The Hood Internet -- Aaron Brink, or ABX, and Steve Reidell, or STV SLV -- have spent the better part of the last five years creating unlikely mashups of artists like Rick Ross and Wilco. The Chicago duo's music has long been a staple at parties where the beer might not be the coldest and the attendees look comfortable in vintage denim jackets.
But on FEAT, a forthcoming project on Decon, The Hood Internet graduates to all-new, sample-free production. And they've recruited plenty of friends: A.C. Newman (of The New Pornographers), Tobaxxo, Psalm One, Class Actrees, Show You Suck and many more make appearances on the album.
FEAT is interesting because though it's sonically quite diverse, the entire album has a decidedly Hood Internet-feel to it. Maybe that's because they spent so long playing with pastiche, drawing from the catalogues of artists who were cool for being retro (say, Genesis, for example), authentic (Justice) or ironic (MIMS), but there's a quiet confidence that oozes from many a track. "Our Finest China," a song which features The Rosebuds and Astronautalis, is especially easy on the ears.
We asked STV SLV and ABX to lift the curtain and tell us how FEAT came together. Below, the boys tell HuffPost Entertainment about five of the album's songs, including the political lead single, "Won't F--k Us Over" (video available above).
"Won't F--k Us Over"
"Won't F--k Us Over" started out as a cover of The National's "Mr. November." We went to Brooklyn and had Annie Hart record the choruses. Her baby son was in the studio, and a couple of his screams made it onto the vocal track—so we modified them into another sound for the song. Over time, this evolved into a more traditional hip hop track built around the chorus and other elements of "Mr. November" rather than a straight cover. We wanted to keep the energy and political tone of the original and felt like fellow Chicagoans BBU were a perfect fit for the track. We had previously worked with BBU on a track they did with Das Racist and it was great to get back in the studio with them. Illekt, Epic and Jasson's verses each ended up changing the way we structured the arrangement of the song. That's something we love about collaborating in general: when additions to the song inspire--but also kind of dictate--further changes. As an added bonus, BBU always come strong on the ad-libs and this track has some favorites.
This one started out as a sparse backing track with the breathy vocals that Class Actress does so well. We took that basic outline and built layers of percussion and synthesizers and got Cadence Weapon to electronic mail his verse from Canada. This is a good example of how our piece-by-piece construction approach takes songs in directions that a more traditional songwriting approach might not.
One For The Record Books
We recorded vocals for this record in lots of different settings, some professional, others very DIY. For this track we set up some microphones at AC Newman's guest house. He and his wife Christy have pallets of beehives in their yard. Fortunately there's no sound of bees bleeding through, because that would probably just come across as a line buzz.
TOBACCO sent us some fragments of a song he had been working on, we added some sounds, arranged a song structure, then got into the studio with Psalm One to cook this one up. What's unique is that the verse is just one long-ass verse – we resisted the pop song urges to go verse, chorus, verse.
Nothing Should Be A Surprise
Our dude Isaiah Toothtaker (who we recently collaborated with on the Toothy Wavy EP) gets real raw on this one. [He's] balanced out by the writings of Show You Suck, a fellow Chicagoan. Our vocalists all had total freedom to go in any lyrical direction they wanted, which led to tracks like this where there are shared themes but different points of view.
A full tracklist is available below the Hood Internet sampler below. The album is due out Oct. 2, but is available for preorder now in iTunes.
FEAT Full Tracklisting
1. Critical Captions (ft Class Actress, Cadence Weapon)
2. One For The Record Books (ft AC Newman, Sims)
3. More Fun (ft Psalm One, TOBAXXO)
4. Nothing Should Be A Surprise (ft Isaiah Toothtaker, Show You Suck)
5. Exonerated (ft Zambri, Hooray For Earth, Junior Pande)
6. Won't Fuck Us Over (ft BBU, Annie Hart)
7. Do You Give Up Now_ (ft Donwill, My Gold Mask, Junior Pande)
8. Our Finest China (ft The Rosebuds, Astronautalis)
9. Uzi Water Gun (ft Millionyoung, Kenan Bell, The Chain Gang Of 1974)
10. These Things Are Nice (ft Kid Static, Slow Witch, Kleenex Girl Wonder)