Oakland Rapper G-Eazy Talks Kendrick Lamar, Learning the Hustle, and Fresh Style

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G-Eazy photos courtesy of Farfetch

Gerald Earl Gillum, better known as G-Eazy, has had quite a busy year, arching from his last year’s debut album These Things Happen peaking on Billboard charts to the sold out shows that have followed such success. The Oakland native had been releasing numerous mix tapes online years before the studio album dropped just last year. It was through the Internet that G-Eazy really reached fans, allowing him to eventually open for renowned performers such as Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, and Drake.

I had the chance to sit down with G at Lightbox Studios in the Bronx as he prepared for a photo shoot with Farfetch, just arriving the previous night from Austin, Texas where he had performed for the massive SXSW Music Festival; thus, closing his worldwide tour.

I know that the hyphy movements and Bay Area movements have greatly influenced you. What’s influencing you right now and perhaps hip-hop itself?

Man, well…Kendrick [Lamar’s] album just pushed the whoooole thing forward. I don’t think we’ve seen anything that powerful, just as a body of work. That’s the most sophisticated hip-hop album anyone’s heard and the most important album in my lifetime almost. It’s so early to tell. It’s just an album that tackles so many things. It pushes the envelope in terms of what a rapper is capable of and what a force hip-hop can be.

The first track I ever listened to by you was “Tumblr Girls”, which for me captured such a generational feel and actually moved me.

Thank you.

 

Through your music, there’s definitely a thread of women in these certain neighborhoods and situations.

I’m very observant, you know? I love people watching and I love stories. I take in things around me and the interesting stuff finds its way back into my music, I guess. It’s kind-of an algorithm of people I’ve met. Just people I’ve seen and been around. [Laughs.] I dream of living in New York, every time I come here, I fall more and more in love with it. It’s just so rich with culture and energy and style. I love to just drink coffee and people watch.

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You dropped mixtapes earlier on, yeah? Circa MySpace…? 

That was like ‘06. That’s what kids my age were doing, you know, in my area… Hip-hop was our outlet. You were either into music or sports. I guess I probably got into music because I just wasn’t good at sports. I was more passionate about that. That was our outlet and our hope.

We were in a group. Those were the practice years. It takes years of practice and work and dedication to your craft. The only difference, in my case, is that my practice years were documented because of recording technology. That’s how we got our chops. Mix tape after mix tape…Learning the hustle. Try and climb.

Since you began with uploading music on the Internet, and social media today has changed so drastically, how has it affected you as an artist?

You’re more connected to your audience. I think that connection’s important in terms of keeping in touch with the fans and what they think. It’s kind of easy in this business to slip out of touch and get removed from the real world. I mean…My lifestyle isn’t necessarily the same lifestyle as those who are listening to it. It can be hard maintaining your sanity and it’s important to stay in touch with reality…but also not let them get too close.

What’s going on now for you? The tour is over? 

We just finished the tour. We got back from Australia two or three weeks ago? I don’t know what month it is. Australia was amazing. To get to travel around the world and go to a country I’ve never been to and perform before a sold-out crowd who know all the words. It’s not like they play me on the radio down there. So, in that case, the Internet is a beautiful thing. To give music the chance to spread… It was beautiful.

I’m also excited to be done with tour and go back into the creative process. I record some on the road but there are a lot of distractions. Now, I’m going back to a hibernating place. I just spent a week in Atlanta in the studio. When I shut off the outside world, I can really dive in creatively and get things done. I’m about to start the same thing here in New York. We just got a studio. So, it’s back to starting over.

It sounds like your traveling has really become part of that creative process. So many cities, so many studios… 

Hell yeah. The cities all have different energies that bring different inspirations. It’s from all those long nights in these cities…

I pay rent somewhere but it’s not like home. But, naturally, for music you’re in L.A. and New York a lot.

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When I see your music videos I’m really drawn into the concepts and I’m curious about your creative input. The creative aesthetics are on point and for “Tumblr Girls” you even incorporated photography. 

I think visuals are important. You can get so much from one song but you can get more from the whole album and the artwork attached to it and the music videos to give you the whole wide experience behind the concepts. As far as the music videos, we have a tight-knit team. Javi, our tour videographer, did the “Tumblr Girls” video. Bobby directed the “Downtown Love” music video. He’s been on tour with us as well.

