Band of the Week: Terry Urban

Concert Preview

Meet the Band: Terry Urban (turntables)

A Mixtape Master: When Cleveland native Terry Urban was in middle school, he started making mixtapes on his two-deck tape player. "I would make tapes for my friends all the time," he says. "I had no idea what turntables were. I heard scratching in hip-hop songs and I was huge into hip-hop and punk culture. Those were huge influences in m life." When he moved to San Diego, he made friends with a guy who had two turntables that he started practicing on them. He eventually moved back to Northeast Ohio to work for his father, who was a remodeler. He convinced his dad to buy him turntables and a mixer. "I would work all day long and then come home and start practicing on the turntables," he says. "I wouldn't even shower. I would go straight to the turntables. Everyday I would do that." A couple of friends hired him to DJ parties and small events. He started doing a hip-hop night on Thursdays at the old Warehouse District club Cloud 9. "It was dead but I was having fun playing records," he says. Promoter Arnold Hines then introduced him to Mick Boogie and the two started collaborating together. Their careers took off and they started working at 107.9 FM and began playing at parties hosted by a guy named LeBron James. About ten years ago, they both moved to New York.

A Good Sample: Urban says he can't recall when his first official release came out but he did get some serious attention in 2009 for sampling a tune by singer Santigold and mixing it with some rapping courtesy of local Chip tha Ripper. "It got a lot of play and her record label caught wind of it and shot me the cease and desist email," he says. "I thought, 'What the hell.' I wrote a letter to the public. It was helping her fanbase. The label had Dangermouse, who was famous for [illegally sampling the Beatles and Jay-Z]. I shut them up a bit. The press was insane. Everybody covered that. It got her more buzz."

Where You Can Hear Him:

Why You Should Hear Him: He's just released a terrific mash-up of FKA Twigs and Biggie Smalls. Urban says he was going through a bit of a mid-life crisis at the time. He started painting and was listing to British singer FKA Twigs and was inspired. "It made me express myself more," he says. "The art was making me open my mind up to music as well. I didn't care what people thought and I wanted to put out what I wanted to put out. That project holds a deep feeling in my heart. I'm good at doing mash-ups. I just sample two people. If I could rap, I could do it myself. I hate it when people call them mash-ups. They're concept albums. Same as the Who or anyone who wants to blend two genres. People think they're corny and overplayed. I've been inspired by albums that have some concept to them. I love classic rock."

Where You Can See Him: Terry Urban performs at midnight on Friday, July 24, at Liquid, and from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, at Scene's Ale Fest.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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