Odd Future are back with another colourful drop of Vans shoes from their Syndicate range this week. These summer Old Skool “S” sneakers have custom Golf Wang artwork on the tongue on a pink sole, Ultracush impact sockliners and Duracap reinforced uppers.
These are not available in all skate shops so check who is local to you that carry the Syndicate’s before skating down to your local.
Odd Future’s rapper Tyler the Creator turned up on stage at Reading Festival on a pink girls bike this weekend with fellow band mates, made a few thousand middle class, white teenagers who were out celebrating their private school GCSE results think they were gangsters for 45 mins and left the stage stoked with their performance without their clothes after stagediving.
Today though, OFWGKTA’s front man celebrates winning the Best New Artist award at the VMA’s in the US. In classic style Tyler slammed Bruno Mars once again by saying: “He put on a good performance, but I still hate that dude’s fucking music.”
It’s almost impossible to approach Goblin, the latest album from Odd Future’s Tyler, The Creator, without any kind predisposed stance. Whether it’s the huge amount of press and hype which currently surrounds the group, or the outward, confrontational personalities of its members, Odd Future set themselves out to provoke, excite and divide. With the group’s profile now at an all-time high, then, for many Goblin will a make or break landmark in their career.
In many ways, this record also marks a huge progression for OFWGKTA. For starters, it will see a physical release through reputable and reliable label XL, currently home to the likes of Adele, The XX and Radiohead. But there are also perhaps unexpected advances in terms of its content, as Tyler continues his growth into one of the most fascinating and engaging individuals of a generation. Personally, I’ve long straddled the fence of Odd Future’s output to date, but I’m happy to invest fully in the collective as a phenomenon, and one with the potential to produce something special.
Goblin, then, finds Tyler in a new found state of self-awareness, and that’s understandable from his position in the centre of the musical universe. If his last album, Bastard, was a rowdy statement of intent punctuated by gags about rape and violence, Goblin is far more affected piece of music, almost schizophrenic in nature. From the word go Tyler is at pains to address his critics, re-iterating that his music is fiction and vocalising a resentment for being labelled horrorcore, and indeed homophobic.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still a largely confrontational record, but it’s also very clear Tyler wants to add more strings to his bow. He’s even included a couple of almost straight up love songs on this record, almost as if to prove his own humanity. These prove to be some of the more effective moments on the record, particularly ‘She’ with it’s memorable, sing-a-long hook by Odd Future’s resident R&B singer Frank Ocean. Lyrically, I’d argue that Tyler’s biggest influence is early Eminem. From the apparently random celebrity bashing on ‘Yonkers’, to the public service announcements and rousing shock choruses such as ‘Kill people, burn shit, fuck school’ on ‘Radicals’. The two also share a similar mischievous humour in their delivery, often veiled by aggression.
Where Tyler perhaps differs to those that have come before him is that Goblin is entirely self-produced, aside from one contribution from Left Brain on ‘Transylvania’. Those expecting an album of ‘Yonkers’ and ‘Sandwiches’ style beats will be disappointed, as these stand out as easily the most accessible songs on the record. Although vocal in his love for the likes of Clipse and Waka Flocka Flame, Tyler’s own productions aren’t necessarily even influenced by hip hop. Instead the album is mostly made up of a mixture of eerie synth arrangements and jarring stabs of distorted bass and drums. These are probably his most intricate productions to date, though, and he throws at them a range of pitch alterations and studio trickery.
I suppose the question on most people’s minds will inevitably be, ‘does this album live up to its hype’? While the answer to this question is perhaps a no, it’s almost certainly the wrong question to be asking, as by its very nature hype is a grossly exaggerated reaction. Following the path of Tyler, The Creator so far, though, Goblin is an album that meets expectations and expands on the ground that he has covered. Moments of inspiration flow regularly through this overly long and at times testing record, but I have no doubts that Tyler is an artist worth persevering with. Yes, it’s rough around the edges, but the most exciting things in life are never clean cut.
Epitaph have always had a nack of picking the next wave of punk and hardcore so when letlive. where picked as their new signings last year the buzz started to grow. Why? Because not only are they balls out on record, they can make an audience explode just as good, if not better than the best of them.
This February the Los Angeles 5-piece graced our shores for a few introductory shows and blew the roof off of the Underworld in Camden and a secret show at the Old Blue Last in Hoxton leaving those lucky enough to see them blogging wildly about their new favourite hardcore band. So with the trail of aural destruction left behind we decided to get the inside scoop with singer Jason Butler and bassist Ryan Johnson to find out what makes this time bomb tick so loudly.
Welcome to Crossfire lads. So, you recently made your first visit to the UK. How did those shows compare with the first shows you played together on your home turf in LA?
Jason:I suppose since our first shows in the UK were in venues with PA systems that worked and the attendance wasn’t fully comprised of people we knew I’d have to say the disparity lies within the level of punkness.
Ryan: I’m not sure how to say this without discrediting our home support, but, the UK was certainly more attentive and accepting of our idea. The accumulation of recognition we have received in the UK has been unreal. We definitely didn’t expect any of it…
Your live show is raucous to say the least. What’s the worst damage you’ve ever done (to yourself or your surroundings) during a set?
Jason:I like to think of myself as somewhat of a forward thinking gentlemen. I try to keep my eyes focused on the future. With that being said, I think I will one day answer your question with a youtube link to our testimony in court when being charged with arson, in “the people vs. letlive.”
Ryan: We definitely have countless mics and speakers that are left useless – which can get a bit costly… But thankfully we haven’t done any serious damage yet. We have had some sprained limbs and minor gashes – accompanied with the occasional guitar head stock to the face…
Do you think your unique performance skills can translate to bigger stages? Are there any massive production ideas you have in the back of your mind for further down the line when you have more resources available to you?
