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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No more panties for the Foreign Exchange

  • Nicolay

The Foreign Exchange, the Grammy-nominated alt-soul group that built an international following from its grown-up, synth-meets-acoustic sound and silky vocals meshed with rhymes, is coming back to Atlanta on Wednesday, Nov. 9. While the tour name is eponymous with last year’s Authenticity album, fans should expect more. Since smooth but funny FE frontman and former Little Brother member Phonte Coleman has been busy promoting the release of his first solo album, Charity Starts at Home, producer Nicolay took some time to talk about FE's cool side projects, getting love from panty-throwing fans, and FE's forthcoming reinvention.

The Foreign Exchange. $25. 7 p.m. Wed., Nov. 9. Masquerade, 694 North Ave. 404-577-8178.

Your fans tend to be educated, 30-somethings, but they still go hard. Anything crazy happen on tour recently?
Not really so much. Our show has changed to where the emphasis has shifted more. With Phonte, it’s always crazy. [Laughs]. But recently it’s been more introspective. The days of underwear being thrown onstage are definitely behind us. Our fans go really hard experiencing the music. They live it with us in that moment. People have a really strong connection with it.

What’s has happened since your last visit to Atlanta for One Music Fest?
It’s actually been really, really hectic. We scored a movie since that time. It was a lot of work; a big process. And my partner Phonte released his very first solo album, Charity Begins at Home.

Any details about the film
The film score is for a movie called The Last Fall from a young director named Matthew Cherry. It’s starring Lance Gross. The story is basically about an NFL player who [due to injury] can’t renew his contract with any club. He’s retired at 25. It’s about when your dream is ending a lot sooner than you would have liked. [The film] features several of our recent songs, new and instrumental music. It turned out to be a movie with a heavy musical influence. Should be out early next year.

Did you approach the director or did he seek you out?
He specifically sought us out. He shot a music video for Authenticity — one that inspired the movie. He knew from the start that he wanted our music.

Any word on the next Foreign Exchange album?
We’re looking to start recording. At this point, with so much going on, it’s kind of hard to abide by deadlines. We’re taking it easy, in that we’re just starting.

Can fans expect your signature sound or something different?
I’m looking forward to another reinvention. We keep building on our albums to reinvent what we’ve been doing. It’s good to do that every so often.

Will Phonte be performing music from his new album for the Atlanta show?
Yeah absolutely. We definitely don’t want to miss the opportunity to touch upon that. Even though it’s a hip-hop album, it comes close to the Foreign Exchange sound. It definitely fits in our set.

How does it feel to return to Atlanta?
Atlanta definitely is a city that embraced shifts in our sounds. It’s our biggest city in terms of support. We’re looking forward to coming back with a full set. Very excited to be back.

What can you tell us about your side projects?
I’m in kind of an exploratory jazz trio. I’m also going to be touring with them; one of the things that will be coming around.

What are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to doing albums, wearing many hats. I just enjoy tapping into that creativity and [making] something that isn’t there yet. The movie is also something that we’re very much anticipating — 2012 should be a very good year for us.

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