This duo certainly knows how to get the party started. Grammy-nominated R&B and soul recording artist Mayer Hawthorne and Grammy-nominated hip-hop producer Jake One make up the popular funk duo Tuxedo, and both Hawthorne and One gave Metro the scoop on what to expect from their new album and summer tour.
Funk duo Tuxedo hit the stage in Philly this week
You’ve both had plenty of individual success in the music industry before becoming Tuxedo. When and why did you decide to join forces?
Jake One (JO): We started doing tracks for fun without any intention of releasing them, in 2010. We met through hip-hop and realized we were both into early ’80s funk and R&B. That was our initial connection.
Your third studio album, “Tuxedo III,” was just released. Can you tell me a little about what went into making this album?
Mayer Hawthorne (MH): This is the first album that we’ve had guests on. We wanted to keep it organic and only work with people who were really family. Benny Sings, MF DOOM, Dam-Funk, Leven Kali … they really brought a new dimension to what we do, but it still feels natural.
You utilize a lot of different sounds and instruments to make your eclectic funk music. Do you feel as though you like experimenting with those sounds more as time goes on?
JO: Playing with new sounds and textures is a crucial component of what we do. I’ll buy a new vintage synth and it will spark off a couple songs. On this album, we wanted to use some more classic drum machines like the 808 and DMX. It was a new twist for us.
This genre does feel nostalgic even with the new sounds and advancements. What would you say makes the funk dance type of music so timeless?
JO: A really great funk groove is one that is so infectious you don’t tire of it. The world has been listening to songs Zapp made for 40 years now, and they still sound new somehow.
MH: Feeling good and having fun is always gonna be in style.
Jumping to your tour that also just recently kicked off, what do you both like the most about taking your music on the road?
JO: More than anything I love seeing the reaction from the crowd. I’ve spent a lot of my career producing behind the scenes, so it’s always cool to see firsthand how much the music is touching people.
MH: Yeah, connecting with the fans is definitely the best part. And then the record stores and food spots are a close second.
What would you tell people to expect at one of your shows?
MH: We don’t just stand up there and play the songs. It’s a real show. We work extremely hard at this.
What does the future hold for Tuxedo after this tour?
MH: We are probably gonna take all the proceeds from the tour and buy more rare synthesizers so we can make more tunes.
Tuxedo will also be performing in NYC at Webster Hall on Tuesday August 6 at 8 pm