“Our music’s just as good if not better than what is currently in heavy rotation. Because we aren’t signed to a major label, we don’t have a machine in place to spend thousands of dollars to guarantee radio play.”

Check out the interview with Monotone & Lou Slug exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.

Skilly: How were you able to start your journey in the entertainment business? Where did this all start?
Monotone & Lou Slug:
The start has always been a struggle. We have always been ahead of our time without an outlet I (Monotone) met Slug over the phone. He kicked 8 bars to me, but after the first 2 I knew he was what I was looking for. We have put out 2 CDs to date. After years of trying to accommodate everyone we decided to keep it just the two of us. A decade into this music thing and we’re finally getting the credit that’s due to us.

What are some of the creative ways you use to promote your music?
Slug works for Apple Inc. They have an Apple artist page for employees where they promote their own which’s pretty cool. I (Monotone) am a high school digital media/game design teacher. I get to teach hip hop every day! We have a big fan base outside The States and we use certain apps to do live video session concerts and Q&A’s with people.

What is the greatest challenge you face in today’s entertainment business? How do you overcome them?
You have to pay to play in today’s game. It’s no different than how we used to slang cassettes out of the back of cars. Our music’s just as good if not better than what is currently in heavy rotation. Because we aren’t signed to a major label, we don’t have a machine in place to spend thousands of dollars to guarantee radio play.

How is the music scene like in your hometown? What do you like about it and what don’t you like?
I won’t make any friends with this, but I don’t give a “you know what.” We hail from Sacramento, CA byway of Los Angeles and London. We have a great music scene in Sac with great artists. I feel like if we came together more instead of worrying about what the next artist is doing we could make a major impact on the global hip hop scene.

Where do you think the future of music is going to be? How do you feel artists can be more a part of it?
Music’s like the political system. The people in control at the top determine what they feel the trends will be. Most times they aren’t looking for talent, they are looking for marketability. If artists want to be a part of music the correct way, they need to stop caring about crap that doesn’t matter and start truly spitting from the heart and not just what will sell.

What advice can you give to other upcoming artists and musicians trying to achieve success?
It’s a long grind with an even longer road to match! You can’t cut your way to the front of the line. You have to be willing to give up fame and fortune because for most that doesn’t come anyway. What stands the test of time is the records and albums you share with the world.

What inspires you to write your next song?
Since I produce 100% of our music … the samples and how I cut or arrange them. Same for Slug, the feeling he gets when I send him a new writing assignment and how the bars just “come to” him and I. Our lives and what goes into it is what inspires us. We are blue collar workers, husbands, sons, and fathers – life always has us ready to bar out.

What are the steps you take to make a song?
It starts with the creation of the instrumental. If I find the right sample most times the hook is already there in verbiage of the sample. This helps to provide clear direction for our writing. Sometimes Mono will make a beat but not be feeling it. He’ll send it to me and I’m moved right away!

What do you think makes a great song?
A great song consist of the following key items. The right instrumental because you have it and like it doesn’t mean you should just say any old thing on it. The right lyrics are important as well. Last is the cadence and delivery. A hot vocal tone and delivery can make the worst lyrics sound incredible and vice versa.

Where can we connect with you? Can you give us your social media links and where we can contact you?
Official website: www.wearemls.com
Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/monotoneofmls
Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/mlsmonotonelouslug
YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCOlN79FzX_iq5_mA4s5qm5w
Facebook: Wearemls
Twitter: Monotoneofmls & Sluggaofmls
Instagram: Monotonemls & Sluggaofmls
Snapchat: Wearemls