The Internet: Psychedelic Highway
As part of the versatile Odd Future family, Syd The Kyd and Matt Martian, collectively known as The Internet, have managed to create a refreshing psych-pop infused sound on their debut album Purple Naked Ladies. In true OFWGKTA fashion, the duo appears to have touched the nerve of today's generation with a sound that is hard to categorize. We caught up with them to talk about the complexity of their music, the prospect of their unique sound and more. Get familiar.
How's 2012 treating you so far?
Matt Martian: We've been busy man, really, really busy (laughs). Kind of overwhelming. We really can't complain. We just rented a house by the beach here in California. Here, we can record music and also do interviews.
It's a hard life.
MM: Not quite. (laughs)
What sparked the idea behind The Internet?
MM: Things with The Internet started to get serious back in February, that's when I moved to Los Angeles. Me and Syd have been cool for quite some time, communicating over the internet, me coming out to California (to visit), she came to Atlanta one time to chill. We were always close. When I got out here I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do as far as music was concerned. I had just released an album with Jet Age of Tomorrow so that ran its course. I met with our manager Clancy and I was asking him for advice on what to do next and he suggested that me and Syd should start working on music together. So that’s how the idea started, we were always hangin' out anyway as part of Odd Future so Clancy said since that was the case we might as well start working on a joint project.
The name ‘The Internet’ came from Left Brain. We were doing an interview/documentary type of thing and the interviewer asked where we were all from and he just responded "The Internet," and from then on that’s where we’d all tell people where we were from. We thought the name was tight so we just decided to call our act The Internet because we were looking for a name at the time and we were coming up with names that were kind of corny, but when we heard The Internet it just felt right."
When did you guys actually start to make music together?
Syd The Kyd: We recorded our first music together in early March 2011. We have been hanging out together for a couple of weeks and listening to a lots of music which ended up in us banging out a few songs. The first track that we ever made was, "She Don't Give A F*ck." When we first listened to our first track, we actually didn't know what to do with it, what to think of it, the sound was so different. We never heard something like this before.
When you first started to make music, have you envisioned an actual LP that would be released in international markets?
MM: No, not all. (laughs) The first thought about doing actual album emerged weeks later.
SK: It was so different that we were even scared to even offer the idea. Like I said, we first did not know how to categorize or use it.
MM: Our approach on recording was not to put out an album but because it sounded good. We never made a song with a specific aim or anything behind it. The album is basically a random collection of songs that we did and we thought sounded unorthodoxly cool and people would appreciate it. So there was no marketing scheme or initial blueprint to it.
Who were your influences production-wise and how has your sound evolved since March?
SK: When we first started there were no real influences to be honest. Back then, we listened to lots of Jamiroquai and N.E.R.D. and a lot of electronic music. So our sound just naturally came out of us. We honestly just had different ideas in our head of what kind of beats we wanted to do at that time and we just met somewhere in the middle and this has become our sound.
MM: As far as growth is concerned, we definitely have evolved and extended our sound. We use a lot of live instruments now. As we got older and evolve, the live aspect of music becomes an increasingly important part of our music. Even with Purple Naked Ladies, if you compare the last song, "The Garden," with the first track "Violet Nude Women," you will notice the usage of live instruments, live drums and live guitar. You can definitely see the evolution in our sound now.
What is the story behind the title of your album?
MM: Syd, I let you explain that. (laughs)
SK: Uhm, no. (laughs) A lot of my friends were experimenting with LSD. Purple Naked Ladies is the kind that they were talking about the most. If she was talking about LSD, it was Purple Naked Ladies. The experience they gained from experimenting from that, I wanted to incorporate it because it made a lots of sense to my life at that time since these were my closest friends. Not only LSD, but also cocaine, shrooms and all sorts of psychedelics. If anything, psychedelic was the biggest influence behind the name. Once we created the first beat together, it reminded us of a psychedelic kind of trip. So when it came to choosing a name for the album, we wanted it to be something psychedelic and Purple Naked Ladies appeared to us like the best choice.
How would you describe the chemistry between you guys?
SK: Me and Matt are best friends. We are as close as you can get. We live together, work together and we generally think on the same way of things.
MM: It also comes down to the fact that we have similar backgrounds. We grew up in a similar way if you compare our families. Especially the way how we are raised is very, very similar. This definitely has a great effect on how you act as an adult. This is maybe the main force behind our great chemistry.
Syd, when did you first start singing?
SK: I started singing when we started making the album. However, I would call myself a producer/mixing engineering. I've had musical training for my whole life. I grew up being trained in piano and theory and all types of stuff, so I know music. I know how I want stuff to sound. Usually, the ideas in my head, nobody can really get there. Not even me, although I am the closest. If I sit there for long enough, and try it I can get really close although I never had any vocal training.
When did you actually realize that you would do some singing on the album too?
SK: I enjoy singing. I sing all day, in the car, at the house. I sing loud as hell (laughs). People know me for it. (laughs) Not because I'm good at it, but because it's fun. That's my vocal exercise. So when we created our beats, I naturally started singing melodies to it. Before that I have written and recorded some songs like "Flash Lights" that's on the Odd Future tape. Initially, we planned to do an instrumental album but ended up singing melodies on top of our beats and we just decided to press the record button.
How did you experience the feedback from your fans so far?
SK: Well, I don't see that much of it actually.
MM: The feedback's great. It is like the Odd Future signature sort of reaction, like hardcore, crazy raps and all that. People don't know what to do with it at first but tend to kick with it once they understand our different approach. We have realized that our sound is good to bring different audiences together. We have also a really great impact on females, since they can relate to lots of situations, especially young teenage girls can relate to our sound. They feel like it is speaking to them directly. I am really grateful for the fact that our music has a great impact on people that listen to it.
What contemporary artists outside of Odd Future do you admire? Who would you work with collaboration wise?
MM: Not sure if you know him but we really dig a rapper named Speak. He knows words, he knows music. Definitely Toro Y Moi. Chaz Bundick has a great understanding for music. He is THAT ni**a. And obviously Jay-Z. (laughs)
SK: Little Dragon, Teddy B, and a band called Friends – they are pretty lo-fi and have a new album coming out. Be on the lookout.
With Odd Future expanding their business ventures, how do guys manage all of your ideas?
MM: We are all tied to different projects within Odd Future. Everybody worries about they are doing. The managers keep us together and keep us working separately at the same time. With the Golf Wang brand and the store and the series, that is Tyler's part, the direction of videos that is all us. At the end of the day we all come together and have an understanding on how we want to push it. We are all supportive to our respective projects.
With the Odd Future album coming up, can we expect a different approach? Less shocking maybe?
MM: All we have done so far, it will be it's gonna blow everything out of the water. The thing is, we're making music the same we have always made music. We're making it very organically. But, when you are with true artists doing true art, they are going to grow and get better. But, when you have true artists and a label comes along and they try to adjust them they have more room to grow. So, you've really seen this rapid growth after the release because we have that control.
What's in store for you this year?
SK: Another album.
MM: Yea, another album. We also have a great visual experience for "Cocaine" in store.
SK: We also want to open up the doors to work with more people, artists and producers. We have quite a few projects coming up. We will work with Speak, we will produce his album along with some other great producers. We will also work with Vince Staples for a couple of tracks, Hal Williams from NRK. A lot of artists that have a little buzz and give them the opportunity to do what they want by providing them with our sound.
SK: We have a diverse range of projects coming up and feel blessed that we have the right team around us so we can make all of it happen. Stay tuned.
Purple Naked Ladies is out now.
Interview: Aymen Ahmed & Petar Kujundzic