Interview: Traditional Methods

Traditional Methods (Minneapolis)
Published in the Pulse of The Twin Cities
by Kandis Knight

“It’s revolution evolution of our spiritual whole so we can stop the execution of our beautiful soul. Traditional makes music so the people can grow, when you don’t love yourself that’s when the evil can show” –Shizznon

There are times when life hurts us, then heals us, and in this process humbles us. Some days feel like you’re simply stumbling into the next or falling forward.

Falling Forward is the fitting title for the sophomore project by Twin Cities beloved Hip-Hop group Traditional Methods. While completing this album the group endured a painful, yet positive, transformation that concluded with the birth of a top-notch 12 track production
As we gathered in a cozy studio booth I could feel the heaviness and serenity of each individual spirit. For those who don’t know, Traditional Methods has been through some shit in the past two years. Although they all seemed to rest assured in knowing their darker days are behind them, they also take comfort in knowing they didn’t suffer in vain. Their “beauty for ashes” takes the form of 12 introspective and brilliant songs they can share with the world.

From rumors of their label Interlock breaking up to enduring the sudden deaths of loved ones, group members Sarah White, New MC (also of Kanser) and Sean McPherson (aka Twinkie Jiggles also of Heiruspecs), remained tattered yet unbroken. They chose to open up and share what they’ve been through in the last two years.

Kandis: What inspired you to name this CD Falling Forward?

New MC: We did an interview for the Plaid Rabbit after a show at Bryant Lake Bowl and in Twinkie’s interview he was asked where we were going as a group and he said, “We are trying to move forward but we are falling forward,” and I was like, “Falling forward! We should use that for the album.”

Sarah White: It’s kinda like we got to a point and we tripped and we’re falling forward—but not in a way that is going to be hurtful—[more like in a way that’s] building up to something positive.

Sean McPherson: Yeah, Heiruspecs was going through some personnel issues awhile back and I looked to Slug for some advice just cause I know he had gone through a lot of that stuff and we had a long conversation and he told me “the times when the best things are going to happen for you are when you have to have a lot of faith but you have the least grounding to do anything.” Basically, if you want to be a millionaire and you have 10 dollars in your pocket you should spend it. If you want to get somewhere you can’t wait for everything to be perfect before you jump. Sometimes you have to be on your last legs and push forward for it. This had to be a labor of love with a high level of commitment. We all have so much going on in our lives—when other people have leisure time we’re in the studio working on another thing.

Kandis: How long did the album take to complete?

New MC: Two years.

McPherson: We were able to work with the engineer who did our first album so there’s a nice feeling of continuity. When you put it in, the new album doesn’t feel like some sort of retrospective thing. It breathes like an album.

White: It’s good it took us a long time because I changed a lot during the time it took. I’m happy with the change. Lyrically and confidence wise, I didn’t even want to sing in the beginning. I started taking guitar after I was in the band. From the beginning to the end I grew a lot. I’m happy to see where I was then and where I am now. Where we all were then and where we are now as people, as a group.

McPherson: Another way we changed in the last two years is our approach. Before we were like, “We gotta make some rap music and we are going to do it this way and we are going to touch on these topics,” but it wasn’t like that with Falling Forward—it seems more personal. There are songs [on Falling Forward] that people are going to think don’t belong on a Hip-Hop album. We have two songs that have no rap on them at all. This is the first album Traditional Methods is putting out where we feel comfortable just being ourselves. Sarah really grew—we had to twist her arm just to get her to sing one chorus on the first album.

Kandis: Sarah, you have a beautiful voice, why did it take you so long to sing?

White: I had never been in a group or sang before. I was nervous, I was really afraid to do anything but they made me do it and eventually I was really happy they did.

Kandis: You’re a butterfly. White has gone on to have amazing success as half of the dynamic duo Black Blondie (singing, yes!)

White: I’m still opening up now, I’m getting out of my cocoon slowly.

Kandis: What were some of the more personal obstacles you encountered as a group and had to overcome in order to finalize this album?

New MC: Not to get too dramatic but my best friend passed away and he was the person who fronted us some of the money for the 12-inch. And three other friends also passed away. I have a little brother who is going to prison. Just trying to get your mind right through all of that is hard.

White: All the stuff we went through kinda gave me more inspiration to pull myself together. I had friends dying and my brother was in the hospital. All of the family problems more so helped me to focus and pull myself up to be a positive person in the group who everyone can grow from versus just being a person in the group who would show up and do things half way. I tried to use the bad things that happened to find my voice in the group. By the time we finished recording I finally felt like I had a voice and I am not afraid to show it to anybody. I think it took all of that pain and the fear in the beginning to get to where I am now, where we are now.

Despite all of the obstacles Traditional Methods has had to overcome, they were able to produce one of the best local Hip-Hop CDs I have ever heard. So run, don’t walk, to your local music store and pick up your copy of Falling Forward. Support local Hip-Hop.

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