Social Media

Gerel Falconer - Tones Interviews

What if you're not Black enough for the ends, but too Black for the rest of the world?

Jerome, aka The Professor, is a man in battle with his identity, on a journey through the depths of Black-British culture, class, and belonging.

Tones combines the gritty underground sounds of hip hop, grime, drill and the melodrama of opera, into a piece of gig theatre like no other.

What inspired you to write Tones?
One of the big things that inspired Tones was every different style I spoke. Most people sound posher when someone important dials the phone – I change dialect every environment in survival mode. When I was with white people,I would imitate like a clone. "Bruv" or "my goodness", I'd copy any vibe I'm shown. I questioned why and then it struck me like xylophone. 
Black people aren't judged as individuals but by the whole. This makes me feel the need to make white people feel right at home and change their perception of every black guy they know. 
The media say black on black crime to sighs and moans. Why there's never any white-on-white crime, I don't know. Considering the size of UK, you'd be finding loads. It's ignorant to view race on a wider scope.
The fate of my race on my back every time I spoke. 
In terms of class, the need for double-consciousness is kind of close. If you're black and working-class you're stereotyped as both. The dual lack of advantage makes us fight the most.
I had this epiphany drinking with Jonny and his mind was blown. He agreed to direct if I write a show about what I divulged. Next thing you know we arrived at Tones.
Did you have to do any research while writing the production?
A little bit but I can't say what. If I did, it would really give away the plot.

Image by Aimee Morley 
Did you combine any of that research with your own personal experience?
Yyyyeah? For me, Tones is like an alternate reality. A butterfly effect of different choices given clarity within a life trajectory with lots of similarities. The personal experience is based in commonality, so, the research brings truth to the biggest bit of fantasy.
How did you approach combining styles of grime, hip-hop and drill with more operatic sounds? 
Firstly, 3D Williams is brilliant. He's composing the score with reassuring magnificence. Secondly, the aforementioned genres display these sounds. There's operatic energy in Low Deep - Catz, Nas's Hate Me Now also when 1011's Next Up Freestyle came out. They're all grounded in classical elements so it's not too much of a problem blending them. 
What do you want an audience member to take away from seeing the show? 
For the audience to connect to SOMETHING is the goal. Whatever that may be is out of my control.
What performances/shows have inspired you? 
Dave - Black, the P-Money vs Dot Rotten clash, Hamilton and every Highrise show in fact, everything that features strong storytelling and rap.
Can you describe the show in 3 words? 
Bold, unique verse.
Gerel Falconer will perform Tones: A Hip Hop Opera at the Edinburgh Festival at 3pm in Pleasance Courtyard (Upstairs) from 2nd – 28th August. To book, visit

Ahead of the Edinburgh Fringe I caught up with writer and performer Gerel Falconer to discuss the show.

Post a Comment


Theme by STS