She could rap, and he could produce beats.
Story by Jordan Steyer
Megz Kelli and Dougie Do met at St. Edward’s University in 2012, and they’ve been rising to the top of the local music scene ever since with their hip hop group Magna Carda.
The group, consisting of Megz Kelli on lead vocals, Dougie Do on beats, production, keys and sometimes vocals, Derek Van Wagner on bass and Michael Gonzales on drums, mixes hip hop, jazz and R&B for a different kind of sound. Magna Carda released a new album this summer titled “CirQlation.” The group performed Sunday at Weekend Two of Austin City Limits.
ORANGE asked Dougie Do, who does the production for the group, about where it all started.
Who is your inspiration?
We definitely pull inspiration from J. Dilla, Al Green, Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
Did you ever imagine making it to this level when you formed the group?
No, not at all. At first I was like, “Oh I guess it’ll be cool,” and then it kept building. We were like, “Dude, we can do something with this. If we try, we can really do this.” I didn’t see it coming, and I’m really thankful.
Tell me more about being called “Austin’s Answer to the Roots.”
That was when Mashable published an article about us. It was about Austin bands on the come up. All of the groups they had reviewed were given these really cool little tag lines and descriptions. We were worried about ours because the others were so good, and they gave us “Austin’s Answer to the Roots.” It really wrapped up what our style was.
How has Austin influenced your sound?
Austin taught us not to shy away from doing stuff, it gives you that no fear zone. Often we’re like, “Oh fuck it, we’ll try it.” It’s cool because there is no section of the city that likes a specific type of music, so everything just mixes.
What topics does the group like to write about?
Love is the easiest to pull inspiration from, but writing about the club is the most fun, so like drinks and money.
What’s the writing process like?
Writing starts with Megz or me. She’ll come up with a verse, an idea or a beat. Then I’ll have a beat ready, she’ll go through the stuff I’ve been working on, and she’ll write to it. She’ll rap and we'll match our beats with her and then the band figures out what instrumentals to use.
What’s it like to be able to perform at ACL?
It’s crazy and an honor. It’s weird because we’ve been to ACL and we’re trying to picture us on stage. You go from doing small festivals and shows to this.
Where were you when you found out you were playing ACL?
I was in bed when I found out. I had just woken up and my phone went off. My group chat had 50 messages, and there was an email that was like, “Oh, are you interested in ACL?” Everyone was either just waking up or at work, so we were all silently celebrating.