‘Tour Stories: So You Really Wanna Be In Show Business?’, XXL

Tajai of Souls of Mischief shares the history of going from major label to indie, touring the world, pioneering on the Internet and creating a business.

Tajai of Souls of Mischief shares the history of going from major label to indie.

Originally published on:
January 18, 2010

Written by XXL Staff

What up? This is Tajai of Souls of Mischief. Let me tell you guys, making the transition from being on a major, where everything is paid for—cars, hotels, plane tickets, tour support—to being on…nothing, was shocking and a little bit scary. We came directly out of high school into a major label deal into a world of stardom, so to not have that label security made it seem like everything else would go away. Luckily, Domino had the foresight and we had the talent to decide to rely upon ourselves, and this music, first and foremost, as a way to improve our situation.

Pulling a boatload of favors (big up to Matt Kelly for hooking up a lot of the studio sessions during this time and using his expertise to mix our records to perfection) we recorded our first indie album, Third Eye Vision in 1996/1997. During (and pretty much since) this time we toured the world constantly and made friends with a lot of promoters, who were young up-and comers and mainly fans at the time. A lot of these folks now run some huge promotion companies and booking agencies. Some even own the venues where they book us.

Hieroglyphics Imperium really started on the landing at my mom’s house. A buddy of mine put me up on this kid named StinkE, who started a fan site for us on this thing called the “internet.” We reached out and connected with him and made the site official in 1995.

Once we had the Imperium up, Domino kept telling me he had these old tapes of our unreleased demos and music. By that time we had about 15 years of material, so we decided to start slangin’ tapes, and put it this way—we moved a lot of tapes. Eventually, Hiero moves up to a desk in our lawyer and longtime advisor Michael Ashburne’s office. By 1998, we had a studio and an office in downtown Oakland. By 2000, we had a warehouse in West Oakland. In 2004, we purchased our own warehouse and offices in East Oakland with our own recording studios, T-shirt and merchandise manufacturing facility, AV studios, and our corporate offices.

Reproduced on for educational purposes.

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