They brought those original ideas to the table and then we all kind of dive in. Like the “I Mean It” video came to me one night and I said I want to do this satirical Anchorman approach to this song that’s a bit more serious and direct to give it this juxtaposition. We all sit around the ideas and work on it together. We’re very big on quality control and anything we put out has to be top-notch. It has to make sense and it has to work.

You’ve been called the James Dean of hip-hop. In terms of style what do you like?

In terms of style, I want it to be timeless. There’s some contemporary influence of street wear in hip-hop. Leather jackets…Motorcycle jackets…Bombers… Very simple and clean. Saint Laurent –

I love your shoes.

[Ed note: They’re Saint Laurent sneakers, the ones with pineapples.]

Thank you. A.P.C. Phillip Lim. Acne. Brands that take a minimal approach to design but just execute very well. But then mix it up with Supreme or Jordans to keep that juxtaposition and those elements of street wear culture with high fashion. “I spent $5,000 for this jacket and I spent $150 on my shoes…” something like that.

[Shop G-Eazy's look here.]

When you were growing up in Oakland what album really got you?

“400 Degreez” by Juvenile. I remember Juvenile and Dem Hot Boyz. That and Dr. Dre’s “2001”. That was California music, regardless of what side. That was our music for the whole coast. That album was larger than life. I played the fuck out of it in my car and even my mom loved the album.

Top to bottom: it’s all a masterpiece. What I’ve always admired about Dr. Dre is that care for creating such a cohesive project and striving to create a masterpiece and not quitting until it’s as good as it can be. Just appreciating the concept of an album…That’s why I’ve respected so much with what Kendrick has done with these two albums he’s done… Something cohesive, conceptual, and something really strong from beginning to end. That’s something you don’t see everyone do. I don’t think everyone is capable of that, having that insight or ability to do that. The goal is to strive toward with every project is to create something that matters from beginning to end.

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Guest DJ: Singer-Songwriter Beth Hart Shares Some Attitude

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Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Beth Hart has been venerated as one of modern soul’s most brilliant voices, using her illustrious vocal chords and heart wrenching lyrics to win over a sizeable fan base and the approval of music critics worldwide. To celebrate today’s release of her new album Better than Home, we asked the distinguished talent to put together an exclusive playlist, which she entitled “Get Ya Goin’ With Some Attitude.”

See Hart live in action by getting tickets to one of her upcoming shows HERE. You can also check out her single “Mechanical Heart” below, as well as the exclusive playlist HERE.

Jack Garratt Releases ‘Synesthesiac’ + an Interview With The Rising Star

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“I just hope the crowd is going to be nice,” Jack Garratt tells me over the phone. He’s preparing for his first show at Baby’s All Right, a Brooklyn venue that puts on shows featuring the who’s who of new, noteworthy artists. He’s passionate with charisma, guising any possible uneasiness with genuine shock and eagerness to play at such a spot in a city like New York. The British native has come a long way from his humble beginnings, during which he predominantly focused on acoustic guitar before infusing his sound with a fresh electronic vigor.

Yesterday marked the release of his second EP, Synesthesiac, via Interscope Records. Check out the four new tracks here, as well as our chat with Garratt below.   

You play a ton of instruments. How do you put everything together on stage? 

What I try and do on stage is, I try and show the songs that I’ve written in the best possible way that I can. And so to do that, because I produce all of my own music and I spent a lot of time working on the sound and orchestration of things, I try and introduce to people how I sort of make my songs when I’m in the studio by condensing it down to the time that it takes to play the song. So I’ll build my songs up in front of people so that [they] can see for themselves the layers of my songs. I try and introduce that idea of beat-making and riffs and different interesting chord structures and certain melodies to just fairly and accurately represent those things that are in the songs to an audience, in a way that is entertaining and in a way that people grip to. 

How did you approach learning to make electronic music? 

I used to write acoustically. I’ve always been able to play different instruments—it’s sort of something I’ve naturally been able to do. I have a theory—I mention this a lot—that I firmly believe that everyone has something that they can naturally adapt to. Everyone has one thing that is just easy for them. I think a lot of people don’t know what that is because it is just so easy for them to do.

