The Internet on the Internet, SXSW, and Handling Criticism
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.