interview: the internet emerges as leaders of the new musical free world
By Sound Check
July 23, 2015
From the depths of the eroding core of rhythm and blues, a 6-piece super-group has emerged to shed light on a genre with a flare that was once thought to be diminished. The Internet is a 6-person Soul band with an unrivaled sound that reaches into your chest and replaces your heartbeat with their infectious baselines and charming vibratos. Yes, that sounds dramatic, but if you’ve listened to their latest album, then you know why I’m so excited about these guys.
By Blaire Monroe, AFROPUNK Contributor
The group – made up of Syd, Matt Martians, Patrick Paige II, Christopher Smith, Jameel Bruner, & Steve Lacy – recently released their third studio album, Ego Death, and from the sounds of it this is sure to be a major catalyst in their journey to becoming iconic. Aside from having allies like Janelle Monae, Tyler, the Creator, and Vic Mensa (all featured on Ego Death), The Internet stems from a strong foundation.
They originally started with two members, Syd (23) and Matt Martians (26), but have since grown and evolved in numerous ways. Syd has been penning music since she was very young, but she put writing on hold to become Odd Future’s DJ and producer (a skill that was self taught at the age of 15). It wasn’t until 2011 that she picked her own music back up and made her first studio album with Matt Martians, who she met on Myspace in 2008. Matt both produces and plays synths.
The Internet as a collective is unstoppable. Their lyrics are created from experiences and their production is clearly constructed from the ear of a higher power. But what’s most alluring about the group is the individuality and dedication that power them. They make the kind of music that they want to hear. The Internet is beginning to emerge as leaders in the new musical free world with a spirit that’s reminiscent of pioneers like Pharrell, Missy Elliot and Timbaland.
After playing Ego Death on repeat for that past couple of weeks, I got a chance to get up with Syd and Matt to talk about life after the release of Ego Death, creating outside of Odd Future, the repercussions of using real-life relationships as content, and more:
AFROPUNK: When did you first realize that creating music is what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?
SYD: For me, I guess I was 14 when I like really knew.
MATT: For me it was freshman year of college. I was 17 or 18 and I just got sick of waiting for people that I really liked to put out music, so I figured I would make my own.
Was there a process that got you to a point where you didn’t give a fuck about what anybody thought about your sound anymore and you just made what you felt?
SYD: It’s a constant process.
MATT: A lot of people that we look up to – a lot of artists that we mold our band around – are known for constantly breaking boundaries and doing things that aren’t normal, and kind of marching to the beat of their own drum so it’s kind of in our DNA, man. It’s like about being yourself and being different, as cliche as that is, it’s not as normal as you think. I would say just the people that influence us have a lot to do with it.
You released Ego Death recently and it’s getting rave reviews. How has life changed since it’s release?
Matt starts laughing.
SYD: Life’s good. I’m chillin’ [laughs]. I’m just trying to keep it going and not get caught up in the excitement. Trying to keep thinking about where to go next.
MATT: But to be honest I mean, to me, there were a lot of people that normally didn’t get our music that are now telling me how much they like our music. I can tell the difference that it’s getting to a thicker crowd this time. It’s getting to the trenches of your casual listener as opposed to it just being like a niche thing that was kind of cool and only guys that know about Odd Future know about it. So, that’s the biggest change I’ve noticed. I mean you obviously have people calling you that you haven’t heard form in a while and stuff like that. But part of what I’ve seen with my own eyes, even being home in Atlanta, like it’s really hit a lot of people that it didn’t hit last time. So, you know, it’s really interesting.
A lot of the album is clearly influenced by women. Were you in love or in a relationship during the making of Ego Death?
SYD: No, this was the first album [we made] where I was single. Matt’s in love, but I’m single right now.
MATT: That’s why the album kind of sounds like – it’s kind of liberating – it’s kind of like saying stuff that you’ve always wanted to say but you kind of have the fuse to say it now. On the side, I caught a little flack from some of the songs we made from certain females that they’re about, so…yeah.
SYD: Thankfully I haven’t [laughs].
It seems like everyone in Odd Future is doing their own thing right now. Has that given you more space to create?
SYD: I say it’s given us more freedom, like in the sense that people now know us as Syd and Matt from The Internet instead of Syd and Matt from Odd Future, which is just cool because I feel like we’re building our own fan-base now, finally. A lot of our fans in real life are Odd Future fans who know a lot about us because of Odd Future. We kind of just want to branch out and build our own fan[base] everywhere.
If you could convert someone into a fan of The Internet by showing them only one song of yours, what would it be and why?
MATT: Me personally, I’d pick “Dontcha” because that was the moment where we really came together and realized like, “Hey we can really do something serious”. You know, I loved the last album but “Dontcha” to me was the only song on there that was really, like, a 10 out of 10 complete song. Like, if you don’t like “Dontcha” there’s something wrong with you [laughs].
There are certain songs we have where it’s like, “Okay, I understand why you wouldn’t feel that part”, but “Dontcha” is like, if you like Michael Jackson – and everybody likes Michael Jackson – and I’m not comparing myself to Michael Jackson [laughs] but you’ve got to like to dance to this song. If you don’t like it, there’s something wrong with you.
SYD: Yeah, I agree.
You guys are going on tour in September. Is there anything specific that fans should expect from this tour?
SYD: More energy. Expect to give and receive more energy.
MATT: And to dance more. It’s not going to be more-so you watching us play. We want people to come in sneakers and get ready to dance. Our shows usually have an interesting crowd race-wise and age-wise and just in general. We want everybody to just come in there and dance, all different types of people just getting down. That’s really all we want.
Syd, what is something that Matt has instilled in you that will stay with you forever?
SYD: Passion. Matt is really passionate and that’s rubbed off on me a little bit and I appreciate it because he’ll fight a little harder than I will – you know – for certain things. That’s something I needed.
MATT: I just cried.
Matt, what is something that Syd has stilled in you that will stay with you forever?
MATT: Discipline. That was one of my biggest problems growing up: discipline, doing things the right way, how they’re supposed to be done. And like, not skipping steps is something that people really know Syd for. They really know that if she’s going to do something, she’s going to do it the right way and not skip any steps. Especially with me, lately it’s like I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a lot done because of that trait. She makes sure things are right and doesn’t half ass them and that’s super important.
If you haven’t purchased Ego Death, CLICK HERE to get it.
Photo credit: Jabari Jacobs
* Connect with Blaire Monroe via www.dare2blaire.com or twitter.com/dare2blaire
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