For example, I have a friend of mine who is an incredible mathematician and numbers are just really easy for him. But for me numbers are fucking impossible, like I don’t know shit. But what I can do is I’ve always been able to, since I was young, because of the household I’ve grown up in, I’ve always been able to pick up an instrument and play it, and to a certain extent pick up two instruments at the same time and then play them separately. It’s just been a natural thing that my hands have been able to do. So because of that, I try to incorporate that into my set. So it was never really a case of having to learn a new technology. It was just that I had it available so I just tried it and with that came practice and with that came, in a way, my own trying to perfect that every day. I continue to try to get better and better at it. 

You’ve had a dedicated fan base emerge out of nowhere, and you’re headlining a sold out show in New York. How surreal is this for you? 

Oh, it’s fucking mental. It doesn’t make any sense. Like, I did a Facebook post earlier today. I’m sort of trying to keep track of the tour and wrapping everything up at the end of the day. Like my mom and dad have flown out to New York for the show. Like, it’s my first show properly out here in the States.

Is this your first time in New York? 

The last time I cam to New York I brought my guitar with me, my dad was like, “Hey, you should bring your guitar with you. There might be an acoustic open mic night. Just bring it, you never know what can happen.” In my head, I couldn’t imagine playing in New York. I’d only just started writing songs and I hadn’t really taken into consideration that it could be a career and that kind of idea of flying to a different part of the world to play a show in front of people is so beyond my expectations that being here now is unbelievably humbling and super overwhelming and unbelievable. I cannot quite believe it. I think my head is reacting to it as it’s just another show. The idea that I’m in New York and I’m playing a show that’s sold out and there are people here who have come specifically to see it, it’s unbelievable. It is genuinely, genuinely unbelievable. 

What is the main difference between your first EP and the new work? 

[With this EP], my intention was to not prove myself as a producer but just to challenge myself as a producer. So the first EP I produced because I didn’t know enough as a producer…[I wanted] to create the sounds I had in my head. I always have sounds in my head, always. If I’ve written a song with production, I’ve already written the arrangement. That’s how I write my music. So it just made sense to me to produce that first EP as well and see if I could. The labels were happy with me doing it, I was happy with me doing it…it kind of worked.

This time around, this is me going, “Okay, hopefully that first EP wasn’t just a fluke and hopefully I can actually produce my record, and here you go!” 

Jack Garratt’s upcoming tour dates:

May 28, New York, NY                                   
Le Poisson Rouge

May 29, Washington, DC                               
DC 9

May 30,San Francisco, CA
The Independent

May 31, Los Angeles, CA                               
Troubadour

June 1, Los Angeles, CA                               
Troubadour

August 4, Philadelphia, PA                              
Milkboy

August 6, Nashville, TN                                     
The High Watt

August 7, Chicago, IL                                          
Schubas

August 8, Minneapolis, MN                            
7th St. Entry

August 11, Edmonton, AB                                  
Rexall Place*

August 12, Calgary, AB                                        
Scotiabank Saddledome*

August 15, Vancouver, BC                                 
Biltmore Cabaret 

Matt Jaffe’s Rockin New Track Turns Out To Be His Carly Simon Moment

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Sometimes retro sounds, well, retro. But in the case of 19-year-old rocker Matt Jaffe and his band the Distractions, his particular mix of Elvis Costello and Talking Heads meets The Clash (there’s a little Connor Oberst in there too) feels like an historically-aware breath of fresh air. A lot of it comes from Jaffe’s kinetic on-stage energy, which he has managed to translate onto the recorded versions of his songs, available on April 21st as an EP titled Blast Off.

Let’s put it this way, the only thing sharper than that diamond-cuttingly-sharp coif are his lyrics and riffs. Check out this exclusive premiere of the track “Write a Song” and this interview where Jaffe explains it all.

Tell me how you got into music and writing songs?

So my first music experience was playing classical violin, which I started doing when I was five. But around 10, I started playing guitar, mainly as a way to stop practicing violin, and partially because it makes a lot more sense writing songs on guitar. I don’t know if there is a specific instance that compelled me to start songwriting but definitely the band Talking Heads – their concert film Stop Making Sense – and their records had a huge effect on me wanting to create music

So what it a coincidence that Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads “discovered” you or did you reach out to him?

Yeah I wrote a letter to him after I realized we lived in the same community. Both of us are just north of San Francisco – so definitely not an entire coincidence. I guess it makes sense that he was the first person who ended up producing some of my songs because, stylistically, I think there are a lot of parallels between what he’s done in the past and what I’m trying to do.

