After dropping their EP Red Flowerz last year, Grammy-nominated sibling songwriting/production duo Blaq Tuxedo (previously known as D&D, a.k.a. Darius and Dominique Logan) are gearing up for the release of their next offering Limousine on Sept 1st.
Headed by the singles “Cherish” and “Pass Out,” the EP is full of their swaggy brand of R&B/Hip-Hop. However, the Sacramento-bred brothers (who’ve written and produced for the likes of the Ciara, Chris Brown, Meek Mill, Kevin McCall, Ty Dolla $ign and more) aren’t afraid of singing about love; their name change from D&D to Blaq Tuxedo insinuates that they intend on putting out a certain luxurious quality as their brand .
One-half of the group, Darius, spoke with Singersroom about it all; the name change, moving to L.A., writing for others, and more. Check it out:
Started working on music together: Started singing together at a young age: I was nine or ten, and he (Dominique) was about four. But, on a professional level, we started in 2009 when we moved to LA to start writing and producing for industry artists.
Songwriting vs. Producing: We do both. We might go to a session where they just want us to produce. Or we might go to a session where they want us to both so we can do it all.
Building Connections in LA: It came about through Fly Stylz. My big cousin, the actor Robbie Jones introduced us to Andre Merritt when we were in Sacramento. And we met Andre in LA, and at that time he wrote the song, “Forever,” for Chris Brown. He was mentoring us and letting us know what we was whack or what was dope. But what made us really move to LA was Fly Stylz. He did choreography for everybody Usher, Chris Brown, Missy Elliott: he basically made Chris Brown and Usher. He’s from Richmond. We started going to Chris Brown or Usher rehearsals and started watching the artists. That was our connection already with the artists. The artists thought we were great and then the word started getting around that we do dope music. It just kind of took off from there.
Musical Influences: Michael Jackson, James Brown, Lil Wayne, Usher, Justin Timberlake, artists like that.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Working Together as Siblings: Of course, we have our moments but it’s not the typical brother relationship. We have an older brother and sister and then my dad adopted two other boys, so me and Dom were the youngest. We were like brother/ friends if you understand what I’m saying. We’re not only brothers, but we’re friends, and it’s the same way when we get in the studio. It’s like “what you think?” and then we really respect each other opinions. It’s not like regular siblings that get into arguments. For the most part, it’s exciting because he knows what I’m about to do and I know what he’s about to do, and it flows from there.
Changing Your Name from D&D to Blaq Tuxedo: Once we started figuring out our artistry, we said let’s switch the name to Blaq Tuxedo. The name just sounds better and even though people recently know us at D&D, it just better that we can own our name. We didn’t own D&D, and it was just so troubling getting that situated. The name just basically means anything luxury, high class. It can be a representation of everything that you do or everything that you’re about in life. Our brand represents pretty much anything on a much higher level. There’re no limits, and we’re thinking outside of the box. Be your own brand, be your own cool; it’s not about following a trend. You start your own trend, and that’s what the name really represents. Tuxedo is not our only style, we have several styles and fans will get to know once they grow with us. We’ve done it all as far as fashion so it’s like what are we going to do now?
Single “Cherish”: The record came about when my friend, Swiff D, who produced the “Studio” record for Schoolboy Q. We’ve been friends for a long time. We were actually writing some material for Chris Brown and I said you know what, I might want to keep this record for myself. A lot of people are not cherishing women or praising them in a different way, other than I just want to have sex with you. Nobody really talks about love and if you do, it’s oh you’re too emotional or you’re too “Drakish”. Nah, we all need love at the end of the day and that’s the message we’re trying to tell everyone in this song. There are guys out there that just want to love you, it’s not all about the physical.
EP Limousine: Limousine came about in a very creative way. It intertwines with Tuxedo and no one didn’t come up with this name as far as a project. We have a lot to look forward to with this Limousine project; it’s more of a Red Flowerz project but it’s focuses on love, what we go through, and just different versions of what other people go through within our age group. On this project, we really talk about what people go through, and we just want people to relate to our music. We want people to know us as people, as artists. This will help us because people want to listen to your music and hold on to what you say in your song. This is what we’re trying to provide in this project.
Life Experiences = Song writing: Yes, our life experiences help us be better songwriters. We are also inspired by other people as well. We speak from our personal experiences with the world. It’s the best way because a person can really relate to your story because we all have the same problem or issues in our life. It’s just that everybody has different stories so it’s from personal situations. It’s easier to talk about it in the music because it’s really me, my story.
In the Studio With Elite Artists: We’ve been in the studio with The Rejects, every artist we pretty much worked with; we have a cool relationship with them. When they see us, it’s like oh, what’s up. They are really interacting with us and having that one on one conversation with them. Omarion used to come to our studio all the time, cutting songs. With Chris; we already knew him from Fly Stylz and we all were connected when we did the Cat Daddy songs. We were all hanging out and Chris was apart of The Rejects and that whole movement. And then we were all cool. I used to see Chris here and there in L.A. and pitch him a song here and there. But, Chris always supported our art, our music. It was crazy for us because he was like :y’all dope, y’all raw.” Chris encouraged to keep doing what we’re doing because he knows that it can get frustrating at times. It can be frustrating at times when you’re an up-and-coming artist. You want to be also known as an artist, other than just a producer and writer. It’s like two different worlds. We’ve been in the studio with Chris several times from when he recorded, “Turn Up the Music,” “Please Don’t Judge Me,” or “Ghetto Tales ( I Know You Wanna See Me).” There have been times where he says come to the studio and we would just watch him record. He has really supported us, always a straight-up guy. The single Chris has with Kendrick Lamar, I think it’s about to drop as a single next month and we wrote the hook and it’s called “L.A.” It has Brandy on the record. The “L.A.” hook was for MGK but he wasn’t from L.A. And then I played it for his A&R and they loved it. Then next week, they had Kendrick on it and it was like whoa. It’s dope and I am excited about it.
Respecting Chris Brown’s Artistry: We didn’t write “Please Don’t Judge Me,” but there was a time where he was interested in signing us at one point. We would just come up to the studio for like a week or two. We would watch him cut songs and seeing how he works is just crazy. It was definitely motivating for us when we came back to the drawing board for our records or any other artists we work with as producers. When we wrote the “Ghetto Tales ( I Know You Wanna See Me,)” for Chris, I wasn’t thinking about Chris; I was just trying to write a dope song. We had a verse and hook, and we sent it over and he loved it. We finished it off together but for the most part, I try to pull from the artist’s persona life so they can relate to the song. It was a blessing because you can always see the insight of what’s going on and just apply it to what we do. And that’s the representation of Blaq Tuxedo: being inspired, pull from the greats, and try to put it to what you do.
Upcoming Projects: We have a mix-tape; it’s called Tuxedo Game. The mix-tape has six songs, and these songs are free for the fans. We would like to have a few features on the mix-tape and it would be just for the streets. People would hear some other stuff that they haven’t heard from us. Once people hear our mix-tape, they would like to know who we are as artists. It’s more of us in the beginning stages in L.A. and people would like what they hear on this record. We are working on this project and it’s pretty dope. Strictly for the fans, dope songs, dope record. We haven’t decided on the release date, but it will more than likely be released after the Limousine EP project. There’s more to come.
Transcribed by Dominique Carson