Photos by Durty Harry
One thing that cyberculture has introduced is a lack of live musical performances, especially within hip hop. Luckily, in recent years new acts have emerged like RATKING, Phony Ppl, and The Internet that challenge what it means to be a performing artist within a digital world.
The LA-based neo soul group, The Internet, born from the Odd Future collective, graced the stage of SOB’s last Sunday, kicking off their Feel Good Tour. Formed by OF members Syd The Kid and Matt Martins, the band, made up of members, Patrick Paige (bass), Jameel Burner (keys), and Christopher A. Smith (drums), chopped it up about cyberculture’s influence on music, the riot with Tyler, The Creator at SXSW, and working with Mac Miller on, Live from Space.
MA: How much influence do you feel you have over your fans?
Syd the Kyd: None.
Matt: I say moderate ’cause I know a lot of the music that we talk about, that we listen to, influences. I’ve found that a lot of our fans will go listen to those artist, and go to their shows and become fans just like we do, so I think that we have influence in some realms. I don’t think we have too much influence in other realms like rappers do sometimes where they’ll make their fans do something drastic, but I think they definitely listen to us,
MA: In what ways does social media play a part in how people digest your music?
M: It definitely spreads. It’s cool now ’cause a retweet can put people on to bands that they may not have seen before; a reblog or a Tumblr post. I’ve seen artists that my friends post twice, and I’ll be like ‘Alright let me check them out,’ and they might end up being some of my favorite artists. I think it definitely is easier for us to spread our influence without having to go through a middle man, which I think is great. It also has its down falls, but I think overall it’s great ’cause we don’t have to go through somebody else to get directly to our fans.
MA: What are the downfalls?
M: A lot of things now get too big too fast and almost too big for the artist. Sometimes, where an artist who necessary didn’t intend to be as big as he is gets super huge, to the point where nobody wants to hear anything else from you but that single..like, “Okay that was cool but that’s all.”
S: They can’t handle it. Or better yet, hold up that image, with their live set. It takes a long time to become a good performer. You’re not just a good performer the first time, it takes time, and some people just get thrown into it unprepared.
M: I think it’s cool that way it’s making bedroom producers, celebrities, bedroom singers; people who may record something that’s next level in they’re room. They can be huge and do songs with huge artists, but at the same time I think you need to build that meat of your audience, that meat of your career. You need be able to have something to fall back on.
S: In real life..
MA: What do you mean by “real life”?
S: I mean the difference between shows, and music videos. At least half of a musician’s career is shows, ’cause that’s when people get to see you live in action, and that’s when you get to prove yourself, prove that you actually do this, it’s not just something you’re putting on, ’cause anybody can record a song and get it off, and have it blow up. Anybody can do that, but to be able to sustain, that takes real footwork in real life. You have to be out in these streets basically.
Jameel: Keep it gangsta. 100 percent. All the time. Everyday.
MA: How do you think your fans took “Live from Space” with Mac Miller?
M: I think it changed their outlook on him! I think people were excited for him to work with us. Mac is going through a transitional period of him really coming into his own. I think our fans took it really well. I didn’t hear anything bad about it. I think it took a lot of people by… it’s one of those things where either you hated it or it was like you’re really going that far. People are weird with Mac Miller, but that album was very undeniable with how it was arranged. His live show was really tight, and you can’t take that away from him.
S: He puts on a great live show and that came from time, and practice, and experience, and real footwork. He’s been on tour for months and months at a time; you have to do that.
MA: How do you internalize comments from online blogs/Twitter?
Patrick: It definitely helped me grow not only as a producer but as an artist. I’ll never forget the day I was at my uncle’s house in his garage and my cousin was like “Yeah, ‘Fastlane’? Yeah that song is horrible” and I was like, “You know I produced that.” He was like “Yeah. That song is horrible” I was like, “Oh shit, aight cuh.”
But like that honestly helped me. I’m not gonna thank him for calling my song horrible, but for that experience, definitely. It was a reality check, like not everybody’s gonna like your shit.
MA: How has Odd Future influenced fashion culture?
M: It introduced color back into a lot of people ’cause I know a lot of clothing lines now are very dark and gothic I think. ‘I’m on lean.’ ‘I’m dark.’
S: Mmhuh. ‘ALL BLACK EVERYTHING.’
M: Tyler put out clothes that people feel they can wear out in the sun and wear during the summer, you know? Give off a different energy. When Tyler first came out everybody was wearing the little five panels with the socks and the shorts with the little Hawaiian shirt. It’s not as worse as a lot of other people that’s putting like “lean” and drugs on they stuff, like actual pills. We’ve made some questionable things [Laughs], but I think over all it’s a positive thing and I think it’s bringing color back into streetwear, which I think they’re afraid to do because color is so hit or miss with people. Some people will never wear a bright yellow shirt, but everybody will wear a grey shirt. It’s a risk, but I think it works.