There’s a big music community in this area but a lot of it is very divergent from what I’m interested in. There is a huge contingent that is much more interested in Grateful Dead and jam band kind of stuff. That’s not to say they haven’t been supportive but just artistically, it’s not the direction I’m interested in. It’s partially a coincidence that I got to talk to Jerry from Talking Heads but I think artistically, it makes a lot of sense that he’s the person I ended up connecting with.

Your look definitely connects with your sound.

Yeah. Certainly British, new wave, punk rock from the late ‘70s is certainly a hotbed of my influence – Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and Graham Parker. Like musical genres, style is secondary to the music for me. I consider it because I definitely appreciate when people put on a show. There is a whole school of thought that you just stumble onto stage, and you’re like, “I’m on stage, let me play a song”. I definitely prefer to think of it as putting on a show, not being theatrical or dramatic about it but being aware that we are on stage and performing, Dressing in a way that announces our presence is a good thing.

Your first EP comes out next week. What can you tell us about it?

Most of this EP was recorded by the producer Matthew King Kaufman. His work that I know best was with Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. I thought he was a good fit to a lively recording environment kind of sound. A fear that I’d had in the past was that there is too much ironing out our the raw sound, trying to overproduce—Matthew leans the other way in trying to maintain the idiosyncrasies that a young, live band would have. Four of the tracks on the EP are with him and a fifth—a song called “Blast Off”—is a demo that I just did in my room.

We’re premiering “Write a Song About Me” song—whats’ that one about?

I guess in a way it was inspired by a stylistic idea rather than lyrical content. I knew I wanted to do something with a specific kind of punk, energetic vibe to it. There are some Johnny Cash songs, some Bright Eyes songs that capture that sound. In a way, that’s what inspired the song – to have that very energetic but sort of country-western combined feel. In terms, of the lyrics, over the years, a number of people asked to have a song written about them, which I think, is the worst way to have a song written about you. I thought this song could sort of be about someone but also be an insult to the person.

So it’s your Carly Simon moment?

Ha, yeah, in a manner of speaking.

Photo Diary: Australian Singer Meg Mac Captures New York

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This is me in the apartment I got to stay in, I only put lipstick on for the day because of the camera, I’m not going to lie.

If you’re the type of New Yorker who likes to complain about living here more than gushing over it, we suggest looking at the metropolis through a foreigner’s eyes. Singer Meg Mac, who has quickly become one of Australia’s most notable new acts of 2014, released her debut EP MEGMAC on April 7th, and spent some time promoting the new dark pop tunes new work while visiting the city. While here, she whipped out her polaroid to capture some of the magic.

Check out her pictures below, as well as her entrancing new EP, released by 300 Entertainment.

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Me sitting on some steps, pretending that they are my front steps in Brooklyn…

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I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO COLD IN MY LIFE. Feeling very Australian and new to the snow.

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At a cool cafe, learning how to say how I like my eggs in America.

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I can never believe it is real, dairy and gluten free ice-cream and cone! I don’t know how this is real but I’m so glad it is

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This is not fun but feeling very local, as I wash my thermals.

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I brought a travel keyboard, so I can write songs. But every time I hear someone in the corridor I have to stop because I sing too loud.

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Me on the subway. This was exciting for the first few minutes and then I realized it’s just a train and everyone looks angry.

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My local subway station, we became friends.

The Knocks on NYC’s DJ Scene, Not Producing for Rihanna, and Their New EP

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The Knocks photographed by Justin Bridges for BlackBook.
JPatt wears leather trainer jacket by Coach. B-Roc wears waxed nylon aviator jacket by Coach. Styled by Alyssa Shapiro.

Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson of The Knocks are overflowing with kinetic energy. Success in their early work included producing for the likes of Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and other pop royalty. Now the producers are making a name for themselves.

Sitting in an East Village townhouse cluttered with art, the guys are as excited to tell their story as we are to hear it. A decade or so of running the DJ scene in downtown New York nightlife, writing for the aforementioned powerhouse performers, and releasing a thread of singles and remixes that have made their Internet presence nothing short of pervasive, Ruttner and Patterson are anxious for the release of their forthcoming EP, So Classic.  We talked to the duo about their humble, sometimes frustrating beginnings, the pros and cons of playing music for New Yorkers, and why their new work finally feels right.

