Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
Their album on Taxi Records is due out by February 2013 at latest, but already, Tanto Metro and Devonte are pushing four tracks from the CD - Already Know, My Song, You Said and Bubble.
My Song expresses an artiste's joy in hearing their music being pumped on for the masses - and, naturally, the duo hopes that they will experience that joy repeatedly with Request, the title of their first album in six years.
However, they are not making a request for that exposure. Instead, the title track is "about what a woman requesting". As deejay Tanto Metro puts it, "It is a rub-a-dub, one-drop, sexual song."
And there are also the requests for another full-length project from them, which Devonte says they get regularly inside and outside Jamaica.
There is a strong focus on women on the album (Already Know is about a tight relationship, You Said speaks to the traitorous side of male-female interaction, and Bubble goes to the fleshy core of the connection), the duo setting their sights firmly on a core market.
However, they make it clear that, although they are a team, they are part of a larger team. This applies to the songwriting process where there is a panel. After the ideas are started, Devonte says, "We sit and choose and decide where it should go - throw it out or continue - and then we write."
The same goes for melodies where Tanto Metro says, "The riddim just direct us to the melody. If we come up with a melody and we nuh like it, we scrap it."
As a seasoned duo, deciding who starts a song and how many bars each does seems to come easily and instinctively.
"Sometimes I will start the song and go eight bars and Devonte take the chorus," Tanto says.
As Devonte puts it, "Sometimes the mood the instrumental gives you is me to start it and a next time is Tanto. Sometimes it throw me out and say 'no verse for you right here'."
Promotion for Request will cover the full media gamut, but there is also the college circuit in the United States. Before that, though, later this week they will be off to Colombia, the duo's first time in that country though not in the region. They will be performing along with Barrington Levy and a number of others from the region.
This is Tanto Metro and Devonte's post-Shocking Vibes era and they describe working with Taxi Records (run by drum-and-bass duo Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare) as "a privilege and honour". The connection existed before, as they note that Sly and Robbie worked on previous full-length projects.
Tanto Metro said that there has been good response to the tracks which have been sent out and Devonte said, "People supposed to appreciate different things. People like new ideas. When I write a song, I want people to sit down and think how he came up with that."
My Song was put out on August 7 and Already Know is slated for October 9. Videos are being planned for the two songs.
The duo has focused more on albums than singles and Devonte says, "I buy into album culture. I believe you have a variety of things to listen to. If you listen to a single, you might not get what the artiste is saying."
And, with a team in place, Tanto Metro says the next album will not be as long in coming as Request.
"We nah wait six year again. By the grace of God, we know it will do well. We are keeping the momentum going."