A legend on her own, Sonya Tomlison (you know her as the best female rapper in Portland, Sontiago), is planning to team up with Jerusha and Jeremy Robinson (South China) for an exciting twist on what you may be expecting from either party at the Dead Of Winter show tomorrow (January 24, 2009) at SPACE. In light of this upcoming collaboration, here are their combined responses to our 7 questions. At the end of the interview, there’s a live MP3 from last year’s Dead Of Winter for you to enjoy!
How long have you lived in Portland (or Maine)?
Sonya Tomlinson: 8.5 years
South China: Jeremy moved to portland in october 2001, Jerusha just after christmas of the same year. We’ve lived in North Waterboro also and just celebrated our one year anniversary of moving to biddeford.
When did you start playing music?
ST: Age 16
SC: Jeremy played trumpet in fifth grade, but started playing bass in bands as a sophomore in high school. Jerusha was first shoved in front of a microphone by her grandmother at age three and performed from then on. Jerusha was in maybe two short-lived bands until moving up to Portland.
Who do you perform with normally?
ST: I perform as Sontiago, but have been performing with Gabe FM and Dilly Dilly as a trio for nearly two years.
SC: We play as South China, we like to back up Guy Capecelatro III, and we also play in The Plains, Brown Bird, and Paper Birds on a regular basis.
Other than SPACE Gallery, what is one of your favorite venues in Portland?
ST: One Longfellow is a great place to see a sit-down act.
SC: Any manifestation of 108 High Street.
Who is your favorite portland musician or group, other than yourself or those you normally perform with?
ST: Sam James is a class act in my opinion.
SC: That is too difficult of a question!
How are you approaching this unique collabortion?
ST: I normally perform with other people, but it’s rare that I’m responsible for anything other than vocals. For my performance with South China I’ll be playing samples off an SP-202, so it feels like a big responsibilty to have to think about timing, and using an “instrument” of sorts. Gives me some insight to what musican/vocalists must go through.
SC: Since approaching hip hop is something we’ve never done before and something that never dawned on us until seeing her perform at the last Dead Of Winter, we didn’t know what to expect. We were nervous about our slow and moody style matching up with Sonya’s high energy. We’ve made a sweet friend, learned a lot from the collaboration, we’ve written our first beats ever for this show and are hungry for more.
What are your musical plans for 2009?
ST: I’m exploring making my own beats, I would love a full collaboration project with Dilly Dilly when she’s done charming the world with her upcoming full-length- but more accurately I’ll be doing a joint project with producer Andrew Gordon from Halifax who works closely with my label, Endemik Music.
SC: We’re making recordings for South China, Plains, Brown Bird, Paper Birds, and Guy Capecelatro III. Jeremy is starting work in earnest on his solo project, Drab Pony. All the bands we’re involved in are playing lots of shows and are planning to do a bit of touring. Jerusha is taking on students for cello, piano, and guitar at our studio in downtown Biddeford.
As promised, here’s a live recording from Dead Of Winter ’08!
Kelly Nesbitt and Betsy Upham doing Patty Griffin’s “Cold As It Gets”. (Video Not Available)