How did you two meet and start playing music together?

B-Roc: We were each producers in our own right, making mainly Hip Hop music at the time — like in high school and early college days. We met through a mutual friend actually when I went to the New School, because JPatt had a friend that went there. At that point, we were both kind of new to being in New York City a lot and kind of just played each other beats and sent stuff back and forth on the Internet, stuff like that, just to kind of see what we were working on. And then we both needed roommates, so we moved into an apartment together in the East Village, actually Avenue C. We were still doing our own thing in our own rooms and slowly started to kind of work on projects together. The stuff that we were making was really cool and ended up taking off a little bit.

So you guys could literally hear what the other was working on through the walls?

B-Roc: Yeah, that’s actually how we got the name The Knocks. Because we used to have like a shitty little apartment where the walls were paper-thin and we each had studio-sized speakers in our rooms. We’d each be making beats really loudly and the neighbors would knock on the walls and the ceilings, and we called them “the knocks.” I’d be like, “I got the knocks. I have to stop playing.” I’d turn my speakers off and I’d go into his room basically until he got the knocks.

What kind of work were the two of you doing at the time?

JPatt: I think we were both at the time writing a lot of stuff for other people. We were doing the whole kind of L.A. base producer thing where they’re all sort of aiming for the same Pop record. And it’s kind of unfulfilling work in that you’re not really making anything that’s real, like that comes from any sort of real place. So I feel like we’re both artists…we both love what we do before…I mean we both want to make money off of it obviously, but at least for me I like the fulfillment of the music we make and being appreciated. Like, it coming from somewhere where someone can appreciate what I do, because it is me. So we were kind of like, fuck that. It was kind of an accident, we were just joking around, like jokingly made this dancer called “Can’t Shake Your Love” in our production room of our studio, not even in the main room.

B-Roc: This is like 2008 or 2009. The EDM thing hadn’t really hit.

JPatt: We did that and we literally just threw it up online to some bloggers that we knew and got the most feedback or like the best response of anything we had done up until that point. So then we were like, “Maybe we’re onto something.”

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The Knocks photographed by Justin Bridges for BlackBook

You guys have both been members of New York’s downtown music scene for a while. How has this affected your sound or style?

JPatt: We were both DJs, so we would go out and test stuff in the clubs, or see what people are reacting to so that when we get back into the studio, we could kind of just put that into our music and what we’re aiming for as far as  vibe, if we want to really get the crowd’s reaction. The New York scene is like the scene in my opinion, so it helps to be involved in it in that way.

Do you think it’s the scene for just music or for basically everything artistic?

JPatt: For music especially, because we do music, but really for everything. Like if you ask me, I feel like New York is the place to be but especially for the music, because there’s every kind of scene here and there are open format gigs where you have to play every kind of music in a three hour span, and a lot of DJs are House DJs or Hip Hop DJs, or ‘whatever’ DJs. You have to play to every kind of person while keeping the crowd unified. It’s a really unique skill set.

B-Roc: I think it comes through in our music. You can’t listen to our music and be like, “Oh, they’re a House duo,” or whatever. You can hear a lot of influence from Hip Hop and you can hear a lot of influence from old Soul, and Classic Rock even. That’s kind of what we aim for. It’s like, we don’t corner ourselves …even when I met him, he wasn’t even DJing yet. It was my day job. I was DJing five nights a week at like all those clubs, whether it was like 1Oak or Darby, all those crappy bottle places, and you have to be on your toes and be able to mix a U2 record into a Jay-Z song, and I think seeing reactions and when people react to different parts of it, like “Oh this part of this U2 song always goes off so big in the club, and then this part of that Daft Punk song…” so were always in the studio using that. We’re like, “Oh, this breakdown sounds like Fleetwood Mac versus this breakdown, which sounds like Frankie Knuckles.”

It must be a great tool to be able to so regularly gauge how a live audience is reacting to you music.

B-Roc: At the same time it can be dangerous though, because New York is such a bubble. But it’s almost like running with weights on because New York audiences are even harder in a sense where they’ll just sit there and stare and then you’ll go do the same thing in Boston and everyone will be like, “Woah!” and freak out because they don’t see it all the time. In New York, everyone’s like, “I could go see this show or I could go see this other guy here.” There’s so much shit going on.

