It’s been almost two years since LA R&B groovemakers and Odd Future affiliates, The Internet, released their debut album
Purple Naked Ladies
. Rather than making the brand of expletive-filled music of their friends, Matt Martians and Syd The Kyd manoeuvre down the neo soul route originally crafted by the likes of D'Angelo and Erykah Badu. Since that debut outing, the two have become a five. Syd called upon some close friends to make The Internet a band. So while touring as Mac Miller's support group, they began organising the roots of their sophomore album,
. It's an expansion on their already firm base of healthy soul music and includes collaborations from the likes of Thundercat, Chad Hugo from The Neptunes and Mac Miller himself. Context is great, so we called up the guys to understand what exactly made this album pan out the way it did.
The biggest step forward from Purple Naked Ladies stems from the inclusion of their motley crew of musicians. There's a natural sense of maturity that comes with a live band that some may feel the debut lacked. Rather than just filtering through songs that they may have liked, Feel Good has a definite direction with the group knowing exactly what sounds they wanted to portray on each song. At times, Feel Good swells in psychedelic tones. Syd and drummer, Chris, were responsible for mixing and mastering the project and even though nothing on the album really sounds the same, the end result is PVA-tight and cohesive. Songs like “Pupil | The Patience” and “Higher Times” are elongated jams bulging with the jazziness that only a band could provide. These longer songs came about because many complained that too many songs on the first album were cut off too prematurely.
The pair used a myriad of different synths including the Korg SV1, Yamaha Motif and Mellotron for the majority of the album. Having tried out some equipment at her local guitar centre, Syd explained she wasn’t really satisfied with the synth collection on show and preferred to cycle through more ‘in-house' VSTs for the LP.
Syd about their studio space:
"It’s been a learning experience. For one, it’s amazing to have what I have at my studio. It’s amazing that we were able to pull it off, me and my partner. I’m blessed that she trusts me enough to put her mum’s stuff to use and to let me use it because we recorded almost our whole album at the new studio. I’m learning a lot. Business, taxes and things like timing and responsibility. I'm meeting some cool people along the way too.
We rented out a space in Hollywood. It’s a 2000 sq. ft. space and it’s got two studios in the facility. It’s a business so we spent a lot of money on sound proofing and construction, paint and equipment."
“I can’t really explain why but I was really inspired by sea life and stuff. When I was first making the songs, I would go on Netflix and watch ocean documentaries on mute.”
I hear you.
Feel Good dances intricately between neo soul, R&B, jazz and even Latin (on “Sunset”) as a result of numerous musical influences being smushed and regurgitated into The Internet’s own sound. Smidgens of Jamiroquai's free-flowing funk/jazz regularly seep into a 2013 embodiment of Justin Timberlake’s Justified. More specifically though, it’s N.E.R.D’s chord choices and grooves on JT's debut that seem to have flowed through to Syd and Matt's work. As inspiration for the live sound incorporated on FG, their attention swung from the likes of the Isley Brothers to Marvin Gaye.
On track “Sunset” Syd explained:
"Patrick threw in some Latin, Brazilian samba kinda vibe into it and I wanted that in there because I grew up on Sergio Mendes and it reminded me of that. We ended up getting Yuna to sing some Brazilian kinda jazz type stuff over it and it was really awesome. That’s one of the more uplifting songs on the album.”
Rather than going out of their way to select a set of collaborations for the album, The Internet's final roster of coworkers came about through people just hearing their music and reaching out along the way. In doing so, they were able to really focus on finishing the album themselves rather than waiting on features to come back. Incubus' Mike Einziger played executive producer and as well as playing the guitar section on "Dontcha", was also the one to get Chad Hugo involved. The single wasn't the only track that Chad Hugo laid his talented digits on. Another unnamed track was recorded but didn't make the cut for the album. The Mac Miller collab ripened naturally from 'The Space Migration Sessions' tour from this summer. "Wanders Of The Mind" sees Mac on his singing game atop the vaporous, hazy fiddlings of the band. Also on board are rising neo-soul patron, Jesse Boykins III, and Thundercat.
THE GO TO FOOD
"Right now, there’s this place on the corner called Fat Sal’s that make sandwiches. Just sandwiches. But they have this Philly cheesesteak that I've been eating almost every day for the last three weeks. I don’t know how healthy that is but yeah, that’s where I've been at."