With Purple Naked Ladies, The Internet stepped outside of the usual chaos of Odd Future and built a little bubble of their own. Combining elements of neo-soul, hip-hop, and electronic, the product of Syd and Matt Martian’s collaboration creates its own kind of chaos, but there’s a peacefulness about it that sets them apart. We paid a visit to the duo to talk about their music, coming up with Odd Future, their strategy of dropping free music, and what else is cooking within the OFWGKTA camp.
What have you two been up to during your time in Atlanta?
Matt: Just chilling. Chilling with my friends, doing random shit, going to random events.
Syd: It was supposed to be a work thing. We come out here and work – but it was also supposed to be like a vacation and a chance to just get away from L.A. for a little while before we go on this little short tour we’re about to do. Then, we’ll go back and sit down and really try to get back to work.
Since the release of Purple Naked Ladies in December, what are some things you’ve learned both musically and personally?
Syd: Musically, I learned a lot about mixing. A lot about vocal production. Personally, I learned a lot about the music industry from a new perspective. Interesting stuff to learn. It helped mold a new direction for me. It helped me figure out exactly what I want to do. This is not really what I want to do. What I want to do is build studios for a living and produce for a bunch of people and mix and master. I need to get some credentials. It’s hard to really get a good paying mixing gig with just experience for some reason with no certificate. But, I am appreciating making music. I want the Internet to live forever. I don’t want to have to necessarily tour forever. I don’t want to feel like I have to put an album out next year or else my life is over. But I do want to keep making music for myself.
Matt: Musically… the thing I like about putting out albums is when you put out an album, it’s the best thing you’ve done at the time. That represents you at the time of your talents and where you are. But as we’ve been making newer stuff, it’s cool because you learn you can go further than what you think is your best at certain times. You can go past that. You can exceed that. In general, I’m just more comfortable with the keys. I know how to play certain things, but having the live bass now and having to play shit with other people in sync, it really helps. Even when you start making beats, you can start moving through the keys a lot faster. It’s noticeable. Personally, it’s weird because I get recognized more than I used to. Being in front of the camera is not really my goal with all this, but with the Internet, I’m seen more than I was before when I was doing Jet Age stuff. It’s cool because the people who do approach me, they’re very respectful. It’s never an extra’d out thing, it’s people who really enjoy the music. I can tell when people like what I do, they actually dig deeper. So, I appreciate it. We get a lot more offers to do remixes and stuff like that too.
Why have you decided to release all future music for free?
Matt: It’s no point to sell music anymore. With everything being based on the Internet, you’ll turn on the TV and see tweets are being read at the bottom of every TV show. What’s the point of releasing music for sale? Frank, The Weeknd, A$AP, even Odd Future were built like that, they got to be the biggest things in music off the backs of free music. Look at all these rappers. French Montana don’t have an album out and he’s on everything. You really question yourself. Meek Mill doesn’t have an album out, but Meek Mill’s on TV. You look at it like, “why do I need to sell my records?” We produce for other people so we’ll be getting the royalty and publishing money just by producing for other people. We look at it from a logical stand-point. We don’t have the pressure of the budget like “I don’t want to hear all that.” This is music, but this is my art. We’re the type of people where, next week, we might not fuck with it. We might make some cool shit like “that’s a cool beat, [but] I’m not going to write to it though.”
Syd: We were thankful for our first album. The music industry is ridiculous. It’s really sad, but we’re in a really good position. We’re in a better position than so many artists. So for us to have such a hard time in our position putting out a project, I can only imagine what it’s like for people with shitty deals.
Matt: We control a lot of what we do. But it’s still stuff that’s out of our hands. That’s when it gets kind of frustrating at times. Sometimes you can’t do anything. When we release free music now, they can’t tell us what to do. Our following grows everyday. It’s really no point for us to sell music because I believe when you give people free music that they like, they’ll support you in other ways.
Syd: We’re going to pull a Radiohead. Put it out for free. You can donate if you really want to support us that much. We’re not going to act like we couldn’t use the money. Album advances are beautiful. But in all honesty, you don’t get an album advance for every album; you get it for every album you’re signed for. So to a certain extent, you’re just doing it to make them money.
Matt: It’s label politics, politics that I don’t want to have nothing to do with. We’re producers that make albums. We’re not artists that make albums, we’re not singers that make albums. We like making music that nobody has no control over, but at the same time, we don’t take ourselves that seriously musically. I’m not saying we don’t take our music seriously. We’re not sitting here trying to blow up, but we want to be able to make a decent amount of money off of what we do.
Syd: We don’t want to be stopped on the street anymore than we are now.
Matt: It’s a good level now. With the way we’re going, we’re inspiring a lot of people to get that mindset of “fuck it, why are we selling records?” Look at the top rappers in the game. Nas came out and sold 150,000 copies. That’s really nice but think about the 2004 equivalent: that would have been a million in a week. Nobody really cares about buying it because everybody heard the album before it came out [anyway] because they heard the leak. Let’s be real – if Frank Ocean put out Channel Orange for free, everybody would have it. A lot of people have it, but it’s some people that be on some ‘I can’t afford it’ or they don’t know how to download shit. I feel like music should be free because you can’t control music, you can’t contain it. I can be riding down the street and you can hear what I’m bumping out the car, how can you tell me I can’t have that? If I like that, I’ll spend the $15 I would on the album to go to the show. You’ll get your $15 back and you’ll get it back to you, not to the record label. That’s the difference.
How has the use of more live instrumentation affected your writing and recording process? Has it been easier? Harder? If so, how?
Matt: The thing is we haven’t started on the second album yet, we’ve just been working on the Feel Good EP right now cause we don’t know how the second album’s going to sound. The EP is going to be a mixture of other artists that we like.
Syd: It’s going to be like a ‘Presents’ album. I hate to compare it to something, but…
Matt: The difference between it being a ‘Presents’ album and this is that we actually played with these bands. Like if we were in their band or if they were part of the Internet for a song, that’s what we would make. I think that’s cool. We don’t know where we want to go with the next album yet, but when you do hear this, you’re going to see the growth as far as production, easily. The live instrumentation is important because it gives you an overall different feel. Those sounds don’t get old. A kick-drum can be old. But when you hear a bass guitar… it’s a fucking bass guitar, bruh. That’s not going nowhere. That’s a staple. Live instrumentation can never get old. We’ll release it sometime next month. There’s no rush. It’ll be like five to seven songs. We’ve got like five core songs already. This EP is more about us working with different bands… it’s not so much about somebody putting verses on a song and just rapping on it.
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