112 have been touring the world non-stop for the last couple of years. They did the “Bad Boy Reunion” tour and reminded everyone just how many hits the group has in their catalog. They also partnered up rival R&B group Jagged Edge to create a joint set during the “90’s Block Party”. Along with that, the group also released their comeback album “Q Mike Slim Daron” last year which had their single “Dangerous Games”. Since then, a lot has changed within the group. They recently through some internal issues and the group appears to be down to Mike and Slim. YouKnowIGotSoul caught up with the duo to talk about the status of 112 along with their journey of rebuilding the brand after disappearing for a few years.
YouKnowIGotSoul: How did it feel to release your comeback album “Q Mike Slim Daron” so many years after “Pleasure & Pain”?
Mike: We were very excited about doing this project. The album was very well done, very well produced and we put our heart soul into it. We were happy with the outcome and we’re very proud. A lot of people were skeptical on our ability to make it happen but if you’re a musician, you’re a musician. Regardless if you didn’t do it 12 years or 1200 years, at your core you’re remain a musician and you know what your sound is. We know who we are and we’re not trying to be what this new age sound is with all respect due to it. At the end of the day, we had to to do 112 and that was the sound we came up with and we’re very happy with the way it came out. Here’s the thing, I don’t really like listening to our music because I’m always critiquing it, but this is the one album that I do enjoy listening to and just for listening sake. I’m really proud of this album.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You guys had so many potential singles on that album like “Wanna be”, but you guys just put out “Dangerous Games” as a single and kept it moving.
Slim: It was just how the deal was. Once we had sold our records and recouped our money. if we can get one of those type of tours where we can perform all of the records, that’s pretty much how see what song our fan’s favorite. We don’t really leave it up to radio or anything like that. We’ll just sing it and everybody loves it.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Would you consider the album a success?
Mike: Given the circumstances, I would say yes. Like Slim mentioned, we were signed to an independent record label. With indie labels, once you reach your quota then that’s pretty much it. They’re done regardless of how great your album is. Once they recoup and make their money off of it, it’s onto the next. That’s the give and take when dealing with an independent label versus a major. Nevertheless, eOne gave us an opportunity that nobody else would give us. They really believed in the project and as a result, we came out with an incredible album that I’m very proud of and do think that it was a success.
YouKnowIGotSoul: The album allowed you guys go back on tour. At one point, you guys were doing sets with Jagged Edge. How did that all come about?
Mike: Actually, the idea came from Greg Browning to put the two groups together. In our minds, we figured like “Jagged isn’t going to tour with us” and they figured the same thing, so he went behind the scenes and spearheaded the whole concept. He threw the idea out to those those and to us and that’s what actually gave us the opportunity to do “Both Of Us” which is on the new album. From there it stemmed the tour because we were like “If we have a song together, we might as well go out and promote the song and tour together”. We were going to be on the same tour but Jagged Edge was going to do their set and we were going to do ours. We just said “Why don’t we just combine the two sets and make something nobody else has ever seen?”. That’s where it came from.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Was it challenge to cover their records?
Mike: It wasn’t a challenge at all because we’re fans of Jagged Edge. We had to remember the words initially. *Laugh* We’re students of music and we study everybody. We studied Jagged Edge and went back and looked at some of their videos. We got their mannerisms and how they pronounced certain words. We’re students of music, so that’s what we did and that’s how we were able to come across with the same feel that those guys had.
YouKnowIGotSoul: The elephant in the room is that there’s only two members here today. I know you guys have addressed it on social media, so we don’t need to get into that. But one word that has come up a lot is legacy as well as the 112 brand. What do those words means to you?
Mike: We have nothing to hide and we have nothing to run from, so we can tap into it a little bit because we saw the interview you did Shawn Stockman from Boyz II Men. He gave us some words of encouragement and we’re really appreciative of that, but with that being said, everything has to be done right and you have to do things according to how the most high would like for you to do things. If you’re not doing that then Slim and myself don’t want to be a part of that. That’s not throwing anyone under the bus or anything like that, but there’s a reason why there’s only two of us here. I think we would rather just stay on the side of righteousness if that makes sense. The legacy means everything to us. We won’t play around with it or sell it short. We won’t sell the fans short because without the fans there would be no legacy. We’re out here to make sure the world knows that regardless if there’s two or four of us, you’re still going to get a great show. We would just like for people who are fans of 112 to love the brand and not necessarily the individual parts of the brand. Yeah, you’re going to have your favorites but the brand is what you grew up a fan of and we’re going to keep that going.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Since Slim came back to the group, you guys have had to really rebuild the brand from doing club shows initially to doing arena dates again. Talk about that journey and the process of it.
Slim: That pretty much stems from what Mike and myself are doing. We’re establishing the brand for what we are. Coming back and coming together and saying “This right here is for the fans and culture”. We’ve sold 26 million records, we’ve already done that part. Now it’s about establishing the fact that is 112 is a force to be reckon with and we still have the same burn when we first started as the group over at Mike’s grandma’s house. We would sit there and practice over and over again. It wasn’t for any money, it was just us. We just wanted respected and we wanted everybody to respect that 112 came in and conquered. That’s exactly what you’re seeing. All of us came together and said “If we’re going to do it, we’re going to it right”. It was a humbling experience at first especially for myself because I was coming off having a successful solo career and had to start all over again. I had to push ego and everything aside. That’s why it feels really good to be standing with Mike right now. He founded the group and allowed me to be in this group. That’s why there’s certain hardcore loyalty to him. I just know that with him standing next to me, we’re going to get our point across. We’re going to the Hall of Fame. We’re doing it for the fans and the culture, so I hope everybody feels us.
YouKnowIGotSoul: When we interviewed Shawn Stockman last week, he talked about the transition from selling out arenas to doing smaller venues. What was that adjustment like for you guys?
Mike: Like Slim said, it was humbling. *Laughs* But I’ll tell you what, it’s nothing like being in front of those diehard fans regardless of whether there’s 30,000 or 3 of them if somebody appreciates you for you. We came from inner city Atlanta, we didn’t really imagine that we’d be doing shows in Vancouver 22 years later. As a matter of fact, yesterday was the day our first album came out 22 years ago. That’s just crazy if you think about it for a second. Parents are allowing babies to listen to our music and it’s still timeless and classic. It’s something that they wanted their kids to be a part of. That speaks volumes. As kids we don’t think about it, but when we get older and you’re in your 40’s, you start to take that into account. My oldest boy is 20 years old and he’s a fan of 112. My 5 year old is a fan of 112 too. That’s the difference and energy that you have to bring to the stage. Joe Dimaggio once said that he went out there and played hard because there may have been one person in the crowd who never heard of him. That’s the mind frame we always have to have. There might be somebody out there who doesn’t know who 112 is. We have to reintroduce ourselves once again.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Now that you guys are down to two members. Dru Hill recently added a couple of member after Jazz left. Do you see yourself adding new people or will it just be you guys until further notice?
Slim: Well, no. *Laughs* We’re enjoying each other right now. We’re enjoying this situation right here. We have our two background dancers with us. They’re just like family. As far as with 112, we pretty much got this locked.
Mike: I’ll be honest with you, cutting that check in half is way better than in four. *Laughs*
YouKnowIGotSoul: Anything you’d like to add?
Mike: We want to say thank you to the fans. Thank you so much for giving us the platform to tell our story and keep the 112 legacy. You guys are part of the 112 legacy as much as the music is. There would be no 112 without you guys.