Too Many T’s are an amazing hip-hop duo from the UK consisting of Leon Rhymes and Ross Standaloft. If you haven’t heard of them yet, then you should definitely give them a try because they are fun, energetic and authentic.
They released in September their debut album South Side and since then they have been busy touring the UK. We sent them some email questions and they were very nice to take time and answer them. Here’s what they had to say about their album, their tour and their music.
Hello, Ross and Leon, I hope you’re having a great day! You’re about to start your South City tour around the UK but touring isn’t exactly something new to you. Are there any cities on the list where you’ve never been to before?
R: Yeah we’ve been lucky enough to have toured a few times already.
L: There’s only Cardiff we haven’t played before on this tour.
R: We’re playing at Clwb Ifor Bach and heard loads of good things about it so proper looking forward to that!
Do you bring something new to these upcoming shows apart from the new music, of course?
L: Yeah man we’ve got a whole new show!
R: This tours gonna be extra special as well! Not only have we got a new album full of bangers we’ve also got live visuals throughout the set.
L: Yeah an audio / visual extravaganza!
R: Hopefully the sound systems can handle the ridiculous sub bass in some of the tunes, cos I’m looking forward to performing all the new album tracks – especially ‘Patterns’ and ‘God Save The T’s’.
I know your energetic presence on stage has been praised many times and you also said that it’s not difficult to maintain this energy because it’s part of who you are, but were there any shows at all when you just couldn’t put all in or you were disappointed with how you performed?
L: How very nice of you to say!
R: Yeah, thanks!
L: But, no, not really. We always put our all in, if there’s 5 people or 500.
R: The main disappointment is when the sound in the venue’s a bit sh*t, it can mess with the vibe and makes it hard to enjoy sometimes (obviously we’re pros and no one knows) but that can affect the performance I guess.
L: Or a soundman that doesn’t seem to care or know how to get the best out of the system.
R: That’s the main source of disappointment, but 9/10 its all gravy.
You released your debut album South City a couple of weeks ago. Was the feedback from your fans what you expected?
L: It’s been overwhelmingly positive!
R: We just need more people to hear it now, so pushing everywhere we can!
The album cover is very cool and you said it’s an actual painting. Did you have to stay in the same position until the painter finished? It doesn’t look like the most comfortable position either…
R: Ha noooo! That’s not actually the album cover, just the main press pic! The album cover is a pic of South London. The pic was drawn from a picture we’d had taken by Ben Hopper by Alexis Franklin, a 21-year-old lass from Texas – she’s incredible!
L: I can’t sit still for more than a minute anyway.
R: He’s got ants in his pants that lad.
Which do you think is the greatest strength of this album?
That all the tunes have their own highlights, there are no filler tunes in there.
On your album, there are 11 songs and 3 skits. Two of these skits, ‘Sira’s Biscuits’ and ‘FM Mangal’, are recordings of you talking about biscuits and ordering food at FM Mangal, respectively. Why did you choose to include these skits on the tracklist?
R: Our album is titled South City, it’s a tribute to our ends, and these are a couple of our favourite local spots in Camberwell.
L: Our favourite shop and Sira works there – he’s a legend! And our favourite restaurant, FM Mangal (if you’re ever in Camberwell check it out).
R: Just adds a little atmosphere from our mundane lives 😉
Out of the 11 songs, which one was the most difficult to write?
L: I wouldn’t say any of them were particularly difficult to write. I always like to experiment and will often write multiple verses for tracks anyway and then select my favourite bits. There was a verse on ‘Patterns’ that I just finished the day we were recording the track. I stayed up until 7 am trying to finish the verse the night before…failed…then after a few hours of sleep and just as we got to the studio I wrote the last 2 lines. But the rest of the track was pretty quick to write. So it wasn’t difficult per se but I needed to be in the right head space.
R: Yeah, ‘Patterns’ was tough as it was the most meaningful/honest track we’ve written so it was hard to capture the exact feeling. Also, ‘Sixty’s Ford’ went through a few transformations and actually took us a few sessions to write. Normally, tracks like that – back-to-back story type songs – we’ll write in a couple nights but we kept revisiting that one and editing the story.
L: It was originally just going to be one long rap telling the story.
R: Yeah, until we took it into the studio with Flux and he pulled out the lines and made a chorus “We hop into a 60s Ford/Stereo full of Seasick Steves voice/Steve’s sick see but it ain’t my choice/So we switched to the Beastie Boys”.
L: It gave the song some structure.
R: And we’d struggled for some time with those lyrics trying to turn it into a full song.
You shot the music video for ‘Hang Tight’ (which is a song from the album) in one take and streamed it on Facebook Live. How much rehearsal did you do before you shot it?
R: We got really lucky with it, to be honest. We put a shout on social media and just hoped people turned up. From start to finish the whole thing took about 5 hours.
L: We didn’t know exactly who was gonna be there until they arrived. But loads of people turned up – they’d travelled from Birmingham, Southampton, all over London…and all brought the props with them! It was amazing really.
R: Then we just walked through the plan with everyone and gave them all positions.
L: I think we had 4 practice runs and shot it for real on the 5th.
R: Luckily, it all went to plan and came out a treat!
In the video, Ross throws the ball but it misses the basket (my favourite part of the video). I have to ask, was this moment planned to make the video funnier? Also, how much of the video turned out differently than what you had planned?
R: Yeah, definitely intended that. It was all for comedy effect. Off camera, I made the shot every time.
L: Haha yeah he’s like Jordan in his prime.
R: Jordan the basketballer, not Katie Price.
L: And, yeah, like we said earlier we kinda planned it as we went along and all worked out sweet.
The people who you’re hanging with in the video seem to be very cool. Are they friends of yours or actors or even random people you found in the park who wanted to take part in the video?
R: They were all super safe. We put a shout on social media and just hoped people turned up. Luckily they did. The kids were in the park and intrigued so we got em involved!
L: Everyone’s energy made the video, it was infectious.
The other music videos you have on both of your YouTube channels have a sense of authenticity, they’re not something you see all the time. Are you the masterminds behind the concepts of these videos?
L: Very kind of you to say!
R: We just have fun with it, which seems to have gone well so far. But, yeah, we usually come up with ideas and then work with good camera operators who can develop them into reality.
L: Except the concept of ‘Panther’ – our latest video – that was the mastermind of young director Tony Ogun.
If you could dabble in any other genre, what would it be?
L: R&B – I’d be a sexy singer with some smooth moves.
R: Souly funk shiz – I’d be a multi-instrumentalist badman.
You said in a previous interview that your name Too Many T’s comes from your love for drinking tea (but not only from this). So, which is your favourite type of tea? Is it the British customary black tea with milk or do you prefer something else?
R: Earl grey with a dash of milk.
L: Masala Chai if I can but love a builders brew with about 4 sugars.
Finally, which would you say was your favourite memory since the first time you went on stage as Too Many T’s to the present moment?
L: Instigating 30000 people to chant “Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang…etc” with their Wu signs in the air as we warmed up for Wu-Tang Clan at Bestival. You couldn’t tell where the crowd ended and the festival began and the noise was deafening. It was an incredible moment.
R: Yeah, what Leon said. But as for our own set – it would have to be at Secret Garden Party 2014, our Running Wild EP launch at Seabright Arms in London or Fusion Festival in Germany 2016. All absolutely ridiculously amazing shows, “fooking” electric atmospheres!