It’s hard to keep a band together. Competing interests, ego’s, and the simple, yet practical, desire to want to do more beyond the group can take precedence, and the fabric of a group can be pulled apart. In a lot of ways, it’s even hard to imagine a group existing in the current-day musical landscape, though bands/groups were once dominant. For whatever reason — wanting the limelight as a solo artist, record label influence in promoting individual artists over groups, increasing use of technology in music, etc — solo acts rule music industry, and bands take a backseat. But, for Los Angeles-natives, The Internet has proven to be more of the exception than the rule, cutting against the grain as a 5-piece band, and staving many of the stereotypes that hinder groups. Rather than succumbing to the many pressures that often stifle groups, The Internet has embraced their individuality to create a dynamic group.
Formed out of the Odd Future collective in the late 2010s, The Internet’s style is reminiscent of the neo-soul movement, with plenty of Rhodes keyboards, funky bass lines, jazz-influenced chord progressions, and some 808s every now and then. The Internet’s music is steeped in the tradition of Black American music, rhythm and blues, Southern California funk, and soul, but with the flare and interpretation of kids born in the 90s.
Following the release of their their fourth full length album, Hive Mind, The Internet set out on the Hive Mind World Tour. On November 30th, The Internet stopped by The Fillmore - Philadelphia. Friend of the blog, Kevin aka Cliche Kev and I went to the Internet’s show, and afterwards we talked about watching the band evolve into “rock stars,” the ceiling for the band, and more! Here’s our conversation:
Stanley: What are some of your general reactions to the show?
Kevin: Always ready to let loose some takes! But the show was legit! I told you during the show that “these bols are rock stars”. They had the crowd eating out the palm of their hands. I don’t know if it was me projecting things onto them, but I think they benefitted greatly from their solo projects. As the kids would say, they had the drip..not sure if I’m using this right by the way. Confidence yielded a more complete show. I liked the song arrangements too because they can be chill on their albums but for the show they clearly added an element to get the crowd moving. They even had people fainting all over the crowd. Maybe it was from dehydration or mayyyybe it was the heat being produced by them musically. Hard to pinpoint exactly. But either way, it was a really good show. How about you?
Stanley: Haha - drip indeed! I really enjoyed the show! First, there aren’t a lot of bands that are young, Black, play instruments, and play Funk/R&B Music, and have a widespread appeal. They are super rare in that regard, and just on a basic level, I really appreciate that.
I liked that they all did their own individual albums/EPs, too, before Hive Mind came out. I think that made the live show better because each person has their own lane, and is confident there.
Favorite moment/song from their show?
Kevin: I have two favorite moments actually. I’ll hold onto one for a little bit. But I will say, the Mac Miller tribute was touching. I wasn’t the biggest Mac Miller fan but I respected his talent and his death is still shocking. So I appreciated that quick tribute from them. It really put things in perspective as music touches us in so many ways.
I do have a question for you. What about the crowd?...I loved it. I love all people lol but I loved seeing black people support The Internet. It’s something you don’t see at the black artists shows for a variety of reasons.
These bols are rock stars…They had the crowd eating out the palm of their hands
Stanley: The Mac moment was special! Honestly, my favorite moment was at the very beginning of the show when they started with Come Together, then went into Roll (Burbank Funk). The bass line is so smooth on both songs, and the way Syd and Steve Lacey were working the crowd from both sides of the stage was dope.
We’ve talked about the crowd/race dynamic a lot. It can be awkward when there’s a black (or non-white) artist on stage and you see a sea of whiteness in the audience. But, what I loved about The Internet’s show was that the audience was mostly black (doing an eye test estimate). Given the style of music they do, it’s nice to see the audience mirror the people on stage.
Stanley: Medium - Hot take. The songs Syd and Steve Lacey led together had so much energy, but there felt like a significant drop off when it was just Syd. Would The Internet be better if Steve Lacey were the lead singer?
Kevin: Look lol. The take isn’t as hot as you would think. This leads me to my other favorite moment. When Syd wasn’t the lead singer, the songs just sounded...better. More energy and I could understand the words clearly. No shots to Syd because she is the engine and face of the group (she even walked out last when introduced). I just feel like The Internet solo projects should have yielded more diversity in the voices heard when The Internet come together. It’s clear when you are at the show Steve is the heart throb and next up. You think The Internet have more room to grow with Syd at the helm? Or have they topped out?
Stanley: Yeah, I felt that too. The show felt more lively when both of them were singing or when Steve Lacey was leading the song. I think the mix in the house might’ve been a little off — her voice was getting drowned out. She also primarily sings using falsetto, so there’s not much vocal power in a live setting, especially with being backed by live instruments.
I don’t think they’ve reached their peak. I really liked what they did leading into, and on, this album. It really feels like a “Hive Mind” in that everybody is developing their voices while still in the group. So, I think their ceiling, creatively, is high because their individual development is moving at such a high rate.