As you said, you guys used to be a part of that base producer songwriting process. Contrarily, you’ve fully collaborated with and helped to develop certain artists, like Alex Winston. Can you expand on that?

B-Roc: That’s how we started and that’s what we wanted to do. Like, we had this kid who got signed to Columbia Records at one point and then Winston…she was making us work on music and we made her move to New York and started producing this other kind of stuff for her…But then The Knocks stuff got so busy, and you can’t really balance it all; you have to focus.

But now that our album’s done I can definitely see us going back and doing more of that, but also our album is very collaborative. Like even when it was just production stuff, we worked with a lot of other producers, and whether it’s guitar players, horn players, musicians…Phoebe [Ryan] is featured on our album. We worked with a lot of artists like that. Most of the features are not just guys that we call up and pay. It’s basically people that we know through the scene here and friends, which always ends up being the best songs. Like “Classic” was totally just a collab with a friend. That song “Comfortable,” which is one of our bigger songs, was just a collab with our friend from X Ambassadors. Because we always kind of feel like underdogs. We’ve never been put in the studio with anyone huge, or it’s rare that we get thrown in with massive guys, so we kind of try to create our own path.

How does this type of collaborative work compare to what you were doing before?

JPatt: I didn’t mean writing with other people is unfulfilling. I meant there is like a specific style. It’s like, “So-and-so, a huge artist, needs a record. They want it to sound like these other five records. Go.” And then they send that call sheet out to like a million different producers and everyone sends in what they think will work, and then they end up going with Dr. Luke. That’s the kind of production work we were trying to get away from.

B-Roc: They’d be like, “We need a song like Britney Spears meets Courtney Love meets the Ying Yang Twins,” and you’re like, “What are you talking about?” I mean yeah, it looks good on paper, but it’s not the way music works.

Do you ever feel that people within the industry are trying to force a certain image onto The Knocks, or classify you in an inorganic way?

JPatt: For a while we were on this other label, I won’t even name any names, but we were on a label for a sec that was a little like the nightmare stories that you hear about labels, where they’re like, “You know, we like what you do, but why don’t you try this other thing that isn’t anything like what you do, at all?” It was just a constant struggle trying to prove our points to them. It was just a bunch of older guys who had no connection to current pop culture and just like hear the radio on the way to work and are like, “Oh, this is what kids are listening to.” And that’s what they try to force you into. So we were there for a second but luckily we were able to get out of that with a clean break. So, yeah, it’s hard for us to be put into those sorts of boxes.

B-Roc: [And that’s because] we already kind of built it up. And I’m super hands-on with administrative things, like the artwork and direction of stuff like that. I think as long as you know what you want and you have something secure…like working with a label like Atlantic’s been amazing because they just want to amplify it. They saw us already as a packaged thing, like they saw what we were already doing, and were like, “Yeah, we love this. Let’s just make it even bigger.”

Then in terms of your real style and appearance, what are you guys into?

JPatt: I like vintage stuff. I like old stuff. LPM is one of my favorite stores to go to. And I like the ‘90s era vintage, graphic cartoon tees, and troop jackets, and stuff like that. Mostly dark colors.

B-Roc: I’m into vintage stuff also. I’m a little bit more into the rocker side of things, all the ‘90s grunge, and I grew up as a punk rocker in middle school. That was my whole thing, so it’s funny to now come back [to that]. I wish I had a lot of those old clothes I wore, but I got rid of all of them for like, my Rocawear suits in high school (laughs). I’m big on leather jackets, and I have a vintage Marilyn Manson tee that’s like my favorite shirt of all time.

Can you tell me about the new EP?

B-Roc: The EP is a taste of what we have to come with the album. It definitely is a new sound, but at the same time we feel like it’s finally the right sound. We feel like, you know, a lot of these bands nowadays with the Internet, like you put out a song and overnight it gets big and all of a sudden we’re playing these shows. And we we’re touring with only having like, four songs, and we had to play a lot of live remixes because we didn’t have enough material. I felt like these past five or whatever years that we’ve been on the road a lot and just running around, we haven’t had time to really sit down and develop our sound. We’d just kind of been running with whatever we were doing. And it just felt like over this time, slowly, we’ve been building, and like when we made “Classic” and a couple of these other new songs, everything seemed to kind of click in this way that was like, “Okay, now this is what we’ve been meant to make.”

