By Ahriel Nari
FootsXColes (pronounced “Foots and Coles”) is a multi-talented duo out of the DMV. Their album Sitting in Outer Space dropped February 19th and I attended their album listening party at Songbyrd Music House in DC. On paper, Foots is the drummer and Coles is the producer, but their artistry runs much deeper. In addition to producing music for FootsXColes, Coles is the duo’s pianist, singer, and also produces music for other artists. While the drums are Foots’s first love, he also writes songs, raps, and sings. FootsXColes’s music is a seamless combination of smooth R&B vocals, unique sounds, and vivid lyrics – all over percussion that punches, with a slight electric feel.
Their studio is inside a beautiful home in Prince George’s County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. Walking into FootsXColes’s studio, Foots is talking to me with an excitement that is only present in people who are truly passionate about what they do. It’s mid-February and 70 degrees. I realize the weather represents their place in the music scene right now: a warm night in the middle of winter.
Red and purple lights illuminate their cozy studio. Coles stands up to greet me, “Hey, I’m Coles.” Coles is the quieter of the two but it’s not hard to see that there’s a fire burning inside of him underneath his calm exterior. As we were all sitting down for the interview, I couldn’t help but notice the good vibrations in the atmosphere.
Ahriel Nari : So, you just had an album listening party at Songbyrd Music House that was awesome! What went into planning the album listening party?
Foots : We had a connection [with Songbyrd Music House] already because we did shows there a bunch of times. So, we were just like, “Yo, can we do something here?” They were like “We’d love to have y’all.” They checked their calendar and blasted it out for us. I mean, they were great. I think the people received it. The day the album dropped there was just an overwhelming feeling of love.
Cole : Everybody was saying something about it
Foots : It feels so good to know that just one person went and bought [the album]. That’s what we work for. We spent a lot of hours and time on it.
AN : The album speaks a lot about outer space, astrology, and astronomy. What was your message with that?
Coles : Really, every song has its own story. The overall theme was to find a space within yourself, you know what I’m saying? Every situation that was talked about the album in each song displays that. I wouldn’t say it’s about astronomy, the cosmos, and all that, but people can form their own interpretation of it. That’s always good.
Foots : [Coles] hit it. We want to tell stories. That’s what I think is missing from music in the writing.
AN : I want to talk about the album art. It has a lot going on; break it down for me.
Foots : It has the man over there sitting. It’s basically people entering our world. If we could break it down, that would be the way to say it.
Coles : Like, our dimension.
AN : So, what is your dimension?
Foots : Here [the studio]. You’re in it.
Coles : Yeah, you’re here.
AN : [laughs] How did you link up with Manzel, the artist who did the album art [for Sitting in Space]?
Foots : We saw his work and he liked our sound. We just went from there – very transparent. I know a lot of artists, but when you’re making an album, [its art has to be] something that will stand the test of time. That aesthetic has to be right. So that’s what we did.
AN : What are your favorite tracks on the album? And you can’t be like, “All of ‘em”
Foots : “Time Travel”
AN : Why?
Foots : Where it takes you. It takes you like three different places because it’s three different parts, actually four different places. [Cole’s] verse does something; the actual time travel does something. The bassline and beginning is really cool. Then, when you get to the drop-off part, that’s backing up the beginning [of the song]. Then, the sample at the end.
AN : Was that your favorite to make?
Foots : I like making all of them because every [song] is a different challenge.
Coles : “Possibilities” was interesting to make. For me, I would say “Save Yourself” only because the frequency of that joint. It just sits well. The drum loop at the beginning and the [sings], “You let this planet tell you what to do” – it just makes sense, you know? Then, I have my verse.
Foots : Your verse is legendary! That joint’s so good.
Coles : Yeah, you know I had a lil’ verse on there. It was decent.
AN : [laughs] He’s so humble!
Foots : I think the beauty about this album is I think people are going to go back and find gems. They may already like the first couple of songs and probably haven’t even gotten to the rest of it. Then one day they’re just gonna be like………….
AN : “OH MY GOOOOOOSH”
Foots : Right, and that’s what we want. You gotta give people music. You gotta give people music, and I think that’s what we try to do.
AN : Tell me about all the people that you collaborated with on [Sitting in Outer Space].
Foots : Alex Vaughn, Mike Monseur, Monty Cold, Nyne from Blaquestone, Tee Cee – who am I missing Coles?
Coles : Pedram Rahmatabadi, Taylor Gamble, Deon Moon
AN : How did they contribute to the album?
Foots : They all just did them. We don’t want you to sound different. We made the song, so we know how you’ll sit on it.
Coles : Oh, and Eli Moore.
Foots : Yeah, Eli Moore. I could go on and on about their contributions. They were great and they really brought [the album] to life. As producers, we want those people to get their shine and fit well.
AN : What was your favorite part about creating Sitting in Outer Space?
Foots : Seeing each song get better.
Coles : I was going to say the improvement of each song, too. As time went on, we just grew, musically. So, we had to go back and revisit the earlier tracks we made to add certain stuff to it.
AN : So, do you guys want to go to outer space?
Foots : HA, one day. Just to visit – then we’d come back. I just want to be in the blackness.
Coles : Yeah, just to see everything. You have to think – there’s endless stuff out there, even beyond the planets we know.
AN : Do you ever think about how small we are as humans?
Coles : All the time. [Demonstrating the scale] The earth is as big as this studio and there are stars as big as this whole house. Like, there has to be something else out there. But, I mean, who knows. I’d rather be in another dimension, just to see that.
AN : The dimension on your album art?
Coles : Yup
Foots : You know it
AN : Do you guys want to include anything else [in the interview]? Foots: Nah, just a thank you to everybody who listened [to our album] and a thank you to you [Ahriel Nari].
AN : What’s next for FootsXColes?
Foots : We’re gonna do a five-track EP. It’s gonna be funky. It’s gonna be different tempos, but it’s gonna be up. We’re gonna put that out and see how people attract to it. We want to make people dance – that’s how we feel. We just want to add that to our catalog.
Sitting in Outer Space is available for purchase on iTunes and can be streamed on all platforms.