebody who can hear it. But me, if my ears don’t like it, my trusted committee of ears don’t like it, I’m like well, I’ll take it back to the drawing board.

The Journalist: How did that work out, getting Jasika Nicole from the “Fringe” to play the lead female role in “Laura’s Song” video?

Donwill: It’s funny man. I hang out around an eclectic bunch of people. And she just happens to be one of the people that I hang around with. We like watch TV, movies together and shit–

My bad.

The Journalist: Nah, you good, you good. You can do whatever.

Donwill: Oh, see I’ve been holding back then.


Donwill: We have this thing called Bad Movie Night, where we all get together and watch really bad movies and laugh.

And one day we were watching a movie, and I’m just like I wanna ask her to be in my video but I don’t wanna seem like a weirdo.


Real rap,we’re cool and she knew me. But she didn’t like know me. I met her through a friend. And that’s like the beginning of a whole notha relationship, when you pulling somebody to side and like, “I’m interested in doing X,Y, and Z.” But I let her hear the song and told her about the idea.  and it just so happen to be that she’s a person after my own vision. And she loves artistic passion and loves projects where the person is so driven, they don’t let anything hold them back.

Like that video itself is a feat in itself. It was guerilla style.

The Journalist: What happened in that scene with you and Vonpea doing your take on a “High Fidelity” moment?

Donwill: The thing that nobody knows about Von, because he’s such a serious looking dude is Von is probably one of the most hilarious people I know. Like seriously, the guy is hilarious.

He likes the movie too, so he would try to get really into being Dick’s (Jack Black) character. And when the camera’s rolling, he would get into these long rambling–You know how Dick would be in the movie really Millie Mouse, low voice, mumbling and stuff. He (Vonpea) was like that to the letter. And I’m just there like this guy. He was trying to make me laugh, trying to make me mess up the take.

The Journalist: Comparing you guys (Tanya Morgan) to Slaughterhouse, who’s who?

Donwill: I would say Vonpea is Joell Ortiz. Just for the simple fact that Joell seems like a kinda private person but you know he just demolishes. Every time he spits, he gets your attention; he’s an amazing lyricist. That would be Von.

Me and Ilyas, we’re a little bit tricky. In the public eye, I would be more of the Joe Budden in a sense. I’m the one that’s usually out there— I’m the guy that’s always talking to people. I’m all over the internet; I’m not that hard to find.

The Journalist: I saw you on 2DopeBoyz the other day—just typing away.

Donwill: Yeah, exactly. I’m just there. Whereas Ilyas, he would be like a Crooked I. That’s more of Ilyas’ aesthetic is that hard shit. You know like the [over emphasizes] haaard shiiit… but in a different respect.

Ilyas is into more darker [sic] music. His solo release that he’s putting out is really a dark album.

I don’t know if Tanya Morgan fans in general will able to appreciate what we’re doing. If you can appreciate a concept album, you can appreciate what we’re doing. So I won’t that. Tanya Morgan fans will appreciate what we’re doing solo, because it’s just an extension of the concept. We’re just being ourselves.

The Journalist: What happens if one person in the group just blows up off of their solo project? Is that going to affect how Tanya Morgan makes its music from then on?

And have you guys discussed that?

Donwill: We talk about that. It wouldn’t affect it. Of course from the outside looking in, it would be, “There goes Nelly and the St. Lunatics.”


But from the inside, it’s like we all have very artistic intentions with our music. If something catches fire, you can’t really help that people gravitate to it. All you can do is try to make them understand why they’re gravitating to it.

Once you have the eyes and ears on you, then it’s time to leave them. It’s not time to dance in front of them and do whatever they want you to do. Like we got to organize this body of work, y’all need to listen to this album next, we’re going to do this next.

But let’s say I blow up and I’m on 106th and Park next week–I’m leaving Tanya Morgan and moving out to Brazil, because I get in like that.


1 Comment

  1. Phresh Graffiti Interview | Tanya Morgan said,

    […] It’s All Donwill from Here « Phresh Graffiti. << You see what he did there, with the title? Share and Enjoy: […]

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