“PERMISSION TO LIVE”

By Comrade Cav

I sat down with Mr. Thomas Piper, as my 1st interview for @TrulyBklyn! I’m coming out strong!

He is a Bedford-Stuyvesant based singer, songwriter, music producer, art director, video creator & friend who has graced the stage with rousing live performances at our banging Wonderground parties, gigs I have organized in a solo capacity & at the iconic ‘Soul In The Horn’ event, happening every Friday, curated by DProsper & hosted by the legendary Dj @NatashaDiggs. To name a few.

His music pulsates with powerfully positive life energy. His beats are supple. His albums petition for spiritual growth is underpinned by a righteous & benevolent bounce. Diasporic rhythm, soul and RnB forms the foundation, upon which an EDM framework is coated in the colors of many musical genres. The classic & the cutting edge.

His new album ‘Permission To Live’ dropped on June 5th 2020, so the timing for our socially distanced stoop sit down, could not have been better.

Terry Power (Thomas’s manager) provided fresh fruit salad, hot out the pot pholourie (mini vegetable fritters) with homemade tamarind sauce & a Trinidadian cocktail. Delicious.

And our conversation was tasty as well.
Q1. Why do you make music?
TP. Fun. It’s still fun. When I was a kid, whenever I wanted to make a new song, I’d just make it. Mum saw me hitting pots & pans & thought I might like making music. She put me in piano lessons when I was 3 years old. When we lived on Long Island, I began making songs around the age of 11 or 12. Music was always around. My uncles were Djs & would send Mum music from Trinidad. My uncle – Trevor Wilkins – still has a show on NYC public radio. I just like making music. I liked it so much, when one songs finished, I wanna make another one.

Q2. Who do yo make music for? TP. Myself. I only make music I like, but it’s for the people. When you make beats in the studio you can believe it’s all for you: its not. Over many shows, I tested the songs to see what people liked before I put them on the album. Learnt that from a Rock dude. You do a show & it becomes painfully clear, who you’re making music for.

Q3. How is ‘Permission To Live’ different from your previous work? TP. It’s a debut album. A concept album, in a way. It’s a development of all the performances & placements I did before. The concept for this album was seeing people give themselves permission to clap at my shows. We have to give ourselves permission to live. When you see people really get the music – connecting – then you know the concept works. You put those songs on the album. Harry Belafonte said ‘Don’t put a song out, you don’t like. You may have to sing it for the rest of your life’.

Courtesy of The People’s Republic Of Sound, from the video “Get It”

Q3a: How did making an album during the lock-down affect its creation ? TP. I already had the songs down. It was an intense 3 weeks of mixing. Without the Corona virus happening, I couldn’t have done it in that time. I’d mix 8 hours a day. I was ready for that. Maybe I used the lock-down to escape? I didn’t think about what was happening outside. I had no distractions.

Q4. Who/what inspires you ? TP. 1st one is Prince. When I was a kid, I wasn’t just a fan, I wanted to be him. Public Enemy was the next big 1. They lived in the town next to me in Long Island. Then, A Tribe Called Quest. Now it’s Radiohead. I understand what they do. Music I enjoy? Kaytranada. I like Migos too. They’re almost singing, almost not? Then there’s Brooklyn itself. YOU KNOW the parties we go to.

Q5. Your thoughts on the struggle presently playing out on the streets ? TP. It should be happening. Covid made sure everyone was home to watch the George Floyd footage. So if you weren’t paying attention to something that’s been going on a long time, now you know. I’m glad its happening. The album is about giving yourself power. That’s what’s happening in the streets. We’re not waiting for people to fix this. We have power.

Q6. What’s next ? TP. More music for the people. I can make music for myself – I don’t take that for granted – but I make music to be put out for people. Covid has helped inspire my video work.I want to make a video for nearly every song on the album. It needs a lot of time. More than the music.

Q7. What’s your most important life lesson? TP. Have a lot of friends or have a lot of money ●○●

Words & pict by Comrade Cav. Insight by Thomas Piper.

Click link to hear ‘Supply Life’ the 1st song released off Thomas’s debut album and check out the Video. All right on his youtube channel. THOMASPIPER – “Beat Design”.

To listen to or buy the album ‘Permission To Live’ click here and Support Brooklyn Music.

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