Connecting For The Greater Good; An Interview with Tyrone’s Jacket

LA native alt-pop trio Tyrone’s Jacket have shared their new R&B-infused single + music video “LMK,” to be featured on their debut self-titled album, out November 6th. The track was produced by two-time Grammy-nominated producer King David (Lupe Fiasco, Iration, Cam), who has essentially been an extension of the band throughout their existence.

“You know the presentiment you get after sending a risky text at 2am? Then she responds with ‘Yes,’” explains vocalist KnowaKing. “The feeling in your gut while you drive over there? That’s LMK.”

Tyrone’s Jacket is the incarnation of channels lost to chance, now embodying the face-slapping, body-shaking experience one could only vaguely attempt to describe after seeing a live performance. Three wandering souls – frontman KnowaKing (lead vocals), The Grateful Carl (vocals/guitar), and Ry Toast (DJ), with the acclaimed King David helping weave them together – have created a bond that seals their new shared future. Re-imagined and reborn with striking musical / visual production value, Tyrone’s Jacket’s highly energetic performances have resulted in a wave of excitement and word of mouth that has earned them spots on three national tours and multiple music festivals, including a national tour with Dirty Heads. This audience hype has elevated them to somewhat mythic proportions since so little of their recorded material has been available – until now. 

With the album swiftly approaching, we had the pleasure of getting in touch with the trio to chat. 

First off, how has everyone been holding up? With all transpiring I’m hopeful all is good.

The Grateful Carl (aka MUDLUX):  Thank you.  It is a remarkable time. Time for us all to really think. I’ve been focusing on the positive aspects not ignoring what’s going on in the world but understanding I have a choice in the matter. Working on myself and using music to stay calm. 

KnowaKing: This year has been overwhelming and inspiring, I’m in the middle of it keeping my head above water on a swivel. I have OCD and the paranoid portion of my brain has relished in the uncertainty of these times. Years ago I spoke of this day coming, many called me debbie downer for rambling about psychological warfare and quantum physics.  

Having been able to build your base off the explosive sets you do, how difficult has it been to not be performing live as of late?

The Grateful Carl (aka MUDLUX): I miss performing in front audiences but it’s fun to co-creating in your own space, sharing with each other online, and figuring out different ways to stay connected with fans in this digital landscape. We’ve been planning on putting out this music for a while and so with no one being able to tour it’s really forced us to focus on that, which I look at as a blessing.

KnowaKing:  It has been an opportunity for us to address aspects of ourselves that have not received due attention. I’ve been comfortable with spontaneity and performing live, now that touring is not an option it has motivated me to develop my intention and presence virtually.

I have read that the formation of the group in many ways felt serendipitous. When did it become clear that the three of you should form the band?

The Grateful Carl (aka MUDLUX): I think it became clear for me once we started getting asked to perform. Forces you to come up with a name, a setlist, stage plot, you know all the stuff we’ve gotten good at over the course of these past four years working with each other. 

KnowaKing: I was awakening from a spell, cutting through a fog at the inception of what would become Tyrone’s Jacket. A hot mess I would show up at Grateful and RyToast’s door, work on music and then pass out. GC organized some work we had done and when he presented it back to me, barely remembering we even did it, I realized we had something. This was in the first few days of jamming with him.

KnowaKing, I have been told your father was a founding member of the Commodores. Do you feel an even tighter bond with him now that you are paving your own musical path?  

Most definitely. Being that he comes from such a renowned career, it’s a completely different level. Like if your father was an NBA player for example, unless I could legitimately ball, there is only so much conversation that can be had about the profession from a player’s perspective. It wasn’t until I had legitimized myself through focus and practice that I could converse with him in a manner where I could receive his wisdom, and when that time came he naturally responded. It has truly been a gift in my life. 

Mudlux, you had music and art all around growing up as well. What was some of the music you were exposed to?

Great question! I was born the day after my parents attended a Gerry Mulligan Concert, so my Dad likes to say I heard the music and wanted to come out. Next day “Jazz Carl” was born. My father would always sing for me and play guitar, he’s always writing, and my mother has great taste in music as well, so s/o to Denise Leader and Orville Stoeber (Mom and Dad I love you)! We had a few tape cassettes that we would always listen to and sing together in the car: They Might Be Giants, ‘Flood’, Take 6 (self-titled ‘Take 6’), Bobby McFerrin ‘Spontaneous Inventions’, and The Bobs ‘My I’m Large.’ I light up when I hear any of these songs or notice these artists are on somebody’s playlist. I’m like “Did we just become best friends?”

Ry, what was you deciding factor in moving to LA? Seems like it was a wise decision.

LA was intimidating to me at the time, so I knew I had to go.

What was the recording process like for the upcoming album?

