It’s refreshing to have new artists come out with material seemingly unaffected by current trends, no desperate attempts at copy-catting, just intent on making good music and establishing their own sound. Spycc & INF are such artists, with their impressive debut EP ‘Summer Madness’ a well put together and thoughtful piece of work. And of course, I have a slight soft spot for the duo because they rep Onehunga, my old stomping ground, and went to my school, Onehunga High. So you know we had to get a couple of shots of the Onehunga depot in there!
If you haven’t already, download their Summer Madness Ep here – and listen to it while you read the interview below:
The Summer Madness EP is super cohesive. It sounds like its all meant to be, it all fits right.
SPYCC: There’s a song by Kool & The Gang, ‘Summer Madness’, and that’s one of my favourite songs I’d play all the time. I said we should do a mixtape that just caters to summer, but as we started, it wasn’t really working. So we came up with the idea that all the madness we went through, all our thoughts, feelings, and emotions that we went through during that summer – that will be the idea behind the mixtape. So we didn’t have the pressure of trying to make all our songs sound summery, but it ended up sounding summery anyway.
Even though it all sounds very nice, there’s that nice summery feel, the sentiments are not necessarily all that happy:
INF: It sounds nice, but if you really listen to it, it’s all our emotions and feelings at the time. It’s not like it’s a party every song, there’s always ups and downs. We’re not always up all the time. We just tried to make songs based on how we were feeling at that moment. I guess the whole EP is just about having problems, struggling sometimes and having fun with all your friends. All the good times and still learning about yourself.
There’s a line I like that illustrates that, ‘fuck a dollar and a dream, bread and milk is all I need.’
INF: You know if you’re chasing a dream, you can keep chasing and chasing it, but you still need something to stand on. The reality is, you gotta wake up and realize that you can’t just say, ‘Yep, I’m gonna get it right now.’ You gotta work for it. Some people feel like they’re struggling sometimes, and wanna give up and then you’re just like, ‘fuck it, bread and milk is all I need’, feed my family, feed the people around me.
SPYCC: We have a good balance of conscious and ignorant shit.
Like “smack the boob” ay? (from song: ‘Oh Girl’)
SPYCC: Haha yeah, I don’t know where that came from.
INF: It’s not a rough smack, it’s a caress.
Your sound is a lot different to heaps of the new artists I hear and the main thing for me is, you’re not trying be Drake, or whatever the cool guy of the moment is. I feel like its quite mature for new artists, you’re not trying to go hard out for what’s ‘in’ right now. Are you conscious of that?
SPYCC: I really wanted us to come out and not fall into fads. My whole goal is to make music that’s classic, so people can play it forever. Like, in years to come, it’s still cool, rather than being cool in that space and time, and later on, no one cares about it. That’s what my focus is.
The old way to get known was always chasing that radio single or trying to get played on the radio, and of course I’m sure you guys would like that to happen but it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to chase it.
SPYCC: I think too, we’re trying to establish our sound to people as well. Because for ages we just had four tracks on our sound cloud. Now we have this piece of artwork that people can listen to and find out who we are, what our sound is and our movement.
INF: The radio doesn’t even work in my car. I just listen to music that I put on my USB, I don’t really follow all the cool stuff, or trends, on the radio because I don’t wanna get caught up in it. It’d be cool if one of our songs got played on the radio but it won’t be a T-Pain, Pitbull, Flo-Rida joint.
SPYCC: We don’t wanna conform to the radio, we want it to conform to us. If it makes it, it makes it, if it doesn’t… then it doesn’t really.
Is it exciting for you guys knowing that you don’t necessarily need those traditional outlets to get your music out? Being new artists in this time, you can put it out yourselves.
INF: Yeah, we’re lucky aye. Shout out to the internet cos that helps heaps man. Just uploading a song and putting it out on your twitter and facebook and soundcloud, and your name gets out there. Like, I see SPYCC’s lines and some of my lyrics in a status, and we’ll be tagged in it, and I’m like ‘oh shit, we don’t even know these people’. It’s real buzzy, it’s mean to have that.
SPYCC: Especially with us, we feel hard out still like ‘nobodies’. So it’s really buzzy, even when we got over two-thousand downloads within two weeks, we felt really humbled by it. I was like, bro, I’ll be happy if we get like 200, that’ll be mean, 200 people will have our tape. It was like 200 within the hour, and we were like ‘holy shit’.
What were you hoping to achieve from Summer Madness EP?
SPYCC: We just wanted to get our sound out. People listening to our tracks and enjoying our stuff was an eye opener that we have a talent that people enjoy, and that we enjoy doing. We really wanted to put something out for the people, and for ourselves, to know that we could actually do a project, a full project, a quality project that we were proud of and that everyone could listen to and download.
INF: Now its out now, it’s like whoa, I check the downloads and I do a one minute dance party. We’re always trying to make new improvements on what we’re working on next. Hopefully on our next joint, it’ll sound more improved, more experienced. We’re not trying to stick to the same cliché topics. I always try and do a little bit of reading, it gives me ideas of what to write about, even simple conversations.
SPYCC: Topic-wise, we want to write about stuff that people know about, that’s relatable but coming from a different perspective or a different angle that’s a bit more abstract, that’s the way we try to come at stuff. It’s new, but it’s not.
You both make your own beats, was this just the logical thing for you to do, rather than relying on other people?
INF: Sometimes if you need a beat right now, someone can’t get it to you right now. Just that feeling of making something on the spot, it feels good, that independence.
SPYCC: We like the fact we make our own beats, write our own raps, record our own shit, do our own covers and photos, the fact we don’t have to rely on anyone we just rely on ourselves, and keep everything in house. I think it keeps our creativity together, instead of just random tracks.
INF: It helps us be different to a lot of other people. We just keep our ideas close, to ourselves and it doesn’t leave the circle.
Did you find that people were picking out your personal favourite tracks on the EP as their favourites?
SPYCC: Yeah, After Dark, It’s You, Feel Good Relax and Chill and Oh Girl. Just all of them (laughs) We put up a status asking what people liked the best and they all said ‘Oh Girl’, I was quite surprised. I think people like girly type tracks with the whole love element in it, I guess, because people are really emotional deep down (laughs).
INF: I think people like it cos of the talking. We recorded it in this room here, we just left the mic on and we were just talking. We left it in there to see what it sounded like and it was pretty funny. Cos it was natural, we weren’t acting.
My favourite song by far is ‘After Dark’ with AK. (sidenote: It reminds me of something you might have heard on The Love Below)
INF: When I heard SPYCC’s verses, it was quite mellow, and I went off that. We didn’t want it to over-power the beat because the beats really nice. It’s one of my favourite beats in the whole EP because I’m just a sucker for 808s. That’s why it doesn’t sound as in your ear or in your face as the other songs.
SPYCC: I think it’s the arrangement too cos when I made it, I didn’t want it to be a regular 16, and 8 bar chorus sort of thing. So I switched it up and made a pre-hook and then a hook, and we had 8 bars each. But then when I was there with Dan (Exile) Mawby, I was recording and we were trying to figure out how to make ‘the bed’ end bit. It sounded a bit like it was a clash, so we moved the beat out and just let it play out for a bit and then it dropped in. It made it sound way nicer.