JPatt: It’s a good showcase of everything that we’ve been through up until now, and everything we’ve learned, all of our influences, you can really hear them and it’s not like muddy in that it’s two-layered.

How does this work feel to you compared to what you used to produce?

JPatt: It doesn’t feel forced at all. Like even with the old label, by the end, we had reached sort of a weird compromise with them and then they folded, but even with the music that we made in lieu of that compromise, still to me felt a little bit forced, like we were trying to please someone else.

B-Roc: It feels right, and it feels good to have that. Because we definitely had a whole album done that was like cool and a good album but like I feel way better about this one. When we were with the last label, we scrapped a whole album and went and made a whole new record, and it was such a blessing in disguise because we’re super proud of this, and it just feels like something that no one’s ever done before.

Grooming by Ashley Rebecca

13 Must-See Concerts This Week: FKA Twigs, Sufjan Stevens, Yelle + More

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FRIDAY, APRIL 10

That little festival called Coachella starts its first weekend today. Whether or not you’re headed to Indio, you can still enjoy these playlists of artists that will be lighting up the desert.

Radiohead’s Philip Selway released his second solo album Weatherhouse last year. He’s finally bringing it live to American shores, and he’ll appear at (Le) Poisson Rouge tonight before heading to the West Coast for Coachella. 7:30pm, 158 Bleecker St, New York, NY.

Get a blast of the LA rock scene in Brooklyn tonight, as Upset and Colleen Green bring their tour to Shea Stadium. The former just released the ’76 EP, while the latter’s put out one of the year’s most engaging, relatable records with I Want To Grow Up. They’ll be joined by local favorites Charly Bliss. 9pm, 20 Meadow St, Brooklyn, NY.

Brooklyn rock scene stalwarts Dances just announced their debut album Keep Talking for this summer. First taste “Suzy Lee” might be one of the most invigorating tracks of the year so far, and you can check it out and more at Palisades tonight. 7:30pm, 906 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY.

SATURDAY, APRIL 11

Genre-hopping enigma Sufjan Stevens brings his new album Carrie & Lowell to the famed Beacon Theater in NYC tonight. 8pm, 2124 Broadway, New York, NY.

90s-loving British trio Happyness kick off two nights in New York tonight at Baby’s All Right. Their album Weird Little Birthday just saw its stateside release, and their slyly hilarious lyrics will show you they’re no slackers. You can also catch them tomorrow at Cake Shop. 8pm, 146 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY.

SUNDAY, APRIL 12

Indie rock veterans the Mountain Goats just released their latest album Beat The Champ. Tonight, you can catch the last of their three NYC shows at City Winery if you didn’t get around to it earlier. 8pm, 155 Varick St, New York, NY.

MONDAY, APRIL 13

French party-starters Yelle aren’t about to take the week between Coachellas off. Head to the Observatory tonight and get ready to shake what votre maman gave you. They’re also opening for francophone superstar Stromae at Club Nokia tomorrow. 8pm, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, CA.

Father John Misty has released one of the most celebrated albums of the year so far with I Love You, Honeybear. He hits the Glass House tonight with raucous garage rocker King Tuff. 8pm, 200 W Second Street, Pomona, CA.

TUESDAY, APRIL 14

While FKA twigs’ forthcoming nuptials to past BlackBook cover boy Robert Pattinson might be the celebrity wedding of the century, let’s not forget that she’s earned her place in the spotlight. The charismatic musician and dancer brings her sultry tunes to the Belasco tonight. 8pm, 1050 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA.

Two generations of British buzzbands head to the Santa Barbara Bowl tonight, in the form of Alt-J and Jungle. Alt-J recently headlined Madison Square Garden after releasing second album This Is All Yours last year. 7pm, 1122 N. Milpas Street, Santa Barbara, CA.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15

Australian dance-pop star Chet Faker takes his tour with XXYYXX to Club Nokia tonight. His moody debut album Built On Glass came out last year. 9pm, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, CA.

Over the past year, Alex G has gone from an unassuming Temple University student to Domino Records’ latest signing. At Baby’s All Right, get to know his vision of gentle, moving guitar pop that’s more striking than it immediately lets on. LVL UP and Brandon Can’t Dance open up the evening. 8pm, 146 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY.