Music and color from the cosmos

Ben Quirk
Special to the DailyTre Hardson of the Pharcyde performs at 8150 in Vail Village at 10 p.m.

VAIL – Tre Hardson may have come a long way in the last few years since leaving popular hip-hop band The Pharcyde, but after talking with him, it’s clear he has many miles left to travel.Going solo is always a tricky endeavor after having been so high profile with his previous group. With some of the remaining members carrying on the Pharcyde moniker, I asked Hardson how he feels as a founding member to no longer be an integral part of his own creation.”I’m not upset about it. Everybody has to make a living, has to eat. We made a pact, a bond, a deeper spiritual bond. After all the stuff that got tainted, it will be healed. We can move forward. They have every right to make music under that name,” Hardson said.From the frenetic and excited rhymes he made under his Slim Kid Tre nickname, his solo album has more depth and feeling. I question why his music has changed and whether it reflects changes in his personal life.

“I don’t think it has changed, if you look back at ‘Other Fish Passing Me By,’ or ‘She Said,’ you can see where the music has come from. What has changed is that I’ve challenged myself to orchestrate more. I’m trying to make more organic music. Reaching into the ether, into the cosmos to make color.”Things happen naturally in life. To give an analogy: When you’re 5 years old you have a favorite shirt, but you can’t wear the same shirt when you are 35. Or when you listen to Bob Marley all the time and as you get older you hear it again even more prophetic than before,” Hardson said. Hardson clearly believes that his change is small and natural, coming from within rather than a forced alteration or deliberate decision, something he extends to his former band members as well as himself.”I’m really happy with the way we’ve grown. That bond – it’s beyond us, we were chosen to be part of the Pharcyde, blessed to take on that responsibility. Once we get out of our egos we all have a good thing. We were all hurt,” Hardson said.

Starting fresh with himself and different friends, Hardson feels he is more optimistic about the future and what he wants from it.”I want to make it better. I want to get things together, get my team in order so I can put out music when I want to. I want all the payments to go out on time so my team gets covered so they can eat. I have a lot of beautiful people working with me and I learn every day it’s not all about me. I’m a lot less selfish. You know, everybody’s an artist in their own home.”Hardson has also been busy with future releases for the fans with a forthcoming CD titled “Slimkid Tre’s Cafe Radio” to be followed quickly by “Slimkid Tre’s Cafe.” Hardson explains the concepts. “Cafe Radio” is a mix tape, I compiled a couple of tracks from “Liberation,” from a new one about to come out, some other hidden stuff. It’s all my material and going to be limited edition. “Cafe Radio” gives a small feeling of where I’m going and then “Slimkid Tre’s Cafe” is the new album,” he said.

All scenes have their heroes and their fakes and while Hardson refused to be drawn on about who he thought brought little to the genre, he was happy to talk about the artists he respected.”I think Saul Williams is doing great things for our community. Michael Franti, Mos Def, they’re real artists. I hope there will be future collaborations. I’m sure. I also really like the pioneers, you know people like Stevie Wonder.”The people I don’t like I feel it’s because we haven’t had a chance to see them as they really are. The industry puts them in a zone, this money making machine. The bands think they’re gonna do what they (the industry) want and then do their own things, but then they can’t because they’ll get dropped. The bottom line is people are trying to eat. Put your heart in that position and you can see why they’re doing it,” Hardson said.Tre Hardson plays 8150 Friday night.Vail Colorado

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