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We had the pleasure of interviewing Terrell Hines over Zoom audio!
Terrell Hines shares his thrillingly inventive and eclectic new project, Portal One: The Mixtape. Released via Capitol Records, Portal One: The Mixtape is the debut mixtape from the boldly original songwriter/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/producer.
Co-produced by Hines, Portal One: The Mixtape features his powerful and politically charged recent single “Get Up (with Vince Staples)” — a collaboration with Vince Staples that’s earned acclaim from tastemakers like Rolling Stone, Brooklyn Vegan (who hailed it as “a dose of kinetic art-funk”) and The FADER (who praised the track’s “forceful, heart-racing peak”). Meanwhile, Rolling Stone noted that Staples’s verse on “Get Up (with Vince Staples)” “perfectly complements the still-relevant urgency Hines packed into the original.”
Along with “Get Up (with Vince Staples),” Portal One: The Mixtape includes previously released singles like “Balance,” “Wu Dirt,” “St. Mark Rd.,” and “Promise.” Over the course of nine dynamic tracks, Hines delivers a genre-blurring sound informed by artists as disparate as OutKast, Joy Division, and Four Tet, infusing each song with the kinetic energy of live guitar, drums, bass, keys, and strings. To that end, Portal One: The Mixtape also showcases the polymathic musicality honed in part through his studies at The Berklee College of Music (which Hines attended on a full-ride scholarship). True to his hyper-creative tendencies, Hines created a visual component for all nine tracks while in quarantine, shooting his own videos with the help of a green screen.
A consummate artist’s artist, Hines recently appeared on the title track to Beck’s 2019 album Hyperspace. Also in 2019, Hines’s saw a major rise in his profile when his music was used in an Apple Keynote. Despite never having released an album or toured in the U.S., he’s now amassed more than two million streams.
An even split of postmodern and post-apocalyptic, Hines’s music is the outcome of relentlessly pursuing his many obsessions. He’s a renaissance man who spends his downtime devouring books on linguistics, synesthesia, or evolutionary psychology — or considering which metals one would want to gather following a catastrophe, then sampling those metals in the studio. “I’m trying to engineer the future,” says Hines.
The core of his sound is a living mix of eerie soul, alt-pop, hip-hop, post-punk, and southern funk, but Hines is a world-builder with a voracious mind. This Georgia-born, Los Angeles-based visionary has created an entire ecosystem for his songs, where sonic structures and lyrics are just as likely to be inspired by the sociopolitical as the personal, by functional architecture as abstract art, by the austere science of survivalism as the limitless potential of technology. The best part is, you don’t have to know all that to feel the holistic magic of Hines’s work. We hear immediacy, exuberance, freedom, and ingenuity — music as surprising as it is captivating — while he sees a burning question: “If shit popped off and society had to be rebuilt,” asks Hines, “how would I do it?”
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