Interview Series: 3lo.
Meet 3lo. Aptly named, 3lo is in fact a trio of producers: namely, John Adams, Tobi Korede, and Mikal Mancini. The latter hails from Orlando while the others are from Atlanta – all have musical backgrounds and met, as so often happens now, online, through a Facebook producer’s group. What makes this group so special is their versatility – their sound represents the confluence of jazz, hip-hop, electro funk, and future beats.
3lo burst onto the scene in 2016; it has been just eight months since they released “Power,” a track in celebration of hitting the 1k followers milestone. Now imminently closing in on 5k and growing/evolving constantly, this group has been, and will continue to be, a lot of fun to watch as they continue to improve.
Their entire No Sleep EP, which we reviewed a while back, showcases their raw, introspective, and soulful grit. But, ultimately, each release from the crew has proven to be a new and pleasant surprise – their “Latch” remix with Valentine, for instance, is a high-energy banger, while No Sleep‘s intro song, linked below, is soulful, wavy R&B electronica. 3lo manages to be at once energetic, soulful, profound and emotional. In a word? Refreshing.
One can’t possibly predict what the group will do next – and that’s precisely what makes them great.
Read on for the full interview below!
You’ve all got musical backgrounds. But the styles with which you’ve worked vary quite a bit – how do you incorporate all of these differing inspirations and upbringings from each member into your music? As a trio, what is your songwriting process like?
One would think that having such an eclectic background between our members would be difficult but somehow it gels and it feels very authentic. We all have relatively the same background between r&b and rap, old school boy band pop punk stuff, electronic music and jazz. Some of us lean in directions more than the other. Most all of us grew up playing in church.
Nothing is ever forced, it just comes out naturally throughout each individual’s expression. We get this songwriting question quite a bit considering we live in different states and use different programs but honestly there isn’t a defined set of jobs for each person. We are all proficient in each of the aspects of production and tend to rotate different jobs for each track. Some are written mostly by one person, some are mixed mainly by one person, some are evenly split.
To what extent do you believe one’s environment influences their musical tastes and inclinations? More specifically, would you say that the Orlando and Atlanta music scenes have helped to shape your sound?
We believe one’s environment influences their musical taste to the fullest extent. It is impossible to remove one’s environment from their sound. Overall, I don’t think that my immediate area (Orlando) has influenced my sound that much, but the Atl trap sound has influenced our sound in some ways as well (two of our members live in Atl). If one considers a modern version of their environment, the internet for example, then I’d say have been influenced in ways I could never even imagine. To be fair, being schooled for Jazz up here and being part of that community has had a significant impact on my sound and 3lo’s sound as a whole.
Your soundscape is super eclectic – from heavy future and trap to jazzy electronica and hip-hop, each release seems totally different from the last – where do you see 3lo’s music going in the future?
Everywhere; and nowhere. Inside and out. From 3lo to the rest of the lo.
Talk a little bit about “No Sleep.” How did the idea for the project come about and how did you link up with all the other artists involved? In what sense do you try to convey a certain message or theme in you work?
The initial concept for No Sleep was created by our friend Atlas back in 2014 actually (took us a while to actually write the music). I actually met Atlas my 2nd year of college and met Hadiya through Atlas. Once we all started writing music together, it just clicked. We immediately realized that we were meant to create together. As far as themes go, we simply try to make music that feels good and impacts people.
Have you been playing any live shows? What are 3lo’s plans for the future?
We have just recently started playing live shows actually which has been a huge milestone for us. Two weeks ago we played in Boone, NC and Greensboro, NC with the Midiboyz (check them out they’re lit) and we also have a few shows in the planning stages coming up within the next few months. Very exciting stuff.
What have you guys got cooking in terms of collaborations? Any one you think is killing it right now who you’d love to work with?
Honestly, can’t even answer this question. Far too many people killing it, far too many people being slept on. Far too many people that we would certainly forget had I listed out a few and that would only legitimize the incredible art being pushed right now. As far as collabs go, we always have one or two in the bank with our boy Valentine and an project in the works with Hadiya.
How do you feel about the release of music through labels as opposed to your own page? If you could release through any label, electronic or otherwise, which one would you choose?
Releasing music through netlabels and collectives can be a great tool to get your music out there; while your follower count may be low, it allows you to widen your audience and drive more traffic back to your page. We usually are indifferent about whether we release music on our page or on a labels page though.
Our goal is to reach new listeners while maintaining the ones we have so having music released through labels give us the opportunity to grab someone’s attention who may not be familiar with whatever “scene” 3lo would be considered to be in. It’s hard to say which label we would want to release from since we make such a diverse range of music. Depending on what we made would determine which page we would think a individual track would create some buzz on. A few cool labels that we hear great tracks from are Elysian Records, Future Factory, Treehouse Vibes, Zephyr and Zen Supremacy.
What does music mean to you?
Music is more than art; Music is life. Music is all the perfection and imperfection that life can not express through words or images. Music is a reflection of the human condition. Music is a betterment of the human condition. Music IS humanity. Music cannot exist in a vacuum; therefore, music is simply existence.
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Show 3lo some love:
(And check out our full SoundCloud Artist Spotlight playlist for 3lo here.)