The Grateful Carl (MUDLUX): I feel like this upcoming album is the byproduct of the work we’ve been doing on each other. I mean that in a spiritual sense. We’ve learned to really accept and embrace each other as artists and as co-creators.  In the beginning for me working with King David, remember that show P Diddy “Making The Band”? It kind of felt like that at times. I got broken down and built back up again. Some studio sessions we might just talk the entire time and that was a hard thing for me, but everything we do as a group just seems so different than anything else, and everything we do together brings us closer and closer as friends, so this record has that feeling to me, like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

KnowaKing: It was extremely collaborative and challenging. Process is an accurate word, development would be another. I developed as a recording artist and vocalist through the process of this album. My singing abilities exponentially grew from this voyage. Setting something up takes time, but once it’s dialed in, henceforth you can flow. All of these songs took time, some parts came quicker than others, but this was not a slapped together situation. 

In terms of lyrical writing for the album, how collaborative was it between each of you?

The Grateful Carl (MUDLUX): I feel like the lyrics and these songs speak for us all. We’ve developed a container that allows space for us all to bring our ideas to the table, and feel seen and heard. Sometimes we need help and we have the right people in the room that can do that for us, sometimes it’s like “get out of the way and let the man/woman work” It’s all about acceptance and from there you can feel the expansion. 

KnowaKing: Very. As the lead singer it is imperative that I sing from the heart, and being as connected as Tyrone’s Jacket is, we share feelings. Grateful is my partner and a fantastic writer/performer.. we vibe. It’s all about what the song needs, regardless of where that comes from. When he writes some lyrics and I feel it, I may tweak a spot here and there so that it hits a personal note and expels my passion. Same for him, I bring lyrics to the table and he can feel if that is coming from the right place or not. It’s undeniable when it’s right.  The chemistry over time has created a magical element. 

What was some of the group’s visions going into the writing for the album?

The Grateful Carl (MUDLUX): I have this quote written down in my journal “Success is the steady pursuit of a worthy ideal.” I don’t know who said it, but I feel like that sums it up for me. After working with each other in the studio for several years we just tried to put together the best “grouping” of what we had because we felt like it was time to make a substantial offering. 

KnowaKing: Explore how far I can go, try different things. Like Toast said, face the discomfort.  I didn’t have a specific vision for the album prior to making it’s music. We began creating and adjusted as we went.  I echo Grateful’s sentiment here and would add on a personal note this album is a documentation of my development as a vocalist.

What did King David offer to the recordings of the album that you didn’t expect?

The Grateful Carl (MUDLUX): There is a sonic quality to KD’s tracks that is unparalleled in my opinion. He never rushes anything so it’s crazy how fast he can work when he’s in the zone, so I was surprised how long it took for some of these tracks to be actually “finished”, but every step is so important to him, I have a much better understanding of that now. 

KnowaKing: King David is a savant. I was surprised and impressed with his patience. 

With your video to the single ”Streets”, the group showcased a powerful stat: the homeless epidemic in Los Angeles will exceed 60,000 in 2020. With upcoming videos, is their plans to highlight more social issues?

The Grateful Carl (MUDLUX): Just to be conscious and aware of your own thoughts and actions. Love is ruthless and doesn’t feel pity only respect and compassion. There is a lot of unease right now due to all the fear and garbage we carry around with us, and so if anything I’m using art to reconnect with my source and to express the connection I have with the world, when you transcend fear you lose all the conditions that can really beat a person down. That’s my plan anyways to continue to work on myself and be the best Carl I can be. It’s why I changed my name to The Grateful Carl, a constant reminder to be thankful. If I show up being myself to the max that’s good for me, that’s good for Tyrone’s Jacket, and that’s good for society as a whole. 

KnowaKing: Not interested in exploiting anything for the sake of art or notoriety. I wandered the street for years which led to the perspective of this particular song. I believe that shapes and times change but people are people. We have seen the patterns over the course of history. Happiness comes from within, change comes from within… the reality we perceive is a result of our projections. The mind is fascinatingly complex and deceptive. So I say this to say that I believe the most effective way to instill the goal, which is to unify and rise, is to empower/master self, and so the universe responds. The famous Gandhi quote reminding us to be the change comes to mind, as does James Balwdin’s perspective that we emulate behavior, not words. 

Reading about how the band goes about everything, there seems to be a strong pull DIY narrative attached. Would you agree so?

The Grateful Carl (MUDLUX): We always have taken it upon ourselves to get things done on our own. We like to say “When we have this huge budget we’re going to, x, y, and z.” But the ideas are still there and so you start to fall in love the planting of the seeds, and the journey of this wonderful co-creation. I look at KnowaKing and Ryan and I get so inspired, nothing can really get in our way of doing something once we start to talk about it. 

KnowaKing: Necessity is the mother of creation. We have ideas and motivation but lack certain resources, this creates magic… like soul food.  I see some movies with all that CGI and long for something less artificial. If they would develop the character and emotion, perhaps they wouldn’t need all the pyrotechnics I tell myself. If we had greater resources we would certainly explore them, and we hope they come, but hopefully not at the cost of what is lost through mass production. I think if you take what we already have, but put a little more support behind it, it would create a perfect balance. It has been an incredibly fun journey thus far.