S: And honestly kinda keeping streetwear alive in the hip hop industry and I hate to have to say that, but it’s true, like you look at the new Future video and Tyler is the only one in there wearing regular clothes. Nowadays a lot of rappers I guess feel the need to wear a lot of leather or skinny stuff or whatever.
P: Or skinny leather.
S: Whatever they like to wear or whatever they think they need to be wearing and we’re, I guess, the only people still like…dressing like this. We’re some of the few.
MA: Speaking on Tyler, how do you feel about the SXSW incident?
M: It had nothing to do with him. I think it’s very irresponsible for media to throw his name in a lot of the headlines because of how they may feel about Odd Future, and it fits their agenda about Odd Future. I think it’s very irresponsible because a, he wasn’t even at the venue when it happened yet, you know ..yeah it was him going on next but there were other acts before him. It wasn’t the Tyler, the Creator show and I think it’s irresponsible to link the other incident with this incident. It’s definitely a tragedy, but I definitely think it’s unfair to him. Tyler has no intentions of hurting anybody and I think it’s wrong that they see him that way.
MA: So do you think the crowd acted out because of his influence?
S: Yes. He definitely caused the riot. [Laughs] Nobody’s perfect.
M: I get that. That’s not right, messing up property. My whole thing is linking it to what’s wrong with SXSW and what happened has nothing to do with it and I see a lot of news sites linking the two things just to kinda fit the agenda of ‘it’s getting kinda crazy,’ and it’s not the case. I get how media works. I can’t be mad, but I just think it’s unfortunate.
MA: How do you feel about online websites twisting information and making it public?
M: I think it’s terrible cause I’ve been taken out of context before in major publications and it becomes something. Like we’ve been jokingly saying something with a reporter off the record and that’s what they make the WHOLE article about and that’s messed up
S: Major. Like covers…
M: We not gonna say the publication, but we gave her a cover and it was supposed to be about our music and it ended up being about how Syd’s gay and how it affects Odd Future.
S: Yeah and about me calling out other gay women in the industry. I wasn’t calling anybody out..like..I was telling a joke.
M: I guess she wasn’t getting anything juicy enough and I guess that took it to the whole new level and I get it but, I don’t think it’s reporting. I think it’s a matter of this generation’s thirst for what’s juicy. Look on the Internet. Every time something bad happens to somebody, everybody’s talking. Everybody’s on somebody’s head about it, and it’s fun, and it’s cool, but I just think it’s birthing a whole generation of thirst and everybody’s just thirsty for that headline.
S: Yeah. Everybody’s burnt now.
M: We meet a lot of cool people, like you talking to us, you cool, but it’s like you do meet some people…we [have done] interviews with people who are definitely not charismatic. We definitely know they don’t know the music, but these are the people actually writing the stories. We’ll do interviews with people, and they won’t know our names, and it’s like you’re about to write a whole story about us, and you don’t even know how we met yet? They asking stuff people should be asking us when we did our first album and it’s like then again these are the people whose word people take and what people solidify as what they think so I think it’s a change in times I would say. I don’t think it’s bad. There’s good parts about it but it’s definitely a sign of how we receive media and who’s behind it changing. People don’t even fact check and they just go by what people say on Twitter, and they like “Oh I heard on Twitter” and it’s like “Oh I heard about it too.”
S: It’s like, bruh…
M: Yeah, like we’ll tweet Tyler or tweet somebody and people will make a whole article about it and were like, ‘Bruh you don’t even know what we’re talking about, getting people’s hopes up about certain projects, and things,’ and it might not even be true, and that’s the problem.
P: I feel like the Internet isn’t one place to be trusted, no pun intended with us.
M: Trust us. Trust the band. [Laughs]
P: But no pun intended, the Internet is not to be trusted for as far as my opinion goes. There are various reasons for that. I don’t even trust Wikipedia. I heard people go in there and edit shit themselves.
S: Yeah! I don’t know who it was from OF, but I was like 16 or something, remember they started a rumor Morgan Freedman died, and Chingy died and put it on the Wikipedia?
P: Like that whole fucking Steve Harvey thing. I never understood that. I just never understood it, but that had the Internet going crazy. Like random kids were like “Yeah! Fuck Steve Harvey!” and they don’t even know why. As far as I know Steve Harvey didn’t even do anything, they was just bored and was like fuck Steve Harvey. I think it’s kinda fucked up ’cause I appreciate Steve Harvey.
MA: How does the Internet change the way you work with other artist?
S: It makes it a lot easier to put it out there, you can be on Twitter like ‘Aye bruh, let’s work.’ It’s like having everybody’s phone number.
P: The first time I got tweeted by like a real “rapper” rapper— Murs tweeted me. I had never met him before. My homie Keith, a real good friend of mine, told him about my beats and then Murs tweeted me, and I’m a big fan, so I fanned out. I went to go check if he had the blue check. I’m like ‘Oh my God, it’s really Murs! Fuck.’ It’s a blessing and a curse.