Interview with The Internet
The Internet’s debut album Purple Naked Ladies set them apart from the larger entity of OFWGKTA or Odd Future – and profiled the groups softer side with psychedelic undertones and velvety vocals. The duo, made up of Syd tha Kyd – the only female member of Odd Future and Matt Martian, played at the Mod Club on Friday for the last show on their North American tour and we had the opportunity to sit down with them.
How old were you when you knew when you wanted to be a professional musician?
Syd: I was 13 – before that I wanted to be a professional basketball player. I made JV team, and I was really good, but it didn’t seem worth it to me. I’ve always played piano, since kindergarten, and my family have always been involved in music, even when I was playing basketball i knew I wanted to be rich and have a studio and watch people make music. Eventually the basketball dream wasn’t so prominent – I quit the team and lost a lot of friends and had a lot of time on my hands, so by 14 I had a studio.
Why ‘The Internet’? Was that a conscious decision to make it harder for people to Google you?
Syd: We didn’t even come up with it. Left Brain did. It was a joke.
Matt: We were doing an interview for a documentary and the lady asked us where we were from and Left Brain said ‘We’re from the Internet’. At the time we were looking for a band name because we had like 3 songs made – and we were like ‘That’s it’.
Perceptions of the rap industry are epitomized by Q-tips famous line ‘Industry rule # 4080 – record company people are shady’ do you think in the age of the internet the playing field between artists and industry has been levelled?
Matt: Yep – now artists have more power and labels have to cater to that. Artist can now be like ‘well i’ll just do it myself – if you’re not going to give me what i need’. When before you had to be doing something for a while before you got a label deal – now a label deal comes with your first contract.
Syd: Its not completeley level yet, but it’s definitely getting there. The DIY movement has definitely started.
Odd Future has harnessed the power of the internet more than any other artist in history – do you think the route you guys took is the new norm?
Syd: If you’re not on the internet people are like ‘why not?’ – nowadays you have to have a Twitter, Facebook and a blog. It’s definitely the new norm. It’s hard to market anything without the internet because everyone is on the internet all day.
Matt: I’m on the internet right now. *laughs*
Syd: We all met on Myspace. The Odd Future blog has always been really personal – Tyler has always made it that way. If you want to find out where Tyler is, it’s really not hard.
Matt: The Odd Future presence is really personal – and people can relate to us because they can see we’re normal kids with good days and bad days. We got an opportunity and we capitlized on it, and that’s the only difference.
Do you think that coming out publicly in Cocaine along with Frank Ocean on Tumblr has made waves in the hip-hop industry, which is infamous for its homophobia?
Syd: I don’t think Cocaine did anything really. You’ve got all these people saying ‘i’m so proud of Frank for coming out and standing up’, but at the same time I don’t think it should be such a big deal. Should it really be that big of a deal? With Cocaine I didn’t say ‘watch Cocaine i’m kissing a girl’!! It was just natural to me.
In the video Cocaine, you ditch the girl at the carnival after she passes out in your car – which a lot of people were outraged about. What are your thoughts on the reaction?
Syd: I was really suprised that it was taken that way – which is fine, I understand it. I think if people knew me personally they wouldn’t have taken it that way. People need to pay more attention to the fact that it’s art – there’s way crazier shit on TV. It was blown out of proportion.
There’s quite a generation gap between a lot of established rappers/hip hop artists and new ones like your self – who truly represent a new generation of artists. Do you think there are stylistic and topical differences, or are you working with a lot of the same themes?
Syd: I think a lot of the guys in the older generation are trying to be like the new generation – look at T.I. All these guys are all making trap music now – and that’s not what they started out making. If you’re goign to come out as your own artist – don’t follow the wave. I mean everyone has to evolve, but there’s a difference between evolving, and riding the wave.
Photography Courtesy of Rohan Ramsay.