Before heading to The Internet’s second sold out show in a row at Camden’s Koko last night I sat down with Syd, Chris & Matt from the group while the others Patrick & Jameel went to get a bite from Nandos before soundcheck.
Their latest video for ‘Special Affair/Curse,’ was heavily inspired by the 90’s British group Jamiroquai’s, ‘Blow Your Mind‘ Video. Syd explained she’s also into a lot of London musicians such as “SBTRKT, Katie B & Little Simz. Shout out all the London artists.”
Although The Internet don’t have their own TV show like Tyler’s Loiter Squad or Jellies, they are heavily involved in the making of their own videos, which are all to a very high standard, “It’s always best when everyone has an input”, explained Matt.
Alongside other Californian artists such as Kendrick Lamar & Flying Lotus, Iman Omari, & Kalis Uchis there’s a lot of great music coming from the West Coast at the moment, and The Internet is no exception. Syd outlined the Cali music scene for me, “LA is a melting pot of music. When you’re in a place surrounded by other artists or musicians there’s something special that happens and there’s a lot of collaboration. Shout out to Kendrick though, for putting a lot of dope musicians on his album.” She is referring to the likes of Taz Arnold, Terrace Martin, Thunder Cat, George Clinton and the many other great Cali musicians who collaborated on Kendrick’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ LP.
When the band took to the stage last night, they weren’t dressed in any sparkling regalia, just comfortable Cali street wear. Syd, looked cool in black and white Vans, black jeans and simple Black Carhartt hoodie, a hint of blonde topping off her mohawke. Despite their low key appearance, Syd had girls screaming like she was Bobby Brown and The Internet are probably the coolest RnB/Soul group in the world right now. The cool, hip, mixed London crowd was entranced.
The title of their latest album ‘Ego Death’, reflects their humble vibe and like their performance last night, they don’t need props or gimmicks to push their wares, the music speaks volumes. Syd explained the title, “We came up with the title after the album was done.We wanted something that sounded cool but made sense. We realised that a lot of the songs we had written were about breaking up with someone or realising your worth or self empowerment and about being honest with your self. Ego Death made sense. The basic definition is exactly how it sounds: killing your ego, being honest, being yourself and being vulnerable.”
It’s exactly this vulnerability that had fans so engrossed at the show last night, towards the end of the set, songs such as ‘Girl’ had the entire crowd singing along in unison & ‘Penthouse Cloud’ had most of the 1500 people in KoKo illuminating the venue with their phones. What can sometimes be a tacky gimmick at gigs, actually resulted in some kind of magical vibe during this rendition.
Now we just need a Grammy!
Jameel AKA Kentaro who was playing the Rhodes piano last night certainly showed his jazz heritage during his solo on ‘Penthouse Cloud’. He is the brother of bass player and singer Thundercat (who performed the original double headliner at KoKo last year) and son to the Jazz player Ronald Bruner. His other brother Ronald Jr, has already won a grammy and both Thundercat and The Internet were both nominated at the most recent awards. “Now we just need a Grammy!” exclaimed Sid.
As well as having honest music and a humble attitude, the musicians that make up The Internet really are top class, Jameel Bruner on keys, whilst coming from a musician family, was hardly still behind the Rhodes, constantly dabbing and mixing the pot, dancing along energetically to his band mates. Patrick, the bass player, really does sound like a young Thundercat, with his warm funky on-point bass.
The drummer Chris, is certainly a Chris Dave or Questlove in the making, his clear, syncopated percussion never faltering. And Matt the Martian has an almost Pharell like producer sensibility commanding the synths. In fact The Internet is not to far removed from N.E.R.D and while they are not strictly a hip-hop group I think The Roots comparison is apt owing to their tight musicianship, using analog instruments both live and in recordings and their willingness to incorporate covers of songs they like into their own music.
Testament to their musicianship was the amount of London musicians in attendance last night: Disclosure, Sacha Keable, Eliza Dolittle, Funkineven, Seven Davis Jr, Purple Ferdinand were all amongst the crowd, to name a few.
I’ve always felt that maybe The Internet wouldn’t be as well known amongst a young audience if they weren’t affiliated with Odd Future, whilst this may be true, The Internet have defined and developed their own lane and are an example of hard working, talented musicians who stay true to their ethos. Their live show is a great addition and extension to their recorded music. For a group who put music ahead of their aesthetic, selling out Koko two nights in a row is a big look.
The Internet will be playing in Bristol tonight and Manchester tomorrow.