It's no surprise the members of The Internet are just as strong individually as they are together.
In the wake of their career-defining third album Ego Death, which spawned the hit 'Girl', the five-piece spread out to create their own solo efforts, branching out into further collaborations and side-projects that gave them enough time (and inspiration) to come up with Hive Mind, their latest effort.
The album marks many firsts — most notably, it's their first record not released under the Odd Future Records imprint, marking their first fully-fledged major label debut. The move reads as symbolic— with the group first formed out of the ashes of influential hip-hop collective OFWGKTA, which counted Tyler, The Creator, Frank Ocean, and Earl Sweatshirt amongst its ranks, The Internet circa 2018 have now come fully into their own, defining themselves as a major force in contemporary R&B and funk.
This is further propelled by the members' striking solo efforts. Syd tried her hand at commercial pop and R&B with Fin — a deeply intimate portrait of intent — while Steve Lacy wowed just about everyone (and Kendrick Lamar) with his demo EP, which was mainly produced and written on his iPhone.
Lacy later clinched a Grammy for his efforts on the rapper's massively successful DAMN., which cemented his status as a skilled producer, going on to work with Blood Orange, Kali Uchis and Mac Miller.
Matt Martians, who has demonstrated his essential role in the group with every Internet effort, ventured head-first into R&B psychedelia with a solo concept album, The Drum Chord Theory.
So how did all this affect The Internet as they went about creating Hive Mind? Here's what they have to say before their live gig at LaLaLa Festival on February 23rd.
MTV Asia: Tell us more about what went into Hive Mind during the recording process.
The Internet: This was our most collaborative album thus far. We started it in London, and then we started renting houses all over the place and recording. I built a portable studio rig that we would take to every house and set up on the dining room table. And we made sure everyone was always present for every session. It made things a lot more fun.
It's a very different album from Ego Death. What lessons were learnt in the studio this time around?
There weren't too many lessons learned, but I think we learned a lot more about one another. And naturally, we all grew a lot throughout the process, as a group and as individuals. There were a lot of memories made, and that's invaluable.
The group's dynamic is also very interesting, as many of you are accomplished and talented songwriters in your own right. How does it come together in the studio, where compromises are necessary and tough decisions are brought to the table?
We're lucky because we all have such similar taste, and after a round of solo albums we were all more invested in our group sound. We agreed on pretty much everything, and I think that's because we all wanted what was best for our group identity, rather than our individual identities.
Are there any songs on the cutting room floor that you hope to release in the future?
Actually, no. We may have some instrumentals laying around, but we put everything out.
You've once done a collaboration with Yuna, who hails from Malaysia, and Syd has appeared on a Dean track. Any possible collabs with other talented Asian artists?
We look forward to doing more collaborations in the future, so that is a big possibility.
What can fans expect from your set at Lalala Festival?
Expect a great time and nothing more.
Catch The Internet performing at LaLaLa Festival in Bandung, Indonesia on February 23rd. The band will also be performing in Bangkok on February 21st.