INTERVIEW: Tired of Repetition: The 405 meets The Hood Internet

Written for the 405

The Hood Internet are a production duo from Chicago who mash up club-friendly hip-hop and R&B with hip indie rock and dance which is played in less popular clubs, something that’s been described as halfway between lowbrow and brilliant. Usher with Sleigh Bells, Rihanna with tUnE-yArDs, that sort of thing. If you don’t like their work probably don’t like fun as a general concept.

The pair have been making inroads into creating their original productions, which will come to a head with their first “proper” album this year, on which they collaborated with acts from their home town and other like-minded artists, following their umpteen online (and free to download) (and fantastic) mash-up mixtapes.

We spoke to STV SLV (pronounced Steve Sleeve), one half of the Hood Internet whole, about remixes, the recent controversy surrounding regulation of internet piracy, and what the future holds for STV and ABX.

What did you guys make of the attempts to pass the SOPA [Stop Online Piracy Act] bill recently?

Like previous attempts to control digital rights, I thought SOPA/PIPA cast too wide of an umbrella where the outcome would end up more 1984 than helpfully regulated. There is a solution to digital piracy somewhere, but it has not been reached yet. When it happens, it will have to be more of a compromise than a solution — because there will always be a way to move around digital walls. Obviously if the SOPA bill had passed, a website like The Hood Internet could be flagged and taken down very quickly. Even though I imagine we’re a pretty small blip on the radar of major record labels, our site could be shut down from as little as a single complaint.

You’re releasing your first LP this year, how does the process of creating original tracks and working with guest artists compare to your mash-ups? What can we expect of your original productions in comparison to your mixes?

ABX and I come from a background of playing in a band together and recording our own music so the production end of things is familiar territory. However in working with other musicians we decided to approach people who we like, and who like the vibe of what The Hood Internet does. They seemed the most receptive to our concept, which is: furthering the idea of what we do, but with brand new songs that kind of end up sounding like something you might have heard on our website anyway.

Are mash-ups something you’re looking to get away from?

Not necessarily. We’re already working on The Mixtape Volume Six, in fact. But like many musicians, we tire of repetition and are always interested in exploring new territory — in this case, producing an LP.

You’ve previously produced original backing tracks for hip-hop acts from Chicago and beyond [highlighted on your Mishka compilation) Is that something we can expect more of in the future?

You’ll hear some of that on our forthcoming album for sure.

On the other end of the scale: you guys met performing in the band May or May Not; is performing/recording in a more traditional sense something that still interests you?

Absolutely. I still play in a band called SHAPERS (http://shapers.es) with some of the former members of May Or May Not, and what we do is worlds apart from what Hood Internet does. It feels artistically gratifying in a much different way.

What is your opinion on remixes and remix culture, as a whole?

It’s totally the Era Of The Remix right now. There are far too many remixes of things. We’re totally guilty of adding to that, of course, though I would say our meddling is a by-product of love for all kinds of music and art. To illustrate how out of hand things are: a PR company once sent me a 12” single for a Shunda K track and there were NINE remixes of it on the same record. Nine! That seems excessive. Of course for all the excess, there is a balance: plenty of really good remixes exist. The virtue of the remix is that it explores parts of a song with a different approach in mind. Once in a while the remix will even end up being the superior version of the song (though like anything else, that’s a subjective notion). While it’s not a remix (though maybe categorically it is?), Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along The Watchtower,” that’s the best version. Wouldn’t exist without Dylan writing the original. I’ve always liked that Jim Jarmusch quote where he says “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.”

Do you think your mixes help introduce people to music they may previously have dismissed?

Yes. We hear that from people at shows or over email and it is the best thing to hear. What better thing to come of The HoodInternet than people discovering new music that they like?

What other plans do you have for this year and beyond?

The biggest thing is our LP coming out later this year. We’ve also got a forthcoming EP with Isaiah Toothtaker (of Machina Muerte) and Max B, where Max recorded his verses over collect calls from prison where he’s currently serving a lengthy sentence. And I’m sure there’s projects that will happen this year that we don’t even know about right now!

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