Music's newest misfits, California-based crew Odd Future, have had one heck of a year: OF has performed a bevy of sold-out shows and acclaimed festival gigs worldwide, found dedicated fans in everyone from Jonah Hill to Wacka Flocka Flame, and appeared in just about any publication worth perusing. Now, a member of the group, DJ Syd Tha Kid, and a close affiliate, Matt Martians, have momentarily branched out with a side-project aptly titled The Internet, an amalgamation of Syd's sultry coo and the duo's funk-tinged production and poignant lyrics. I briefly spoke to the twosome about the buzzed-about project's founding, their contentious new video, "Cocaine," and claims that Odd Future is homophobic.
How'd this project come together?
Matt: I moved to Los Angeles from Atlanta earlier this year, and Syd and I ended up hanging out every day. Our manager Clancy suggested we work on something as a group because we were always together, so we started out just making beats together, which led to songs being written. Originally, all the songs were intended for someone else to sing, but we had a hard time finding a singer with the time and the understanding of the music we were trying to make.
Where'd the name come from?
Matt: We were shooting an interview for a documentary at my old apartment, and the lady interviewing us asked Left Brain where he was from. He went into a quick rant about being sick of that question and said he was going to tell people he was from "the Internet" from then on. We thought it sounded silly and random but made sense, because that's where we all [Odd Future] met, the Internet.
Syd: We ran with it. We weren't worried about how easy it'd be to search us online, because none of us are that thirsty for fame. And also, the way the album was made reminds us of how the Internet works. Everyone's connected.
Syd, have you always been a singer? I was surprised to hear how great you are when stumbling upon the track "Flashlight" on YouTube.
Syd: As a child, I wanted to be a singer, but that was only because I thought I could sing. I'd sing along to Brandy and Usher and *NSYNC. I've still never received any training. I was pretty comfortable with putting the music out because I had previously gotten a really surprising response from "Flashlight," and I was confident enough with my mixing abilities to know that regardless of my singing abilities, I could end up with a product that sounded good.
What's the collaborative process like between the two of you? Is one person doing production and one person writing, or is it all a joint effort?
Syd: It's all a joint effort. Matt usually will start a beat, I'll add my two cents, and we'll proceed to finish it together. With writing, we both sing melodies and ideas, and I usually come up with most of the words. Some beats I made on my own, and same for Matt.
Matt: We both pretty much understand where we want this to go, which makes the creative process a lot easier. Syd gets my ideas, even though I can be a bit "out there" at times.
The Internet seems to be a lot funkier of a project than Odd Future. Where are the influences coming from musically?
Matt: My father raised me on bands like The O'Jays, Funkadelic, The Isley Brothers, and The Commodores, so the funk aspect in my music definitely comes from him. My older brother Mitch had me listening to Outkast, and being from East Point, they were hometown heroes. But in fifth grade, I heard N.E.R.D In Search Of..., and that changed my whole outlook on music.
Tell me about the video for "Cocaine." Did you expect it to be as elaborate as it is? It's a pretty stunning video for a group just making their debut.
Syd: Thanks. To be honest, when the concept was created, none of us expected that this many people would see it, or that it would cause any controversy. After all, what was so different about "Black Swan"? Also, I wasn't supposed to be in the video until three days before the shoot. It was supposed to be another girl, but we couldn't really find anyone who fit the role.
Matt: The treatment was written by myself and photographer BRASS. When we wrote it, we wanted it to feel like a movie. We wanted it to end on a very blunt note. The controversy behind the video was expected but comes with the territory when trying to break new ground, I guess.
Obviously a lot of the controversy stems from the fact that your character is on a date with the other female character, and that you two kiss.
Syd: Like I said, I wasn't planning on being in the video initially, and when the idea was presented to me, I said yes, jokingly at first. But after hearing the response from everyone who'd heard, I thought, why not? You only live once. Besides, I realized people would continue to bother me about it either way.
This video follows a lot of scrutiny toward Odd Future for being anti-gay. Do you think this will silence any of the group's harsher critics?
Syd: Well, apparently it hasn't, but whatever. Some people just need something to be mad about.
What's can people expect from The Internet in the future?
Matt: Hopefully some Waffle House and some rest, but besides that we're working on the next video, which will continue the story that started in the "Cocaine" video.
The album arrives Dec. 20 digitally and physically Jan. 17.
Photos: Brick Stowell