Jason: Yes. Burning it down.
Ryan: Actually, when we are blessed with those larger stages (it certainly isn’t very often), it seems as though we are given a little more freedom to let go. Although, smaller stages can lead to some pretty exciting situations as well. Production for us hasn’t been a constant conversation, but, I’m sure as it comes in the future, it will be minimal. Definitely don’t want to pull too far away from the fact that people are there to listen to your music.
What is the best musical talent coming out of LA at the moment (apart from yourselves of course)? You previously mentioned knowing Tyler from Odd Future when you guys were younger. Any funny stories about him?
Jason: I don’t want to give the impression that I’m making mention of the young man in order to exhibit relevance, but I will say I really do back what they’re doing. It’s almost as if Odd Future (Wolf Gang Kill Them All) are breathing some new life into that shock aesthetic that alternative culture that has surely been waiting for with bated breath (two metaphors involving breathing; see what I did there?). As for Tyler and company, we all come from the same area. They rep the “Dirty Ladera”, I’m Inglewood all day. They fuck with LA skate culture, I worked at 9star LA. We have few degrees of separation. So to Tyler and Odd Future I say “STAND UP” X “SWAG”. Holla at me.
Ryan: Los Angeles is a difficult place. Other than Odd Future, whom Jason had a loose relationship with, we have a few friends bands such as Touche Amore and Dangers – both of which we enjoy quite a bit. But, the entire culture is a bit lacking as of late…
What would you say the biggest influences on letlive. are – both musical and non-musical?
Jason: letlive.. Please bear in mind, this does not mean the 5 individuals that make up this band; so yeah… letlive.
Ryan: To be frank, a lot of our influences come from moods that we capture from each other, surroundings, and even conversations about current readings. It’s more so channeling the feeling of inspiration. There really haven’t been many defining moments where an artist was mentioned while playing music. We all have our individual inclinations which range from James Brown to Radiohead to Bob Dylan, and Smashing Pumpkins, but not very directly do those artists come through as strong as an influence. We kind of feed of each others mistakes and ideas while playing, and hope it comes out all right.
‘Fake History’ is getting a proper UK release though Epitaph this week, with a few bonus tracks. Are those songs indicative of further future material from the band? How are you getting along with writing for the next album – or is that not happening quite yet?
Jason: Well, not necessarily. The first two tracks are actually 2 alternate tracks that were tracked within the FAKE HISTORY sessions and were opted to remain unattached for the initial release, which, in turn, worked out quite well for the re-release, wouldn’t you agree? As for the final track, this was a more impromptu approach we took when creating, playing, and recording it. We had spoken with Mr. Brett Gurewitz about doing a song together as somewhat of an ode to the rite of passage, so to speak, with our induction into the Epitaph family. With this came limited time to do so granted we have been touring rather heavily this past year. So what we did was go into the studio for two days with a riff we had written just before entering and tracked an ode to whimsical studio sessions. We feel it’s non hyperbolic essence is certainly endearing.
Ryan: Well, the bonus tracks include two b-sides, and one new track. The b-sides were actually the first two songs that we wrote as a band, which is far off from future ideas, and the last track was basically a last minute fluke while preparing to go into the studio with Brett. I wouldn’t say it is a direct foreshadow of what is to come, by any means. We actually currently beginning to write the album for the next month or so, considering it is the only time we are going to be home all year, and we are pretty excited with the way things are going thus far. We are definitely in a better place than we ever have been, musically – considering the amount of time we have spent together and growth we’ve experienced.
Who have been your Top 5 Epitaph acts in the label’s history?
Jason:1981 – present day. Take your pick.
Ryan: I’d have to say Descendents/ALL, Gallows, Converge, and certainly Refused.
How does it feel to know that you are now listed alongside them?
Jason: Like 20ll.
Ryan: It is unreal. Still hasn’t really hit any of us yet. Sometimes when you speak of the bands dealings with others it becomes a reality, and you’re kind of beside yourself. It’s incredibly strange to conceptualize.
You’ve been nominated for a Metal Hammer Award. What would you say is the most metal thing you’ve ever done?
Jason: Yes. We plan on burning the venue down. For sacrificial purposes in the name of the homie Lucifer, naturally. 666777888
Ryan: Hopefully commit to round two amongst the crowd.
Do you ever take your skateboard on tour with you?
Jason: Yes I ever.
Where are the best spots in the world that you’ve encountered for skating?
Jason: Los Angeles, California and that big 5 stair set in Paris, France.
Any favourite up and coming skaters?
Jason: I’d like to shout to my young friend Elijah Berle from LA who recently won Tampa Am. He’s one of the young bloods turning real life skateboarding into “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater”. Good shit, Elijah. As for my favorite skater, that position is taken, unshakably, by Andrew Gallagher of the First Family.
If you could invent a new skate trick, what would it be called and what would it involve?
Jason: Not to sound like an asshole, but…I did. It was aptly dubbed the “Butler bump”. Best explanation for this maneuver would be a switch (or nollie, which I prefer) heelflip underflip. Best pulled from the bag of tricks at a clutch moment during a game of “skate”. A show stopper, if you will. Ask Elijah and Drew.
What can we expect from the band in the next year?
Ryan: The re-release, a lot of touring, and a new record.
The Odd Future rapper has been getting serious hype of late and this track, taken from his upcoming album Goblin, proves why. Lines like “threesomes with a fucking Triceratops” mean you need to listen, straight up. And with a video that includes eating a bug, throwing up and hanging yourself, there’s no way you can really ignore it is there?